Op-Ed: Who stands against State Formation in Somaliland? Local and Regional Dimensions

Amb Adem Muse jibril
Amb Adem Muse jibril

By Adam Muse Jibril

Historically, the concept of the State formation process has cut a long way over the evolutionary course from tribal aristocracy to modern authoritarianism up to contemporary democracies and experienced formidable challenges and huge sacrifices out of conflicts between forces of progress and those of regression. That concept leads one to realize that the current conflict in Somaliland (Las-Anod) is between Clannism, Irredentism, and Political Islam in one bloc, and on the other forces favorable for state formation course of action. Obliviously, these regressive ideological trends represent exclusive viewpoints and attitudes about the Interpretation of State and Democracy on a Global level. In reality, the Tribe and Modern State stand for two different historical stages of development and thus, directly negate each other. The conflict between them on the Somali Soil generated the political crisis that Somalis are currently experiencing, which has developed into a dilemma that made the decades-long Somalia’s state-building objectives so complex and mostly unachievable.

Among other things ‘Greater Somalia’ awareness has emerged, idealized, and ultimately developed into a monstrous under the authoritarian military regime to become the source of the current Somali political deadlock. This ideal trend has first born as an expression of the legitimate right for the Somali ethnic group to have their own common identity, but it had engendered critical questions out of the absence of such fundamental ideals and values necessary for modern political cultures such as democracy, human rights, and self-determination. These globally shared human values are entirely missing from theoretical and practical deliberations from the Somali State Building endeavors in Mogadishu. In other words, the lack of democratic orientation is the main reason why Somaliland remained out of the Mogadishu State building process, and for the same reasons externally imposed ‘Federalism’ has emerged in Mogadishu. The dominance of clan consciousness over all other forms of social cognition means that Somali society in general is traversing a stage of evolution in which the main characteristic is clan adherence, and the Somali elite’s clannish pollical practices are only manifestations of this existing social reality. As a result, clans are not yet ready to sacrifice what they perceived as their distinctive interests in favor of a vague and less-known national State. Instead, they are ready to defend their clan status (and this is not a matter of easy choice, but a relevant destiny of life, which reflects a special socio-economic and political category of life expressed itself as Clan).

Hence, there should be more attempts to study ‘Somali-Nationalism’ taking into account the different social awareness it encompasses. That is because Somali-Nationalism is a complex concept that contains different layers of social consciousness each one of which represents a certain level of social evolution: Clan, Islam, and Ethnic aspects. Within this different cognizance, there is not enough evidence as yet that there is a feasible appearance of Somali-Nationalism as a dominant trend of thought. As I have mentioned earlier the predominant awareness over all other categories of social awareness is based on restricted clan solidarity. Here is a real impasse where serious questions emerge about which one is the dominant awareness, clannism or Somali-Nationalism in relation to the State Formation process in the Somali inhabited areas. 

Taking this abstract theoretical review to practical performances of the Somali political elite one would realize the unfortunate events and actions that have been taking place in Somalia over the years by the political proceedings that exposed where the root cause of the Somalia State building crisis emanates. The Somali calamity originated from the experience of one of the most merciless dictatorships in Africa’s post-independence history. Three decades of suffering from military dictatorship through which all Somali clans had been suffering and tasting the bitterness of tyranny, but because of clan divisions the Somali opposition elite have failed to agree among themselves on a minimum national platform to put an end to the disintegration process of the Somali Republic, which the Dictatorial Regime have placed the basis of its demise by divide-and-rule policy, as result of which the vast majority of the Darood elite declined to denounce the crimes committed by the Siyad Barre regime simply because he affiliated to their clan, even the Majeerteen clan, who had been the second clan that experienced serious crimes against them committed by that regime, after the Issaqi, could not dare to do so. The other major clans of the South have also shown a lack of readiness to denounce these crimes against the Issaqi communities -the genocide and the destruction of their main cities. Moreover, the major clans and political blocs in Somalia strongly stand against Somaliland’s right to self-determination through their right to regain the sovereignty they had gained from Britain in 1960. Rather they are continuing to be involved in destabilizing Somaliland. They are hugely investing in all means to undermine Somaliland unity through the lass-Anood conflict. They do not feel shame for calling to a failed union where there is no culture of democracy and human rights.

Moreover, the regional destabilizing factors are extremely alarming and become well known now, they have been disclosed by different media sources, the most recent was the Martin Plaud article about Eritrean president, and Somalia Ex-president Farmajo’s efforts to aggravate the regional conflicts through interrupting Somalia presidential election in collaboration with Jihadist forces. Their main aim, however, was recognized to be to overthrow Somaliland’s nascent democracy. In this regard, the adviser of the Eritrean President Yamane Gaber Maskant was mentioned as declaring that the SNM regime in Hargeisa must be overthrown. That happened even before the Lasa-Anod conflict. According to Martin Plaud ten thousand young Somali soldiers were sent to the Ethiopian war by the Eritrean president. Most of these external unjustifiable interferences become part of the reasons behind the Regional Conflicts among which the Las-Anod conflict is one.

The above-mentioned failures and fiascos generated excessive preoccupations and critical questions about who is accountable for the adverse experience of the State Formation Processes in the Somali inhabited areas where the crux of the State Formation did not take clear shape with the exception of Somaliland. The strong opinion that most of the regional and global observers hold remains at the point that the common Somali men and women are not responsible for what has happened, but the clannish and corrupt political elite, who lacks a sense of patriotism and vision, whose obsession and focus persist on ascendency over the power and national resources only.

Finally, the way to an amicable solution to the Las-Anod crisis, two fundamental issues should be taken into account.

 1) The Somaliland political leadership should accept take full responsibility for what has happened in Las-Anod,

2) Any step towards conflict resolution and management should be based on a conceptual approach to faire power and resource sharing equation.      

About the Author

Adam Muse Jibril, Former Somaliland Representatives in the UK, Ethiopia & African
Union. Founding Member of Somaliland Committee for Peace. Co-founder of Sab-Sahara informal Political Analyst of HoA.

Email: adamjibril@hotmail.com

Twitter: @AmbMuse1

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the Horndiplomat editorial policy.
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