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Somalia and Somaliland: A case of Post Conflict Troubled Society

By Mohamed Ibrahim
Friday - January 21, 2022

In my pursuit of analysing and observing the issue of Somalia and Somaliland I have previously focused on the political leaders and structures that has fallen short of our expectations for United Greater Somalia. In this piece, my aim is to assess our Somali society’s attitudes and their observations to this complex matter.

For over twenty years. I have been having dialogue and observing the attitudes of our Somali people in various forms. What I have observed has been alarming. I found that the issue is mostly is driven by emotions, denials, envy, and animosity for each other’s future. Some, including politicians throw few words of “sovereignty and territorial integrity” without any practical meaning or solutions to achieve such goal. In my assessment, what they really mean is territorial villages/ clan enclaves and this is the main driver behind their prospect for greater Somalia. In my opinion this is a false prospectus and unfortunate state of affairs.

In my continues dialogue over many years I have not met anyone with a coherent argument which tackles why Somaliland should join Somalia. However, you would hear plenty of emotions and denials of recognition without concrete basis other than envy.

On the other hand, supporters of Somaliland recognition are also driven by emotions and historical victimhood, which is relevant but is no guide to progress and cohesion. They must come to realise there was a joint functioning state, albeit riddled with injustice, that was Greater Somalia with shared resources, peoples, global debts and obligations, which all have to be solved as one. Running away with slogans, emotions and flags will not bring recognition closer – but hard noised negotiations with Somalia that is practically and politically visible.  One way of doing this is to give political space by reaching out to the voices of Somali unionist within Somaliland and find the necessary dialogue and compromises that will help unlock negotiations. Pretending these voices and ambitions for Greater Somalia do not exists is also colossal political error of judgement.

While this is the case, it does not take away the enormous progress Somaliland has made over the past 30 years with gradual democratic change, peace-dividend and smart economic policy that has the attention of the international community and investments arms – where it has demonstrated Somaliland is not a liability to the international community, and this must be welcomed by all. “Great Powers influence secessions politically, by blessing some and condemning others, and by providing support to some and actively discouraging others. Great Powers act on the international scene in light of their own geopolitical interests” Milena Sterio (2018) (Secession in International Law). Beyond the emotions, this may well be your greatest assets as global powers is driven by core strategic interest without regard for other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

My fellow Somali unionist, it is time we stop the meaningless political envy and help deliver meaningful dialogue and negotiations that will solve this issue politically. The political chaos and Pickering we have witnessed in Somalia is not the incentive to bring Somaliland on the table and frankly, we are in no position to lecture anyone on sovereignty when Villa Somalia’s territory and political space is in dispute.

 Whoever the next Somali government will be will have an uphill task by resolving our political climate and delivering ambitious roadmap for Somali unification. On current trends, it is a case of Somalia joining Somaliland. This may well be the only hope for Greater Somalia. The goal post has shifted, and it requires a political masterstroke to pull our country and people together again.



Mohamed Ibrahim BA/MSc, London School of Economics and Political Science, is a keen writer and social justice campaigner, London based, He can be reached via @Mi_shiine

Mohamed Ibrahim
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