Somalilandsun: Somaliland’s narrative of independence is based on a deceptive mix of truths, half-truths and outright lies that it has been unable to sell to the Somali people, the African Union or anyone else in the world except — again, for political reasons — the would-be independent island of Taiwan.
It’s no wonder that Bihi (president of Somaliland) has found a receptive ear and a helping hand in the Heritage Foundation, known for climate-change denialism, efforts to suppress the votes of minorities in the U.S., and fueling the moral panic over “critical race theory.” It is deeply unfortunate to see the self-described leaders of Somaliland seeking validation from forces in the United States aligned with a racist and neocolonialist agenda.
But there’s not much room for pity when the fate of so many poor Somalis hangs in the balance. There’s only room for good people to stand up and tell the American right: Hands off Somalia.
This is argued by Mohamoud Gaildon a Somali-American medical physicist who is a hard-core anti Somaliland sovereignty and diehard Somaliwein proponent in a piece titled Why is the American right waging a stealth neocolonial assault on Somalia?
“The supposed “assault” is a growing campaign within the U.S. and elsewhere to recognize Somaliland’s independence from Somalia” counter argues Joshua Meservey a senior policy analyst for Africa and the Middle East within the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy at The Heritage Foundation.
Adding that Gaildon’s piece is an opportunity to examine several common claims made by Somali irredentists opposed to Somaliland’s independence. The first is the idea that foreigners—and, apparently even worse, American men—are trying to dismember Somalia:
“The ubiquity of this argument doesn’t make it any less specious. The truth is that the growing international movement to recognize Somaliland’s independence exists only because of Somaliland’s decadesold decision to separate itself from Somalia” asserts the African and Middle East policy analyst
In elaboration @JMeservey @JMeservey notes that ” In 1960, Somaliland received independence from Great Britain, and then shortly after joined with Somalia, which had just received independence from Italy. Yet Somalilanders immediately expressed their regret:
- They rejected in a referendum the union and the associated constitution in 1961.
- Later that year, Somaliland officers launched an unsuccessful coup designed in part to reestablish Somaliland’s independence.
- An armed rebellion against the dictator Mohamed Siad Barre erupted in Somaliland in the 1980s, eventually contributing to Barre’s fall.
- Somaliland then declared independence again in May 1991 and has been functionally independent ever since.
It is Somalilanders, and no one else, who have split themselves from Somalia, just as the Eritreans did from Ethiopia in 1991, and the South Sudanese did from Sudan in 2019. I’m sure Gaildon didn’t begrudge the Eritreans and South Sudanese their countries, or decry the U.S.’ recognition of them as a “stealth, neocolonial assault.”