Somaliland and the New Year – 2010
The Somaliland people, political parties and government progressed in many areas including state building, democracy and hosting free and fair elections across the country. Although, Somaliland foreign diplomacy was not successful to bring the long-waited international diplomatic recognition however its performance was acceptable.
The Somaliland security department confronted the infiltrating terrorists from neighboring lawless and vicious Somalia. More than 40 people were injured or killed in bombing in Hargiesa, Capital of Somaliland. Terrorist targeted sensitive areas like presidential palace, Ethiopian embassy – the only foreign diplomatic office in Hargiesa – and UN Headquarter.
Al-Shabab, Al-Qaeda linked terrorist group in Mogadishu, Somalia, claimed the responsibility on bombing Hargiesa. FBI announced that one of the suicide bombers was Somali-US citizen from Minnesota called Shirwa Ahmed. US Government recognizes Al-Shabab as an international terror group that has links with Al-Qaeda.
Al-Shabab threatens the stability of Somaliland and Puntland, a semi-autonomous region in Somalia. They are trying to relocate to eastern sanaag, due to its mountainous landscape. Reliable sources highlighted that Al-Shabab sent observers to these areas including the famous Shimbirale, which has excellent hideouts including deep caves. Al-Shabab are gaining power in Somalia and recruiting young and brainwashed Somalis from outside mainly US and Europe.
Al-Shabab lost battle at Dhuuso Mareeb of central Somalia to Sufi religious fighters called “Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a”. This is sign of Al-Shabab’s continuous attempts to expend to other parts of former Somalia including Puntland.
The international community should support regional authorities against the expanding terrorism. Particularly, the preemptive cooperation against the terrorism must start between Somaliland, Djibouti and Puntland. These authorities, together, can defeat Al-Shabab, and theory of foreign forces on Somali soil can be avoided. Al-Qaeda uses the fight against foreign forces on Muslim soil as “postcard” to recruit fighters. First, Somaliland should be accepted as sovereign partner in the War on Terror.
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Unlike Kenya and Ethiopia, Djibouti is lucky to have democratic and stable Somaliland at its next door. Al-Qaeda got huge Sleeper Cells in East Africa. Somaliland and Djibouti cooperate against piracy, along with international forces at the Gulf of Aden. The regional water between Somaliland and Djibouti is the only pirate-free area.
Somaliland foreign diplomacy has strong and friendly ties with all regional countries. The landlocked Ethiopia uses Berbera Seaport of Somaliland as a gateway to the world sea trade. There are millionaire businessmen in both Djibouti and Ethiopia with Somaliland origin. Both Ethiopia and Djibouti has peaceful border with Somaliland and trade is flourishing between them.
Always, the people of Somaliland and Djibouti find ground of mutual interests that ensures the peace, stability and prosperity of the region. It is flimsy to believe that language, culture and religion unites people. The unity in Somalia on 1960 failed because it was based on language, culture and religion.
The Somaliland defense department secured its eastern border after defeating the militia loyal to Puntland administration, and promptly dispatched the aid of basic needs to the people of Sool and Eastern Sanaag. The schools reopened and clean drinking water restored. The police demined the streets of Lasaanood City from the explosive left by Puntland gunmen. The government services restored including Municipality.
EU Representative InterPeace sponsored biometric voter registration system in Somaliland to ensure free and fair elections. However, the system (Server) is facing difficulties due to weak hardware. The configuration of the system is not enough to store the database of 3.5 million people including indexing and sorting options.
The server failed to stop duplications after voters registered more than once.
Somaliland Election Commission (SEC) completed the registration of the citizens as scheduled, but after registration the weakness of the server showed and finally it failed. This was disappointment to Somaliland voters, government and democracy. Currently, Interpeace is trying to fix the problem with help of IT Specialists.
This bad project planning of InterPeace delayed the presidential election three times. The international new agencies and channels printed the pictures of Somalilanders in long queues during the voter registration process.
The achievements in Somaliland are countless and cannot be summarized in one article. However, we hope the New Year brings prosperity to the hardworking and peace loving people of Somaliland particularly the long-waited diplomatic recognition.By: Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi
10 January 2010 – Somalilandpress