Somaliland: The Israel in the Horn of Africa
Somaliland can benefit from the strategies that have helped the State of Israel to prevail against enormous challenges over the past few decades: the constant security threat from neighbors, terrorism against innocent civilians, lack of diplomatic relations with many nations, and unreasonable demands by the international community (UN, EU, OU, and Arab League) are some of the challenges that Israel had to overcome in its modern history – despite the discrimination in Europe and genocide committed by Hitler on Jews. The Republic of Somaliland and its people have been facing the same challenges from its neighbors and international community. Somaliland survived the massacre committed by former dictator Siad Barre’s regime. The biggest security threat to Somaliland’s existence today comes from its neighbors – particularly Somalia. Somaliland is surrounded by nations that do not recognize its existence and are determined to destroy it, such as Somalia, Djibouti, and Eritrea. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been waging a diplomatic and economic campaign against Somaliland interest.

The international community such as UN, AU, EU, Arab League etc places unreasonable demands that are constantly hostile to Somaliland interest, such as numerous UN resolutions that call for the unity and territorial integrity of Somalia, which denies the existence of the Republic of Somaliland. Egypt has used its influence with Arab nations to isolate Somaliland presumably to protect Egyptian interest by ensuring the unity and territorial integrity of Somalia, which Egypt believes will neutralize Ethiopian influence in the region. Saudi Arabia has banned livestock imports from Somaliland, which devastated the local economy in Somaliland. Djibouti and Eritrea have committed to protect the unity of Somalia, and have trained militia that attacks Ethiopia from Somaliland borders, fully aware that Somaliland does not have the capacity to stop all of them at its border. The terrorist organization called Al Jihad organized terrorist cell in Somaliland who murdered five foreign nationals in Somaliland. Fortunately those terrorists were apprehended by Somaliland security and are currently on trial in Hargeisa (Somaliland capital). The international community particularly the United Nations had been demanding Somaliland should negotiate with and reconcile differences with murders, warlords and thugs who do not respect and value the human life, many of whom are responsible for the death of tens of thousands of Somaliland people. This is similar to asking the people of Israel to negotiate and reconcile with the remnants of the Hitler regime.

Somaliland is desperately in need of a friend in the international community that can help with the security threat from its neighbors, economic embargo imposed by Saudi Arabia, and recognition for the Republic of Somaliland. The people and the State of Israel is a suitable friend for Somaliland. It is incumbent upon the Somaliland leaders (government, opposition parties, traditional leaders and NGO’s) to work diligently in seeking to establish opportunities that would facilitate relationship with the State of Israel. The Ambassador of Israel in Ethiopia have arranged a humanitarian assistance for young Somaliland boy to have heart surgery in Israeli hospital about a year ago and the entire nation of Somaliland and its people have showed gratitude and appreciation for the gesture. The response from the people showed the positive attitude of the Somaliland people towards Israel.

The people of Somaliland are convinced that the Arab countries in the Middle East, Egypt, Djibouti, and Eritrea are committed to do everything in their power to prevent Somaliland recognition. My hope is that Israel will be open to establish friendship and provide security assistance to the people and the Republic of Somaliland. The people of Israel should know that Somaliland had not forgotten that Israel was the first nation to recognize the independence of Somaliland from British Empire on June 26, 1960. Somaliland is once again looking at Israel to lead the international community and offer friendship and security assistance to the Republic of Somaliland. The State of Israel would gain the friendship and the gratitude of the people of Somaliland for decades to come, not to mention the strategic value that Somaliland (access and control of red see) will provide to the interest of Israel. It is incumbent upon the Somaliland leaders (government & opposition parties) to work diligently in seeking recognition from the State of Israel by taking concrete steps to establishing long and lasting relationship with the people and the State of Israel. Somaliland is the Israel in the horn of Africa in terms of the challenges that are facing her today. Needless to say Somaliland needs a friend in the international community and Israel will certainly appreciate the predicament Somaliland is faced with, considering the history of the State of Israel with the same international organizations such as the United Nations and Israel will likely be more accommodating than Egypt and Saudi Arabia in helping Somaliland. The last two Somaliland administrations have both expressed the desire to establish relationship with the State of Israel, but have not done enough to follow it through with their expressed desires. At the same time it is time the Somaliland Diaspora makes contact with the people of Israel, NGO’s, and the diplomatic offices for the State of Israel and encourage them to establish official diplomatic relationship with the Republic of Somaliland.

It is time Somaliland seriously evaluates its long term foreign policy in the middle east in general and particularly Israel to protect the interest of Somaliland.

Rashid Nur rashidnur@hotmail.com

 

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