Freedom House which is a U.S.-based government-funded non-governmental organization (NGO) that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights ranked Somaliland as partly Free State, a better ranking than Somalia, which was ranked a state not free at all. From May 1991 and aftermath the two Somali states that united in 1960 emerged again in the Horn as two countries with different security status. The two states have their defined boundary in between them that was formed and legalized with the agreements between the colonizers of the two territories during the partition of Africa. The international Community named Somaliland as the beacon of peace in a troubled region; and named Somalia as a failed state.
Somaliland had been built under consensus of its people with democratic multiparty political system; that its leaders come to power through one-man-one-vote free and fair elections in the last 20 years; but Somalia has not even started the journey from where Somaliland began its nation building in 1991. That means Somalia government is 25 years behind where Somaliland is now. Somaliland has developed its own and distinct political culture and became a stable, peaceful and politically democratic country; but Somalia became one of the five most violent and dangerous countries in the world; and politically it is still under the surveillance of the international community.
Somaliland saved its territory from all types of terrorist activities; but Somalia became a safe haven for Al-Qaeda affiliates and most of its territory is still controlled by terrorists. Somaliland has succeeded to save its territory to become home for pirates; but southern Somalia deliberately invited the world’s most dangerous sea pirates to operate in its coasts, using the ransom as a source of income. In Somaliland diplomats and all other foreigners including westerners can go anywhere they want and are safe; unlike in southern Somalia where most diplomats, aid workers and foreigners must live behind blast walls with heavy armed guards at Mogadishu airport.
Somaliland government has full control of all its territories defined by its borders; but Somalia government does not fully control even the capital city; and these 29 years passed under the command of warlords, Al-shabaab extremists, national reconciliation meetings held in foreign countries and weak governments manipulated by the international community. Now, the regions of Somalia are controlled by new style local warlords, while most of the rural areas are controlled by Al-shabaab. Somaliland has a trained and disciplined army and effective police and other security agencies that fully control the security and stability of the state; but in Somalia there are nearly 30’000 African forces from neighboring countries that the central government and the main areas of the country mostly in the capital is under their protection.
Somaliland is capable to guarantee the security of its neighbors and the region and successfully ensured that responsibility; but multiple terrorist attacks from Somalia occurred in its neighboring countries; and are still threatening the security and stability of these countries. Though it lacks international recognition Somaliland government has the capacity to enter into relations with the other states, and has friendship relations with over 90 countries. In reality it is Somalia which does not meet the criteria set out for statehood in accordance of the international law. But it is the international community who blindly ignored the full functioning Somaliland state and recognized Somalia is within the foresaid failed statehood and insecurity status.
A point of history lesson is that Somaliland and Somalia were never been together under one rule before their union in 1960. That means they have been separate from each other far longer than before their union. That union existed for only one decade from 1960 to 1969, when a military coup master minded by Southerners took the rule of the Somali Republic formed after the union of the two states. The military cancelled and repealed the union agreement of the two states (British Somaliland & Italian Somalia), abrogated and completely annulled the constitution, dissolved the parliament and dissolved the constitutional court.
Moreover, a memorable fact to mention is that after the military takeover of power, the prejudice against the northerners became the official policy of the state. That policy was translated into a systematic exclusion that was singled out Somaliland people as main target permeating all aspects of state functions and all political activities from the Somalilanders and martial law was declared in Somaliland territories. Under the military rule, Somaliland people experienced all types of human sufferings like suppression, mass arrests, discrimination, genocide or ethnic cleansing, complete plundering of all Somaliland wealth by the military and southerners; and at last direct military attacks launched against the civilians.
It is the international community that enabled Somalia to try to benefit from Somaliland’s lack of recognition, working to limit the statehood of Somaliland and to undermine its economic and social developments. This hostility, frenemy and growing threat from Southern Somalia towards Somaliland shows that the government in Mogadishu is not ready to open dialogue and negotiations with Somaliland; but preparing itself to resume its brutality against Somaliland people. When two armies fight each other, they both think of the opposing army as its enemy. So, Somaliland leaders should stop the word “our brothers” instead they should recognize that Somaliland’s most dangerous enemy is Somalia; and should prepare all kinds of counter hostilities to defeat its enemy.
It is true that Somaliland does not want a new War with Somalia. It is equally true that Somaliland does not want to make another mistake of throwing its sovereignty again as it did in 1960. It is true that the activities of hostility, adversary and enmity from Somalia cannot be ignored and cannot be under estimated. The bottom line of Somaliland’s negotiations with Somalia shall be to secure the sacred rights of the people of Somaliland to have the decision of their future and destiny; and secure international recognition for Somaliland. The only thing that Somaliland is chasing is its dreams, the dreams of its people to keep their pride of having the decisions of their future destiny in their hands; and this principle will not be negotiable and will be fighting for it to the last soul.
Adam Ali Younis email@example.com