You would often encounter on the streets a spindly Chihuahua hissing and huffing to intimidate a German Sheppard with oversized paws or a vicious Pit Bull. Also, you may wonder why on earth a tiny Chihuahua would provoke dogs that are twice or three times of its size. The problem is: Chihuahuas think they are big dogs trapped in small dogs’ bodies. But when push comes to shove, Chihuahuas’ form of defense includes escape and camouflage.
Similarly, just as toothless little Chihuahuas have the courage to provoke big dogs, so too hopeless Somali leaders—or temporary officials (TOs)—have the guts to warn powerful countries willing to recognize Somaliland about a possible retribution against them. That is, despite being traumatized, crippled, and disoriented, Somali leaders convince themselves that they have the power to stop Somaliland’s recognition. But their hypothetical authority over the democratic republic of Somaliland has everything to do with the inescapable, overwhelming fear they face every day.
A case in point: speaking from a safe house somewhere in Mogadishu as to dodge an Al-Shabab silver bullet inscribed with his name, of course, the so-called Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Abdiwahid Elmi Omar audaciously enough, protests against the possibility of Israel forging a diplomatic relationship with Somaliland. See the article: “Iran, Israel’s Naval Bases, Somaliland’s Recognition: Port Berbera—Bargaining Chip”
Keeping one eye on the reporters who interview him and the other one on Al-Shabab assassinators lurking around the corners, Mr. Omar states, “Any country that recognizes Somaliland we see as one that wants to divide Somalia and we will hold them accountable.”
Despite Mr. Omar’s—another clueless, hysterical, TO—remarks, he never ventures into the streets, few blocks from his bunker, of Mogadishu much less oppose Somaliland’s quest for independence. So what is eating him?
Traditionally, regimes after regime—fourteen of them—Somali officials (or TOs) spend more resources and energy on opposing Somaliland’s independence than stabilizing Somalia. That is, millions of donated money is wasted on clandestine operations against Somaliland.
Of all the fourteen failed Somali regimes, with as many vicious warlords as there are silly goats in Somalia, none have missed the opportunity to entertain themselves by pretending to have an imaginary authority over Somaliland. The Somali leaders, however, hardly offend anyone in Somaliland because these temporary, half-baked, oblivious officials vanish into thin air faster than they utter empty statements containing a fictional authority over Somaliland.
Whispering absurd remarks to the Media is a tradition for Somalia’s leaders who often switch allegiances from tribal warlords to religious warmongers and vice versa. In other words, yesterday’s savage warlord is today’s devoted Sheikh (a Muslim scholar). (They can fool people once, but not all the time.) Under a false pretense of defending Islam, Somalia’s warring tribes adopted new Arabic names such as, Al-Shabab, Hizbul Islam, Raas Kaambooni forces, Anoole forces/Al-Furqaan forces, and Ahlu Sunna wal Jama’a, just to name few.
Yet another example: the former Somali Foreign Minister Ismail Mohammed Hurre who hails from Somaliland took the stage to belly dance for his boss Col. Abudullahi Yussuf, the former Ethiopia’s stooge parachuted into Mogadishu, also known as: the butcher of Mogadishu for his barbaric atrocities against civilians. During Col. Yussuf’s horrendous savagery from 2004 to 2008, Mr. Hurre oblivious of the heaps of bodies pilling up in Mogadishu, sharpened his daggers for another city—one that is famous for serenity of peace and tranquility. Mr. Hurre said, “Once peace is consolidated in Southern Somalia and the reconstruction process begins, Somaliland people will move in their thousands to Mogadishu and Hargeisa will become a ghost town.” Since then, Mr. Hurre and his regime disappeared—never mind turning Hargeisa into a ghost town, just like Mogadishu.
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Also, under the current Somali President Sheikh Sharif (or the besieged Mayor of Mogadishu), yet another former Somali Foreign Minster, Mr. Mohammed Abdullah Omar—an inept opportunist TO who also hails from Somaliland—picks the torch from where his predecessors abandoned it. He echoes a familiar but overused imaginary authority over Somaliland. He states, “Somaliland is ready to have a talk with Somalia.” He also writes a letter to the U.N. stating that aid agencies should deal with Somalia, not with Somaliland. Again, Mr. Omar too is nowhere to be found. Read: “Somaliland Individuals Perform Exotic Belly Dances”.
Now, just as the earlier Somaliland officials (or TOs) disappeared, so too Abdiwahid Elmi Omar will vanish into thin air. They come and go like cheap cigars, don’t they? Blunder after blunder, you would think they all graduated from the same institute of utter idiocy. Some even seek refuge in Somaliland. http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/109651
Meanwhile, in their latest annual meeting (or traditional bickering), the Arab League members also chastise Israel for hinting to establish a diplomatic relationship with Somaliland. They warn Israel against recognizing Somaliland. Frankly though, the Arab leaders’ remarks towards Somaliland’s sovereignty are meaningless just as their crocodile tears for Palestine’s carnage are worthless.
But what other leaders who visit Somaliland and witness its progress say about it has more value than the empty warnings from the Arab leaders in Asia. For instance, the Kenyan Deputy Speaker, Farah Ma’alim visited Somaliland in December 2009. After touring the country, in a speech to Somaliland Parliamentarians, Mr. Ma’alim stated, “Somalia is not in a position to oppose Somaliland’s recognition.”
The truth is: while Al-Shabab holds hostage the so-called U.N. backed Somali regime, the regime itself—of course with the help of the International community—holds Somaliland captive. But the Somali regime and Al-Shabab have a common enemy. The current Somali leaders and Al-Shabab suicide bombers agree on only one thing: opposing Somaliland’s recognition by any means necessary—diplomatically or violently.
Clearly, while Al-Shabab launches suicide bombings against Somaliland, evidently Somali leaders undertake a diplomatic crusade against Somaliland’s recognition. After all, the Somali warmongers and Al-Shabab suicide bombers are on the same mission: stop Somaliland’s recognition, even if it takes annihilating its people from the face of the earth or keeping them isolated for centuries.
On the other hand, the Arab countries keep Somaliland isolated while they pour millions of dollars into Somalia. They are also arming Somalia as to tip the balance in the region where Somaliland would be vulnerable to any major offences launched against its territory by Somalia in the near future.
A more viable solution to Somalia’s crises would be to assist Somaliland develop a sustainable economy, and then pressure it to mediate Somalia’s warring factions. Isolation towards Somaliland remains a counter-productive strategy: investing heavily into Somaliland’s devastated economy—after years of Arab sanctions—is far more logical than keeping it at bay because once its economy intertwines with that of Arab countries, Somaliland would think twice before pursuing independence or inviting Israel to port Berbera. But undoubtedly competing foreign ideologies in Somalia are uninterested in rational solutions to Somalia’s turmoil. Reinventing the wheel, however, is more logical than stabilizing Somalia.
Instead of Iran and Israel competing for Berbera, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf should have secured the port for their navies. But the longer the Arab states isolate Somaliland, the sooner Somaliland seeks a relationship with Israel.
Currently, Somaliland has very little to lose if it forges a relationship with Israeli. After all, Somaliland is isolated and poor. Thanks to the Arab regimes. That is, Somaliland will neither kowtow to Arab countries’ demands of committing itself to another gunshot marriage with Somalia, nor will Somaliland relinquish its efforts to stand as a sovereignty state. It is here to stay.
Whether it is wealthy Arab leaders or distraught Somali “officials’ ” in Al-Shabab’s hit list, none could oppose the will of Somaliland people: their wishes to become a sovereignty state is nonnegotiable and irreversible. Sadly, through the eyes of the Arab rulers respecting the wishes of the populace remain a foreign concept.
As for the Somali leaders—or temporary officials (TOs)—visibility beyond the thick smokes pouring out of Mogadishu’s burning buildings posse an insurmountable challenge, much less oppose Somaliland’s independence. Just like Chihuahuas, the traumatized Somali “officials’ ” bark is louder than their bite. And if that is what it takes to sooth their pain, then so be it. We empathize with them.
Views expressed in the opinion articles are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the editorial