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[Dehai-WN] Sunatimes.com: Is "Somaliland" Crumbling on Ahmed Silanyo's Feet?

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Mon, 7 May 2012 15:46:17 +0200

Is "Somaliland" Crumbling on Ahmed Silanyo's Feet?

Published On: Sunday, May, 06 2012 - 18:11:31


Business community, which prospered over the years, is frustrated about the
lack of business opportunity in the country. This is why Dahabshiil HQ is
based in Djibouti and not in Hargeisa. To ensure the continuation of the
relative peace and tranquility that prevailed in the enclave for the best
part of the past two decades

Mogadishu (Sunatimes) Following the London conference on Somalia earlier
this year in which the secessionist enclave called "Somaliland" was rejected
by the international community as a separate state, some die-hard extremists
in this camp are fighting tooth and nail to keep the momentum of secession
going even when things seem to be crumbling right on their feet. In the
aforementioned conference, the international community has clearly
reaffirmed its support for Somalia's sovereignty and territorial integrity,
which dealt a mortal blow to the secessionist's twenty-year long quest for a
separate statehood. Since the secessionist movement had not participated in
the Kampala Accord, Growe principles I and Growe Principles II, it was
reasonably logic for the international community to call for a meeting
between "Somaliland" and the TFG to bring the former on board. Consequently,
a secessionist entity that refused to sit down with their fellow brethren
time and again for well over two long decades of misery, division, isolation
and economic doldrums had all of sudden initiated a unilateral dialogue with
the TFG with a minimum set of preconditions to the astonishment of everyone,
including their very own constituencies.

So why change of heart now?

As I mentioned many times on these pages the secessionist enclave based in
Hargeisa has always existed on the tenacity and the undiminishing die-hard
support and attitude of its largely one-clan constituency. In the eyes of
international community it was nothing but a separatist movement. Lack of
alternative government in the Somali capital was cited by many observers as
the reason why it lasted this long. Had peace prevailed in Mogadishu years
ago, "Somaliland" would have fallen like a house of cards. That had almost
happened when Islamic Courts Union (ICU) brought peace and normalcy to
Mogadishu in 2006, albeit brief. With the improving security situation in
Mogadishu following the ouster of the devious Al Shabaab group from almost
all major cities and towns in southern and central Somalia, the silent
majority of Northwestern regions of Somalia, particularly those from SSC,
Awdal and Makhir were presented a golden opportunity that they can
ill-afford to squander it. And so they dully grabbed it with both hands.
Nothing short of Somali unity will satisfy them.

Almost all representatives of the pro-unionist communities are either in
Mogadishu or on their way to the Somali capital to participate the selection
of new legislators and the formation of all inclusive government that will
lead the country in the next four years. Unfortunately, Awdal is an
exception as its clan chiefs were either bribed or put under a virtual house
arrest. Even the tribal chief of Ahmed Silanyo's sub-clan is reported to
have landed in Mogadishu. This has sounded a wake-up call for the
secessionist authority and prompted its security apparatus to use all the
tactics in the book to intimidate and harass any clan chief suspected to be
participating in the Mogadishu conference. It was always obvious that an
ill-advised and ill-conceived state concocted at the barrel of gun, which
has little or no support from the pro-unionist communities, will fall into
pieces once the circumstances on the ground changes elsewhere. The scenario
dreaded by the secessionists is fast becoming a reality and hit home.

As I pen this piece, Hargiesa is hosting a meeting for all clan chiefs in
northern Somalia to ensure that they stay away from the ongoing conference
in Mogadishu. Funnily, this meeting is in all intents and purposes
reminiscent to a seminar the former government of Somalia had held for the
former Soviet military advisers stationed in Mogadishu so that the national
army would wage a liberation war against Mengistu Haile Mariam's Derg regime
in Ethiopia.

In that seminar, senior members of the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC)
had to deliver lectures to the unsuspecting Soviet military personnel for
several weeks while the preparation of war was on full swing on the
backdrop. Ahmed Silanyo's secessionist authority is using similar tactics in
the sense that clan chiefs will be entertained and dinned in Hargeisa while
their counterparts are reconstituting a government in Mogadishu. As
progresses are being made in Mogadishu and elsewhere in the south, Ahmed
Silanyo's administration is becoming desperate by the hour and resorting to
spiteful tactics. His minister of interior warned the clan chiefs to expect
a severe punishment should they misstep. This is clear indication that
"Somaliland" had always stood on wobbly legs that would falter the sooner
peace and tranquility takes root in Mogadishu. In light of improving
security situation in southern Somalia, together with the worsening
political, social and economic situation in the secessionist enclave which
is bereft of known natural resources, it seems the much-vaunted, much-hyped
"Somaliland" is crumbling right on Ahmed Silanyo's feet. Its days, as many
predicted, may be numbered.

The way forward

Somaliland politicians are known for their brinkmanship and emotional
decision-making. Cracks are already appearing everywhere in the enclave's
socio-political system, and people who were initially subscribed to the
secession project and held it dearly are for the first time questioning
whether it is worthwhile to continue this dead-end road. Twenty years of
isolation is taking its toll on the ordinary men and women in the street.
Business community, which prospered over the years, is frustrated about the
lack of business opportunity in the country. This is why Dahabshiil HQ is
based in Djibouti and not in Hargeisa. To ensure the continuation of the
relative peace and tranquility that prevailed in the enclave for the best
part of the past two decades, Ahmed Silanyo and his administration should
grab the bull by the horn and take bold and brave decisions in declaring the
secession project nil and void (untenable) and start serious negotiations
with his counterparts in Mogadishu. No part of Somalia is dispensable and
"Somaliland" is no exception. The enclave can play a significant role in the
reconstitution of Somali state should their leaders have the guts and
courage to take the plunge. The provisional Somali constitution, yet to be
endorsed, has provisions for "Somaliland" should they decide to stay with
their brethren. Failure to do so would mean the enclave sliding further into
chaos and inevitably disintegrating into warring tribes as current events in
Awdal, Las Anod and elsewhere illustrate. Hargeisa and Burao are no immune
to such a chaos. Having largely been peaceful in the middle of chaotic but
improving Somalia, the enclave has nothing to lose and everything to gain to
remain an integral part of Somalia. The way forward for "Somaliland"
politicians is to start a meaningful and constructive dialogue with their
fellow Somalis before it is too late. The secession is doomed.

Mohamed F Yabarag

 <mailto:myabarag_at_yahoo.co.uk> myabarag_at_yahoo.co.uk


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