This article will analyse the recent report of possible Somaliland recognition and how Somaliland independence is often perceived in Somalia. The future of the Somali nation will also be discussed.
Israel’s possible recognition of Somaliland has recently been a popular topic of discussion among Somali news websites. The idea seems farfetched, if not wishful thinking, for in reality the possibility of Israel recognising Somaliland is only marginal.
Nevertheless, assuming these claims are correct, bilateral ties with Israel could have some serious implications on Somaliland’s quest for nationhood.
This is undoubtedly a great prospect for the recognition Somaliland has been waiting for, for decades. If it handles it correctly with due diligence, this could be the master key to unlocking many new opportunities with either the Western/Israel or Arab nations. Recognition from Israel could encourage other nations to recognise Somaliland. This partly depends on how well Somaliland articulates its case.
Ties with Israel could have some serious implications for its ties with Arab nations on which Somaliland depends for much of its trade. However, Israel could prove a strong partner with regard to being a possible export market and exploitation of Somaliland’s resources.
Israel’s recognition of Somaliland would not come without strings attached as the previous Somaliland press article touched on. One benefit to Israel is the strategic position of Somaliland opposite the Arabian Peninsula, at the door of the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait. A military base there would enhance Israel’s military capabilities and give them the upper hand if conflict were to occur in the Middle East. However, Djibouti is a more realistic alternative for the military base. It has often displayed its sheer desperation for foreign investment in trying to earn some foreign currency. It currently hosts a number of foreign military missions and is far more pliable, secure and accessible.
Another reason is Somaliland’s unexploited resources which will be accessible to Israel probably within an agreement giving them preferential if not near exploitative conditions. The truth is that Somaliland has very few friends, Israel wants to exploit a poorly governed, poorly informed and poorly defended enclave in which it realises potential to fulfil its own aims and ambitions.
Nevertheless, Somaliland should actively seek ties with Israel. Recognition will be conditional on certain agreements (as described in the article and above) designed to enhance Israel and achieve its wider strategic and political aims and ambitions (particularly in the Middle East).
If and when Israel is content with recognising Somaliland, the Somaliland government should use this to lobby the (more numerous) Arab nations for recognition. If not recognition, Somaliland could usher greater support and perhaps even investment from Arab countries. Considering the historic conflict between Arab countries and Israel, the Arab nations would a risk to their national security. This may spearhead the nations standing in the way of Somaliland recognition to reconsider their view and see the other side of the coin or support Somaliland more. Maybe it’s time to stop the sweet talk and play hardball.
[ad#Google Adsense (336×280)]
The Arab nations may feel they have greater leverage over Somaliland as exports, foreign exchange and tax earnings consist of mainly livestock exported to these Arab Nations. A renewed livestock ban would be a real possible pressuring technique employable by the Arab nations to prevent it from establishing a relationship dangerous to them. Also any recognition of Somaliland by Arab nations will be due to their own interests rather than anything else. Therefore Somaliland needs to understand the strategic interests of foreign nations it is trying to lobby for recognition and take a cost benefit analysis when redefining bilateral relationships. When they realise this and learn to master the art of politics (deception?) (formerly only a forte of the Darood) is when they will succeed to achieve their aims.
A very important aspect in the case of Somaliland should be the case of Somalia itself. Somaliland currently is a government, a people and a power in limbo, imprisoned by those fearing what good it might achieve/do. Somaliland is trapped along the sidelines, unable to partake in activities so vital to its existence. This is the last hurdle of the revolution.
Somaliland and Somalia are perpetually linked and the people, government and conscience of Somaliland owe it to the suffering children, women and elderly in Somalia to establish peace. Somaliland can do more for Somalia as a sovereign country in the political arena (than as a spectator) to balance the negative influence of Ethiopia.
It is unquestionable that foreign forces, of which most notably Ethiopia, led to the downfall of Somalia. And my instincts tell me now that the seeds bearing the anarchy and chaos prevailing now, were planted by those same foreign forces. Somalia or the rebellion didn’t need a downfall, just a change of government, they fell fool to their enemies. This once proud nation has been fragmented and divided.
Somali regions have no benefit in each other’s failure, and the only realistic conflict visible to the naked eye is potential conflict over resources in Sool & Sanaag. Somali regions should not try to control/rule each other as history has taught us that that is doomed for failure. Walk not in front of me, walk not behind me, but walk beside me as best you can, for together we can achieve so much more.
Any future government that is going to succeed will be a decentralised, coalition of parties from different parts of Somalia who co-operate to achieve their wider political and economical aims in the environment of the greater political arena. The foundation stones were laid in Somaliland, Puntland and peace was moving downwards to Galmudug and lower Somalia when those same outside forces acted to defend that which was in their interests (war & anarchy).
Somaliland should not be seen as deserting its Somali identity and conforming to western/Ethiopian the pressure but rather be a cornerstone to a new era in Somali identity. One not associated with death, destruction and anarchy but where peace, prosperity and development flourish.
Even between Somaliland and Puntland Ethiopia has created conflicts. It is a normality that politicians from both entities travel to Addis Ababa for ‘meetings’. This reminds me of the UK Channel 4 documentary entitled the ‘Israeli lobby’ depicting how UK politicians were flown to Tell Aviv for similar ‘meetings’ after which they were more favourable to Israeli interests. Such meetings often, overtly or covertly, aim to achieve the goals of one party as there is always unequal power in a relationship between two parties.
Somaliland’s de facto independence has been hard-won and should be nonnegotiable in such a volatile region. Somaliland furthermore needs to be careful in its international dealing and should foresee the pressures of being internationally recognised. On the fine road to peace all Somali entities need to co-operate and establish strategic partnerships.
Somaliland is one of the few peaceful Somali regions and should be an example for others to follow. The intense disapproval of many Somalis towards Somaliland is unfounded; Somaliland should not be regarded as an opponent but given a chance to prove herself.
Views expressed in the opinion articles are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the editorial.