By Mohamoud A Gaildon
Saturday, November 24, 2007
In the aftermath of Somaliland’s capture of Las Anod, and the deafening cacophony that followed, it is refreshing to hear the voice of the people as expressed through their own traditional leaders and elders. The Bo’ameh message is loud and clear: Somaliland must get out.
Somaliland’s action is based on the illusion that it is an independent state with legal jurisdiction over the entire former British Somaliland protectorate. There is, however, the opposing view that secessionist Somaliland is nothing more than an illegitimate clannish concoction. And it is no secret that among the people of the North, support for Somaliland, or the lack thereof, falls largely along clan lines. To the overwhelming majority of the people of Sool, Cayn, and much of Sanag, Somaliland’s military venture is an attempt to cow what it considers “unruly” clans into submission.
Somaliland’s capture of Las Anod is a gross violation of a rule that, in the absence of a central government, has served Somalis well: non-intervention. In many parts of Somalia, including the North, peace has endured, people intermingled, business thrived, largely through mutual respect and understanding. Where it enjoys solid support, Somaliland has done reasonably well and should be commended for it. But any attempt by Somaliland to subjugate unsupportive regions, in furtherance of its secessionist agenda, is an act of aggression.
What is more, Somaliland’s overreaching endeavor to “close the borders” is a simple-minded miscalculation. How its forces can conquer a vast, rugged, and hostile territory, subdue its people, and secure a long-defunct border that stretches hundreds of miles is beyond the grasp of all but the most desperate of minds. What we see is truly the beginnings of a reckless gamble that, if not soon nipped in the bud, threatens to explode into a full-scale clannish warfare and engulf much of the North in bloodshed.
Somaliland should make up its mind; a policy that covets the land and alienates the people is bound to fail. To save peace, Somaliland should withdraw its forces and, by this, abandon all claim to the entire former British Somaliland Protectorate. Whether the people of Sool go with Puntland or not is not for Somaliland to decide, for Hargeisa is no more in a position to dictate to Las Anod than Las Anod is to Hargeisa. This is the crux of the matter.
Mohamoud A Gaildon
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