tawakal expressgolis logo

SOMALIA: Can Somaliland Profit from its Destabilization Policies?

Can Somaliland Profit from its Destabilization Policies?
Mohamed Elmi
Tuesday, March 25, 2014


300x300xOpinion.jpg,Mic_.zoeGZQykG2.jpg.pagespeed.ce.zoeGZQykG2Somaliland’s leader, Mr. Silanyo’s visit in Laasqoray, Sanaag Region, though was unexpected and shocking to many, it underscores a sinister political agenda. Many members of the Warsangeli community allege that Silanyo’s motive is to frustrate, stop or divert economic development programs currently in progress and some in the pipeline. More sinister, however, is his desire to undermine the capacities of the local populations of Sanaag and Haylan to perform functions of peacemaking and governance. Silanyo also wants to adversely challenge the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM)’s mandate on peacebuilding and state-building. Among current initiatives for economic development in Makhir regions, which probably forced the separatist leader to infiltrate and destabilize Laasqoray and mainland Sanaag include:

1. The Ceeldaahir-Badhan-Ceerigaabo road construction project, a huge and costly undertaking (the Makhir community has already appointed a committee for the administration of the funds)

2. The Maakhir University and Garowe Airport projects through a grant by Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. The airport project includes “building plane runway, passengers building, air traffic control tower, planes parking spots, runway lighting as well as fire and rescue stations.” Likewise the Maakhir project includes, “building campus, lecture rooms, laboratories, sports arenas, libraries, computer rooms, dormitories and other college services.” (KUNA, 2013, Oct. 07).

Destabilization of peaceful regions of Somalia only serves to expose the true colors of “Somaliland” as a rogue and illegal state that’s imposing its will on Somalia in contravention of international norms and obligations. A UN official shared this view on condition of anonymity, “I have a sneaking suspicion that this is all Somaliland wanted at the end. To make the areas seem disputed when they have nothing to do with it, and prevent aid organizations from working there” (personal communication, March 24, 2013).

Why is Somaliland so politically engaged in the regions of Sanaag and Sool regions? A number of contradicting theories have emerged, but the most powerful one is that the elites of “Somaliland” who had led also the Isaq clan’s uprisings against Barre’s military dictatorship are intent on making themselves relevant in the wider political configuration of future Somalia. Saadia Touval (1963) raised in his, Somali Nationalism: International Politics and the Drive for Unity in the Horn of Africa, intriguing questions on the unification of Somali territories. He found that some political groups in Somalia enjoyed a “leadership position in their respective [colonial] territories” and could, therefore, expect political marginalization and neglect. The conspiracy was that the Darod clan would be a minority group if “Somaliland” returns to its old protectorate status. “It was obvious both to the Ishaq in the North and to the Hawiye in the South that their relative weight and political influence were bound to decline if the two territories were merged into a unitary state” (p. 118). Dr. Touval who taught in John Hopkins University was an “expert on mediation issues” according to an obituary by the New York Times. Touval wrote many books in his career in both academia and government; Somali Nationalism (1963) was his first book.

Faisal Warabe’s Call for Ethnic-Cleansing

For many years, Faisal Warabe wastes no time to stir up historical clan rivalry between the Darod and Isaq clans in his capacity as a chairman of Ucid political party in “Somaliland”. His latest diatribe is not unusual, but it could be a harbinger of an ethnic-cleansing campaign; it also speaks volume of the designs of the separatist entity to find ways to bring some territories it covets under its control (directly or indirectly). “Somaliland” has deployed hundreds of militias with armored vehicles at the outskirts of Armaale town near Erigavo, according to SPR. The call by Faisal Warabe’s radical stance to ethnically cleanse the inhabitants of Sanaag and Haylan regions (Warsangeli) should they continue to dismiss “Somaliland”’s right to secede from Somalia resonated well with many separatists and listeners of Universal TV, who called the channel to voice their frustration as to why it took so long to close the artificial borders. It’s a call filled with a foreboding—war, displacement and calamity.

Politics of Clientele

The failure to curb the advances of the secessionists also stems from self-styled leaders of Makhir. As Ali A. Isseh, a regional expert and political economist observed in the past, “When the politics of clientele becomes dominant in the circles of self-interested opportunists, representation becomes a social whore. Opportunists prostitute peoples’ interests, and exchange allegiance for nickels and dim” (Isseh, 2008). Many proud members of this community feel hopeless and powerless as the warnings and predictions of Isseh turn out to be the norm.

Another political quandary is naturally born by the indifference of the educated class of Makhiris and the local media not to isolate, expose and ridicule the self-interested figureheads such as Cali Buureed, Cadami, and the likes. Rather than elevate the local heroes and heroines of Makhir who translate their beliefs of Somali unity, independence and dignity with tangible actions, the local media carries self-defeating stories that glorify agents of “Somaliland”.

As a matter of principle, the distinction lies not in whether an enlisted Isaaq member with a uniform bearing the insignia of “Somaliland” militia is peacefully stationed in Dhahar, Carmale or Badhan or whether an opportunist recruit the local youth to carry out the orders of Hargeisa in their own lands even if such actions lead to instability and/or diversion of allocated funds for economic development. Al-Shabab employs similar tactics to advance its wicked global agenda. Defending one’s land is an honor and obligation. The Makhir leadership shouldn’t shirk its responsibility in exposing the opportunists and shaming them publicly but also defending Makhir territories is an honor and obligation.

Mohamed Elmi


Isseh, Ali., & Elmi, Mohamed. (2008). Maakhirian Shift: Pre-empting a Melian fate. The Maakhir Solution. Retrieved from http://geeldoora.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-maakhirian-shift-pre-empting-melian.html

Bernstein, Adam. (2008, April 25). Saadia Touval, 76, Expert on Mediation Issues. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/24/AR2008042403637.html

KUNA. (2013, Oct. 7). KFAED to give USD 10 mln in loans to Somalia. Kuwait News. Retrieved from https://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2337841&language=en

Touval, Saadia. (1963). Somali Nationalism: International Politics and the Drive for Unity in the Horn of Africa. Harvard University Press.

2 Responses to SOMALIA: Can Somaliland Profit from its Destabilization Policies?

  1. Ahmed Warsame

    March 27, 2014 at 5:34 am

    An interesting article indeed, I totally agree with the author’s analysis of the situation in
    Sanaag region. It seems to me that Somaliland had enjoyed many years of uninterrupted
    peace and stability in their homeland. And now they smell blood, the long awaited revenge of tribal
    ritual is about to begin.

    The loose relationship between the Harti and the rest of Daarood gives them the opportunity
    to flex their muscle. But they will regret it dearly. We will see where it ends.

  2. Mohamed

    March 28, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Dear writer and anti Somaliland,

    What is very interesting the fact that you leave in lost time. Number of times I discuses with my Somaliland people why can we not become federal, or Have a specieal arrangement with Somalia. But then again the issue is that nor you Darood nor Hawaya and the rest are offering any thing genuine to bring us back to the table.

    This idea that your superior to others to the fact that Somalia president and prime minister must only come from both tribes is what is keeping you backward and destructive to you and others.

    Somaliland has proved itself to itself first and others, such articles are not preventive of us becoming independent. History tells everything, you see what happened to Somaliland in the eighties is effecting you Somalia and will continue for as long as the fault is Somaliland.

    You really have to come to term with your mismanagement of government, communities, country and religion.

    I have never heard one politician, community leader or even religious ones condoning the past. You see by doing this you will come to term with the future. Justice with the people down sought he minorities and injustice to your couse.

    For give me but that is my opinion discues this open and sort these issues relating to you build your country then you will be able to talk Somaliland.

    You see how the world dis associate itself with Somalia and stopping direct funds to it. Where as with Somaliland they are given direct. Do you see the strength of Somaliland refusing money it needs from African bank because it is coming through Somalia. The fact the the President refused to attend at Somaliland meeting invited by Cameroon!

    That is the strength of Somaliland. I am not boosting but tired and sad of the bad news we hear and it’s people are focusing on Somaliland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *