Published On: Fri, Apr 20th, 2012

Why Somaliland should not engage in talks with Somalia right now

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By Salma A Sheikh

Somaliland wants Somalia to, finally, concede that Somaliland’s independence is irrevocable. The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, on the other hand, is in a blatant denial of Somaliland’s rights and decision to reclaim its sovereignty, and withdraw from the July 1st 1960’s, still bending for ratification, union. The TFG’s, current, standpoint undermines, with similar obliviousness, the political relationship of the two, if any exist. The TFG, constantly, and in every opportunity claims that Somaliland is part of what it represents. The truth, however, is that the TFG has no influence in Somaliland and, probably, considering the short period mandated for the TFG to last, it will have zero impact on Somaliland, in the future.

Such are irreconcilable facts and, thus, Somaliland shouldn’t have, even, attempted an arbitration process with the TFG, at the moment. The decision president Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud (Silanyo) has, recently, taken on selecting five charismatic ministers from his government cabinet to engage a process of arbitration with the TFG on the issues of Somalia and Somaliland’s current political affairs, is hasty and, quite frankly, a baffling one. Such engagement is fruitless, at the moment, for both Somalia, who are in a transition, and Somaliland, who should, only, talk with a central and permanent government representing Somalia, not Mogadishu and/or Garoowe.

Somalia’s TFG is in a twilight zone, right now. Sheikh Sharif’s team is in a desperate dash to create a portfolio of ‘being there and done that’ sort of entries to convince the 22nd February London Conference on Somalia signatories, who mandated the TFG to commit to positive changes, including forming a central and representative government for Somalia. Engaging talks with Somaliland is a recommendation issued at the London Conference’s Communiqué, it is not an obligation. This recommendation, however, would have served an admirable effort and top entry for the TFG and its portfolio, have they initiated the process, and followed legal and transparent procedures. Such effort from the TFG, furthermore, would have presented success, if the two countries [Somalia and Somaliland] reach a mutual agreement. Indeed, a one less thing to thwart the efforts that the international community are making to restore law and order in Somalia, and huge success for the war against extremisms of terrorism, Sea piracy, famine, and mass migration, which, today, stem out from the region.

Somaliland’s kick-start of this arbitration process is a policy, which seems to assist the antagonist administrations of Somalia, whom are doomed to fail. The TFG’s, recent and careless, meddling of Somaliland’s internal affairs has depicted Sheikh Sharif as an unfriendly political figure of Somalia. His policy is a hostile one for the peoples of Somalia and Somaliland. The TFG is in the way of many things that could lead the citizens of Somaliland and Somalia to attain peace and prosperity, and, thus, peacefully coexist as two brotherly nations. The TFG’s unjustifiable grip onto Somaliland and its independence and the deluded belief it is spearheading to represent who and what is Somalia, today, is just inexact and unwarranted account of the TFG’s contribution to the history of the Somali peoples. Such distorted history creates further discord between the peoples of Somalia and Somaliland, who, since the 1960’s rushed union, have burdened each other under the former totalitarian regime of late Mohamed Siyad Bare.  The inconsiderate political agenda of the TFG, which has been, arguably, influenced by those who care less about Somali peoples’ cohesion and peaceful coexistence, is hostile and unacceptable one.

 When Sheikh Sharif was one of the leaders of the Islamic Courts, which was listed a terrorist group and was, consequently, dismantled by the West and their allies in the region, he, often, accused the international community of meddling with Somalia’s internal affairs and dividing the country. This was a stance that brought him support from many communities in Somalia.  Sheikh Sharif’s, recent, involvement in Somaliland’s internal affairs is hypocritical, and it conspires the same political deviation he accused the West for. His attempt to cause fragmentation in Somaliland by, illegally, recognising regions of that country is devious. Sheikh Sharif praised Somaliland for its successes during his speech at the London Conference, and he is, arguably, the first TFG leader to, correctly, refer the Republic of Somaliland as Somaliland. Having said that, Sheikh Sharif, thoughtlessly, announced his recognition for the, so called, Khatumo State, which claims to represent regions in Somaliland. His move was a political detriment that could jeopardise any potential diplomatic relations between Somalia and Somaliland.

The political gaffe of the Sharif’s move, or immaturity as some may argue, emerged after the TFG leader has met with one of the three presidents of Ali Galaydh’s scheme, and then, without consultation, of any sort, announced his recognition for it [Khatumo State]. His team was, somehow, quick to rectify their leader’s blunder, and dismissed his inadmissible decision. There are indications that such rectification might have came, too, late. The damage might be done, already.

The odds of attaining any successes, in this arbitration process between the two [countries], are very slim. The international community recommended a dialogue between Somaliland and the TFG, where the two administrations, representing the two countries [Somalia and Somaliland], to reach a mutual agreement in their political relations. The erratic personality and the political volatility of Sheikh Sharif ascended, again, when Mr Faroole, the president of Puntland, which is a regional state of Somalia, has, already, was allowed to interfere the process and publicly instructed, if not bullied, Sheikh Sharif and the TFG that his regional administration must be involved in any arbitration process between the TFG and Somaliland. Sheikh Sharif’s TFG has given in to Mr Faroole’s avowals and announced further number of ministerial committee [to the 5 he has announced in response to president Ahmed Silanyo’s decision] to engage in the arbitration process, which would be a partial representation of what is, now, known as Somalia. Somalia is to be represented by members of the TFG and Puntland officials, who, almost half of them, are in fact Somaliland origins. This one familial representational of the selected TFG committee to engage formal talks of, possibly, a recognisable parting of Somalia and Somaliland is, simply, unlawful and, most certainly, not a way forward for Somalia, which is mired with miscellaneous, conflicting, and confrontational politics. Sheikh Sharif’s misconception of Somaliland’s political sophistication led him to select his Internal Affairs minister to lead the [Somalia] committee. An act that is not just an insult to the intelligence of Somalilanders, as a whole, but, also, an act that indicates his lack of interest in promoting better understanding between the two countries [Somaliland and Somalia], and, thus, a fact that he lies, through his teeth, to the international community, whom he, constantly, pledges for his full cooperation to bring stability in the region.

Somaliland, an exemplary of democratic state in the developing world, will not disregard the rights of the millions of Somalis, who, rightfully, call Somalia their country of origin. Somaliland has made a hasty decision, and compromised its own sovereignty and rights for a union that has long failed and brought nothing but burden for both countries, it will not make such risk, again. And, most certainly, Somaliland will not allow the future of Somalia’s relationship with Somaliland to be negotiated by those who, unlawfully, represent the country.

I am glad to conclude my argument, here, that both the government of Somaliland and the public agreed that the arbitration process between Somaliland and Somalia is to be withdrawn, after Sheikh Sharif’s ill-advised scheme is exposed.

Brief biography of the author of this article: Salma A Sheikh is a BSc with Honours of International Politics and Sociology holder from the City University of London. A political analyst and advocate for African women and youth in politics. Salma, currently, lives in London and works as a Youth Mentor. She is an active campaigner for Somaliland’s reinstatement of its June, 1960’s sovereignty.


Displaying 38 Comments
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  1. osman5 says:

    A way to go! very interesting and informative article. It's no brainer to see the former Madarasa teacher doesn't get how determined Somaliland is.
    By bluntly adding Somalilanders on Somalia's arbitration process team is not a gross insult to our intelligence but also TFG ill-fated administration is contiguously spearheading a hostile climate to exist in Horn of Africa. The international community must it the same way as we see it act on this heinous maneuvering by TFG immediately.

    Make no mistake though TFG and Puntland have been meddling with Somaliland's internal affairs for a quite some time, as a direct result of that they have designed Khatumo and the SSC militia just to spill over their out of control downward spiral problems to Somaliland.

    Osman Qaal

  2. Hargeisawi-in-London says:


    BTW, Salma, the people of Somaliland overwhelmingly rejected the so-called "union" constitution, so there was no "union" worthy of the name. It was highly dubious under international law. In other words, under international law, Somaliland and Somalia were living together in sin before 1991. We, Somalilanders, repented for ours sins, and there is no going back.

  3. Gobaad says:

    Good job and more of the same. The Somaliland's withdrawal from talking with Somalia is actually their loss and not ours. Interfering with Somaliland's internal affairs was a gross violation of the London Conference Communique # 6. Now Somaliland must inform the International Community that Somaliland is not going to waste its precious time and energy with these punch warlords who are only good in being sitting duck, good for nothing and wasting the International Community funding.

  4. Omollo says:

    To be Somaliland, it seems, is to be misunderstood by Sharif and TFG.While they put the empahasis on the "muqadas" nature of the former union , they missed many points.For a starter Somaliland is negotiating nothing less of secesion.Sharif is not there to negotiate fairly But the Sharif now assures us that couldn't be further from the truth when he hastily recognized the Khatumo noisy machine.I am not in agreement with the author to abandon all together the negotiation now.-It is dificult to imagine for us to isolate ourselves without showing some concern and at least engaging in some passionate debate of why SL secesion is not going to waste the development and maturity of the last twenty years only to be wasted on a phantom Somaliweyn dream.I doubt we Somalilanders have heartie apetite for the Southern lack of respect for rule of law.

    • mohamed cheers says:

      I don't think secession is not the proper word. Reinstatement of June 1960 Sovereignty is more
      appropriately applicable. After the former Union failed to exist beyond all repairs with records of
      genocide and the Country completely destroyed, with no elected Govts in sight, what else Somaliland could be expected to do rather than to withdraw into it's DE JURE Sovereignty?

  5. farax says:

    this site is propaganda…i thought somaliland was democracy…this tells me your so called nation is based on propaganda…i read this article a few hours ago…theire were several comments that were intelectually written and were critical of this article…one of those was mine…now all of those comments are gone…this tells me you cannot handle free thought…i feel sorry for such a dilussional population that rejects all forms of free thought and argues that it is free.

    • Mohamd says:

      Racism and deluded ethnic supremacy when 99% of your people do not have water to wash their behinds is not welcomed here. It is a criminal offence to spread racial hatred in most developed world except those whose IQ is still stuck at dhabayacco times.

  6. Omollo says:

    Farax, this is an INTERNET forum nothing to do with Somaliland governance.The site owners welcomes comments from readers of their page and it is upto them to exercise the liberty to censor anyone.Now I don't agree with them deleting any disenting opinions personaly I prefer open engaement.If I waNt a one sided. Opinions I can listen to my relatives all day.So please don't have a field day with their censorship and accuse all Somalilanders

  7. mizz khaatumo says:

    loool funny how separatists talking about denying rights, while half of the population of north somalia dont want nothing to do with them and thier tribal state, isnt our fault we had same white master… but somalia will always be one..

    • muxsin jama says:

      @mizz khaatumo.
      This’s what They sell fake staff They are born with that,majoriy of North somalia are people of ethnic origin ssc & khatumo and awdal,They try everything in book to get recognition Their own small enclave The world did not buy it & fail,The demacracy They talk about also does not exist for few reasons,one when There’s gang election no one counts people in The small town,two it’s tribel thugs Party kickbacks corruption are commen.mizz khaatumo as one great philosopher said two Things are certain in life,one is death other one is taxation & i may add Third will be khatumo & awdal will become independent states from This ragtag tribel addministration,if it’s necessary will go full scale war & hunt down This parasites who are no good for nothing accept dividing wingin, may be give Them to Djibouti for lease with condition returning if Djabouti will accept which i doubted.

    • Gobaad says:

      mizz khaatumo, … " half of the population of north …", gee, what a moronic statement?!! What percentage of the population of Somaliland do you, guys really think you form? 4% to 5% or less of the population!!

  8. osman5 says:

    Dear mizz khaatumo,
    Somaliland not separated from Somalia we just got out of a bad common-in-law relationship. in fact we felt bad about it took us over 28 years(1960-1988) to reclaim our sovereignty. As soon as we got liberated, we did not play a blame card as to what went wrong, why and what not but instead we began immediate to rebuilt our destroyed cities, educated our people and established a functioning governing system. Somaliland became a beacon light on a hill in Africa in less than 10 years.
    Somaliand will forever stay intact. even our national anthem first line starts the unity of Somaliland is nonnegotiable.

    However, 21 years later, as we're no longer able to ignore our neighboring Somalia's lack of swimming skills we've got a food for thought in assisting our brothers and sisters in the south by attempting to guide them to swim out of the deep end and get them in the shallow area save and sound.

    Now, it occurred to us that they don't really want swim to save quicker but would prefer continue their dog style swimming style till either they're completely drown or make it to shore save.
    Somaliand has certainly respected their wishes, so we have to get down to business as usual.
    Our minister of foreign affairs Dr. Omar hammered the nail on the coffin yesterday.

    Osman Qaal

  9. inayuusuf says:

    @ Salma
    “…the TFG has no influence in Somaliland and, probably, considering the short period mandated for the TFG to last, it will have zero impact on Somaliland, in the future.”
    Wait sis! You flattered them enough, the TFG doesn’t have influence on Somalia let alone Somaliland.
    “Such engagement is fruitless, at the moment, for both Somalia, who are in a transition, and Somaliland, who should, only, talk with a central and permanent government representing Somalia, not Mogadishu and/or Garoowe”.
    In my view, the time Somalia will have a fully functional govt that controls all Somalia is 20 years more away. Needless to say, we can afford to wait no more.
    SL Govt was right to trigger the process. What we are interested in is not the process itself but to prove the long held belief right; Somaliland is lacking counterparty to divorce from.
    The more we convince IC that Somali Republic’s other party is not technically existent and may not at all, the more we push the IC to declare Somaliland a fully sovereign state. I’m convinced this is closer than waiting for a 20-years-plus away central govt for Somalia.

  10. Abdiwahab says:

    guys does somaliland need the ssc regions can't we just be independent without these hyenas or even join djibouti while ssc joins somalia im fed up with d-block murderers (e.g. 1988)

    • Abdiwahab says:

      ps that girl is hot she typifies i-block beauty my i-block crew is the best simples

      • mohamed cheers says:

        SSC is a populated metro indivisible regions of both I-block and H-block beauty.
        The Architectural land issues are so intertwined that the only workable solution is to keep the
        peace between the in-laws indiggenous habitats. However any side rejecting peace should be
        dealt with severly by the Govt National Security powers.The IC should not be misled by the
        propaganda smear slogan campaigns of the fake so called SSC…as belongs to only d-block!

  11. Iron says:

    brother you are the weak type among us,S/L shall not give or surrender an inch of our land nor interested in joining our brothers Djibouti .it is those you call hyenas [which term i don't share with you] who will cross over to Somalia
    about the writer it is the first time i read an article giving the correct picture and understanding of the horn of Africa situation and the correct reading and interpretation of international instrument. i recommend to S/L foreign minister to include her in his list of able advisers.

  12. Saleebaan Xaaji says:

    Somaliland wanted to hold talks with TFG, but you cannot hold talks with an unelected, undemocratic entity. Somaliland have often stated we are more than happy to talk with Somalia, but, which Somalia, the TFG, puntland, galdmudug, jubbaland. etc.?

    A democratic nation, like Somaliland, cannot enter into talks with a region that has an unrepresentative administration. There will no point of reference to began discussions. Somaliland will take about democracy, voter franchise, good governance, whilst the other side will be all about tribalism, terrorism, piracy, and so on. Where is the mutual ground?

  13. HMObsiye says:

    I agree with the author, Somaliland should not negotiate with TFG. For one, the reasons to negotiate with the other party,is to bring both parties closer and show a good faith negotiation from get go, when the so-called president Shariff add to this negotiation teams two individual who are known to be anti-Somaliland and were originated from Somaliland region into his negotiation teams, he has purposely taken out the good faith negotiation protocol. Therefore, I totally agree with Somaliland government to decline this kind of photo-op. negotiation. There is no point of wasting their time seating with these thugs .

  14. Allemagan says:

    Salma, I can not figure out what kind of occupation is a Youth Mentor, but for sure you seem to be well-educated but not enlightened enough about your country. With all of your education, you choose to invest your energy and efforts to advocate for the dismembering of your country. You could do better.

    As I write this, there are no two countries called "Somalia and Somaliland". There is only one country called Somali Democratic Republic. And there are not many Somali intellectuals who can see things objectively because we are all blinded by our dirty and foggy tribal lens.

    • Gobaad says:

      First of all, Ms. Salma's occupation has nothing to do with the debate here and I cannot figure out what is your point. Secondly, whether you or anybody else like it or not. Somaliland and Somalia were two different countries before the ill-fated union and after reverting to our statehood and will always be two diferent countries. Keep creating illusory ideas that will never materialize and chasing the a miage until the cows come home!

    • mohamed cheers says:

      Allemagan how's your counterpart Puntland Warrior kkkkkk

    • cabdirizaq says:

      Your right about This,put There’s saying love of your country is embedded in your heart it’s not something can be created or faked whether The person is educated or we can read here This lady works as a youth mentor which is process of matching with young people who need or want a caring,put in This case she’s doing The opposite which creating more & more division within The society.

  15. Abdi2 says:

    Good Job Salma……Well done

  16. Hargeisawi-in-London says:


    "…..And there are not many Somali intellectuals who can see things objectively because we are all blinded by our dirty and foggy tribal lens.."

    So you want us to believe that you are one of a "chosen" few, whose lenses are spotless and "unadulterated". One does indeed wonder : who gave you this clean bill of health? But, if you are admitting that your lenses are tilted like everyone else's (as you claim), then surely your comment is no different from the pot calling the kettle black — aabahaa w*s aabaheen ha caayin.

  17. reer khaatumo says:

    the world said Somali unity and territorial integrity must be respected. actually there is a small group wich has personal gain secessionist those people they hijacked some innocent people they have been lying to them sinds 1991…

    god bless somalia especially my region north somalia

  18. Gobaad says:

    reer khaatumo, it is not love for Somalia, but waa idinka fulannimo. Because cidda keli ee ay dan u tahay is blood D@ro@d because they are minority in the south and minority in the north.

    • nuux ahmed says:

      you need to check east-africa ethnic census,1.7 million d@r@@d ethnic group live nothern somalia,4.6 million d@r@@d ethnic group live from north east to central all The way to kismayo & NFD,in ethiopia 4 million d@r@@d ethnic group live There from jigjiga to kenyan border.They are The biggest ethnic group somali race no need to look futher see The land They inhabit.

  19. omar india says:

    lascano and bohodle is for puntland lool

  20. ina ceergaabo says:

    looool Gobaad anabti d@@rod are not minority anywhere in this world especially east africa belongs to them

    plus what u mean international recognized borders?? who recognised u in the first place.. u guys are unknown..
    viva khaatumo we will fight our land till the last man standing, something u should know about us we never give up

    • Gobaad says:

      First of all, please don't call me inabti. Anigu da@@r@d meelna ka soo galo. Halkii lasaraba Is@@q baan hay. Talaad, waad iga qoslisey because the Ogaaden people believe that Somali oo dhan iyo Ogaden baa isleg. It is an id@ot@c joke and you are not any better. So, believe whatever you want to believe.

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