Thursday, April 12, 2007

Why Ethiopia is welcome in Hargeisa, not in Mogadishu?
By Bashir Goth, April 12, 2007=

Somaliland opposition leaders seem to have lost their political campus since the Ethiopian-backed Federal Transitional Government (TFG) routed the Islamic Courts in Mogadishu.

Forgetting that Somaliland depends on Ethiopia for its bread and butter, they started criticizing it albeit indirectly for what they call the Ethiopian invasion of Mogadishu.

Kulmiye leader Ahmed Mohammed Silanyo has compared the onslaught of the Ethiopian-backed Somalia Federal Transitional Government (TFG) forces against insurgents in Mogadishu to Siyad Barre’s bombardment of Hargeisa and other Somaliland towns. Faisal Ali Waraabe, Leader of the Justice and Welfare Party (UCID), also branded Ethiopia’s military actions in Mogadishu as Xaraan (illegitimate).

Hearing these statements coming from leaders of a country that was founded on Ethiopian support and owes its geopolitical existence on Addis Ababa makes us wonder whether these men have been hit by amnesia.

One may therefore be obliged to refresh their memory by reminding them that Somaliland’s recognition goes through Addis Ababa; that it was Ethiopia which had sheltered Somaliland refugees for years and provided them arms and ammunition to fight and eventually defeat the tyrannical regime of Siyad Barre. One may remind these gentlemen that it was Ethiopian military officers and political representatives who were present and blessed the rebirth of Somaliland at the conference of Buroa on 18th May 1991 and indeed it was the first day that the Ethiopian flag was raised with reverence on Somali soil. One may remind them that it is Addis Ababa that embraces Somaliland politicians and gives them the opportunity to sell their story to African officials and foreign diplomats. It is indeed Ethiopia that trains Somaliland’s military and extends to it arms and uniforms.

One may be perplexed as to why these men are acting so emotionally about what is happening in Mogadishu as if Somaliland is still part and parcel of Somalia. Why can’t they understand that Somaliland, like Djibouti, like Kenya and indeed like the rest of the African countries should subscribe to the position of the African Union that supports the TFG and understands the reasons that led to the Ethiopian intervention in Somalia. One may find it hard to comprehend the motives of Somaliland opposition leaders who seem to just have woken up to the suffering of the residents of Mogadishu. Why we didn’t hear their loud voices, their lamentations and their condemnations of crimes against humanity over the last 16 years when ruthless warlords were committing all kinds of atrocities against the people of Mogadishu. Weren’t they singing lullabies with the warlords and deriving pleasure from the mayhem and bloodshed in Mogadishu. If this is not true then why the notorious warlords such as Muse Suudi Yalahow, Osman Atto and Bashir Rage were welcomed with red carpets in Hargeisa, while Somaliland-born figures who committed no crimes against the nation such as Jama Yare were detained and deported from their homeland.

Why this sudden feeling of brotherhood towards the Hawiye one may ask? Did Faisal Waraabe forget his famous words when he said: “ A man who is born in Addis Ababa has closer cultural ties to Somaliland than a man born in Mogadishu…” Do the sympathizers of Mogadishu insurgents really believe that the Hawiye would support Somaliland’s independence? Don’t they remember the unambiguous rejection of Ali Mahdi, Abdiqasim Salad, Mohammed Ghedi of Somaliland secession? Don’t they recall the repeated threats of the Islamic Courts of invading Hargeisa?

If we assume that these men are honestly against the Ethiopian occupation of brotherly Somali people why don’t they feel the same about the Somali people under Ethiopian occupation in the Ogaden region? Why didn’t they condemn the Somaliland authorities when they arrested members of the Ogaden people and deported them? How come the blood of the Somalis in Mogadishu is dearer to Somalilanders than the blood of Somalis in Qabridaharre, Foolxeex, Farmadow, Gurdumi, Madax-Maroodi and Karin-Bilcille?

How come they lament about the departure of Islamic Courts when they know that had the Somali Taliban clerics had their way they would have been in Hargeisa today and that Silanyo and Waraabe wouldn’t have postured themselves as presidential hopefuls in a democratic Somaliland.

It is awfully wrong and indeed regrettable to see Somaliland opposition leaders criticizing Ethiopia albeit indirectly for giving support to the TFG government when Somaliland itself thrives on the political and military support of Ethiopia. It is time that Somaliland people have to realize that they cannot have it both ways. We cannot enjoy peace and stability and deny our brothers in the south to enjoy the same because if the TFG collapses Somalia would descend into a dark age. We cannot refuse others to interfere our internal affairs and allow ourselves to meddle with the affairs of others. We cannot claim to be an independent and sovereign state and act as if we are still a region in Somalia whose fate hangs on the fate of Mogadishu. Why can’t we take cue from Djibouti, an independent Somali state that has fully exercised its sovereignty to stay neutral of what is happening in Somalia? Why can’t Somaliland people do the same and let their country’s national policies be dictated by their national interest and not by emotional outbursts. Also read in Awdalnews Network.