Somaliland: The Economists’ Analysis “… Can’t Get No Recognition”—Review

By Abdirahman Mohamed Dirye

It is the first time more than two decades, one of the world’s leading newspaper, the Economist, based on her country’s foreign policy perhaps, a country many Somalilanders consider unfailing friend— and sometimes Somali false unionist call Somaliland’s “avuncular”  wrote  deadpan commentary starting with eulogy as Somaliland had already died and ending with  where we are today—directionless and miscalculated—the news article, how timely maybe, is bad as it could because  at the least it divine  the doomed fate of Somaliland unless we carry out overall reforms in foreign policy and take pragmatic steps not just we wait as the Economist advisably concludes. Despite the Economist absolutely error-free but if you just carefully read the title it is solecism because it has two negative words, and as rule, if I am not mistaken, if two negative goes together they turn positive. But the Economist intentionally did so for emphasis perhaps but the reason is enigma to me at the least. However; the Economist depicted the total foreign policy fiasco and how the damage is irreversible. I will recapitulate putting in my own terms, not theirs or yours, to spoonfeed the delusional mass readers who think we are on the right track.  

Let us quote the Economist by verbatim,  Bihi said ‘it (the recognition) will happen soon” the Economist added “his optimism is overblown” in other words his expectations are overinflated beyond the reality of the global cruel diplomacy. And the crew writers of the Economists lists many national, regional, and international factors including Somalia’s reluctance to accept reality on the ground negatively affect our chance of gain recognition —you read the original article to see all if you like.

The commentary repeatedly uses the word claim whenever Bihi, Somaliland foreign minister says something, “it will happen soon” or “how best disengage from each other” He claims. This word, among others with negative connotations, is deliberately used by the authors to tell readers  that Somaliland foreign minister argues something without substantiation and of just in his own imagination! Enough insult.

Unlike our tabloids and blogs, foreign newspapers like the Economists and New York Times directly or indirectly guided by their countries’ foreign policies. So this one-sided story clearly without any iota of doubt summarizes the sudden shift of the UK government’s position in regard to Somaliland independence from ally to hostile. Last month or so, her Majesty on behalf of the UK government, the Queen warmly received and dined with Somalia ambassador recently nominated by Damal jadeed of Isah-installed president of Somalia,  heavy blow to Somaliland foreign policy and gesture that the UK backed off our cause altogether!

However, the UK is free to recognize whomever he wishes and to pursue UK national interests anywhere in the world regardless of sensibility of foreigners. But this news article is the rude awakening to many of us who think Britain would be with us forever rather than with Mogadishu.

I don’t mean Bihi or other individual has to be blamed on this but I am asking what happened for the last two years? It was, in fact, diplomatic mess. Does the president “as fit as fiddle” as his cohorts always claim, read the Economist newspaper not for refuting and denial as usual but trying to adjust his policies accordingly? This reminds me of another big overriding issue written by the Indian Ocean Newsletter about the president’s health status: minor stroke hit the president; Ukuse took him to the Hargiesa Municipality and filmed walking. But the authenticity was in question.

 If you read it deeply you see their portrayal of the solitary confinement we endure without any hint of redeemer but the conclusion of the Economist “Hargiesa will wait”! Is bitter and inconclusive .How long shall we wait: another decade or another quarter century?

But the excuses that Somaliland nationhood would be catalyst for balkanization of Africa or the Horn are funny and lame: South Sudan case makes Somaliland recognition more unlikely is ridiculous. It is your fault. The western prematurely granted South Sudan without educating people of the modern state is.  This cliché, however, is repeatedly used against us to discredit our just cause. But it was much better to tell us that we failed to market our country for what Somaliland means for the major countries of the world in the terms of geopolitics, economy, and global security before Somalia’s foreign ministry revives. We can understand that.

The US recognized Mogadishu’s Damal jadeed led government, radical team cell  more dangerous than Morsi of Egypt for reasons they know because Sheikh Hassan and his Islamists are more or less  gave up abstract ideas of restoring caliphates and willed to work with Washington much like Arabia by keeping religion in Mosques and co-fulfilling US project in the Horn. Somewhat more civilized than ours who see the world through lens of? But things may improve.

The Economist News article especially the disappointing title has given us the break of fool’s paradise that we have been living in for two decades and alerted us to change the course “ politics of is the art of possibilities” once Dr Ismail Bubaa said. But fools in power might think the article is the work of the opposition parties of Jamal or Erro , especially Engineer Faysal Ali Warabe whom they deprived of the right of participating in the national overriding issues such as Turkey Talks.

There is only one positive element in the analysis that we do not need permission from Mogadishu to be recognized. Western governments says “… the first move should come out of Africa”, a continent unfamiliar with such bold moves. This demand is like catch-22, to have recognition is to go t the continental body, and to go to the AU is to have recognition!  “The chance happening looking slim” however, the Economist whether in favor or against us, has unreservedly told us that Somaliland’s foreign policy is malfunctioning by talking to the chief policymaker of Somaliland Mr. Bihi Yonis.   He didn’t elaborate what ways he would walk on to tackle the problem but just mere assertion “it will happen soon” but how? what is the pathway to it? He failed to mention clearly defined pathway to the recognition, a needle in haystack as well as mania of 3.5 million people.

Unfortunately, I’ve no recommendation or panacea in order to exit the state of limbo. But in my humble opinion, the matter needs the unity of all walks of life, not just Kulmiye or others but the unity itself eroded by bipartisan and tribal dirty politics where Faysal of UCID party called to enter negotiations with Somalia because the government does represent Garadag and small Gabilay businesses’ interests not his constituency or the nation as whole! Ministers in the government insist on that they went to Turkey to see Othman empire and ask additional Madrasas, not hospitals,  to crowd out Saudi ones and meet business leaders to have joint ventures back in Somaliland with the ministers.  No recognition talks at the all. And that is why the national opposition was left behind not to know what is deals are about.

Unity, however, is must to overcome the real challenges listed by the Economists. Let us be realistic and find out solutions to the problem without entertaining dead policy of the placement stones and false inauguration of false projects to rob the last penny our citizenry could donate to genuine charity. This will finally harm our unity. If Somaliland’s existence is quite uncertain by using Economist’s word “ slim” which means something can happen once out of trillions times! Check the meanings of probable, possible, slim, unlikely and etc to compare. However, Somaliland is at the stake now, so does Kulmiye convention matter? Does Wadani’s rhetoric matter? Does fundraising lavish feast for a country that does not exist internationally matter? Or simply we are more loyal to clannish bogus campaigns rather real issues that affect our lives?  According to the Economist, we held elections amazingly and blown Western minds away!  But that did not make us win recognition nor brought us any good.

The entire country’s is in mayhem, not just the foreign policy alone, and that is exactly the message of Economist newspaper conveyed to Bihi and us as well. Not too bad, and not too late, there is plenty of space and time to reshuffle, readjust to set the record straight. To acknowledge that one is failing is to acknowledge he or she is failing. That is the initial step towards tackling the problem. And we are far from it : Hirsi accompanies by Silanyo co-open Madrasa Yemeni or Kabul or Paki poetry center, they  co-throw stone for turban factory establishment in Eastern Buroa to manufacture militant uniform for heaven! What has that to do with our country’s diplomacy?  Sad drama is played out and unfolded in the wrong place.

If the genuine democracy of peaceful transfer of power and security cooperation with free world during Kahin’s reign didn’t work and brought no recognition, nothing will unless Somaliland diplomacy is restored to original context. Because the current government leader encounters nightmares— Akh iyo Uf was his worst haunted ghost —and often forgets by borrowing ex-minister Saed Sulub’ s euphemism for dementiaand thus unaware of anything and nothing under his control. 

 Hirsi, though unelected and ex-chief cashier and fundraiser for Garadag dirty clannish hatred convention that triggered the re-emergence of tribalism and disintegration of Somaliland, usurped the authority of the bedridden, aged president Silanyo who was his uncle, Hirsi followed him from the gathering from day one. Needless to prove it, just turn on the government TV or others, you hear Hirsi delivered speech in parliament covering all issues from health to foreign affairs or he goes to r*stroom. What nepotism! Utter mayhem.

 I wish Kulmiye to be sincere in Somaliland’s well-being and keen to avoid existential threats to their poor masses those were in state of limbo and uncertainty for over a quarter century now without single complaining, will take the necessary steps to address the listed challenges of the Economist newspaper.

If Silanyo regime listens to President Riyale Kahin’ well-meaning farewell of “I left country united and functioning… do not let this country to destroy by your hands…” all these could be avoided.

In nutshell, picturing how all options are shut, the Economist newspaper concluded that we to have to wait but never mentioned what exactly we are waiting for: union or split from the rest of Somalia creating another uncertainty. Uncertainty severely pains us all. Like dwindling Evangelists who expect Jesus will return to Palestine in their lifetime and kill or convert all Jews, waiting and waiting again and again will only demoralize the few honest people who cling to the Somaliland will one day join the family of nations, who knows maybe that is not distant.  Somaliland will never go to the dustbin of history as doomsayers always tell us to break our heart, never; it won’t, because God forbid that.

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