Sovereign Somaliland Could Be Key to Somalia Revival


Somaliland is not breakaway or secessionists as the foes of its independence falsely claim. The people of Somalia know well that Somaliland was an independent nation on June 26, 1960, while Somalia was still an Italian Colony. Whether displeased or not, Somaliland will not come back to the destructive, atrocious, unilateral union with Somalia shared hastily on July 1, 1960, and then Somaliland withdrew from it in 1991 after disastrous civil wars reclaiming its independence achieved on June 26, 1960. Unions are dissolvable but independence is not dissolvable.

Unions, federations, and confederations are dissolved after sharing countries have strong disagreements over the fairness of the system or even engage in wars. Senegal and Gambia shared a federation in 1982 and dissolved it in 1989. Egypt and Syria shared a union in 1958 and dissolved it in 1961. Federal Yugoslavia broke up into independent republics in 1995 after devastating, ethnic cleansing civil wars. Eritrea became an independent country from Ethiopia in 1991. After unions or federations failed and dissolved, those countries retained their original independence and recognition they had before.

Sharing ethnicity, religion, language, culture, traditions, color etc do not determine the creation of a union or federation or preserve the existence or survivability of a union or federation but only fair power-sharing and justice determine the success and survivability of a union or federation and that is what Somalia failed to respect. Somaliland people endured 22 years (1960-1982) of power-sharing denial, oppression and injustice and 8 years (1982-1990) of all kinds of human rights abuses, atrocities and destructions. Both Somalis and Arabs failed to share a union or federation because of having chronic, unjust, destructive tribalism that kills them.

The people of Somalia need to understand that Somaliland’s borders are as legitimate as the borders of any African country because they were all European-drawn borders. There is no doubt that the Somaliland Republic will be recognized soon or later for its colonial borders from Somaliland British Protectorate and for its independence achieved on June 26, 1960, two conditions necessary for the diplomatic recognition of each African country. Somaliland recognition is not a request but it is a right like any other African country. So, it is inevitable!

European Colonial Borders define nationalism, independence, statehood and diplomatic recognition of each country in Africa, Asia, and the Arab World. Somaliland is not an exception. It inherited its Internationally-recognised colonial borders from Somaliland British Protectorate as any other African Country did from its colonising power. The borders of Djibouti, Somaliland, and Somalia have internationally the same legitimacy and status for being all colonial borders defining their independence, territory, and nation as the rest of Africa.

There are no clan or tribal borders in Africa but there are state or national borders only. Borders of countries are based on land, not on clan lineage or tribal origin. The territory, statehood and recognition of each African country is not defined by indigenous, African-drawn borders or by tribal lineage boundaries but defined by colonial-time-drawn borders. The political map of Africa showing African countries was made by Europe, not by Africans. Tribalists or unionists who think that they can divide Somaliland territory or bring it back to the doomed union by ignoring its internationally recognized borders are like one trying to fill a bottom-cracked barrel with water. Any entity which tries to claim parts of Somaliland to change its borders on the basis of tribal lineage or any country which tries to dismember Somaliland territory for aggression must be confronted to defeat such a hostile attempt.

It would be good for Somalia and Somaliland to recognize each other to become two sisterly twin states in the Horn of Africa supporting each other and exchanging trade, cultural, travel, academics, sports, military alliance, etc like the Gulf countries for prosperous, better future for their peoples instead of becoming two hostile nations in the Horn of Africa with avoidable occasional skirmishes, border closures, deportations, threats, military buildups, armed confrontations, etc. With such interactions and cooperation between the two countries in all fields, the sovereignty of Somaliland could also be recovery and revival to Somalia from prolonged instability.

If OAU does not recognize Somaliland for its colonial borders like any other African country, OAU conference in 1964 for reaffirming African colonial borders will be obsolete, and internal tribal conflicts will dismantle African colonial borders and will end the existence of the African Continent. The security, peace and stability of the African Continent solely depend on respecting, recognizing, implementing and protecting colonial borders.


Ibrahim Hassan Gagale