Hargeisa (Comment) — Twenty-one years ago the US Department of State congratulated the Somaliland administration for the peaceful transfer of power after the death of President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal. Last year, the US Congress proposed a bill “to conduct a feasibility study, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, on establishing a security partnership with Somaliland, without recognizing Somaliland as an independent state.” When Ambassador Larry André Jr. called on Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi “ to create distance between forces in Laascaanood and announce a roadmap for future elections”, the leader of the secessionist administration was being given an opportunity to act like a statesman and return from the brink of a civil war that will not only end his career but also leave a legacy of mistrust and civil strife that his successor will find hard to contain.
The US Congress did not do political due diligence on Somaliland. To entertain a security partnership with an entity that rejects the sovereignty of Somalia and in 2021 forcibly displaced Somali citizens in Laascaanood reflects the futility of America’s one-Somalia policy. American policymakers of the Biden administration were expected to strike a balance between the strategic interests of the USA and the security interests of Somalia. The Security Partnership bill had given Somaliland a misguided self-belief that its forces can wage a secessionist war in the Horn of Africa.
The diplomatic intervention of the US Ambassador is timely and serves to rectify policy decisions that aimed to treat Somaliland administration as a tolerably aggressive secessionist entity whose wrong interpretation of colonial borders reminds Africa of the legacy of borders arbitrarily drawn by colonial administrations.
President Bihi demonstrated that Somaliland lacks mature political leaders who can understand geopolitical trends and the need to respect the rules-based world order. In 2022, while visiting the USA, President Bihi compared his secessionist enclave to Ukraine under Russian attacks. It is abundantly clear that Bihi is now mimicking a powerful aggressor. The USA has learned some painful lessons about dealing with a secessionist administration by half-heartedly respecting the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Somalia.
Source: PUNTLAND POST