The time is now for Somaliland to build a stronger and smarter military.
In Somaliland, there are many naïve people who think that Somalia can be a friend, when in reality, and in the words of the Somalia Prime Minister, “Somaliland is part of Somalia”.
Today, Somaliland is living in a period that could be considered one of the biggest historical turning points in the Somaliland-Somalia relations: The London talks is about to start and Somalia officials are misleading the world over the talks while Somaliland is silent witness.
The international community agreed to finalize the Somaliland-Somalia relations in the upcoming talks, which will set Somaliland free. The world has no option but to accept the demand of 3.5 million for self-determination else Somaliland can continue as democratic and progressive nation without the rest. Somaliland can survive without the aid of the western world, if the London conference brings the sovereignty of Somaliland into question.
Somaliland has stronger case than Somalia because of the following facts: Somaliland has democratic functioning government; it controls its territory; it is financially independent; it has elected president, parliament and municipal council, in addition to multi-party political system; Somaliland democracy is considered one of the best in Africa.
Somaliland enjoys highest human rights record between East African states; Somaliland law protects women and children rights, and childbirth death cases has been dramatically reduced where government of Somaliland provides health services to the majority of its female citizens including in remote areas.
EDNA Maternity Hospital is a point of pride, where the hospital produces many well-trained nurses and midwives, which contributed in reducing the childbirth death rate. Today, EDNA and other similar health training centers cover Somaliland’s need for skilled medical staff. Thousands of Somali women travel from war-torn Somalia and Somali Region of Ethiopia to EDNA to receive medical attention.
Somaliland recreated public services from scratches without outside help, and after Somalia (Siyad Barre regime 1969 – 1991) destroyed the entire infrastructure and killed 60,000 civilians in less than three months – one of the most devastating genocide in the history of east Africa.
Somalia Air Force and Military were used to destroy the cities of Somaliland. Against all odds, Somaliland is helping Somalia in the hardship, where Somaliland government and people donated $700,000 to the hunger-torn people of Somalia during 2011 famine. Somaliland’s donation was highest from an African nation, followed by South Africa with $500,000.
Somaliland citizens enjoy free education equally, which reduced illiteracy rate in last 10 years.
In a contrary, Somalia is depending on foreign aid, where even the salary of the government officials comes from the donors. The Mogadishu regime cannot run the country independently, as it had no administration in last 21 years. Although, the current government declared end of transition period, but it is not different than earlier governments and has no power. The end of the transition is on paper but not in reality.
Somalia is a country on the political map that doesn’t exist in the real ground. Somalia has no government and its people live on international aid agencies. It is a country ruled by Somalians with dual nationalities and have no interest in keeping the country peaceful, because, in case of a war, they will catch the first flight to their luxurious homes in Northern America and Europe. Somalia need to be in the hands of its people, instead of diaspora members who have their families in America and Europe.
Internationally, Somalia is graded lower than Afghanistan in security and services. The shaky government in Mogadishu is functioning under control of the African Union Forces, and even failed to appoint administration to the port city of Kismayo because there are countries who have interest and forces in Kismayo under African Union Forces umbrella, and such countries have the final word in the city.
The arrogant statements over the destiny of Somaliland people by the weak government in Mogadishu, downgrades the importance of upcoming talks during May 2013 in London. The President and Prime Minister of Somalia expressed their reluctance towards fair disintegration of Somaliland from Somalia. This unveils the ugly agenda of the current regime against Somaliland sovereignty, which needs stronger preparation from Somaliland side.
Somaliland has many reasons to build its army including recent undiplomatic statements made by Somalia Prime Minister and President against Somaliland independence. Prime Minister is encouraging Somaliland fugitives by appointing them in his government. In addition to that, first hand reports indicate that Prime Minister of Somalia is preparing conference for some Somaliland tribes against Somaliland and he promised to arm them against Somaliland like Khaatumo militia.
Somaliland puts peace before violence, however, when the national integrity is under threat and no option is left except to fight , Somaliland has long experience in fighting and will defend its people and sovereignty with all means.
Somaliland must know that danger from Somalia is on its peak and must build and prepare the national army, in order to confront such threat that is coming from Mogadishu.
Military build-up is necessary for Somaliland in both shorter and longer run, because of the volatile region. Somalia had history of invading neighboring countries illegally and Somaliland could face similar unlawful attempts.
The government of Somaliland led by President Siilaanyo must induce National Military Services, where every secondary graduate in Somaliland will go under six months military training. This is part of the military build-up and to stop any illegal attempt to invade Somaliland borders.
By\ Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi