By: Ibrahim Hassan Gagale
Somalilandsun – The sixth point of the Communique of London Conference on Somalia held on February 23, 2012 raised the need for the international community to support any dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia. Following that recommendation of the conference, the first direct talks between the two countries opened at The Chevening House in the outskirts of London on June 20, 2012 issuing what was known as the Chevening House Declaration intended to pave the way for presidential meeting.
Then, for the first time for over 21 years, the presidents of Somaliland, His Excellency Ahmed Mohammed Silanyo, and the former president of Somalia, His Excellency Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, met in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on June 28, 2012 and agreed to continue the talks.
The Current Situation of Somalía
Somaliland declared itself independent nation of Somalia in 1991 to restore its independence achieved on June 26, 1960 after Somalia committed genocidal and destructive acts against Somaliland people in the years from 1984-1988. Since 1991, Somalia was no man’s land and became red meat for all the Five Somali peoples in the Horn of Africa. It is not governed by its own people but half of those running the country are government post- seekers and fugitives coming from Somaliland, Somali Ethiopian Region, Somali Kenyan Region and Djiboutians who wrapped themselves in Somaliwein banner that does not exist. All the successive governments of Somalia were based on the false, elusive notion of “Greater Somalia” that has not been achieved yet and no one knows when and how it will come true.
“Greater Somalia” has the same analogy with “Greater Arab World” to day. There are around 18 Arab Countries in the Middle East and North Africa and no one shares government, nationality, and borders with another one whilst the government of Somalia has constantly become victim of a bunch of fugitives and government post-seekers from all the other four Somalis thus hijacking the parliament and the government of Somalia. The major reason of why Somalia is unstable and failed state for 22 years perpetuating brutal civil wars in the country is because Non-Southerners in the government and in the parliament prefer to keep it restive and in political turmoil in order to keep collecting blood money from the instability. This war profiteering will continue in Somalia until the traditional and political leaders as well as intellectuals of Somalia come to their senses and expel Non-Southern elements from their parliament and government.
Somalia would be peaceful and stable country long ago if it were controlled and ruled by its own people. Besides oppressions, repressions, displacements, destructions, and atrocities committed against Somaliland people, the all Somali-Shared-Government under the false umbrella of Somaliwein is another major reason of why Somaliland People do not want to share any union with Somalia. The regime of Siad Barre turned the union government of Somaliland and Somalia into government shared by all Somalis in the Horn of Africa. Most of the military generals and government officials were Somali Ethiopians and Somali Kenyans who widely and willingly participated in the atrocities against Somaliland people in1980S. Somaliland people want to have their own government to control their own destiny and prevent another atrocities.
Somaliland government was hasty to open talks with Somalia without defining the essential conditions for the talks and taking Somalia to the task of making sure that the dialogue take place between Somaliland and Somalia only and not between Somaliland and Somaliwein. As we all know, the unrectified doomed union of 1960 was between Somaliland and Somalia only. Djibouti, Somali Ethiopian Region, and Somali Kenyan Region were never part of it. It is also important to know that the no-man’s government of Somalia is easily manipulated by the Non-Southern ministers and parliamentary members who are adamantly oppose the independence and recognition of Somaliland as that is detrimental or harmful to their profiteering interest in Somalia. Somaliland government must set conditions for any future talks to preempt any infiltration of Somaliwein elements and war profiteering groups in Somalia that could put the talks at danger.
Three Indispensable Conditions For Restarting Talks With Somalia
1. That the talks be held between Somaliland (Former North) and Somalia (Former South) only because they were the two countries that shared the ill-fated union. Elements from Djibouti, from Somali Ethiopian Region, and From Somali Kenyan Region must not be allowed to participate in the talks because they were not signatories of the union between Somalland and Somalia on July 1, 1960. Somaliland elements who fled to Somalia for personal greed and interest must not be allowed too to participate in the talks because the talks are not between Somaliland and Somaliland. These disloyal elements have already betrayed their country and their people and are not shy to side with Somalia in the talks to undermine Somaliland independence. Even though they are despised and disrespected by the Southerners, they are used by Somalia to fight and weaken Somaliland statehood. The talks are not between Somaliland and Somaliwein or between Somaliland and Somaliland. The talks are between Somaliland and Somalia only, and the members of the two sides for the talks must come from Somaliland and from Somalía only.
2. That ProSomalia elements that hail from Somaliland must be expelled from the government and parliament of Somalia as it is impossible to hold talks with a government that harbors elements that are hostile to Somaliland independence, and at the same time, undermining the talks to blindly support Somalia for their own benefits.
3. And that the talks must be about future bilateral relations between the two countries and about serving justice for the victims in the mass graves. The talks may be difficult and excruciating and may face stalemate at the end as Somalia wrongly believes still that Somaliland is a province of Somalia, the same mistake they did during the thirty  years of the ill-fated union, and would like to throw it into the chaotic commotion of Somaliwein fold that it suffers from currently.
Why Somaliland People Reject another Union With Somalía
Somalia has still the mentality of 1960 that denied Somaliland people of having their share from the union government and that treated Somaliland as one of the provinces of Somalia such as Mudug and Bay instead of recognizing it as an independent state eager to make union with Somalia to pioneer Greater Somalia that became abortive at the end. The ignorant, arrogant leaders of Somalia still believe that Somaliland is run by Mogadisho as the appointments given to Somaliland betrayers point out. The leaders of Somalia have trust in these elements from Somaliland believing that they represent Somaliland and will bring It back to the fold of Somalia failing to understand that the question of Somaliland is not something that can be changed by individuals. It is a question of self determination of a nation that shoulders its destiny. Somalia understands well that these disloyal elements hailing from Somaliland can not set foot on Somaliland soil without prosecution. Their appointments is just desperate attempt to make one believe that Somaliland Republic is still a part of Somalia. Somaliland outsmarts deception.
Since the birth of Somaliland Republic,the successive government of Somalia declared political war against Somaliland independence by assigning political positions to Somaliland betrayers in order to curtail its recognition and openly fight it through diplomatic means around the world. These diplomatic wars are futile because Somaliland people are determined to be independent of Somalia.These elements who betrayed their homeland and their people do not belong to both countries, as some claim, but they belong to Somalia where they serve embarrassingly.
Somaliland and its people had suffered enough with great cruelty in the hands of Somalia. History can not be erased. They will never forget the oppression, the suppression, the imprisonments, the torture, the massive displacements, the destruction of cities, and the genocidal acts committed mercilessly against them. The Equipo Peruano Antropologia Forense, EPAF [Forensic Investigator International Team] is currently in Somaliland to identify the over 60,000 bodies believed to be in mass graves. So far, 226 mass graves have been uncovered and the smallest mass grave is believed to hold 12 bodies. The findings were: Hargeisa: 200 Mass Grave Sites, Berbera: 12 Mass Graves, Buroa: 8 Mass Graves, Sheikh: 1 Mass Grave, Erigavo: 2 Mass Graves, Gabiley: 2 Mass Graves, Arabsiyo: 1 Mass Grave. These innocent civilians were taken out of their homes late at night and summarily executed in the years 1984,1985, 1986, 1987, and 1988 because of the name of their clan.
Mass graves are war crimes against humanity and gross violations of human rights and have nothing to do with amnesty given for ordinary civil wars within a nation to stop revenge and restore peace and unity. War Crimes Cases belong to the International Court of Justice in Hague. Justice must be done for the victims in the mass graves at Hague. If SNM Forces did not fight valiantly everywhere in Somaliland against the atrocious military of Siad Barre to rescue the rest of the people, the genocidal acts would be much greater and would have the scale of the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994. Somaliland people still hear the cries of their innocent civilians massacred at midnights, they still see their innocent bodies being dumped like animal carcasses into mass graves throughout Somaliland. Their sad voices are indelible in their hearts and in their souls.
Downplaying massacring Somaliland innocent civilians in the mass graves, the leaders of Somalia claim that killings took place in Somalia too while the bodies in the only known mass grave in Somalia belong to Somaliland people too. Around 46 Somaliland civilians were taken out of their homes at Buulo Hubey, Mogadisho, by Siad Barre’s Red Berets and summarily executed at Jaseera Beach at midnight on July 17, 1989. Targeting certain people for ethnic cleansing is different from unintended killings and tribal persecutions in civil wars. Somaliland people were not responsible for the brutal killings in Somalia but Somalia was responsible for the genocidal acts against Somaliland people. Denying the responsibility of massacring the victims in the mass graves is adding an insult to the injury. The massacred civilians will not go in vain and will be at the forefront and center of all talks between Somaliland and Somalia. Any prospects of reunification with Somalia becomes impossible with such magnitude of ethnic cleansing and that is why Somaliland adamantly rejects it. As Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo can not be forced to reunify with Yugoslavia that committed horrifying atrocities against them in the 1990s, Somaliland can not be forced to return to the killing fields of Somalia too.
What Somaliland Should Do If The Talks Break Down.
If the talks between Somaliland and Somalia fail officially and become ill-fated because of the wrongful insistence of Somalia that Somaliland is part of Somalia and that it will not recognize it, then Somaliland will move forward proudly with its irreversible independence. Somaliland does not occupy land and people from Somalia but remains within its own colonial borders as any other African country. If Djibouti can not be forced to join union with Somalia because of being part of “Greater Somalia”, then Somailand can not be forced either. The peoples of Somali Western Region in Ethiopia, and Somali North Eastern in Kenya are particularly obsessed with the return of Somaliland to Mogadisho because they want to regain and control Somaliland and Somalia in order to reside, rule, and enrich themselves with their wealth as they did in the thirty (30) years of the ill-fated union. What do the peoples of Somali Western Region in Ethiopia and Somali North Eastern Region in Kenya are sharing with Somaliland and Somalia if their territories are still occupied to justify their participation in so called “Somaliwein Government? NOTHING. Why don’t they stay in their territories to take part in their autonomous rule in their lands instead of running to Mogadisho? Because they want to seize the power and control of other countries that do not belong to them under the false umbrella of “Somaliwein” for their own benefits.
Somaliland liberated itself from non-existent “Somaliwein” umbrella based on opportunism and selfishness and is run by its own people but that false idea still controls Somalia where it is heavy burden on its people economically, socially, and politically. Ruling and looting Somaliland under imaginary umbrella of “Somaliwein” is over. The idea of “Greater Somalia” (Somaliwein) emerged in the middle of the Second World War [1939-1945] and the main objective was to liberate the five Somali Territories and bring them together under the same banner and government in the Horn of Africa. That idea of “Greater Somalia” could not succeed so far and there are no hopeful prospects to make that dream come true.
Somaliland has the most important recognition that it needs and that is the recognition of its own people. That self-recognition will bring, soon or later, the recognition of the international community, In Shaa Allaah. Taiwan is not recognized country since 1971 and it is one of the most developed countries in Asia today. Somaliland people are peace loving nation and have no intentions at all to make aggression to its neighbors without being attacked first. If the talks break down officially and then Somalia becomes hostile to Somaliland and threatens it with war, then Somaliland people, a heroic, patriotic nation, is ready to repel any attack from Somalia to defend its independence. Somaliland did not come with request; it was born with bloodied sword, and will stay here with bloodied sword if needed.
Ibrahim Hassan Gagale