Why Somaliland still unrecognised by any other state? What is the problem tree? Is it Somaliland politicians, or other UN member state countries? And finally is it legal or political issue what protects Somaliland from its deserved recognition? In this commentary I would like to discover some ripostes to the above mentioned questions. A fact of life that Somaliland people want to hear is; why the world has turned its back into a self-made peace, democracy, rule of law and state advancement? Whilst, supporting civil unrest, political chaos, humanitarian crisis based on proxy war, terrorism, tribal conflict and piracy?
The political and socioeconomic headways of Somaliland have been quantified by many professional intellects around the world. Ill-advisedly, the international community discounted the implausible ability and the outstanding performance that the people of Somaliland and their subsequent noteworthy governments have equipped into the nation state, which they belong. In addition to this, the country has very strong legal reasons to the statement of prerogative entitlement as an independent sovereign state.
As a result of the historic decolonisation from Britain before the calamitous dream of the Greater Somali Republic in 1960. This ‘’calamitous dream’’ refers soon after the unity of the republic, Somaliland realised that Somalia, in one hand, never interested the benefit of economic and political cooperation, but on the other way round, just to violate global peace and regional security. The years of 1977 occurrence and later 2006 Islamic Courts Union’s war declaration with Ethiopia could be referred as a good example of defilement of peace and stability in the region. If that is the case, Why Somaliland? Why?
Before answering the question of Why? I would like to define the word ‘’recognition’’ and what it means to a nation state. State recognition is a political word designed to show admiration and respect to a state for what it has achieved through the process of political and economic enlargement. In this stage, Somaliland secured and earned respect from the outside world. The indication of world’s political veneration is noticeable today, as we can all feel and see the International Engagement that our government engrosses with the international community. Examples are, international political delegations arriving our country, Somaliland, the reality of funding for the democratization process, Somaliland Special Arrangement from the New Deal and the package of the Somaliland Development Fund, which reached dozens of millions of dollars.
But unfortunately, this is not enough, it is also less well off, what this self-made country deserves, thoroughly a chromatic aberration from the world to see the true existing fact. Somaliland entreaties Diplomatic Recognition, which is to have a status of statehood. Although Somaliland has all attributes of statehood such as the definable population and territory as well as stability and legitimate functioning government. Nevertheless, the country lacks the benefit of intergovernmental organisations, which to obtain the membership of the UN, AU, IGAD, WTO, World Bank, IMF, GEF, IMO, African and Islamic Development Banks and many more international organisations. This is what Diplomatic Recognition provides, and Somaliland wants to gain in order to expedite the economic and political development of its peace loving, remarkable people. Let me get back to discover the political questions of Somaliland’s current situation.
Why Somaliland is Unrecognised?
The question of why Somaliland still unrecognised by any other state is; at the outset, it rests more to do with the links to the neighbouring countries. The reason why Ethiopia and Djibouti overlooked Somaliland, needs to be examined and fully scrutinised by Somaliland office-bearers and other independent politicians. Having said this, because the politicians already experienced this matter. Although, they didn’t rummage around other methods to find the best solution of the problem X, which is why. On the other hand, the international community’s denial is also in place, which predominantly enunciated by the US, UK and the EU. The main reason is, at present there is no major security threat or economic interest in Somaliland. Or potentially the biggest foreign owned corporations are unacquainted the latent resources of Somaliland. But the good news lies on the strategic location of Somaliland, which will attract and encourage countries to change their political perceptions.
The Dilemma of Ethiopia
Let us query ourselves why Ethiopia remained silent when it comes to Somaliland recognition? Before answering the question we are all fully aware of Ethiopia’s appreciations of divided Somalia. For the reason that, united Somalis will be aggressive in the future. But the answer is simple, Somaliland will acquire its chair from the continent as an AU member, and it will also gain its seat from other governmental organisations within the region such as IGAD. By that time, Ethiopia will unable to calculate the impact in which recognised Somaliland might come up with. The discernment of the joining member which is a Muslim state cannot also be repudiated. The other reason why Ethiopia wants unrecognized Somaliland is the uncertainty of the Reserve Area, which might fuel the everlasting problem of the Nile River in the future, if Somaliland reclaims its territorial space and people in that particular region of Ethiopia.
The Interest of Djibouti
On the other hand, Djibouti has its own whys and wherefores on why they clearly against Somaliland recognition. The country’s economic mainstay is the service sector, which generates 80% of its GDP. In addition, the unemployment is as high as 65%, and ranked 177 Euro-money Country Risk Rankings, when it comes to safety investment destination in the world board. If Somaliland becomes recognised, at least between 15% – 25% of its economic mainstay, which is the service industry will negatively be affected. Although, the united Somali Republic will ruin Djibouti’s economy more than 60%. Nonetheless, Djibouti still contemplates that the risk stays with recognised Somaliland. There is no doubt that Djibouti will thwart any chances that can lead Somaliland to become a De jure state. The reason is not hostility it is an economic and future survival struggle.
The Problem Tree
The problem tree of why Somaliland is unrecognised for nearly 24 years is, because Somaliland people are 100% Muslims. And the fact that they are Muslims is why they are still isolated from the rest of the world. If I am wrong why Somaliland people who had solid legal grounds remained unrecognised almost quarter of a century? Somaliland’s case do not violate the African Charter that calls for the respect of colonial borders, the country claims its congenital historic borders from the British Protectorate. Somaliland is a beacon of peace with credible democratic government, one of the few in the African continent. Somaliland deserves to be recognised for its home ground institutions and its history. But unfortunately, the international community failed to recognise a positive reality. Whilst, save guarding other country’s interests, which is morally wrong.
Failure of the Indigenous Politicians
The point of politicians’ failure is another questionable fact, which I cannot deny for its being as well as its existence. Since Somaliland people withdrew their independence from the failed state, we all see different Foreign Ministers even with no secretaries accompanied, who are flying from one place to another. In diplomatic relations when explained in political terms; diplomacy is the employment of tact to gain strategic advantage or to find mutual acceptable solutions to a common challenge, one set of tools being the phrasing of statements in a non-confrontational or polite manner (Heywood 2014). Somaliland politicians should ask themselves in which way to focus for the sake of the self-determination of the people of Somaliland. Because, as a nation state we cannot build bridges with other countries by flying from one airport to another. A common strategic notion from the government should be established where the rich, the diaspora elites turned into Somaliland Ambassadors. We also need a Somaliland Recognition Commission to be established, so that the Foreign Minister will be able to build a successful diplomatic channels with the US, Britain and the EU, believe it or not these are the true recognisers of the world when it comes to the state of recognition.
The Legal Case
Finally, as mentioned above Somaliland’s recognition is not about legal issue because the country is not seceding from Somalia. It is simply regaining its independence. We should remember that Somali Republic was born between the unification of the North (British Somaliland) and South (Italian Somalia). Just like Egypt and Syria had once created a unified Arabic State. Somaliland’s case is political, and I have my strong reasons to put the light on this. Somaliland withdrew its independence from the Somali Democratic Republic in 1991, since then it was seeking recognition from the international community by proposing its strong legal evidence, which deserved respect and admiration. Whilst from 1991 the very same year that Somaliland declared its independence 32 different states that have no good legal argument recognised by US, UK and the EU. These newly created states were as follows:-
The Political Conspiracy
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) collapsed into 15 different states in 1991. The recognition was not legal as it was a dissolution of the USSR, but they have been recognised politically by the Western Powerful Countries.
The great country of Yugoslavia has also dissolved into five major countries, which had also recognised by the Western Powerful States.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992
- Croatia 1991
- Macedonia 1993
- Serbia and Montenegro or Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1992
- Slovenia 1991
Miraculously, some of the recognised countries, which resolved from Yugoslavia fell apart into different states, and the very same powerful countries recognised them as states.
- Montenegro broke away from Serbia 2006
- Kosovo broke away from Serbia 2008
There were 9 other states, recognised from the very same period that the people of Somaliland who have very strong legal reason to seek for recognition failed to be recognised by any other state.
- Namibia 1990 just one year before declaration of Somaliland
- Marshal Islands 1991
- Micronesia 1991
- Chezk Republic 1993
- Slovakia 1993 (Check Republic and Slovakia emerged from the dissolved nation of Czechoslovakia.
- Eretria 1993
- Palau 1994
- East Timor 2002 bit similar case with Somaliland
- South Sudan 2011
- Serbia remained a sole state in 2008 when Kosovo declared independence
Whilst, other four independent states united and formed 2 sovereign states.
- East Germany and West Germany united again and form the Federal Republic of German in 1990
- South Yemen and North Yemen United to form the Republic of Yemen in 1990
In conclusion, the case of Somaliland is very clear with the symbol of peace and democracy. The country has a functioning democratic state. There is relative peace and stability in Somaliland. It is total shame and unfair to the world to deny the existence of the people of Somaliland. The time has come, when the African Union is to revisit its rule in the African Charter, which guarantees states’ colonial boundaries. After all, colonial boundaries were not drawn for the benefit of Africans. They were drawn for the expediency of the colonialists. These boundaries are now inconvenient for some Africans. We should, all over Africa, have the freedom to adjust the borders we inherited from the colonial state. These borders will restore peace and stability in Africa and respect the territorial integrities of all nation states.