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EDITORIAL

Celebrating Somaliland’s 33rd Independence Day: A Triumph of Resilience and Hope

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By Kasim Abdulkadir:

May 18th marks a significant day in the hearts of Somalilanders as they celebrate their Independence Day, commemorating 33 years since reclaiming their sovereignty from Somalia. This day is steeped in history, resilience, and pride, dating back to May 18, 1991, when the Burao Conference declared Somaliland’s independence. This article delves into the significance of this celebration, the historical journey, and the aspirations for the future.

Historical Context

Somaliland’s quest for independence is rooted in its colonial past. On June 26, 1960, Somaliland gained independence from the United Kingdom. However, this independence was short-lived as it voluntarily joined with Somalia five days later to form the Somali Republic. The union, however, was fraught with challenges, leading to decades of civil unrest and disenfranchisement for Somalilanders.

The pivotal moment came in 1991, amidst the collapse of the Somali government, when the Burao Conference gathered representatives from all regions of Somaliland. This conference was a watershed moment, where extensive consultations led to the unanimous decision to reclaim Somaliland’s sovereignty. This bold step marked the beginning of a new era for Somaliland.

Significance of the Celebration

Celebrating 33 years of independence is not merely a reflection of the past but a celebration of Somaliland’s resilience, achievements, and aspirations. The day is marked with parades, speeches, and cultural performances across the country, with Hargeisa, the capital, becoming a hub of festivities. Government officials, political leaders, students, and the military participate in these events, showcasing national unity and pride.

Commemorating Sacrifices and Achievements

The celebration is a tribute to the sacrifices made by Somalilanders to achieve freedom, security, and stability. It is a day to honor the progress made since 1991, including the establishment of a constitution, a functioning government, a robust military and police force, and the successful transfer of power between five presidents.

Despite not being recognized internationally, Somaliland has made significant strides in governance, security, and economic development. It stands as a beacon of stability and democracy in the Horn of Africa, a testament to what can be achieved through determination and unity.

Looking to the Future

The 33rd anniversary is not just a time for reflection but also an opportunity to look ahead. Somalilanders remind themselves of their responsibility to defend their hard-won freedom and sovereignty. This day symbolizes hope for international recognition, a goal that remains elusive but ever-present in the hearts of the people.

The upcoming presidential election on November 13, 2024, adds to the significance of this year’s celebration. Over 1.2 million registered voters are set to participate, showcasing the strength of Somaliland’s democratic processes. This election, delayed due to regional conflicts, is a crucial step in reaffirming Somaliland’s commitment to democracy and good governance.

Strengthening National Unity

This year’s celebrations are particularly poignant given the challenges faced in the past year, including the Lasanod conflict. The unity displayed by Somalilanders in the face of external threats is a testament to their resilience. The festivities serve as a rallying point to strengthen national unity and solidarity.

Diaspora Celebrations

The Somaliland Diaspora plays a vital role in these celebrations, organizing events across Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Africa. These gatherings not only celebrate Somaliland’s independence but also promote its achievements on the international stage. The Diaspora’s efforts are crucial in advocating for Somaliland’s recognition and showcasing the country’s progress.

Cultural Significance

The national flag is a central symbol during the celebrations, with Somalilanders displaying it proudly on their homes, cars, and clothing. School children wave the flag in parades, and traditional songs and dances are performed, highlighting the rich cultural heritage of Somaliland. The flag represents not just the country’s identity but also the pride and unity of its people.

The Role of Youth

Somaliland’s youth are at the forefront of the celebrations, embodying the spirit and hope of the nation. They participate in various activities, from singing national songs to performing traditional dances, showcasing their patriotism and commitment to the country’s future. Their involvement is a testament to the vibrant and dynamic nature of Somaliland’s younger generation.

Future Prospects: MOU with Ethiopia

An exciting development coinciding with this year’s celebration is the anticipated MOU agreement between Somaliland and Ethiopia, which could pave the way for formal diplomatic recognition. This agreement, which includes the establishment of an Ethiopian naval base in the Red Sea, is seen as a strategic partnership that could enhance regional stability and economic integration. It is a hopeful sign that Somaliland’s quest for international recognition may soon bear fruit.

Conclusion

As Somaliland celebrates its 33rd Independence Day, it stands as a testament to resilience, hope, and progress. Despite the lack of international recognition, Somalilanders have built a stable, democratic, and prosperous nation. The celebrations on May 18th are a reminder of the sacrifices made and the achievements earned, as well as a look forward to a future where Somaliland is recognized and respected on the global stage.

The journey of Somaliland is one of determination and unity, and as they commemorate this significant milestone, the hope for a brighter, recognized future continues to inspire its people. The 33rd anniversary is not just a celebration of the past, but a beacon of hope for what lies ahead for this remarkable nation.

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EDITORIAL

Political Dynamics in Somaliland: The Battle Over the MOU

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Somaliland functions with a high degree of autonomy and has a complex political landscape shaped by several key parties with differing visions for its future. A significant recent development stirring controversy is the debate over a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which has become a flashpoint among the political elite.

Key Political Parties and Their Positions on the MOU

The Kulmiye Party, founded in 2002 and currently led by the interior Minister Mohamed Kahin, holds a center-right political stance focused on the sovereignty and international recognition of Somaliland. Since 2010, Kulmiye has been the ruling party, spearheading initiatives that promote internal stability and seek diplomatic recognition. Kulmiye supports the MOU, viewing it as a crucial tool to reinforce administrative and governance structures within Somaliland. This support is rooted in the belief that the MOU will enhance political and economic stability and align with broader efforts to bolster Somaliland’s claims for international recognition by demonstrating effective self-governance.

The UCID Party, established in 2001 under the leadership of Faysal Ali Warabe, is a centrist party that advocates for social justice, welfare, and practical governance solutions. While not as dominant as Kulmiye, UCID has been a consistent force in Somaliland politics, often backing initiatives aimed at enhancing governance. The party supports the MOU for its potential to improve internal governance and economic policies, thereby contributing to a stable and progressive political environment. UCID sees the MOU as aligning with its agenda of strengthening internal systems without compromising Somaliland’s quest for independence.

The WADANI Party, founded in 2012 and led by Hirsi Haaji Ali, takes a center-left stance, advocating for a more inclusive and flexible approach to Somaliland’s political future, including exploring confederal options with Somalia. As the main opposition party, WADANI has been a critical voice challenging the ruling party’s policies and presenting alternative governance models. WADANI opposes the MOU, rooted in its broader political agenda, which includes considering a confederal relationship with Somalia. The party views the MOU as an attempt to cement Somaliland’s separation from Somalia without adequate discussion of confederal options, undermining WADANI’s political strategies and lacking essential provisions for Somaliland’s future, particularly regarding its relationship with Somalia.

Controversy and Criticism: WADANI Party’s Role

The WADANI Party has been a contentious player in Somaliland’s political arena. Its opposition to the MOU has not only created political friction but also raised suspicions about its intentions. Critics accuse WADANI of pursuing power at any cost, even if it means destabilizing Somaliland. This criticism is fueled by several incidents that have tarnished the party’s image.

WADANI has been accused of inciting violence and unrest. A notable incident involved the killing of a 11 police officers, an act that has been widely condemned and linked to the party’s aggressive tactics. The party’s opposition to various developmental projects and initiatives, including the MOU, has been seen as detrimental to Somaliland’s progress. Critics argue that WADANI prioritizes its political agenda over the well-being of the nation. There are allegations that WADANI has ties to hostile entities in Lasanod, aiming to destabilize the region to further its political ambitions. These connections raise serious concerns about the party’s loyalty to Somaliland’s interests.

The Importance of the MOU

The MOU represents a significant step towards reinforcing Somaliland’s governance frameworks and economic policies. For parties like Kulmiye and UCID, the MOU is seen as an opportunity to solidify governance reforms, promote economic stability, and enhance the credibility of Somaliland as a self-governing entity. The MOU is also aligned with efforts to demonstrate Somaliland’s self-governance capability and garner international recognition support.

In conclusion, the political landscape in Somaliland is marked by deep-seated rivalries and differing visions for the future. The debate over the MOU highlights these tensions, with Kulmiye and UCID supporting the agreement as a step towards stability and international recognition, while WADANI opposes it, citing concerns over Somaliland’s relationship with Somalia. The allegations against WADANI of inciting violence and undermining development further complicate the political dynamics.

Somaliland’s path forward will depend on navigating these complex political waters and ensuring that governance reforms and economic stability are prioritized over partisan interests. The support for the MOU by Kulmiye and UCID, and the opposition by WADANI, illustrates the multifaceted political landscape and the ongoing debates within Somaliland about its future direction.

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EDITORIAL

Exposing the Conspiracy: Mohamed Abdullahi Omar’s Hidden Agenda Against Somaliland

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Unveiling the Alleged Betrayal by Former Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omar and His Plot to Undermine Somaliland’s Sovereignty

In a shocking revelation, Ibrahim Nuh Hussein, former chairman of the Kulmiye party in the UK, has exposed what he describes as a clandestine conspiracy orchestrated by Mohamed Abdullahi Omar, former Foreign Minister of Somaliland. Speaking in an exclusive interview with Arabsiyo News, Ibrahim accused Omar of betraying Somaliland’s quest for independence and sovereignty by secretly working towards its reintegration with Somalia.

Mohamed Abdullahi Omar, known colloquially as “Bajaaj,” served as a prominent figure within Somaliland’s political landscape. His recent shift to the opposition Waddani party has sparked significant controversy, especially given his past conflicts with key figures within the same party. According to Ibrahim Nuh Hussein, Omar’s real motives are far from altruistic; he claims Omar’s allegiance lies not with Somaliland but with Somalia.

Ibrahim detailed how, in 2012, Omar signed an agreement in London with the Somali government, which effectively recognized Somaliland as a region under Somalia. This agreement, Ibrahim argues, was the first indication of Omar’s long-term objective to undermine Somaliland’s independence. The agreement also included provisions for Somalia’s transition from an interim government to a federal system, a move seen by many as detrimental to Somaliland’s aspirations for full autonomy.

The accusations against Omar extend beyond past actions. Ibrahim asserts that Omar, along with the Waddani party’s candidate Abdirahman Irro and chairman Hirsi Haaji Ali, are actively plotting to return Somaliland to Somalia if they win the upcoming elections in November 2024. This, he claims, would effectively dismantle Somaliland’s hard-earned progress and autonomy.

Further complicating matters, Ibrahim alleged that Omar is affiliated with a Norwegian organization dedicated to promoting a confederation between Somaliland and Somalia. This organization, he contends, has facilitated discussions between Omar and Somaliland’s president, Muse Bihi, regarding potential negotiations with Somalia. Despite President Bihi’s refusal to entertain such talks, the existence of these discussions has raised alarm bells about Omar’s true intentions.

The potential reintegration of Somaliland with Somalia carries significant political and economic risks. Ibrahim warns that such a move could undermine the stability of the region, disrupt local governance, and jeopardize international investments, particularly in the strategically vital Port of Berbera. This port has become a critical economic hub for Somaliland, and its potential destabilization poses a threat to regional trade and economic growth.

To fully grasp the gravity of these allegations, it is essential to consider the historical and geopolitical context. Somaliland declared back its independence from Somalia in 1991 following a brutal civil war. Since then, it has maintained a distinct political identity and has made considerable strides towards establishing a stable and democratic governance system. However, its quest for international recognition remains unfulfilled, making it vulnerable to internal and external political maneuvers.

The accusations against Omar have elicited a range of responses from various stakeholders. Supporters of Somaliland’s independence view these revelations with alarm, seeing them as a direct threat to their aspirations.

The potential scenarios following the November 2024 elections are fraught with uncertainty. If the Waddani party, with Omar’s influence, succeeds in its alleged agenda, Somaliland could face significant internal strife and a reconfiguration of its political landscape. On the other hand, a strong rejection of these moves could galvanize further support for Somaliland’s independence movement, potentially leading to renewed efforts for international recognition.

In conclusion, the allegations against Mohamed Abdullahi Omar underscore the complex and often perilous nature of political dynamics in Somaliland. As the region navigates its path towards the November elections, the importance of vigilance and advocacy for its sovereignty cannot be overstated. The international community and local stakeholders must remain alert to any actions that threaten to undermine Somaliland’s hard-won progress and continue to support its legitimate aspirations for independence.

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EDITORIAL

Minister Kahin Honors Poet Abdi Iidaan and Exposes Opposition Malfeasance

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Minister Kahin’s Bold Stance Against Opposition and Celebration of Cultural Heritage 

In a powerful ceremony in Hargeisa, Somaliland’s Minister of Internal Affairs and Kulmiye Party chairman, Mohamed Kahin Ahmed, praised poet Abdi Iidaan Farah and criticized the Waddani Party’s detrimental actions against national security. Learn about his compelling speech and the political landscape of Somaliland.

HARGEISA, SOMALILAND — In a ceremony filled with cultural reverence and political intensity, Minister of Internal Affairs and chairman of the Kulmiye Party, Mohamed Kahin Ahmed, paid homage to the late poet Abdi Iidaan Farah while delivering a scathing critique of the Waddani Party. The event took place in the heart of Hargeisa, where Minister Kahin seized the opportunity to intertwine the nation’s cultural pride with its current political struggles.

Minister Kahin began his address by honoring Abdi Iidaan Farah, a revered poet whose legacy has profoundly impacted Somaliland’s cultural heritage. Farah, who passed away years ago in Hargeisa, was celebrated for his literary contributions that continue to inspire the nation. Kahin lamented that neither the book about Farah nor the ceremony had received the recognition they deserved, highlighting the need to cherish and promote Somaliland’s cultural icons.

Transitioning to the political sphere, Minister Kahin directed his ire towards the Waddani Party, accusing them of undermining national security and obstructing vital governmental processes. He emphasized the importance of distinguishing between nationalism and political ideologies, reminding the audience of Somaliland’s commendable election processes that have garnered international recognition since 2002.

Minister Kahin’s speech took a more intense tone as he addressed the ongoing delays in the national budget approval, attributing the impasse to Waddani Party candidate Abdirahman Abdullahi Irro and the chairman of the Kaah association, Mahmoud Hashi. He accused them of blocking salaries for national forces, a move that has severe implications for the nation’s security and well-being. Kahin vowed to expose the opposition’s tactics and shared that there is documented evidence of their disrespect towards national forces.

Drawing from historical examples, Kahin recounted the third president of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kaahin’s visit to Lascanod amidst unrest, where opposition from the Kulmiye Party was set aside for the national interest. He contrasted this with the Waddani Party’s actions, accusing them of sending troops to Gacan Libah mountain, resulting in tragic losses for the Somaliland forces.

Minister Kahin didn’t hold back in his personal attacks on Mahmoud Hashi, revealing past corrupt practices during his tenure in the previous government. He alleged that Hashi misappropriated funds meant for national projects. This revelation was met with widespread applause, underscoring the public’s support for Kahin’s transparency and accountability.

Kahin reminisced about his own history as a fighter in the Somali National Movement (SNM), particularly his role in the liberation of Somaliland, reinforcing his commitment to national service. He praised Faisal, the chairman of the Ucid party, for his constructive criticism that does not undermine national unity, contrasting it with the divisive tactics of the Waddani Party.

Minister Kahin concluded his speech by urging the youth to learn and honor their history, reinforcing the importance of national unity. He reassured the public that the Kulmiye Party and the current government are committed to peace and cooperation with nations that respect Somaliland’s sovereignty, such as Ethiopia, despite Somalia’s opposition.

In closing, Minister Kahin reiterated the government’s readiness for the upcoming elections and announced the purchase of 1,000 copies of the book on Abdi Iidaan Farah as a gesture of cultural appreciation. His speech, marked by passion and conviction, highlighted the stark contrasts between the Kulmiye Party’s vision for Somaliland and the Waddani Party’s contentious actions.

In a surprising turn, Minister Kahin hinted at releasing further evidence against the opposition, promising to unveil videos and documents that would expose the Waddani Party’s continual disrespect towards national forces. This revelation has the potential to shift the political landscape significantly, as Kahin’s disclosures could sway public opinion further in favor of the Kulmiye Party.

In conclusion, Minister Mohamed Kahin Ahmed’s speech in Hargeisa serves as a pivotal moment in Somaliland’s political narrative. By blending cultural homage with a robust critique of opposition parties, Kahin reasserted the Kulmiye Party’s commitment to national unity and transparency. As the political climate intensifies, the people of Somaliland are left to contemplate the future leadership of their nation.

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EDITORIAL

Why Somaliland Fails to Honor Its Own Heroine: The Case of Edna Adan Ismail

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Celebrating the Unrecognized Contributions of a Trailblazer in Women’s Health and Rights

Explore the remarkable achievements of Dr. Edna Adan Ismail, the first African woman to win the 2023 Templeton Prize. Despite her global recognition, why is Somaliland not honoring its own heroine? Discover her impact on women’s health and rights.

Dr. Edna Adan Ismail, a pioneering nurse-midwife, hospital founder, and fierce advocate for women’s health, has recently made history as the first African woman to receive the prestigious Templeton Prize in 2023. This significant accolade, valued at nearly $1.4 million, acknowledges her relentless efforts to improve women’s health and combat female genital mutilation (FGM). Despite her international acclaim, one glaring question remains:

Why has Somaliland failed to honor its own heroine?

Born in 1937 in Hargeisa, the capital of what was then British Somaliland, Edna Adan’s journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. Her father, a prominent doctor, ensured she received an education, a rarity for girls at the time. This early exposure to medicine and education set her on a path to become Somaliland’s first professionally trained nurse-midwife and a leading figure in public health.

Edna Adan’s impact is most profoundly felt through the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital, established in 2002. Built on a former garbage dump, this hospital has drastically reduced maternal and infant mortality rates in Somaliland, a region with a fragile healthcare system. The hospital has delivered over 30,000 babies and trained more than 4,000 healthcare professionals, predominantly women, ensuring a lasting legacy of skilled medical practitioners in East Africa.

Beyond the walls of her hospital, Edna Adan has served as Somaliland’s Minister of Social Affairs and Foreign Minister, using her platform to advocate for women’s rights and against FGM. Despite facing severe backlash and threats, she has courageously spoken out against this harmful practice, educating and mobilizing both women and men. Her efforts have significantly raised awareness and led to policy changes in Somaliland and beyond.

The Templeton Prize is not the only recognition Edna Adan has received. Her accolades include the French Legion of Honour and numerous humanitarian awards, all testament to her tireless dedication to improving women’s health and rights. However, Somaliland’s government and people have not adequately honored her immense contributions. Despite her relentless work to improve the lives of Somalilanders and her role in promoting the region globally, she has not received the highest honors from her own country.

As Somaliland aspires for international recognition, it must first honor its own heroes. Edna Adan Ismail’s story is one of relentless pursuit of better healthcare and women’s rights, rooted in profound personal sacrifice and unwavering faith. She exemplifies the spirit of Somaliland—a beacon of hope, resilience, and unwavering determination.

Somaliland’s government must acknowledge and celebrate Edna Adan’s unparalleled contributions. Her efforts have not only saved countless lives but also elevated Somaliland’s standing on the global stage. By failing to recognize her work adequately, Somaliland risks undermining the very values of dignity and resilience that Edna Adan embodies.

As Edna Adan continues her global advocacy, it is high time for Somaliland to bestow upon her the highest honors she so richly deserves. Her legacy is not just one of medical and social advancement but also a testament to what one individual’s determination can achieve. By celebrating Edna Adan, Somaliland can demonstrate its commitment to the values she has tirelessly championed and inspire future generations to continue her vital work.

Dr. Edna Adan Ismail’s work has transformed the lives of many women, not just in Somaliland but across the globe. Her relentless pursuit of better healthcare, her fight against FGM, and her dedication to women’s rights are a beacon of hope and resilience. It is a travesty that while the world honors her, Somaliland remains silent. It is time for Somaliland to wake up and recognize the immense contributions of its own heroine.

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EDITORIAL

The Hidden Betrayal: Waddani Party and Their Chairman’s Treason Against Somaliland

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Exposing the Waddani Party’s Collusion with Foreign Powers and Their Undermining of Somaliland’s Sovereignty

Today, we bring to light the treacherous actions of the Waddani Party and its chairman, Hirsi Haaji Ali, which have been kept hidden from the people of Somaliland. This exposé reveals their clandestine communications with foreign entities, their betrayal of the Somaliland National Army, and their alarming alignment with enemies of Somaliland during the Lasanod War.

Discover the treacherous actions of the Waddani Party and its chairman Hirsi Haaji Ali, as they collude with foreign powers and undermine Somaliland’s sovereignty.

A Leak Unveiled

A letter from the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Information Rights Unit, has surfaced, uncovering a shocking exchange between the Waddani Party chairman and the FCDO. This letter, originating from the heart of London’s diplomatic circles, exposes the Waddani Party’s malicious intent and their concerted efforts to undermine Somaliland’s sovereignty.

The correspondence, dated April 20, 2023, features Hirsi Haaji Ali, the chairman of the Waddani Party, requesting the FCDO’s assessment of the violence in Lasanod from December 25, 2022, to January 2, 2023. This request for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000, reveals the Waddani Party’s willingness to solicit foreign intervention and critique Somaliland’s internal affairs on the international stage.

The Damning Evidence

Phil Miller from the FCDO responded to Hirsi Haaji Ali’s request, confirming the existence of the requested information but withholding its disclosure. Miller’s response highlighted that revealing such information could damage the delicate relationship between the UK and Somaliland, indicating the sensitive nature of the content requested by Hirsi Haaji Ali.

Miller’s letter states: “I can confirm the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) does hold information relevant to your request, but we are not disclosing it for the following reasons. Some of the information within the scope of your request is exempt under section 27(1)(a) of the FOIA. Section 27(1)(a) of the FOIA recognizes the need to protect information that would be likely to prejudice relations between the United Kingdom and other states if it was disclosed.”

This response underscores the potential damage such a disclosure could cause to international relations, and by extension, the interests of Somaliland. The fact that Hirsi Haaji Ali sought such sensitive information raises serious questions about his intentions and loyalty.

Undermining the Somaliland National Army

The Waddani Party’s history of harsh criticism against the Somaliland National Army is well-documented. They have consistently used derogatory language and accused the army of misconduct, thereby undermining the morale and legitimacy of Somaliland’s primary defense institution. This leaked correspondence now adds a new layer of betrayal, suggesting that the Waddani Party has actively sought to weaken Somaliland’s defense capabilities by seeking external validation for their criticisms.

Aligning with the Enemy

The Lasanod War has been a significant conflict, with Somaliland’s forces facing off against various insurgent groups. The Waddani Party’s actions during this period have been nothing short of treasonous. By attempting to procure sensitive information from a foreign power, the Waddani Party has shown a blatant disregard for Somaliland’s sovereignty and security.

Moreover, there are disturbing reports of the Waddani Party aligning with entities that oppose Somaliland’s stability. This alignment has provided these groups with political cover and has potentially facilitated the flow of information and resources that undermine Somaliland’s efforts to maintain peace and security in the region.

Conclusion: A Call for Accountability

The revelations about the Waddani Party and its chairman Hirsi Haaji Ali demand immediate action. Their betrayal of Somaliland’s national interests and their attempts to solicit foreign intervention must be condemned in the strongest terms. The people of Somaliland deserve leaders who are committed to their sovereignty and security, not ones who engage in clandestine dealings with foreign powers and undermine the nation’s defense forces.

It is time for the people of Somaliland to hold the Waddani Party accountable for their actions. The integrity and sovereignty of Somaliland must be protected, and those who seek to compromise it must be exposed and brought to justice. This exposé is just the beginning of a broader call for transparency and accountability in Somaliland’s political landscape.

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EDITORIAL

Billions Invested, Corruption Endured: The Ongoing Struggle Against al-Shabaab in Somalia

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Explore how billions in US and EU aid to Somalia have been undermined by corruption within the Somali National Army, allowing al-Shabaab to maintain its grip through guerrilla tactics, financial resilience, and effective exploitation of military resources.

Despite billions of dollars in aid and resources from the United States and the European Union, the fight against the terrorist group al-Shabaab in Somalia remains a challenging endeavor. Rampant corruption within the Somali National Army (SNA) and intelligence failures have allowed al-Shabaab to adapt, thrive, and continue its insurgency. This article delves into the financial investments, corruption issues, and the sophisticated tactics employed by al-Shabaab that have made the fight against terrorism in Somalia particularly arduous.

Financial and Military Aid from the US and EU

Over the years, the United States and the European Union have allocated substantial funds and resources to support Somalia’s defense and security efforts. The annual budget for Somalia’s defense and security, supported significantly by international aid, amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars. This financial support includes not only direct military aid but also training, equipment, and logistical support aimed at enhancing the capabilities of the SNA.

Somalia Defense and Security Budget

The annual budget for Somalia’s defense and security sector is heavily bolstered by international assistance. In recent years, the combined contributions from the US and EU have averaged around $500 million per year. This funding is intended to strengthen the SNA and enable it to counter the persistent threat posed by al-Shabaab.

Corruption and Intelligence Failures

Despite these substantial investments, the effectiveness of the SNA is severely undermined by corruption and intelligence failures. Corruption within the SNA has led to misallocation of resources, with funds often siphoned off by officials and commanders. This has resulted in inadequate training, poorly maintained equipment, and a lack of essential supplies for soldiers on the front lines.

Intelligence failures have further exacerbated the situation, allowing al-Shabaab to exploit weaknesses in military operations. In several instances, al-Shabaab has managed to obtain crucial information about SNA movements and strategies, leading to successful attacks on Somali and African Union (A.U.) forces.

Al-Shabaab’s Resilience and Adaptability

Al-Shabaab has demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability in its operations. The group employs asymmetric warfare tactics, including guerrilla warfare, hit-and-run attacks, and the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). These tactics have proven effective against the more conventionally structured SNA and A.U. forces.

Asymmetric Warfare Tactics

Al-Shabaab’s guerrilla tactics include ambushes, assassinations, and coordinated attacks on military bases and government installations. These tactics are designed to inflict maximum damage while minimizing the group’s own casualties, allowing them to sustain prolonged engagements with superior forces.

Financial Resilience of al-Shabaab

Al-Shabaab’s financial strategies have played a crucial role in its sustained insurgency. The group employs a range of financing methods, including taxation, extortion, and involvement in illicit trade. These activities generate significant revenue, enabling al-Shabaab to fund its operations and maintain its arsenal.

Sources of Weapons and Ammunition

Al-Shabaab’s arsenal includes a variety of small arms and heavy weapons. The group is known to possess AK-47 rifles, PKM machine guns, Dushka heavy machine guns, B10 recoilless rifles, grenades, and RPGs. Their heavy weaponry includes ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns and mortars, particularly 60mm and 81mm, with reports of a limited number of 120mm mortars.

Significant quantities of these arms and ammunition are believed to come from Yemen, facilitated by networks of arms smugglers, particularly the Mukalla network. This smuggling network has been instrumental in supplying al-Shabaab with the necessary tools to sustain its insurgency.

Internal Complicity and Captured Military Materiel

Corruption within the Somali government has also contributed to al-Shabaab’s resilience. There have been numerous instances where government officials and military personnel have colluded with the terrorist group. This complicity has allowed al-Shabaab to capture significant amounts of military materiel from both A.U. and Somali forces.

Overrunning Bases and Capturing Weapons

One of the most notable incidents occurred in May 2023, when al-Shabaab fighters overran the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) base at Buulo Mareer. During this attack, the group looted considerable amounts of military equipment, including 107mm rockets. Although international forces subsequently destroyed some of these rockets in airstrikes, al-Shabaab managed to use others to launch attacks on high-profile targets, including the United Nations camp in Aden Adde International Airport and Villa Somalia.

Conclusion

The struggle against al-Shabaab in Somalia underscores the complex interplay of international aid, local corruption, and the adaptability of terrorist organizations. Despite significant financial and military support from the US and EU, the pervasive corruption within the Somali National Army and intelligence failures have allowed al-Shabaab to maintain its insurgency. The group’s effective use of guerrilla tactics, financial resilience, and ability to capture and utilize military resources highlight the multifaceted challenges faced in achieving lasting peace and security in Somalia.

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EDITORIAL

Political Warfare: The Waddani Party’s Systematic Demonization of President Muse Bihi

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Media Demonization of President Bihi and Formation of Armed Groups Over the Past Six Years

Somaliland’s political opposition has employed aggressive tactics, including media demonization of President Bihi and forming armed groups, creating division and instability. Analyzing the consequences and the imperative for democratic stability.

In the complex political landscape of Somaliland, President Muse Bihi Abdi has faced a sustained campaign of systematic demonization from the opposition party, Waddani. Over the past six years, Waddani, under the leadership of Chairman Hirsi Haaji Ali, has targeted President Bihi almost exclusively, leveraging media manipulation and militant strategies to undermine his administration. These tactics have not only threatened the social cohesion of Somaliland but have also led to significant conflict, particularly in Lascanod. This article explores the aggressive strategies employed by the opposition, their impact on Somaliland’s stability, and the imperative for democratic integrity.

The opposition’s approach has been to systematically demonize President Bihi, often focusing their attacks on him personally rather than the Kulmiye party or the government as a whole. This targeted strategy has significantly endangered the broader social fabric of Somaliland, fueling division and nearly inciting ethnic or tribal conflict. The uprising in Lascanod is a direct result of this divisive strategy, as the opposition’s efforts to undermine President Bihi have contributed to ethnic groups in the region revolting against the government.

The Waddani party has adeptly used social media and mainstream media to propagate their anti-Bihi narrative. They have set up groups and engaged individuals with significant followings to spread messages of division and hostility. These coordinated efforts have been aimed at inciting opposition against President Bihi, using divisive language that has torn communities apart. Prominent media personalities and social media influencers have played a crucial role in this strategy, furthering the opposition’s agenda and creating a polarized political environment.

Contrasting the opposition’s tactics, the Chairman of UCID, Mr. Faisal Ali, has demonstrated a statesmanlike approach. As the leader of Somaliland’s oldest political party, he has consistently directed his criticisms towards the government without targeting specific tribes or clans. This approach has earned him a reputation as a true son of Somaliland and a veteran civil servant, likely garnering him respect and votes. In stark contrast, the Waddani party, despite winning 40% of the votes in the 2017 presidential election, has failed to win over the broader electorate. Instead, they have chosen to discriminate against and insult the constituency of the Kulmiye party.

Chairman Hirsi Haji Ali’s influence in his constituency, where he managed to garner 35,000 votes in 2017 for the Waddani presidential candidate, has been undermined by his party’s divisive tactics. Rather than capitalizing on his influence, Waddani followers have insulted and alienated Kulmiye party members, exacerbating political tensions. This approach has not only disrespected democratic norms but has also risked pushing Somaliland towards civil unrest.

More alarming are the militant strategies employed by some Waddani supporters. Under the pretext of protecting marginalized communities, they have formed armed groups like Colonel Arre and Gacan Libaax. These groups have added a dangerous military dimension to the political conflict, fostering a climate of fear and insecurity. Their actions have exacerbated existing divisions within Somaliland, heightening tensions and risking prolonged conflict. Some elders supporting Waddani have openly opposed the conflict in Lascanod, yet the establishment of these armed factions signifies a willingness to employ any means necessary to achieve political objectives.

Somaliland has a proud tradition of electing representatives through a democratic process. The people of Somaliland have chosen their President, MPs, and local councillors through free and fair elections, a process that must be respected. The Waddani party should focus on leveraging their electoral success in the 2021 parliamentary elections, where they won the majority of seats, rather than resorting to militant tactics. Respecting the results of elections, whether in victory or defeat, is crucial for maintaining peace and stability in Somaliland.

The Waddani party’s systematic demonization of President Bihi, coupled with the formation of armed groups, represents a highly aggressive and destabilizing approach to political opposition. These tactics have targeted President Bihi personally and endangered Somaliland’s social fabric, raising the specter of increased conflict and division. It is imperative for all political actors in Somaliland to prioritize dialogue, cooperation, and respect for democratic norms to ensure the long-term stability and development of the nation.

Only through adherence to these principles can Somaliland continue to thrive and maintain its hard-won peace and democratic integrity. The political landscape must shift from divisive tactics to constructive engagement, fostering an environment where all citizens can contribute to the nation’s progress.

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EDITORIAL

Somaliland Youths: Wake Up or Lose the Future

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Critical Thinking and Technology: The Path Forward Amidst Political Exploitation and Substance Abuse

By Kasim Abdulkadir:

Somaliland’s youth are at a crossroads, exploited by political parties and hampered by unemployment and substance abuse. Embracing technology and critical thinking can pave the way for a brighter future.

Somaliland’s youth are at a critical juncture. As the 2024 elections approach, political parties ramp up their efforts to exploit young people for their own gain, fueling tribalism and social media clannism. It’s time for Somaliland’s youth to ask themselves a fundamental question: Where are their dreams and aspirations? It’s high time they took control of their economic and political future.

Unemployment is a significant challenge for Somaliland’s youth, who make up a substantial portion of the population. Rather than focusing on building their futures, many are consumed by political debates and tribal affiliations on social media. This trend is exacerbated by the educated elite, who often perpetuate these divisions instead of promoting unity and progress.

On a global scale, over one billion people will enter the workforce in the next decade, many facing irregular and informal employment. Somaliland’s youth need to position themselves to compete in this global market. However, they seem to lack the belief that such opportunities exist.

The high cost of living, inability to afford quality healthcare, and rampant joblessness are major concerns for Somalilanders, according to a 2023 poll. This economic instability pushes many towards substance abuse, particularly chewing khat, a widespread drug in Somaliland. Khat use not only drains finances but also diminishes productivity and health, creating a vicious cycle of poverty and dependence.

A glaring issue is the influx of foreign workers, such as the 7,000 Kenyans working in jobs that Somalilanders deem beneath them, like hairdressing or serving coffee in Hargeisa’s fancy restaurants. These Kenyans earn decent wages, while many Somalilanders waste time on politics and social media, or worse, on khat. It’s a tragic irony that highlights the urgent need for a mindset shift among the youth.

The excuse often given in Somaliland is that “we are under the influence of black magic,” a metaphor for denial and refusal to face the harsh realities. This defeatist attitude must change. Somaliland’s youth need to stop blaming external factors and start planning their future with determination and foresight.

One major shortfall is the lack of a comprehensive youth development policy. Political parties rarely address the pressing issues affecting youth, such as insufficient socio-economic support, lack of employable skills, drug abuse, and limited access to ICT, especially in rural areas. The focus remains on exploiting the youth vote, only to discard them post-election.

Initiatives like the World Bank’s Youth Employment and Opportunities project, aimed at improving youth employability, have yet to make a significant impact. The real change must come from within the youth themselves, by adopting critical thinking and taking proactive steps towards their future.

The Path Forward

1. Embrace Technology and Gain Skills:
In a rapidly digitizing world, technological skills are invaluable. Somaliland’s youth should harness online resources, learn new skills, and explore global opportunities. The internet can be a powerful tool for education and employment, but only if used wisely.

2. Develop Critical Thinking:
Critical thinking is essential for personal and professional growth. It enables individuals to analyze situations, make informed decisions, and solve problems effectively. Youth must cultivate this skill to navigate the complexities of modern life and break free from political manipulation.

3. Reject Substance Abuse:
Khat and other substances undermine health, productivity, and economic stability. Youth must reject these harmful habits and focus on constructive activities that contribute to their well-being and future prospects.

4. Demand Accountability:
Youth must hold political parties accountable. They should demand policies that address their real needs and promote sustainable development. Civic engagement and activism can drive positive change and ensure that youth voices are heard.

5. Engage in Entrepreneurship:
With limited formal employment opportunities, entrepreneurship offers a viable path. Youth should be encouraged to start small businesses, innovate, and create job opportunities for themselves and others. This not only boosts the economy but also fosters independence and resilience.

Conclusion

Somaliland’s youth stand at a crossroads. They can either continue to be pawns in the political game, succumbing to substance abuse and tribalism, or they can rise above these challenges. By embracing technology, developing critical thinking, and rejecting destructive habits, they can carve out a prosperous future for themselves and their country.

The future of Somaliland hinges on its youth. They must wake up, seize emerging opportunities, and work towards a brighter, more sustainable future. The time for change is now.

Recommendations

  1. Educational Reform: Integrate critical thinking and technological skills into the curriculum to better prepare youth for the global market.
  2. Substance Abuse Programs: Implement community-based programs to educate and support youth in overcoming substance abuse.
  3. Youth Empowerment Policies: Develop and enforce policies that promote youth engagement in socio-economic and political processes.
  4. Entrepreneurship Support: Provide resources and training for young entrepreneurs to foster innovation and economic growth.
  5. Civic Education: Encourage active participation in civic duties to hold leaders accountable and drive positive change.

By addressing these areas, Somaliland can ensure its youth are equipped to face future challenges and seize opportunities, ultimately securing a prosperous future for all.

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