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African Continental - First HIV surveillance programme in Somaliland

From http://www.africanecho.co.uk/africanechonews15-sept19.shtml

THE first-ever HIV surveillance programme in the self-declared republic of Somaliland has been launched. The surveillance is set to explore key findings of the earlier research, with a focus on most-at-risk populations.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO) have announced their launch of the first community-based HIV surveillance programme in Somaliland.

Building upon its groundbreaking Somali HIV hotspot mapping research, IOM says it has started a “biobehavioural HIV surveillance survey” in the breakaway republic, in collaboration with WHO. Focus on the earlier study was on so-called “most-at-risk populations”.

The HIV hot-spot mapping was the first Somali research study to identify and engage transactional sex workers and their clients, including truck drivers, uniformed services, seafarers and militia.

“Key findings indicated poor knowledge of how HIV is transmitted and prevented, low condom use and multiple, concurrent sexual partners,” according to IOM.

HIV surveillance is widely regarded as the cornerstone of an evidence-informed AIDS response.

The “bio” component establishes who is HIVinfected, which is then linked to “behavioural” indicators of risk practices, according to IOM Hargeisa Head of Office Adrienne Testa. The findings is set to guide the Somalilander government’s HIV response to develop and inform programmes for risk populations, including sex workers, truck drivers, uniformed services and other vulnerable groups. Baseline prevalence of risk behaviours and HIV infection are also expected to be established.

The community-based surveillance among most-atrisk populations is also to complement WHO’s HIV surveillance among Somaliland antenatal clinic attendees, says Ms Testa. Data collection is to start August 2008, according to IOM, “to establish HIV and STI prevalence, as well as HIV and STI risk perceptions, condom usage patterns, barriers to condom usage, gender-based violence and integrated health service needs,” she notes. Local partner organisations included the Somaliland National AIDS Commission (SOLNAC).

The project, which is funded by UNICEF, the Global Fund and UNAIDS, will initially be conducted only in peaceful Somaliland. But IOM says it hopes to be able to replicate it also in troubled Somalia, starting in the relative peaceful semiautonomous north-eastern region of Puntland and moving down to South Central.

This was however “subject to additional funding,” IOM said.

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Breakaway region Somaliland hopes for links with Ireland

Source:http://www.sbpost.ie/ September 28, 2008 By Ian Kehoe

`The British used to say that we were the Irish of Africa," said Abdillahi M Duale, the foreign minister of Somaliland, a breakaway region that runs along Somalia's north-western coast on the horn of Africa.

With a population roughly equivalent to that of Ireland and a history teeming with struggles for independence, the British may have had a point.

One difference, however, is that Somaliland, although autonomous, has yet to be recognised by the rest of the world. But if Duale and his government have their way, that could be about to change.

In recent months, Duale has been on an international mission to forge ties and set out the case for the recognition of Somaliland. He has visited London, Paris and Washington, where he was treated to full diplomatic protection, a rarity for a representative of an entity that has not been recognised.

Last week, he met a number of Irish academics and senior business people. ``I want to build ties with Ireland and create links between our two countries," he said.

``There are a lot of parallels between Ireland and Somaliland. We have both had to overcome years of adversity and conflict and we have both achieved peace."

Somaliland, which has an abundance of oil resources, has already started to create business links with Ireland. The territory recently signed a deal with oil company Enex, and the resulting joint venture partnership, Enex Somaliland, has its holding company incorporated in Ireland.

Duale now believes that there are opportunities for other link-ups between Somaliland and Ireland. ``We are particularly interested in your educational model and the success of the Irish economy," he said.

Somaliland has been one of the success stories of African democracy. In 1991, as Somalia's government disintegrated and the country spiralled into war, Somaliland, traditionally one of the poorest parts of Somalia, declared its independence.

The area had previously been a British protectorate, while the rest of the Somalia was controlled by Italy. The former British area decided it wanted control of its own affairs, and went its separate way.

Its leaders have since established a democracy so secure that the United States is considering backing Somaliland ahead of the more volatile Somalia.

The territory has held three rounds of multi-party elections, demobilised thousands of young gunmen and moulded them into a functioning army.

``We have a stable democracy. We have shown failed states in Africa that they too can achieve peace and democracy. We have three political parties and we have checks and balances on our political system. Our parliament is very nosey and that is a good thing," said Duale.

``We have a budget of just $55 million, but we have achieved a lot with it. We have built the institutions of state and we have developed infrastructure."

Somaliland has designed a political system that minimises clan rivalries by carving out a special role for clan elders, the traditional pillars of Somali society. The country is predominantly Muslim, but operates on a largely secular model.

A big sticking point remains the refusal of the African Union formally to recognise Somaliland. Pending a change in that view, Duale will continue to create links with foreign countries, including Ireland, and to further his country's cause.


Somaliland: KULMIYE Statement on the Horn of Africa

Dr. Mohamed A. Omar

From http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/75597/ September 26, 2008

Drawing on a reputation for neutrality and commitment to peace, Somaliland´s KULMIYE PARTY is in favour of a peaceful means for resolving all the disputes in the Horn of Africa. Our vision for the region´s stabilisation reflects on this principle and is anchored around the following five key priorities.

First, we support an inclusive political dialogue and integrated peace approach aiming to achieve a broader consensus among the parties in conflict in bringing an end to the prolonged regional confrontations.

Second, we call on the international community to provide effective development and humanitarian assistance to the civilian population that are caught up in these conflicts.

Third, we encourage efforts aimed at creating conditions that are conducive for building democratically representative institutions that would facilitate greater participation in the decision-making process.

Fourth, we advocate for a regional economic integration and freedom of trade.

Fifth, we deny extremist groups the opportunity to find a safe haven in the region.

In achieving the above policy priorities, we believe that an internationally- supported and regionally- coordinated diplomatic strategy is the best way forward, with an integrated peace building and post-conflict planning.

We strongly believe that promoting democracy and freedom is essential for the broader regional peace programme, including supporting peaceful and effective administrations in the region, acknowledging democratic initiatives and defending free media. We recognize these are the only ideas that can lead to a lasting stability in the region.

We are also of the opinion that a free trade and market economy with investment opportunities will facilitate a peaceful co-existence and a desire for cooperation among the people in the Horn. Therefore, we call for a regional economic policy reform that could create incentives for peace and tolerance.

We believe these are important steps towards the goal of a peaceful, comprehensive and sustainable solution to the conflicts in the Horn, as well as rebuilding the communities devastated by these conflicts. For this purpose, we work with our partners in the region with whom we share these values and, together, we work on achieving well-governed, law-abiding democratic states.

Contrary to fabricated reports by Somaliland government officials, KULMIYE supports neither Eritrea nor any other groups that are engaged in the regional disputes. Instead, we call on all the parties involved to choose for a peaceful and democratic path to advance their interests and to redress injustices.

Promoting democratic development and fighting against extremism have made Somaliland peaceful and stable. KULMIYE is determined to promote this process. We respect civil rights, freedom of expression and individual freedom. We believe that applying these values and focussing on the above policy priorities will give Somaliland an opportunity to build a better relationship with the region and to enhance its national security.

KULMIYE FOREIGN AFFAIRS SPOKESMAN


Somaliland Foreign Minister in Ireland to Advance Somaliland's Economic Diplomacy: Oiling wheels of

http://www.qarannews.com/ From Irish Times, Sep 26, 2008

HAVING STEPPED down last week from the board of Circle Oil, Irish businessman John McKeon has turned his attention to oil exploration in Somaliland, a self-governing African region that is seeking international recognition and independence from Somalia.

McKeon is one of the promoters of Enex Energy Resources, which has a joint venture with the government of Somaliland to prospect licences to the southeast of the de facto state.

Somaliland's foreign minister, Abdillahi Mohamed Duale, was in Dublin this week. Enex was registered in Ireland.

Director Len Tiahlo says it expects to be shooting seismic in Somaliland by Christmas and hopes to drill two test wells.

He described the prospect as "world class", meaning it could have hundreds of millions of barrels of oil. That remains to be seen. This is a risky venture and the area in question is under claim by a Canadian company.

Somaliland's government says the claim is spurious. This might be true but if Tiahlo is right about his prospect's potential, he will surely have to fight to establish a legal right to extract oil.

That's to say nothing of the terrorists and pirates operating in the region or the fact that Somaliland has yet to gain UN recognition.

McKeon is no stranger to doing business in Africa.

Earlier this month, he persuaded a Libyan fund set up by Col Muammar Gadafy to invest £19 million in Circle, which he co-founded, for its drilling activities in Africa.

Pulling off a similar trick with Enex would surely top it.



France obtained permission from Somaliland authorities to use the abandoned U.S. base at Berbera.

From http://www.qarannews.com/ by J.Peter Pham, PhD, Sep 25, 2008

Time to Hunt Somali Pirates

Late last Monday evening, for the second time this year, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy dispatched special operations forces into the territory of the defunct Somali Democratic Republic to free French citizens who had been hijacked by pirates off the dangerous waters off the Horn of Africa. The next morning, in a pre-dawn operation lasting just ten minutes, a team from the Commando Hubert of the berets verts, the elite naval commandos, freed a French couple, Jean-Yves and Bernadette Delanne, who had been kidnapped two weeks earlier when their yacht, the Carré d'As IV, was seized by pirates as it was passing through the Gulf of Aden en route to France from Australia. The pirates holding the Delannes had been demanding a $1.4 million ransom.Instead one pirate ended up dead and another half dozen received a free trip to one of holding cells belonging to the France's special counterterrorism court where they will join six other Somalis captured by French commandos in April after they hijacked the luxury sailboat Le Ponant and held its thirty crew members hostage. The berets verts suffered no casualties.

Several hours after the commando raid, in a speech from the Élysée Palace in Paris, President Sarkozy noted that he ordered the rescue when it became clear the pirates planned to take the hostages to Eyl, a pirate base in the semi-autonomous northeastern Somali region of Puntland, where "their captivity could have lasted months." According to the French chief of state, "The world cannot accept this. Today, these are no longer isolated cases but a genuine industry of crime. This industry threatens a fundamental freedom, that of movement and of international commerce."Citing the fact that piracy in the Gulf of Aden had "literally exploded" this year with more than fifty attacks so far this year and Somali pirates still holding an estimated 150 hostages and more than a dozen ships, mainly around Eyl, the president called the international community to action against "this plague."

Yet barely 24 hours later, a Hong Kong-registered ship, the 25,000-ton Stolt Valor, which had been chartered by the Norwegian-Luxembourgish Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group and bound for Mumbai, India, with a chemical cargo, was seized with its crew of twenty-two, including 18 Indians, two Filipinos, one Bangladeshi, and one Russian. The next day, Somali pirates hijacked the Greek-owned, Maltese registered bulk carrier Centauri, which was carrying 26 Filipino seamen and a load of 17,000 tons of salt to the Kenyan port of Mombasa; the vessel was taken to southern Somalia which, as I reported late last month, had come under the control of Islamist forces with al Qaeda links. In a separate attack that same day, the Hong Kong-registered Great Creation, which was traveling to India from Tunisia, was also seized with its crew of 24 Chinese and one Sri Lankan. On Sunday, another Greek-owned freighter, the Bahamian-registered Captain Stephanos, was hijacked 250 nautical miles off the Somali coast. As of the time this column is being filed, there is no word on the fate of ship's crew of seventeen Filipinos, one Chinese, and one Ukrainian.

That the attacks are increasing should come as little surprise. In an interview with Der Spiegel last week, Germany ship owner Niels Stolberg admitted that his Bremen-based firm, Beluga Shipping GmbH, paid $1.1 million earlier this month to recover its $23 milllion freighter, the Antigua and Barbuda-registered BBC Trinidad, which had been hijacked while carrying pipes and other oil equipment from Houston, Texas, to Muscat, Oman. With ship owners willing to pay ransoms of more than $1 million for the release of their hijacked vessels, Somali piracy in increasing in both frequency and sophistication. Not only are the attacks the most lucrative economic activity in Somalia these days, but the pirates are using at least part of the ransoms they have collecting to upgrade their arsenals in the hopes of landing even larger maritime prizes. The authoritative shipping paper of record, Lloyd's List, warned last week that "ransom paid to pirate raiders off Somalia could spiral to $50 million this year, fueling copy cat attacks."

From being the occasional nuisance whose deadly potential I warned about more than two years ago in the inaugural column of this series when I reported on an incident of some pirates foolishly taking Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Cape St. George and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Gonzalez 25 nautical miles off the Somali coast, Somali piracy has, alas, burgeoned into an international problem affecting literally dozens of countries around the globe. Hijacked vessels currently being held in Somali ports include ships flying the flags of China, Egypt, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Panama, South Korea, and Thailand. Captured seamen presently being held for ransom by the pirates come from fifteen countries, including Croatia, India, Italy, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Russia. Insurance premiums for commercial shipping which must pass through the Gulf of Aden have soared tenfold over the course of the past year, adding yet another drag to the sluggish global economy. Yet shippers have few options: the adverse impact on international commerce of having to navigate all around the Cape of Good Hope, which adds at least 4,500 miles to a voyage, could be even more severe than the increased insurance costs.

Late last week the Round Table of International Shipping Associations - an umbrella group that brings together the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the International Association of Dry Cargo Ship-owners (Intercargo), the International Chamber of Shipping/International Shipping Federation, and the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko) - jointed the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) in a joint appeal calling on the United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO) to use its influence with the world body to secure "real and immediate action against brazen acts of piracy, kidnapping and armed robbery, carried out with increasing frequency against ships in the Gulf of Aden, by pirates based in Somalia," a challenge which the statement described as "in danger of spiraling completely and irretrievably out of control." It should be recalled that the shipping industry and union were hardly exaggerating the potential risks: in addition to other commerce, some 11 percent of world's seaborne petroleum - some 3.3 million barrels - must pass through the very waters currently infested with the Somali pirates.

From the international security perspective, even more grave than the danger to global maritime commerce, there is increasing evidence that at least part of the proceeds from the piracy has gone to fund the Islamist insurgency against the internationally-recognized, but otherwise utterly ineffective, "Transitional Federal Government" (TFG) of Somalia. The insurgent "Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia" (ARS) is spearheaded by al-Shabaab ("the Youth"), a group with ties to al-Qaeda which was formally designated a "foreign terrorist organization" by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice earlier this year (see my March 27th report). The latest confirmation of what is at the very least tacit cooperation between the Somali pirates and their terrorist counterparts were the reports over the weekend that the Centauri was headed toward the Islamist-controlled southern Somali coast, rather than to one of the usual pirate havens in Puntland. Moreover, should the link between Somali piracy and Somali Islamist terrorism ever mature beyond the current marriage of convenience to achieve operational and strategic synergies, then the real consequences of the maritime economic warfare which I sketched out in concept two years ago will be truly catastrophic.

And while the pirate gangs and, however indirectly, the ARS insurgents have benefited from the attacks on shipping, the already marginal existence of ordinary Somalis has deteriorated. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) currently feeds some 2.4 million of the approximately 6 million inhabitants of Somalia proper; by the end of the year, the number of those totally dependent upon food assistance is expected to grow by about 50 percent to more than 3.6 million as the region faces what WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran characterized Monday as "the worst humanitarian crisis since 1984," when over one million died in the Ethiopian famine. With approximately 90% of that food aid moved by sea, the pirate attacks threaten to cut off that vital lifeline. While the pirates have not targeted WFP food shipments recently because of escort protection provided by the Canadian Halifax-class frigate HMCS Ville de Québec, the vessel is scheduled to end its three-month deployment and sail home this coming weekend. As yet, no country has stepped forward to take over the mission. The dire humanitarian situation is further aggravated by al-Shabaab's warning last week against any aircraft landing at Mogadishu's Aden Adde Airport, a threat backed by intelligence that the terrorist group had taken delivery of a new consignment surface-to-air missiles. As a result of the Islamists' ban on flights, the only plane to come in all week was a Ugandan military flight that slipped in last Friday to deliver supplies to the Ugandan People's Defense Force contingent which makes up the bulk of the woefully undermanned African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeeping force. In response, ARS forces pounded Mogadishu over the weekend, shelling two AMISOM bases, the airport, and the city's Bakara market; at least two dozen civilians were killed on Monday alone.

What then, might be done to deal with the growing challenge of Somali piracy?

First, commercial vessels need to be better prepared to protect themselves. For now, commercial shipping should limit their risk by navigating within the limits of Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA) proclaimed late last month by the Commander, United States Naval Central Command, and entrusted to the Combined Task Force 150 multinational effort originally set up to stop suspect shipping in support of the war on terrorism. In the event they come under pirate attack, vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden via the MSPA corridor stand a greater chance of receiving assistance from coalition ships maintaining a continual presence in the vicinity. Some ship owners have also invested in alarm systems, close-circuit television, electric fences, and even armed guards as measures to counter the threat of being boarded, many have not. Nonetheless, even if all ships deployed countermeasures, the merchant marine cannot be turned into an armed fleet. Furthermore, with some attacks being mounted more than 200 nautical miles from the Somali coast by heavily armed pirates in ocean going vessels equipped with satellite technology, there is a limit to the effectiveness of the standard advice given to commercial shipping to avoid the coastline, keep alert, and maintain speed. (See point six below.)

Second, given the large area within which the pirates now apparently operate as well as their improved armaments and tactics necessitates a strong naval response to sweep the international sea lanes clear of the pirates. Since early this month the Royal Danish Navy has had a combat support ship, HDMS Absalon in the Gulf of Aden as part of the Combined Task Force 150 (the rotating command of the task force handed over to a Danish officer, Commodore Per Bigum Christensen, last Monday). The Absalon, however, has been spending more of its deployment chasing pirates away from commercial shipping in the MSPA than interdicting terrorist movements of men and materiel: this past week, the frigate-type vessel was answering at least one distress call a day. European Union (EU) foreign ministers meeting in Brussels last Monday expressed their "serious concern about the acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast" and decided to establish a coordination unit tasked with supporting surveillance and protection activities undertaken by individual member states. The ministers also approved "a strategic military option for a possible European Union naval operation." On Saturday, a press release from the Spanish Defense Ministry announced that, in support of the EU coordination unit, Madrid had dispatched a P-3 Orion maritime reconnaissance plane and a Hercules helicopter, as well as a Boeing 727 carrying support personnel, on a three-month deployment to Djibouti, from where the aircraft will patrol the Somali coast. Also over the weekend, the French Permanent Mission to the United Nations was circulating a draft Security Council resolution calling on "all states interested in the safety of maritime activities" to "actively take part in the fight against piracy against vessels off the coast of Somalia, in particular by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft."

Third, while an international anti-piracy coalition as advocated by the French is well and fine, it is effective; and it can only be as effective as its components. While the unanimously passed UN Security Council Resolution 1816 authorizes for a period of six months beginning in June the naval forces of other countries to enter Somali waters in pursuit of the pirates, that document predicated the legal authority to do so on cooperation with the TFG. The problem is that not only is the TFG no government, but it is part and parcel of the problem. Last Friday, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, accused the rulers of Puntland of complicity in the piracy, telling a press conference in Djibouti that "the Puntland leadership has made it easy for pirates to establish a base there" and alleging that some of ransom money collected would "be used to fund the 2009 presidential elections in Puntland." What the Mauritanian diplomat discretely omitted was that Puntland is the stronghold of TFG "President" Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad's Darod clan and the Majeerteen subclansmen who are his most loyal supporters enjoy a disproportionately high representation in the ranks of the pirates. One can only guess how many of the consumer purchases which TFG chieftain is wont to make during frequent sojourns abroad are paid for with misappropriated international funds that are supposed to aid Somali civilians and how many are funded by the tribute payments received by the old warlord from his pirate kinsmen (see this photo posted on a Somali website - the very week it was taken in London earlier this year, dozens of Somalis died in attacks in Mogadishu). The TFG is likelier to be a hindrance than a help in taking the type of strong action, both on land as well as in the water, which will be needed if the pirate havens are to be destroyed once and for all - statements like last week's declaration of support by the International Contact Group on Somalia for the TFG's constantly proliferating array of do-nothing committees to dialogue with the toothless rump of the ARS that, having lost the internal power struggle to more extremist elements, signed the so-called Djibouti Agreement last month are little more than wishful thinking.

Fourth, in addition to eschewing entanglements with obstacles like the TFG, it is imperative that ties be forged with effective authorities capable of helping in the fight against piracy. While pirates operate openly along most of the 2,285 kilometers of the coastline in Somalia proper, none ply the 740 kilometers of Gulf of Aden coastline belonging to the as-yet unrecognized Republic of Somaliland. According to information first disclosed last Wednesday by my friend Professor Iqbal Jhazbhay of the University of South Africa in an interview with Nairobi, Kenya-based Voice of America (VOA) correspondent Alisha Ryu, despite having a base in neighboring Djibouti, France obtained permission from Somaliland authorities to use the abandoned U.S. base at Berbera in the northwestern region of the republic as the staging area for last week's successful rescue. According to other sources, the operation also involved the La Fayette-class light stealth frigate Courbet and two ATL-2 maritime patrol aircraft. After the raid, the base was used again to transfer the six captured pirates to an airplane bound for France. The French appear to have decided to avail themselves of Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin's coincidental presence in their capital for consultations to secure the use of a staging ground that was less likely to jeopardize operational secrecy than Djibouti, where the one runway at Ambouli International Airport is shared by commercial traffic, the French military mission, and Camp Lemonier, home of the America's Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). As I have previously advocated and must repeat again:

The international community needs to formally acknowledge de jure what is already de facto: the desuetude of "Somalia" as a sovereign subject of international law. Unitary Somalia is not only dead, but the carcass of that state has been putrefied; reanimation is no longer in the realm of possible. To apply Max Weber's thesis, a government like the TFG that does not even enjoy the monopoly on the legitimate use of force in its own capital -much less elsewhere in the territory it claims as its own - is no government at all. Instead of constantly trying to put the best face on a bad situation,...the emphasis should be shifted to local Somali entities which have taken responsibility for governance in their respective regions.

Fifth, while naval operations can be undertaken to clear the sea lanes of the pirate menace and commando raids launched to rescue hostages, the long term security of the waters around the Horn of Africa requires the development of maritime capacity on the part of states neighboring the anarchic regions of Somalia. As I suggested in last week's column, there is a need to for engagement initiatives like the United States Navy-led Africa Partnership Station (APS), which strengthens the capacity of partner countries to deal with a variety of challenges, including piracy, criminal enterprises, and poaching. However, for most African nations, the scope of their maritime ambitions and interests is far more modest than those of the blue-water navies of middle-tier powers, much less those of the U.S. Navy. In America, functions like maritime safety and law enforcement, littoral escort, and port security have traditionally been the primary responsibility of the U.S. Coast Guard. Given that, in terms of mission as well as vessel size, this service is a much closer match to almost all of Africa's naval forces than most of the assets of Naval Forces Central Command or the Pacific Fleet which operate nearby, it would behoove military strategists to consider how to incorporate the Coast Guard more into their planning for security in East Africa.

Sixth, even with short-term kinetic operations and long-term capacity enhancement initiatives, one has to acknowledge that in the waters off the Horn, there would still remain a not insignificant gap in maritime security between what assistance the international community can or will provide and such capacities as African states (and Yemen) might possess. Might it not be the case that, as I argued in The National Interest Online last year with respect to lack of deployable peacekeeping, the international community as a whole, interested states, or even those with stakes in maritime transportation ought to at least consider leveraging non-traditional security resources available within the private sector to fill, at least provisionally, the security vacuum?

It is bad enough that, Somaliland aside, the lack of an effective, much less legitimate, government in the territory of the former Somalia since 1991 has occasioned virtually endless conflict among the Somali. It is intolerable that the lawlessness should spill over and threaten the security of neighboring states like Ethiopia, Kenya, and Yemen, as well as global commerce as a whole, much less that it should augment the already considerable terrorist challenge. The time has come for responsible powers in the international community to develop an integrated strategy to cope with the worsening piracy, one that begins with declaring open season on the seaborne marauders whom admiralty law has long branded hostes humani generis, enemies of mankind.

In addition to serving on the boards of several international and national think tanks and journals, FamilySecurityMatters.orgContributing Editor Dr. J. Peter Pham has testified before the U.S.Congress.


Kulmiye's Crisis and the Democracy in Somaliland

http://www.hadhwanaagnews.com/ Sep 25, 08

By: Dr. Mohamed Rashid Sheikh Hassan

If Kulmiye does not put his house in order and come up with an agreed Vice President for the forthcoming presidential election, democratic process in Somaliland will suffer a huge damage.

The current crisis of Kulmiye has mainly originated from the leadership contest in Burao party conference, but not entirely from the conference. The election of the Presidential candidate was finally agreed to be Silanyo after a rough ride.

The problem of electing the Vice Presidential candidate plunged the party into unprecedented crisis, resulting that the party has split in the middle. There were three candidates for the Vice Presidential candidacy, Abdirahman Sayli'i, Abdirahman Aw Ali Farah, both from Awdal Region and Ahmed H. Ali Adami from Sanaag Region.

It was clear from the beginning whom was Siilanyo's favorite among the three contesters and it was Abdirahman Sayli'i. Why Silanyo preferred Abdirahman Sayli'i seemed based on analysis touching different aspects, but the main one was that Silanyo clearly and honestly stated that it is Abdirahman Sayli'i that he can work comfortably with, and this is correct in the ethical and leadership rules in any organizational.

The other two candidates did not accept that and immediately organized their own group within the party to challenge this outcome. Their main argument was that the Burao conference was undemocratic particularly the way in which the Vice Presidential candidate was elected.

After these events, the situation within Kulmiye became an open Pandora Box where "political marketers" trade in and made their political playground. There were several mediations from different walks of life of the community, including the other two political parties, UCID and UDUB.

I am a concerned Somalilander who feels uncomfortable how recent events in Kulmiye`s party have been developing, because I feel this is damaging the national interest. There is no profit or benefit for anyone for Kulmiye party's crisis. It is in the interest of the country that the dispute in Kulmiye has to be settled sooner.

Having said this, I would like to contribute this debate with the following observations:

Democracy in Somaliland and its process

Those who are well familiar with the Somaliland democratic process perfectly know that we are not still democrats, but we are trying to build a democratic society. The way we go about this has been, and still is, by using mixture of clan, Islamic and limited democratic methodologies to choose our leaders and to settle our conflicts, and we call these democratic actions, though it is far from democracy.

In connection to this, the argument that Abdirahman Aw Ali and his supporters saying that Burao Kulmiye conference were not democratic loses its validity and credibility in Somaliland political context.

I can quote one main event, during the election of the parliamentary speakers. The Guurti realized the political system of the country tilts decisively to the ruling party, UDUB if the speakers of the parliament also went to the ruling party. The Guurti settled with the well-known formula, by allowing the opposition parties to have had the speaker and its two deputies (Shir-gudoonka).

That day I remember by asking the wise man of the Guurti, H. Abdirkarin (Abdi Warabe) what legal basis of this compromise was based. He said to me, "We did not refer too much on legal basis, but we refer to the political wisdom "xikma" of Somaliland. Because we thought if "shir-gudoonka" also goes to the ruling party, the government will have too much power." (Xisbu xaakimku haday taa ku darsadaan waxay helayaan doobi buuxa, qolada mucaaridka ahina doobi madhan, markaa taasi nalama aha wax wanaagsan.)

History of Kulmiye Party

If I may go back for a moment to the history of Kulmiye Party, during the Presidential election in 2003, Abdirahman Aw Ali was a member of the Asad Political Organization headed by Suleiman Mohamoud Adem, the current chairman of the Guurti. In Kulmiye at that time, there were four candidates, all from Awdal Region who were competing for the candidacy of the Vice President., including my self For instance, in my case; I was well-prepared for the post. I had just finished my PhD in Political Science from London University (SOAS and LSC) with a professional working experience and political background and being an active supporter of the SNM struggle.

I met Silanyo as soon as he left form Siad Barre's regime and before he joined the SNM leadership in Addis Ababa. I was Student at London University and a coordinator of a lobbing Group consisting of students and Somali Diaspora in London against the military regime of Siad Barre. We welcomed Silanyo to our group and we gave him a full support in his opposition activities in London. I personally organized for him several lectures in London University (SOAS) where he spoke and explained the atrocities of the regime of Siad Barre. I went with him to Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool for lobbying and support.

After almost a decade, I met Silanyo again for a lunch in London before he established the Kulmiye Party and we had one-to-one lively discussion about the political situation in our country. The Somaliland Diaspora particularly those living in London encouraged me to join Kulmiye Party and give Siilanyo the political and media support and experience that he and the party needed. I came to Hargeisa and joined the party.

Abdi Mohamoud (Gaagaale), now an MP was also among the other three Awdal candidates. Abdi Mohamoud played an important role in the peace making processes in Somaliland particularly in the Awdal region. At that time he was living in the United States, but he came back because of assurance from Kulmiye leadership that he will be selected to be the Vice Presidential candidate. The two others were Abdi Hassan Buni, an elderly statesman and Dr Mohamed Hadi, a professional medical doctor.

To our surprise and maybe to the surprise of the Somaliland political history, Abdirahman Aw Ali mysteriously entered the party from the back door in the last few days before the election date and before our eyes open, Abdirahman Aw Ali was hastily declared the winner as the Vice Presidential candidate of the party. In my analysis abandoning of the other contesters and the sudden switch of bringing Abdirahman Aw Ali from the back door caused Kulmiye and its leader Silanyo not to win the 2003 Presidential election. This episode left with Silanyo and the Kulmiye party with uncomfortable historical memorial reflections.

In my case, I swallowed my pride, walked out from the party and hoped a good luck for Silanyo and the party, but I still I respect Siilanyo as a Somaliland statesman.

Who engineered this plot by bringing Abdirahman Aw Ali from the back door? It was engineered by the three Mujahiddin Musketeers, Mouse Bihi, Mohamed Kahin and Dhagaweyne. They even convinced the good-hearted Islamic politicians in the party, such as Abdiaziz Mohamed Samaale, whom I had a good relationship with, to their point of view.

I give great respect to Muse Bihi, who frankly told me at that time that he was no longer supporting me and that he switched his support to Abdirahman Aw Ali, because he was his colleague in the trench during the SNM struggle.

Now we have another face of the political history of the Kulmiye Party. The four Mujahiddin musketeers (by the way, the four mujahidins Musketeers have an honourable place in the history of Somaliland because of their contributions to the liberation struggle) are no longer in the same trench. Abdirahman Aw Ali and Dhagaweyne are in the same camp and Mouse Bihi and Mohamed Kahin are supporting Silanyo.

Conclusion

To Ahmed H. Ali Adami & Abdirahman Aw Ali

I consider Mr. Adami a good and productive Somaliland statesman because of his record in Somaliland National Electoral Commission. He ran the commission in a difficult times and he kept his head above all these difficulties sometimes using his humourous potentialities. I advise him to be a good mediator between the two factions of the party and convince Abdirahman Aw Ali group and himself as well to drop their objections and join the rest of the party for the national interest. The country can't afford at this time of historical junction that none of the three political parties, UCID, Kulmiye and UDUB, have an internal strife.

If the way in which Abdirahman Aw Ali was elected in 2003 Kulmiye's election was acceptable and ok, logically the way that Abdirahman Sayli'i was elected should also be ok. Moreover, Abdirahman Sayli'i did not enter the party from the back door but he came from the front door and without "plotters" to put him in.

I would like advise Abdirahman Aw Ali the following:

  • To swallow his pride and give a chance to Abdirahman Sayli'i to pursue his political career. This will also save Awdal region and Awdal community from further divisions and ramifications.
  • To give a chance to Kulmiye party as well as his previous close colleague, Mujahid Muse Bihi, who is now positioned as the second person to Siilanyo.


Somaliland: Somalilander by Default

http://www.africanpath.com/p_blogEntry.cfm?blogEntryID=6061/ September 24, 2008

By: Rooble Mohamed

Yes that is by default. I have no choice do i?

I was born Somalilander, I lived in Somaliland, studied in Somaliland raised in Somaliland. My fathers, grandfathers and grand-grandfathers are all from Somaliland.

I was celebrating when i got my independence from Britain on the 26th June 1960 but chose to try if the union with my other Somalis could bring me more than i can get alone. Two of the five Somali regions that are Somaliland and Somalia got emerged on 1st of July 1960, that is four days after the Somaliland's independence.

I overwhelmingly took my flag to Mogadishu expecting my other Brothers will welcome me with the same excitement and joy but dissapointed of the arrogance, corruption and power-hungry folks in that place. Asked my self if i can continue with this or go back to my own but decided to stay now and see how things will change in the short run. It got worse and getting even worst by the day.

Nine years went and there was no hope at all. Then it was the coup where Mohamed Siyad Barre announced his revolution. People felt a little hope and wished this might be the best for all and will end up the years of corruption and political chaos. Yes, it was good during the first years and the achievement was really a brilliant before he came out from the closet and show his true colors.

Next, the enemy, the traitor and those who oppose to the unity were the Somalilanders. The thousands of the military personnel, the heavy duty weapons, the jet fighters and everything that was made out of the people's taxes were converted towards Somaliland and its people. Imagine the nation that donated both the flag and the land in order to unite the Somali people are now treated as the enemy of the nation and bombarded with missiles and mortars.

Still Somalilanders they had no choice but this time to resist and reclaim their lost sovernginity at any cost. The mission started in 1981 and ended in 1991 with success. The independence was again gained after paying thousands of Somalilander's souls and the arrogant and dictators in Somalia started to fight agains each other as usual but this time by guns.

For 17 years and Somaliland is gaining more development by the day. It was not an easy job to start a whole nation from scratch but as i said people in Somaliland are patriotic and managed to achieve their goals. Still more to do but the destination is very close.

I'm a Somalilander by defaul, always and forever.


US Policy Shifts towards Somaliland

by Scott A Morgan
Source: http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/4566, Sep 23, 2008

In what appears to be a effort to reward stablilty in a highly unstable part of the World ,The US is going to increase the amount of aid it sends to the "Breakaway Region" of Somaliland. On the surface that can be seen as the US growing increasingly frustrated with the Pace of "Nation Building" within Somalia.

In Recent Weeks there have been several Incidents of Piracy on the High Seas. In at least one instance there has been Western Intervention to Free some of those that were taken hostage. Several Nations will be deploying Warships to this volatile region in the near future to address this rapidly unfolding and deteriorating situation. The Situation on the Ground isn't much better either with Islamist Militias targeting Peacekeepers.

Earlier this year US Undersecretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazier paid a visit to Hargeysa. Security Issues were forefront Naturally in her visit. The Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) already has some contacts with Somaliland Authorities as well as several US Funded Aid Agencies. Somaliland has been registering Political Parties for its Presidential Elections in 2009.

The Visit by Jessica Davis Ba who is the US Diplomat Responsible for Somali Political and Economic Interests in the US Embassy in Nairobi and a representative from the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) was a follow-up to the trip of Underseceretary Frazier. The US Feels that Somaliland has made great Economic and Political gains since it declared its unilateral Independence back in 1991.

There are concerns in Washington that the rise in both Global Food and Petroleum Prices could be a hinderance to the Emergance of an Independent Somaliland. Several Countries have sent Delegations to Hargeysa in recent weeks to determine if any Economic Investments are indeed feasable. There are concerns about the youth of the country leaving school early to take on other endeavors currently.

With the rest of Somalia continuing to suffer Famine and the effects of a very effective Insurgency it is not a bad idea to reach out to People and areas that are having a modicum of success. Although the US has no immediate plans to open up a direct contact with Hargeysa the current Administration will use the contacts it already has to further improve ties. In the past the United States has stated that it will wait until the African Union Recgonizes Somaliland as an Independent State before it does.

In Recent Weeks there have been reports that Ethiopia is considering pulling out of Somalia. If this occurs than once again the efforts of the United Nations to restore a functioning Government to Somalia will have failed once again. Efforts to have African Peacekeepers on the ground have been lacking. Famine is a growing concern as is the rise of Piracy in the region known as Puntland. So it appears that the US is once again hedging its bets in a volatile region.

The Author publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet. It can be found at morganrights.tripod.com



SOMALIA: Hundreds affected by diarrhoea in north

NAIROBI, 22 September 2008 (IRIN) - Authorities in Burao in the self-declared republic of Somaliland are struggling to contain an outbreak of watery diarrhoea, medical sources said on 22 September.

"The outbreak began on 13 September and so far we have registered 261 cases and no fatalities," Adan Ilmi Diriye, the regional medical officer, told IRIN.

The biggest one-day caseload was on 13 September, with 92 cases, he said, adding, "so far today we have registered 16 cases".

Diriye blamed the outbreak on contaminated water drawn from wells in the area. "We had rains and we suspect the problem is the water people are drinking has been contaminated."



Source: Understanding and Managing Acute Diarrhoea in Infants and Young Children

A task-force consisting of local authorities and aid agencies based in Burao, chaired by the regional medical officer, has been set up to deal with the outbreak. An awareness campaign was also under way.

"We are using every avenue to reach people," Diriye added. "Even the mosques have been involved in passing information to avoid contracting the disease."

Two wards in Burao general hospital were being used as a treatment centre. "If we feel we need to use a bigger place we will set it up, "he said.

As part of the efforts to contain the outbreak, Diriye said: "We have started chlorination of water wells and we are distributing water purification tablets directly to families in affected areas."

The worst-affected parts of the city were the October and Jarmalka neighbourhoods.

Diriye said the Somaliland government had sent enough drugs to deal with the problem and "we are changing our plans day to day to stay on top of it and be prepared if the situation gets worse".

He said there was no sign of a slowdown. "I am, however, confident that with our awareness campaigns and the work of the task-force, we will be able to contain it."


Somaliland: US government promises more aid

Source: The Somaliland Times. http://www.qarannews.com/ Sep 21, 2008

A US diplomat who visited Hargeysa earlier this week disclosed that Somaliland would receive more American aid in the coming year than it did in the past.

Jessica Davis Ba who is responsible for Somali political and economic affairs at the US embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, said they hoped to keep the level of assistance for Somaliland increasing in the future, depending on the ability to show real measurable results on ground.

The US embassy officer, who was accompanied by Hodan Hasan from USAID, arrived in Hargeysa on last Tuesday.

The duo discussed bilateral aid, democratization and security issues with Somaliland government officials, leaders of political parties and parliament as well as international organizations which are carrying out US-funded projects in Somaliland.

Ms Davis also indicated that the US administration has no intention of establishing a diplomatic office in Hargeysa anytime soon.

"We have no plans to open an office in Somaliland at this time", she said in a Somaliland Times interview.

It was the first visit to be paid by American diplomats to Somaliland in 2 years.[Passage omitted- full interview].


Meles Proposes a Two-State Solution for Somalia

Tamrat Nega

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/74967/September 21, 2008

According to a source with intimate knowledge about the affairs of the hilltop palace of Meles Zenawi, the prime minister of Ethiopia, who is not willing to be quoted due to the sensitivity of the issue, Meles has commissioned a committee of Somali specialists early this year to come up with a strategic analysis and a menu of options with respect to Ethiopian national interest towards Somalia. The committee chaired by Ethiopia´s foremost expert on Somalia, Dr. Alemu Tekede, minister of state for foreign affairs, comprised senior officials of the ruling EPRDF, several military generals and security and intelligence officers.

According to the source, after five long months of deliberations, the committee submitted to Meles a well-thought-out "red" dossier containing confidential policy proposals in last August. The committee of experts persuasively argued that the reconstitution of Somalia to its pre-1991 status would not serve the national interest of Ethiopia. Furthermore, the committee emphasized the possibility of landlocked Ethiopia becoming "sandwiched" between two hostile countries, i.e. Eritrea in the north and Somalia in the south, underlining Ethiopia´s vulnerability to gruesome civil-war and disintegration if the current Ethiopian efforts in Somalia fail and the country fall back to the hand of ousted Islamic forces. The committee further emphasized the possibility of Ethiopian Muslims becoming influenced or radicalized by Somalia´s Islamists which could ultimately ignite a devastating religious war in the country.

The committee recommended the following propositions:

1 A two-state solution for Somalia along the pre-independence colonial boundaries. The committee suggested the Ethiopian government play a lead role in advocating for the international recognition of the breakaway republic of Somaliland.

2 Southern Somalia (former Italian Somaliland) to be divided into four federal regions in line with ethnic based Ethiopian federal system, namely, Puntland, Hawiyeland, Jubbaland and Rahanweinland.

3 The Somali region of Ethiopia to be "isolated" from the rest of Somalia, and limit to the extent possible commercial and traffic links between the Somali region and Somalia.

According to the source, Meles has discussed the proposed two state solutions with Rayaale Kahin, the president of Somaliland, Abdillahi Yusuf, the president of the TFG, and with Mohamed Gedi, the prime minister of the TFG, in separate meetings held in September in Addis Ababa. While Mr. Yusuf rejected any discussion on the subject, Mr. Rayaale has praised the initiative and committed to deploy ten thousand Somaliland troops in Mogadishu to work with Ethiopian military forces to help quell the growing insurgency in the Somali capital. Mr. Rayaale also assured Meles that Somaliland will help Ethiopia in subduing the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a Somali rebel group based in the Somali region of Ethiopia.

According to the source, Mr. Gedi began to entertain the two-state notion after the rift between him and Mr. Yusuf reached to a point of no-return, though he reportedly rebuffed the idea in the initial discussion back in September. The relationship between Yusuf and Meles has deteriorated since, according to this knowledgeable source.

Subsequent to the September discussion between Meles and Rayaale, a Somaliland delegation comprising ministers of foreign affairs and finance and chief of staff of Somaliland army held several meetings in Addis Ababa with Dr. Tekede and the chief of staff of Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF).

The two sides discussed the role Somaliland can play in quelling the growing insurgency in Mogadishu and part of the Somali region of Ethiopia, deployment of Ethiopian troops to Berbera to protect Ethiopian military hardware coming through the Somaliland controlled Red Sea port and Ethiopia´s support to Rayaale´s re-election for another five years term. The Somaliland delegation highlighted the fear of Somaliland drifting towards Eritrea if the KULMIYE opposition party wins the presidential election scheduled to take place mid next year. The Somaliland delegation also tabled a number of evidences accusing Puntland of providing sanctuary to ONLF and Oromo dissident groups.

The Somaliland delegation has agreed to send an advance team of military officers to Mogadishu to pave the way for the eventual deployment of Somaliland troops in Mogadishu and to extradite to Ethiopia members of the Ogaden clan residing in the territory of Somaliland. Ethiopian government believes that the ONLF is drawing support from Ogaden businessmen and some segments of the Issaq clan who largely hail from the Togdheer region of Somaliland. In light of these discussions, Somaliland was given the green light to secure the borders of the former British Somaliland.

According to the source, Meles has taken into confidence members of the Ethiopian opposition parties who have fully endorsed the proposed two-state solution for Somalia.

With the blessing of the Bush Administration, Ethiopian troops invaded Mogadishu and much of southern Somalia in last December. They were successful in overthrowing the radical Islamist dominated regime of the UIC and in installing divided and unpopular TFG.

His troops bogged down in the messy quagmire of Mogadishu where the remnants of the ousted Union of Islamic Court (UIC) continues to wage Iraq-style bloody insurgency, Meles is understandably frustrated with the apparent failure of the internationally recognized but toothless fledgling Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in pacifying the tumultuous Somali capital. The Somali experts in Addis Ababa view the two-state solution as a vital long-term strategy for Ethiopia´s national interest.


Silanyo's Predicament- This Time Its The Presidency or Perish

http://radiohadhwanaag.com/index.php?news=678/ 21, 2008

Ahmed Mahmoud- alias Silanyo, the chairman of Kulmiye, is a figure who has been in politics for the last four decades and has held several political posts during that period. He is a man who has always wanted to be in the limelight of Somali politics and whenever one curtain at a stage falls he has always managed to bounce back at another stage and under another title. When he left Siad Barre's regime in the early 1980's he joined the SNM rebel group and became its chairman. It is said that he never got over the fact that he was not the chairman of the SNM when liberation dawned in 1991 and thus missed the opportunity of becoming Somaliland's first president.

But he remained in politics and became a member of Somaliland's first clan-based parliament and later became Egal's finance minister. Had Egal been alive during the presidential elections of 2003 Silanyo would have never competed against Egal who was more popular, charismatic and competent than Silanyo. It is therefore that Silanyo created his opposition party only after the death of Egal and it is a fact that Kulmiye was the last opposition party to be registered. The death of Egal opened a window of oppurtunity for Silanyo to aim for the presidency and as the Somali saying goes, '' Geeriyay maxaad tartaa? Nin meel waayay ayaan meel u baneeyaa.'' - ''Oh death, what do you accomplish? I make way for the one who has no place.''

During the presidential elections of 2003 Silanyo made a big miscalculation by thinking that having been a well known political figure for so long and having been the chairman of the SNM alone would give him an edge over the little-known Rayaale. But it was precisely on those two points that he had been so wrong on. The people of Somaliland, when given the chance of direct election showed that they did not want the old politicians that they already knew all too well. In this context Silanyo was a man whom they already knew had only hollow rhetoric to offer and had a past record of being incompetent and divisive. That is why the people of Somaliland chose the quiet and humble Dahir Rayale Kahin who within the spate of only 10 months in power as an interim president delivered on his biggest promise to hold Somaliland's first ever municipal and presidential elections.

Once again Somaliland holds its second presidential elections in April of next year. The run up to the upcoming presidential elections have shown just how Silanyo is hell bent on becoming president and there are several reasons that make him even more desperate this time around.

  1. on the party level

Chairman Silanyo ceded the post of party chairman to Musa Bihi in exchange for being allowed to be the party's sole presidential candidate and conceded to Musa Bihi's demand to be appointed as minister of interior in the scenario of Silanyo winning the presidency. Relinquishing the post of party chairman was no easy deal for the authoritarian Silanyo but he was forced to concede or face the threat of Muse Bihi as an aspirant for the party's presidential candidate. In fact Silanyo gambled away his chairmanship of the party because if he loses the presidential elections he has in effect no political position left. But this is no surprise taking into consideration that the [1]septuagenarian Silanyo's last chance of sitting on the seat of presidency, a post that he has always coveted, is during these elections which means that he could at last fulfill his dream of being called president at last. On the other hand Silanyo knows that the post of party chairman in the face of an election defeat would be of no use to him because he is old and frail and does not have the energy to remain as opposition leader for another five years. Therefore, he chose the more lucrative prize of the party's presidential candidate because for him, at such an age, it is now or never.

  1. On the clan level

Mr. Silanyo, who is a master at clan manipulation ever since his days as the chairman of the SNM, has made a lot of efforts behind the scenes in order to obtain the support of the majority of his clan. Silanyo was one of the main catalysts in both initiating and facilitating the Gar-adag clan conference and he himself participated at that meeting and in an interview with the BBC's Somali service he advocated for what he called the ''clan's right to self determination.'' Listening to that interview one would have easily thought that it was the clan-conference's spokesman speaking and not the chairman of a political party. However, Silanyo's real and hidden agenda within the framework of this clan gathering was to win the maximum support of his clan during the upcoming elections. A reliable witness at this conference confirmed to me that Silanyo's lobbyists and henchmen at the conference pursued this objective through a two-fold persuasion argument:

a) That this time around ´´we'' (the east-Burao based clan) deserve the post of presidency more than any other tribe since the other two other major Isak clans and even the Samaroon tribe have had their turn. Their argument was that Somaliland's democracy is just pure whitewash, that we are still a tribal based society and that the east-Burao clan's best interest was to vote for Silanyo and the Kulmiye party. They also laid forward their grandiose plan that the east-Burao clan with it's already several notable merchants would become the most powerful clan in Somaliland if it achieves to hold both the economical and highest power of office at the same time.


b) That the ageing Silanyo should be supported by his tribe in his last ever possible attempt at the post of presidency. Silanyo's spindoctors played the pity card and whined that the nearly 80 year old man or ''odayga'' should be given ''hiil iyo hooba'' in other words full backing in his run for the presidency and that the clan elders should campaign on his behalf during the upcoming elections in order to get the maximum number of pro-Kulmiye voters on the grassroots level or in this case the ''clan-roots level.'' The clan elders were also entrusted with the task of raising funds for Silanyo's presidential campaign by getting in the necessary financial support from all businessmen who hail from the east-Burao clan. Convincing these businessmen is said to be a crucial point due to the fact that most of them are not so enthusiastic about offering Silanyo funds since they had already done so in the last election and incurred losses. However, the ever deceitful and nepotistic Silanyo is reported to be offering them kickbacks in the form of huge tax reductions in the event of seizing the post of presidency.

It is reported that Silanyo ultimately succeeded in getting a pledge of support from most of the prominent members of his clan that were present at this conference and this explains his enthusiasm for the conference during the BBC interview. The existence of such an understanding is evident from the fact that the communiqué issued at the end of this clan conference stated that several of the agreements reached were not to be made public because they dealt with what was called ''the clan's internal affairs.'' It is worth pointing out that this is the first time in Somaliland's history that a tribal gathering has shrouded with secrecy a whole section regarding the points reached at their conference.

Silanyo's descent from a party leader to clan-based and tribal minded politician exposed his true colors and showed just how low this man would stoop in order to gain the presidency. His agitation of his own clan has made ordinary Somalilanders asking themselves how such a man can be relied on to lead a democracy when he himself is subverting democracy by practicing clan politics. Furthermore, Silanyo's dictatorial attitudes at the recent Kulmiye conference in Burao have undermined whatever little credibility he had left and made it clear that he does not possess the competence or the caliber to rule a party let alone a country.

However, all these unscrupulous actions on the part of Silanyo are an indication of his ever growing desperation to become president at all costs. It is quite obvious that he will cry foul if he loses the election just like he did the last time but with vengeance this time around. Sources close to the ageing Silanyo say that he has even gone as far as promising different politicians ministerial portfolios in his `'first cabinet'' provided that they campaign on his behalf. But this tactic has backfired when it turned out that a couple of candidates found out that one or another candidate had been offered the same ministry by wannabe-president Silanyo. But what is more alarming is what these Kulmiye insiders reveal: that Silanyo has given a clear hint that he will not concede defeat even if he loses the election. Taking into consideration Silanyo's past deeds, power-hungry nature and deviousness it is not hard to believe his threat because for the aging Silanyo this is his last battle for a seat that he has always coveted, for him it is do or die, the presidency or perish.

By Faisal Haji Noor Abdalla, Strasbourg, France. fai_noor@hotmail.com

* Silanyo's date of birth is unknown and even his own party's website avoids mentioning his date of birth in his CV posted on their website Kulmiye.org. However, this CV starts his lifehistory with the mention thathe attended the secondary schools of Sheikh and Amoud from 1946-1957. This means that he probably was born in 1935 and if we allocate a 2 year minus or plus margin this makes him in the range of 71 to 77 years. If he ever won the elections this would put him in the notorious group of the oldest ever Somali presidents such as Abdullahi Yusuf and Siad Barre.


NUSOJ Condemns Somali Red Crescent and Somaliland Police for Arrest of Journalist

http://www.australia.to/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=351:nusoj&catid=1:latest,

MOGADISHU - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is appalled to learn of arrest and treatment meted out by Somaliland police to journalist Abdiqani Ismail Goh of Radio Las Anod.

The journalist was arrested in 17 September, after head of Somali Red Crescent (SRC) in Las Anod Mr Dakir Ali Nur submitted to police a complaint against Abdiqani Ismail Goh, regarding news report on SRC's food distribution that the journalist published on the internet. In the news report the journalist cited residents protesting how the food was distributed.

The arrest of the journalist was ordered by head of Somaliland police division in Las Anod, Mr Abdi Muse. When NUSOJ contacted the journalist in his small room in police station, the journalist said the SRC head in Las Anod was behind as the police officer told Abdiqani. As well, Mr Dakir Ali Nur visited the police station at the arrest and reportedly threatened to the journalist face-to-face.

The head of the police, who presented to Abdiqani copy of this news report the journalist published, also accused the journalist of not having official recognition letter or identification from Somaliland Ministry of information to work as a journalist in Las Anod.

"We unequivocally condemn this reprehensible detention of our colleague Abdiqani Ismail Goh and we demand his immediate and unconditional release" said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. "In light of the full involvement of the Red Crescent, which is against fundamental human rights of human being, particularly the right to freedom of expression, we ask all forces for human rights and freedom of expression to impress upon the Somali Red Crescent in Las Anod and the Somaliland Police that this arrest is intolerable and shameful one that urgent action needs to be taken against this unlawful imprisonment" Omar added

In May this year, journalist Abdiqani Ismail Goh was summoned at Las Anod police station for questioning after he was accused of disseminating information against Somaliland government and the administration in Las Anod. Since then, his movements were being followed by the police, according to him and fellow journalists in Las Anod.

Recently Somaliland police in Las Anod also arrested two Radio Las Anod journalists, namely Abdiasis Ahmed Suleyman and Mohamed Ali Elmi, for being against policy of Somaliland administration in Las Anod.

SOURCE : National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)


Somalia journalist union condemns arrest of journalist in Somaliland

http://www.apanews.net/apa.php?page=show_article_eng&id_article=75850

APA-Mogadishu (Somalia) The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSAJ) on Friday expressed worry about Somali journalist, Abdiqani Ismail, who was arrested on Wednesday by Somaliland police and the type of treatment meted out to him.

The arrest of the journalist took place in Las Anod, the administrative capital of Sool region of Somaliland, after the head of the Somaliland Red Crescent (SRC) in Las Anod Mr Dakir Ali Nur complained to the police regarding a news report on SRC's food distribution that the journalist Abdiqani Ismail Goh, published on the internet. In the report, Goh cited residents protesting about how the food was being distributed.

"We unequivocally condemn this reprehensible detention of our colleague and we demand for his immediate and unconditional release," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General, in a statement.

"In light of the full involvement of the Red Crescent, which supports fundamental human rights, particularly the right to freedom of expression, we ask all defenders of human rights and freedom of expression to impress upon the Somali Red Crescent in Las Anod and the Somaliland police that this arrest is intolerable," the statement says.

In May this year, journalist Abdiqani Ismail Goh was summoned at Las Anod police station for questioning after he was accused of disseminating information against the Somaliland government and the administration in Las Anod. Since then, his movements were being followed by the police, according to him and his colleagues in Las Anod.

Recently, the Somaliland police in Las Anod also arrested two Radio Las Anod journalists, namely Abdiasis Ahmed Suleyman and Mohamed Ali Elmi, for being critical of the policies of the Somaliland administration in Las Anod.


Somaliland:the light at dark tunnel of the horn of Africa

http://www.qarannews.com/ by somalilandpatriots, Sep 20, 2008

The Speaker of Somaliland House of Representatives Hon. Abdirahman M Abdillahi met 17 september at the House of Swedish Parliament with Mrs Birgitta Ohlsson, member of the Swedish parliament, member committee on Foreign Affairs, Spokesperson Foreign Affairs, Liberal party and President Liberal Women of Sweden, Gunilla Davidsson, General secretary, Swedish International Liberal Centre (SILC, Jenny Sonesson General Secretary Liberal and others at the Swedish parliament.

The Speaker was accompanied at the meeting by Eidarus Sh Adan, Somaliland ambassador to Sweden and Dr Zeinab M Muse, a Somaliland Patriot from Germany.

The speaker briefed Birgitta Ohlsson and the other about the current situation of Somaliland and the forthcoming elections in march 2009 and the on-going preparations.

Birgitta Ohlsson informed the Speaker about Swedish position of Somaliland and she welcomes that the date for the coming presidential election have been set and look forward to be in Hargeisa during the election. Mrs Birgitta Ohlsson told the Speaker that there will be observers from the Swedish parliament during the coming election . Birgitta Ohlsson see Somaliland as light at the dark tunnel in the horn of Africa, an area of conflict and lack of democracy.


Mrs Gunilla Davidsson, SILC, informed the Speaker about the work they are doing in Somaliland. The Swedish International Liberal Centre is working with Nagaad (umbrella organisation for Somaliland women organisations).

The target of the co.-operation is to empower Somaliland women when it comes womens participation in politics. A Swedish delegation from SILC will come to Somaliland end of 2008 or beginning of 2009.

Eidarus Sh Adan, the Somaliland ambassador to Sweden expressed his appreciation the work Birgitta Ohlsson is doing for Somaliland recognition and the support for democracy. There have been 2 parliamentary bills presented by Birgitta Ohlsson at the Swedish Parliament.

Immediately after the talks a seminar about Somaliland Womens participation in politics began at the House of Parliament in Stockholm.

The seminar gathered officials from the Swedish government, Agencies, organisations, business community and others who are interested to hear about the positive developments that are taking place in Somaliland.


One of the presentations of the seminar was made by Dr Zeinab M Muse from Heidelberg, Germany.

She talked about the role of the Somaliland women in Europe and in Somaliland and what is needed to be done so that the women can participate the Somaliland society fully.

Dr Zeibnab M Muse is involved in a project helping Somaliand in the heathcare and she committed to make a difference so women can get access to healthcare and education.

The Speaker of the Somaliland house of representatives told the audience that the Somaliland constitution gives equal rights to men and women but it is obvious that womens are underrespresented in society.

The Somaliland parliament is considering one way to increase the numbers of elected womens and that is to give quota to womens like for example 10% of the seat will be given to womens,


Somaliland's readies for upcoming election

http://www.qarannews.com/ by The Sub-Saharan Informer, Sep 16, 2008

HARGEISA, Somaliland- The government of Somaliland this week has announced that it would commit 30 percent funds required for the registration of voters for the horn of African nation's upcoming elections, seventy percent of the fund has already been pledged by donors for the general elections slated for next march.

In an exclusive interview with SSI, Somaliland's minister of Finance Mr. Husein Ali Duale stated that despite the current global food and oil price hikes taking a toll on the nation all efforts are being made to carry out a successful election.

Minister Husein Ali forecasted that UDUB, the incumbent party of Somaliland will win the upcoming elections with majority because of the achievements made by the party. "I know my political friends Mr. Siilaanyo and Mr. Waraabe, the two chairpersons of the opposition parties couldn't cope with the international community because there will be problems which they do not have the capability to solve with courage.


But the current president of the republic of Somaliland and his Vice president who will once again stand for election. President Rayaale have the knack to lead Somaliland and solve easily the internal problems of the nation", said Minister Husein Ali.


In the unlikely event that UDUB looses in the upcoming elections Minister Husein Ali said that the party would make efforts for a smooth handover of power to the victor.


"That is how it goes if we want to show the world we are maintaining a strong democracy, but I don't think the opposition candidates will get a chance to lead the country because they have nothing to show the voters and people can see right now who they are going to be with", said Minister Husein Ali.


The minister showed concern in preparing for the upcoming presidential elections in light of the prevailing global food and oil crisis.

"Somaliland in respect to other nations receives little support from the international community because of its recognition as a state is still in limbo. Had we been given recognition our ability to cope with the global economic crisis would have been more effective", said minister Husein Ali.


According to Minister Husein Ali the delay in international recognition inhibits the nation's ability from soliciting loans from donors as well as international banks. As a result to cope with the prevailing international economic turmoil the government had to redesign its annual budget.


"We carefully tried hard to support the most affected people who couldn't afford to continue their daily lives normally either in water shortage or the high prices of food and oil. we strongly built our police and military either by equipping them lightly or paying them all the necessary payments so we could defend our borders in Sool and east of the Sanaag regions and now we are willing by November to change the old Somali shillings currency in the Togdher region, its big a achievement", said Minister Husein Ali.


Minister Husein Ali also reaffirmed the government's commitment to continue in the tasks of nation building despite the problems of high prices of food and oil.


The minister further talked about the relationship between Somaliland and Ethiopia and mentioned that relations are improving and the government is planning to send a big delegation after the Ramadan fasting season to hold further discussions on expanding trade between the two neighborly nations.

By Moha Dahir Farah Jire

Source: The Sub-Saharan Informer


France recognizes de facto Somaliland

by Mahamud Salah Nur.

http://www.qarannews.com/ Sept 15, 2008

I had various positions since Somaliland was created again. A national charter was adopted in 1993 in Borama and government structures came into existence. I became then a member of parliament representing my Sanaag region up to 1997 when late president Egal was elected. Then I joined the government as minister of Foreign Affairs until 2001. When the political parties were created I became one of the founders of Kulmiye party. Lately I was chosen by president Riyale, taken into consideration my background, even though I belong to an opposition party and I did not leave my party. I was appointed as a representative in France.

And the Somaliland government has decided to open an office taken into consideration the position of France as one of the great powers. It is a force to reckon with in Europe and we have decided to introduce the French language into the educational system. Now French is beeing taught in the universities of Somaliland, both in Borama and Hargeisa. I just have arrived to open this office.

LNA. – It cannot be an official diplomatic representation because there is no recognition yet. What can be your status?

MSN. – Recognition has got two aspects. You have de facto recognition and de jure recognition. What we have now is de facto recognition. France takes into consideration the fact that Somaliland has existed for 17 years and single-handedly was able to survive, has shown unbelievable resilience to survive on its own. To day without boast Somaliland is a force to reckon with in the region.

It has got the most democratic institutions, it has got the freest press, it has got a real functioning parliament and lot of things are controlled by the opposition. As you know we have separation of powers. The legislative, the judiciary and the executive. The parliament is controlled by the opposition which has got the majority. So it is something like cohabitation in a strange way on that part of the continent.

LNA. – You mentionned recognition de facto. Are you referring to the visits of French diplomats to Hargeisa last October and more recently? Do you think this is a first step toward full recognition?

MSN. – We think that there is a growing awareness worldwide that it is high time, it is overdue that the world has finally to grant Somaliland a legal, diplomatic recognition because the international community has realized that we have met all the conditions for a fully-fledged state, all the requirements as stipulated in the Montevideo Convention on recognition of states in the sense that we have fixed boundaries, permanent population with all the functional institutions of a state and we have legitimacy because we had several elections. We had presidential elections, we had parliamentary elections.

By the way we are unique in East Africa in the sense that we have a president who is there by the virtue of the fact that we had national elections with a thin majority of 80 votes. That has happened nowhere in the world.

And above all we are an oasis of peace and stability in the region. Thus number of people say this merits the respect of the international community.

LNA. – One strange thing is that while European countries like France and Great Britain have started to have relations, even if they are unofficial, inside the African Union they are waiting to do something. In your opinion will the African Union continue to wait and take no decision ?

MSN. – It is a very interesting question. In fact having officially made an application for membership in the African Union, a high level delegation was sent to Somaliland and finally a draft report was written, a very positive report about the situation which prevails in Somaliland.

It strongly recommends that Somaliland should be recognized and admitted into the African Union, that our country cannot be equated to Biafra or to any split state but that Somaliland is unique in the sense that it meets all the conditions for a fully-fledged state.

What Somaliland has done is fully in harmony with the charter of the African Union. This is now seriously debated by African countries and we think soon, inch'Allah, they will reach a positive decision.

LNA. – Beeing now in France do you plan to meet some personalities to inform them, in the ministry of Foreign Affairs for instance ?

MSN. – The Foreign Ministry has already agreed in February that Somaliland should be given the right to open an office to represent our country. Not fully diplomatic but a sort of ex officio.

LNA. – Like the Palestinian representation ?

MSN. – Something along that line. You call it officieux. The decision of recognition will be taken by France and by the European countries. France cannot take this decision alone but it will have to consult other European governments. France will be chairman of the European Union by the first of July.We think by then the Europeans will seriously debate the issue of the recognition of Somaliland and that depends on how much efforts we put in to convince and sell our gopel to Europeans.

LNA. – You have a lot of work ahead. Welcome to this country. We shall certainly meet again.

MSN. – Thank you


Somalia: Somaliland Leader Visiting Europe

http://allafrica.com/stories/200809150592.html/ 14 September 2008, source: Garowe Online

The president of Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland, Mr. Dahir Riyale Kahin, flew from the region's capital Hargeisa on Friday to Europe via the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Mr. Riyale was accompanied on this trip by First Lady Huda Barkad, Foreign Affairs Minister Abdullahi Mohamed Du'ale and Finance Minister Hussein Ali Du'ale.


The Somaliland leader is scheduled to begin his visit in France, before proceeding to Germany and the United Kingdom, government officials said.

While in Europe, Mr. Riyale will appeal to the European Union to deal with Somaliland as a political entity independent of Somalia in the distribution of aid.

Mr. Nicolah Bwakira, the African Union's Special Envoy to Somalia, visited the Somaliland regions on Friday and met privately with President Riyale.

The AU Envoy told reporters that he last visited the region in 1993 and was "impressed" with the security and economic development in Hargeisa, Somalia's second-largest city and the capital of Somaliland.

"It was a must that I visit Somaliland and see first-hand the democratization process," Mr. Bwakira said at the Hargeisa presidential compound, adding that he will present his findings to AU heads of state.

For his part, the Somaliland leader criticized the AU, Arab states and European countries for "ignoring" positive developments in Somaliland.

Mr. Riyale said Somaliland is peaceful and "independent" of the chaos in southern Somalia, citing daily acts of violence, a massive refugee exodus and piracy as examples.


Press Release:Somaliland MP comments on Asante Oil deal

http://www.garoweonline.com/ 14 Sep, 2008

In this week a team from a little-known, infant company called Asante Oil has been visiting Hargeisa, the capital, and had some meetings with the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Water. On August 21, 2008, Thursday-night, Mr. Jarand Rystad named as the Chairman of the Board of the company has invited around 40 members for a gathering intended `to honor Asante Oil (Norwegian Oil Company) which will commence an important oil exploration in Somaliland Republic' [quoted from the invitation card]. To the astonishment of all, none of the local stakeholders and professionals in the fields of oil and mining was invited; while almost all the participants were government officers and individuals from Somaliland Diaspora.

Moreover, a very brief presentation [approx. 8 minutes] delivered by Asante team has accentuated the ambiguity and haziness in the dealings with little-known, newly formed oil companies which we have discussed in our earlier press statements. The presentation was very concise, conveyed little information, and feedback from participants was not allowed. In every aspect, this gathering, which was stage- Saeed Mohamed Elmi, Somaliland MP managed by Qassim [Minister for Minerals], had further augmented the rift between the Ministry and Somaliland House of Representatives.

`Agreements' between The Minister for Mineral Resources and Water and two Norwegian entities, namely TGS-NOPEC and Asante Oil, have never been submitted to the House of Representatives for Final Approval, as prescribed by the Constitution. More sternly, the agreement with TGS-NOPEC has been implemented, in all its important aspects, without the approval of House of Representatives. Data relating to minerals and oil and the geological structure of the Republic of Somaliland are now in the hands of foreigners while there is no agreed law, properly passed by the House that governs its usage. As is stated in the a GTS publication, and also reiterated by Asante team, almost in this month of August 2008, TGS-NOPEC plans to sell at the open market the minerals and oil data of the Republic of Somaliland for indeterminate sums that no one knows, other than the Minister and the company. The arrangements and procedures for accounting the proceeds from data sales are unclear and fishy. This is a clear violation of Somaliland constitution, financial regulations, and principles of good governance – transparency and accountability. Here, the irony is TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company, which is enjoying its share of this blunder, is registered in Norway, a European country which preaches the third world on principles of transparency and good governance and is assumed as one of the less corrupt states on this globe.

Furthermore, Asante Oil has enthusiastically declared, within their brief presentation, that their `agreement' with Minister Qassim has been `finally ratified'. This is a clear violation of the constitution and the principles of good governance.

Therefore, I hereby declare that:

  1. We are very disappointed by the approach in which the Minister for Mineral Resources and Water and the two companies, namely TGS-NOPEC and Asante Oil, are managing the natural resources of our country
  2. We notify TGS-NOPEC and Asante Oil that their agreements with the Somaliland Government are not legally binding unless they are approved by the House of Representatives.
  3. Any operation fulfilled by any foreign company in this field prior to the final approval of their `agreement' with the government will be deemed as a violation of the Somaliland Laws.

Thank you

Saeed Mohamed Elmi, Secretary
Natural Resources and Environment Subcommittee Somaliland House of Representative.

REPUBLIC OF SOMALILAND
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF THE
ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE

The national media has been recently reporting disagreements between the Office of the Secretary of the Natural Resources & Environment Subcommittee [House of Representatives] on one side, and, on the other side the Minister of Mineral Resources & Water. This legal controversy, as noted in a letter sent to the office of the Minister [Letter Ref No. GW/G/21/244/2008 dated 23/06/2008] and subsequent press statements, is mainly based on secret agreements struck between the Minister and little known foreign companies, foremost of which are TGS-NOPEC and Asante Oil. These ambiguous agreements have become the core discussion for the legislative council, media and the public at large. This stems from the disbelieve and mistrust that surfaced with the eccentric ministerial statements in which Mr. Qassim has been incessantly renouncing the constitutional rights of the House of Representatives regarding the ratification/approval of agreements with foreign companies. These ministerial statements revealed the level of legal violation and the intensity of professional misconduct jointly exercised, or at least mutually designed, by the Minister and the two aforementioned Norwegian entities.

Furthermore, in the last three weeks, there was significant debate on the objectives behind the timing of Asante operations [the Presidential Election Campaign is already gathering momentum] and the selection of that specific Eastern Zone which is unerringly renowned as opposition stronghold. The visit of Asante Oil team in the Eastern part of Somaliland has affirmed the doubts about the Minister's intentions in that Zone. We have received confidential information asserting the existence of election campaigning associated with the Minister's unilateral reception, negotiation and recognition of the two Norwegian companies. The minutes of the meetings of Asante and ministry's team with elders, youth and other influential individuals in that zone has all the hallmarks of election campaigning. This is a very serious dangerous development and will adversely affect the fairness of the forthcoming election, the stability of that eastern zone and the reputation of the two European companies. Therefore, we hereby state that:

  1. We reiterate that agreements struck between the Somaliland government and foreign companies will not be legally binding unless approved by the House of Representatives.

  2. We announce that the activities of Asante Oil in the Eastern part of Somaliland have already generated political sensitivities and have created authority and resource based conflicts.

  3. We appeal to all peace loving and democratic institutions and the Norwegian state and people to assist us in precluding the violation of our laws performed by TGS-NOPEC and Asante Oil.

  4. We urge Somaliland Diaspora in Norway and neighboring countries to participate in the demonstrations against the illegal agreements of TGS-NOPEC and Asante oil which will be held in Norway after the month of Ramadan.


Saeed Mohamed Elmi,
Secretary Natural resources and Environment Subcommitte House of Representatives
Somaliland Republic


BBC Monitoring International Reports, September 13, 2008/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 13 Sep 08/BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND LEADER LEAVES FOR FRANCE FOLLOWING "INVITATION"

[Presenter] A delegation led by the president of the Republic of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, this afternoon left for France on a working mission. This followed an invitation. The delegation flew from Hargeysa's Igal International Airport. The president, who spoke to journalists at the airport lounge, said the visit to France follows invitation from the French government. He said that he would hold talks with French leaders, adding that France was the current chair of the European Union. The president stated that although Somaliland had no relations with France, it has an office there. [Kahin] First, I will visit France where I have an appointment with the French government. France is the current chair of the EU. I haven't visited France before. They accepted us to open an office in their country; that is my mission. After I return, God willing [words indistinct] [Presenter] The president added that he also planned to visit Germany on medical grounds. The president and his delegation was seen off at the airport by the vice-president, Ahmad Yusuf Yasin, and other government officials. The president inspected a guard of honour mounted by the national armed forces. He was accompanied by the first lady, the minister of finance, and his personal secretary.


Somaliland Is Expected To Receive Larger American Aid In The Coming Year, Says US Diplomat During Visit To Hargeysa

From http://somalilandtimes.net/

Hargeysa, Somaliland, September 13, 2008 (SL Times) – A US diplomat who visited Hargeysa earlier this week disclosed that Somaliland would receive more American aid in the coming year than it did in the past.

Jessica Davis Ba who is responsible for Somali political and economic affairs at the US embassy in Nairobi , Kenya , said they hoped to keep the level of assistance for Somaliland increasing in the future, depending on the ability to show real measurable results on ground.

The US embassy officer, who was accompanied by Hodan Hassan from USAID, arrived in Hargeysa on last Tuesday.

The duo discussed bilateral aid, democratization and security issues with Somaliland government officials, leaders of political parties and parliament as well as international organizations which are carrying out US-funded projects in Somaliland.

Ms Davis also indicated that the US administration has no intention of establishing a diplomatic office in Hargeysa anytime soon.

"We have no plans to open an office in Somaliland at this time" she said in a Somaliland Times interview.

It was the first visit to be paid by American diplomats to Somaliland in 2 years.

For the full interview with American diplomat Jessica Davis Ba, see below.

Interview By The Somaliland Times With Jessica Davis Ba, Officer For Political/Economic Affairs In Somalia At The US Embassy In Nairobi During Her Visit To Hargeysa On September 7, 2008

Hargeysa, Somaliland, September 13, 2008 – (SL Times)

Question: What was the purpose of your visit to Somaliland?

Answer: This was a working level visit with my colleague from the US agency for international development Hodan Hassan. We came to follow up some of the same themes that have been discussed when Assistant Secretary Frazer came to Hargeysa in February. So we took the opportunity to meet with our partners here who are working with the government of Somaliland, the political parties in Somaliland and the people of Somaliland on educational issues, on democratization issues and on electoral issues. So we have had the chance to exchange with them information about how the projects are going. We also had the opportunity to meet with our wonderful host, the high officials from the Somaliland government. We were able to talk with them about the opportunities as well as the challenges that the people of Somaliland are currently facing.

We took the opportunity to congratulate the government as well as the political parties as key stakeholders who are able to get through the electoral crisis early this year and return to consensus politics through dialogue and through compromise.

We wanted to make it clear that the US government at the highest levels has noticed that all the stakeholders did on that electoral process and we forward to seeing how the registration process goes as well as the presidential elections in 2009. Those were some of the opportunities.

But also we have talked about some of the challenges that Somaliland is facing such as the high food and oil prices which despite being global, Somalilanders in particular are having very difficult time to deal with.

We discussed the issue of people who come to Somaliland after fleeing other places in crisis or war and the pressure that this [influx] is having in Somaliland . We shared some ideas about how we can work in partnership on both political and economic development issues.

Q: Are there any plans for the US to increase its assistance for Somaliland ?

A: We talked about the assistance level. The assistance that the US government gives varies and with the coming year it is going to be larger for Somaliland than it was in the past years and we hope to keep increasing that by being able to show real measurable results. So that is why it was important for us to have the opportunity to engage our partners directly on that issue. We haven't had the opportunity to talk with them directly for 2 years. So this is a step in the direct direction towards that.

Q: Have you discussed security issues in the light of concerns here that some of the insecurity prevailing in the wider region such as piracy in lawless Somalia may spillover into peaceful Somaliland ?

A: We did indeed talk about security issues, particularly the huge upsurge in recent weeks on piracy. We really discussed what are the root causes of that and the fact that young people who are graduating from schools without job prospects are looking for fast and easy money by turning to piracy and other illicit activities because they see that as an opportunity. So we talked about the ways in which we could have a more robust-relationship with respect to information exchange and cooperation about piracy issues.

As you have mentioned security concerns have generally been difficult for a while in this region. But in particularly the piracy issue has taken a whole new level and Washington is very concerned about it. We talked about the recent arrests in Somaliland of several pirates who were then tried and sent to prison. So we were able to hear some specific steps that Somaliland is taking to address the piracy issue.

Q: Does the US government intend to open a liaison office in Somaliland?

A: We have no plans to open an office in Somaliland at this time. But we do have our partners who do have offices here in Somaliland and are implementing projects funded by the people of the United States .


Source: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 10 Sep 2008 http://www.reliefweb.int/

Somaliland's legal clinic spreads its wings

Four years ago UNDP helped establish a service which has transformed the lives of many citizens of Somaliland. The UNDP Legal Clinic based out of Hargeisa University has been offering free legal advice to the people of Hargeisa since 2004, giving guidance and representation to people formerly excluded from the legal process by their inability to pay the cost of hiring a lawyer.

The Legal Aid clinic is staffed by nine legal aid lawyers assisted by students from the university's law faculty. Last year saw them expand their activities beyond Hargeisa to provide outreach services in Burao, Berbera, Erigavo, Boromo and Gabilay, recruiting legal aid lawyers in those regions to take on cases and represent clients free of charge.

A dedicated human rights section was added to the clinic last year, with funds partly provided by UNHCR, and has resulted in an increase in legal assistance provided to IDPs and refugees living in the settlements around Hargeisa. They have benefited from advice in a variety of civil and criminal cases as well as on immigration and asylum claims.

This expansion has seen a rapid increase in the number of cases dealt with by the Legal Clinic from 174 in 2006 to 509 in 2007, including 250 remand cases, a tribute to the dedication and determination of the clinic team and an indication of its growing profile and reputation not only in Hargeisa but throughout Somaliland.

The head of the Regional Court in Gabiley, a town an hour and a half drive from Hargeisa, says, "We have been impressed with the Legal Clinic over the last year. Whenever people have requested lawyers and they cannot afford one, the Legal Clinic has been on hand to help. We hope this cooperation continues".

The Clinic has represented clients in a number of ground breaking cases over the last year. One such case was a civil matter concerning a client from a clan affiliated with the former regime. He had owned property in Hargeisa which was then appropriated by persons belonging to a Somaliland based clan. He approached the Legal Clinic who agreed to assist. After a number of hearings throughout the Court System, the Supreme Court of Somaliland eventually found in favour of the Legal Clinic and ordered the property to be returned to its rightful owner. The case was seen as a landmark, illustrating the transparency and growing independence of the Judiciary here in that the court was not afraid to go against what is perceived to be the status quo.

Another important case involved a victim of an assault in which he had suffered extensive head and facial injuries, leaving him scarred and destitute as a result of being incapacitated. The Legal Clinic agreed to act, bringing a civil claim for loss of earnings and compensation against the suspect, and referring the case to the police who brought a criminal prosecution. The court sentenced the suspect to six months imprisonment and ordered him to pay compensation to the client. Following his release from prison, he is paying this compensation in monthly installments to the court.

The Dean of Hargeisa University's law faculty and director of the Legal Clinic, Mohamoud Hussein Farah, explains, "The case was important because of the linkages between civil and criminal law, it is rare here that in criminal cases that a civil action will necessarily follow. This case was an important development."

Goals for 2008 include building on the growth of last year, expanding the clinic's coverage in the regions while consolidating their work in Hargeisa. The Dean is an enthusiastic supporter of the clinic.

"The Legal Clinic has an important role to play in the administration of justice, in developing jurisprudence in Somaliland and in ensuring that everyone who wants to is represented when they have their day in court. This can only help to ensure that everyone has a fair trial."

Bringing justice for the poor motivates paralegal adviser

Hussein Aw Deria has been working as a paralegal in UNDP's Legal Clinic since November last year. He and another paralegal, Adam Ali Buale, visit each of Hargeisa's eight police stations twice a day where they are given free access to the cells and the police registers detailing arrests and charges. Their aim is simple: to provide legal assistance to the poor and vulnerable in Hargeisa and to provide that advice free of charge.

In the few months since he started this work, Hussein has helped provide free legal advice in more than 50 criminal and civil cases including assault, theft, extortion as well as as domestic violence and rape in one month. He has also provided assistance in a number of civil cases involving land issues and compensation. In each of these cases Hussein has used his experience and judgement and either referred the case to UNDP Legal Aid lawyers or, where appropriate, sought to resolve them himself.

He is enthusiastic about the impact of his and the Legal Clinic's work, "we provide free legal assistance for everyone. In the past suspects might wait on remand for months, but we are trying to reverse this and ensure that people's cases are dealt with quickly and, moreover, that they have their day in court".

Hussein, 55, and Ali, a former police officer, are themselves graduates of Hargeisa law faculty and amongst the first group to graduate in 2006 after UNDP's support for the faculty began in 2004. Hussein was not able to afford the fees and applied for and was granted a full scholarship by UNDP. He is now committed to assisting his Community through the Legal Clinic saying, "I believe it is important to give a voice to the poor and the vulnerable. The Legal Clinic has been able to do that. It is important for these people to have a lawyer if we are serious about giving everyone, rich or poor, a fair trial."

Over the last two months Hussein has helped personally in resolving a number of civil and criminal cases. Earlier this year he represented a 13 year old girl who had been arrested for shoplifting and was being held in detention at a police station in Hargeisa. Hussein explained "because of my intervention, the case was expedited and heard by the Court within three days. Before the hearing I mediated between the child's parents and the owner of the shop, during which the owner agreed to an out of court settlement and all charges against the child were dropped. She has now been reunited with her parents".

Hussein is committed to providing free legal assistance to the people of Hargeisa.

"The chance UNDP gave me in helping me gain a quality legal education at Hargeisa University now means I can put my knowledge into practice and also improve the administration of Justice in Somaliland. Thank you to UNDP for giving me the opportunity to help to realize this".


Somalia: 15 years each for Somaliland piracy suspects

http://www.garoweonline.com/ 8 Sep 8, 2008

BERBERA, A court in Somalia's breakaway northwestern region of Somaliland has sentenced five suspects to 15 years each, after the court convicted the men of plotting a pirate attack near the port of Berbera. Osman Dahir, Berbera Court chairman, told Radio Garowe during a Monday interview that the five suspects were convicted after police found two speedboats and weapons including rocket launchers at their home. The suspects were arrested on September 2 in Berbera. "Another suspect, who is not in custody, was sentenced to 15 years also," Mr. Dahir said, without naming the missing suspect. The weapons and equipment the suspected pirates wanted to use for future attacks were handed over to Somaliland security forces, according to the Berbera Court chairman. Piracy is a major problem in Puntland, a neighboring region in northeastern Somalia where local pirates are currently holding upwards of 10 foreign vessels for ransom.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, September 5, 2008/Source: Garoweonline.com in Somali 4 Sep

SOMALILAND RELEASES FROM CUSTODY FORMER ELECTORAL COMMISSION OFFICIAL

The former deputy chairman of the Somaliland electoral commission, Hirsi Haji Ali, who was under detention for a long time under by the CID [Criminal Investigations Department] was released yesterday. No charges were presented against him in court. The Somaliland government has not commented on the release and it's not clear why authorities decided to free him. The government arrested him claiming he had links with the Al-Shabab Islamic Movement of southern Somalia. The police arrested Hirsi Haji Ali in Burco, the provincial capital of the Togdheer Region [eastern Somaliland]. He was accused of mobilizing a group opposed to a business deal between Somaliland and an Arab businessman, Al-Jabiri. The group had assembled battlewagons. [Passage omitted]


After al Shabaab allegations, Somaliland releases politician

http://www.garoweonline.com/ 4 Sep 4, 2008

HARGEISA, Somalia Sep 4 (Garowe Online) - A Somali politician in the country's northwestern breakaway republic of Somaliland was released Thursday after spending a month in jail, Radio Garowe reported. Hersi Haji Ali, who resigned from the Somaliland Election Commission, was released by order from President Dahir Riyale.

Mr. Hersi was not formally charged with any crime, but Somaliland Interior Minister Abdullahi Irro had accused the politician of having "links to al Shabaab," a militant group spearheading an anti-Ethiopia insurgency in south-central Somalia.

Sources in the Somaliland capital Hargeisa said Mr. Hersi's arrest was linked to his opposition to the Somaliland administration's agreement with Saudi Arabian company al Jabberi, which gave the company exclusive rights to export livestock via the Port of Berbera.

The Somaliland Livestock Traders' Union, for which Mr. Hersi was deputy chairman, opposes the al Jabberi deal on grounds it gives a foreign company a "monopoly" in the most important sector of the local economy.


Somalia: Somaliland police detain 5 'piracy suspects'

http://www.garoweonline.com/ 2 Sep 2, 2008

BERBERA. Police authorities in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland arrested five men on Monday on suspicions of piracy, Radio Garowe reported.

The five men include Somalis from the Somaliland regions, as well as others from neighboring Puntland, a region renowned for pirate activities.

Mohamed Dubad, Somaliland's police commissioner, confirmed to local media that the five men were detained at a house in the port city of Berbera and are being held at the police station.

But he declined further comment, saying that the case is "under investigation."

Security sources in Berbera said the five suspects were "planning" to hijack ships and hold them hostage for ransom payment.

Currently, there are at least six foreign ships being held for ransom near Somalia's Puntland coast.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, August 30, 2008/Source: Radio Simba, Mogadishu, in Somali 1000 gmt 30 Aug 08 BBC Monitoring

SOMALIA MEDIA SEMINAR UNDER WAY IN HARGEYSA

Thirty two Somali journalists from different media organizations attended a seminar in Hargeysa, the capital of Somaliland. The seminar was organized by the Education Development Centre. The training was intended for Somali journalists from all over the country. The training seminar was conducted by foreigners. [Passage omitted-Background]
BBC Monitoring International Reports, September 1, 2008/Source: Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 1 Sep 08/BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND POLICE ARREST PIRATES FROM PUNTLAND

Somaliland police said they have arrested a group of Somali pirates along the coast of Berbera [Somaliland's main port town].

Police arrested five men said to be members of Somali pirates on board two boats, and armed with bazooka, and a number of AK 47 guns.

The pirates, said to hail from Puntland regional administration of Somalia, were accused of planing to abduct ships that dock at the port of Berbera.

Somaliland government officials stated that they were pursuing another group of pirates hiding in Hargeysa [Somaliland's capital], saying that they would be arrested anytime.

This is not the first time that Somaliland police have arrested such groups, who are trying to destabilize peace in Somaliland.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, August 30, 2008/Source: Radio Simba, Mogadishu, in Somali 1000 gmt 30 Aug 08/BBC Monitoring

SOMALIA MEDIA SEMINAR UNDER WAY IN HARGEYSA

Thirty two Somali journalists from different media organizations attended a seminar in Hargeysa, the capital of Somaliland. The seminar was organized by the Education Development Centre.

The training was intended for Somali journalists from all over the country.

The training seminar was conducted by foreigners. [Passage omitted-Background]


The Objectives of the Ministry of commerce,

Written by Deputy Minister of Commerce
http://www.qarannews.com/ Aug 30, 2008

Dp. Minister of Commerce

The Objectives of the Ministry of commerce, the role of the private sector and Investment climate of Somaliland.

In the last seven years, the government of Somaliland has thoroughly revised its various policies and legislation to create a more conducive climate for private sector growth and investment. Above all, the government maintains a healthy and on-going dialogue with the private sector, local and foreign.

The Somaliland of today is very different from that of the 1970s and 80s when we were almost totally a centrally planned economy (during the union with the failed state of Somalia). We came to realize, at considerable cost, that governments are not very good at doing business. So we decided to leave business to business people and concentrate instead on the traditional functions of state, including social services, law and order, administration, and promulgation and enforcement of regulatory mechanisms.

We embarked on far-reaching economic reforms aimed at:

Guaranteeing sustainable low levels of inflation;

- Ensuring higher revenue collection through widening the tax base on the one hand, and prudent fiscal management on the other;
- Producing positive rates of growth;
- Ensuring stable exchange rates and currency;
- Creating a conducive environment for greater private sector participation in the economy;
- Withdrawing the public sector from direct participation in productive and commercial activities; and
- Generally creating a stable and conducive macro-economic framework for investment and growth

Current State of the Economy

Investment promotion is recognized worldwide as an indispensable strategy for developing and diversifying the economy. In our country, diversification of the economy is particularly important because our over dependence on livestock whose markets are susceptible to the pressures of today’s fast changing world and the lack of the diplomatic recognition places us at great risk. We have seen cases of countries that were once heavily dependant on mineral wealth just like ours today but have now become some of the world’s poor countries around. In the same breath, we have seen situations where countries have moved from being the poorest in the world to being among the wealthiest. A typical example here is Ireland, which in the 1950s was one of the poorest countries in Europe, with citizens queuing at the borders to leave to look for greener pastures elsewhere. Today it boasts one of the strongest and most vibrant economies in Europe, which it has attained through foreign direct investment attraction. This is what we should aim for.

Foreign direct investment is a commodity that virtually all countries, developed and undeveloped are fiercely competing for. Investors look for locations where capital is sufficiently remunerated and where there are minimum obstacles to setting up a business. It is therefore critical that we remove all barriers and intensify our efforts to attract FDI.

Foreign direct investment in Somaliland's economy is at the center of our plans for building a more prosperous country and a better future for our own people, as well as people's throughout the region. In this strategy, foreign investment leads the way.

The country offers one of the best favorable destinations for foreign and local investors in the region. The government is therefore undertaking measures aimed at further improving the business environment for existing and potential investors. In this regard the Ministry of commerce is preparing the Private Sector Development Strategy whose objective is to create an environment conducive for private sector growth by alleviating major constraints and to enhance the growth and the competitiveness of the private sector, especially the micro-small and medium enterprises.

In order to achieve the overall objective of the PSDS, the following five specific goals should be developed;
* Improving Somaliland’s business environment to enhance confidence, long term planning and investment by the private sector and globally recognized country-investment rating.
* Accelerate public sector institutional transformation to guarantee more efficient public institutions with proven track record of service delivery.
* Facilitate growth through greater trade expansion of at least 20% annual growth in export trade by 2015.
* Improving private sector productivity through research and adoption of modern and appropriate technology.
* Entrepreneurship and indigenous enterprise development.

My message today is: Somaliland has set an irreversible course for the future. We are growing a market economy and we had established democratic institutions defined by the rule of law and respect for human rights. Our goal is to be among the 50 most competitive countries in the world within 15 years.

To understand the depth of our commitment to these goals, it may help to consider how far we have come since declaring independence and withdrawn the union with southern Somalia In 1991

A modern economy is not possible where contracts are not binding. Resource nationalism is not a policy for Somaliland.

We seek achieving five ambitious goals:
* First, we intend to modernize legal and regulatory structures to provide transparent and predictable rules for everyone;
* Second, we will make the policy changes necessary for economic diversification and development of the business sector
* Third, we will invest in sustainable growth by improving training and professional development;
* Fourth, we will continue to press forward with effective anti-corruption measures;
* And fifth, we will develop a consistent vision for regional economic cooperation with our neighbors.

Working in partnership, we can accomplish these things. The government side must maintain the political will and sustained attention necessary achieve to these objectives.

But the private sector must also play its role in this partnership. To succeed, you must serve as advocates for these shared objectives. By lending your active support, it becomes more likely that they will happen. The private sector also has technical expertise that can be applied. For example, when we speak of training and workforce development, the private sector can play a decisive role. And, of course, private companies are in day-to-day contact with enterprises throughout the region; by facilitating business-to-business cooperation in pursuit of these goals, the private sector will be a true partner.

Our partnership between government and business is ambitious and certainly there will be challenges ahead. But our recent history in Somaliland suggests that these things can be done. Our future is bright. In solving any issues that arise, we find willing partners in the people of Somaliland and their government.

As the Ministry of Commerce has the mandate and responsibility of coordinating Private Sector Development activities.

We recognize the important role played by the Private Sector in the socioeconomic development of this country and the attainment of the vision of the Ministry of commerce to the economy growth.

In this respect, the Government is committed to playing its facilitative role to the Private Sector and will strive to create a more enabling and conducive business environment for the sector to flourish. We however recognize that we may not have done enough in this area and there is room for more to be done both by Government and the Ministry of Commerce in making the environment more conducive. We will therefore continue to welcome constructive engagement with the Private sector to improve on our respective mandates.

Investment potentiality:

Somaliland has plenty of arable land, and land suitable for ranching and irrigation, of which only a small part is currently under use. We reckon only around 1/10 of arable land is being used now. A new Land Act was approved by Parliament to strengthen the security and protection of the land rights of investors. We are currently reviewing this legislation to see how it can be improved further to facilitate the emergence of a thriving agricultural investment market.

We have large proven and confirmed deposit of petroleum, gold, World Largest Gypsum, Zinc, lead, Magnesium, Nickel, High value minerals and other precious and semi-precious minerals and gemstones. Great potential exists. Large deposits of natural gas have been discovered - Exploration for hydrocarbons continues.

The industrial sector has been important to Somaliland for many years and a new Industrial Policy will be formulated to give new life to both privatized as well as new industries. Investors in this sector with additional capital and industrial technology can invest in areas such as food processing, electrical equipment, ICT, pharmaceutical industry, beverages, textiles, other consumer goods as well as any other manufactured products.

The political and economic history of Somaliland will tell you that what we have done - especially in the last seven years - is a veritable revolution. What I do want to assure the investors locally and internationally is that we will leave no stone unturned to make it easier and profitable for those who want to have a stake in the new Somaliland. I will also keep up the dialogue with investors to review improvements to the investment climate

Somaliland is a most peaceful and stable country, one of the few African countries to enjoy an unbroken record of political stability and concord among its people. Our national unity and social cohesion puts Somaliland apart from most other African countries.

In terms of market access Somaliland avails investors the opportunity to access larger markets with a population of 100 Million including 70 million landlocked people of Ethiopian.

Protection of foreign investment is a key and sensitive element to investors. Somaliland has a transparent legal framework that facilitates the promotion and protection of all investments. Similarly, the government has taken into consideration and is a party to several regional and global arrangements, which promote and protect foreign investments,

Investment Opportunities and Incentives:

There are various opportunities available for investment in Somaliland. Among some just to mention a few are:-
* in agriculture where capacity is required to boost production by improving irrigation systems better inputs and application of advanced technologies
* Value-addition of agricultural products,
* Infrastructure and utilities (Wind and Geothermal),
* Industries particularly Agro-based industries.
* private investments in health and education sector,
* Investments in ICT and other knowledge based industries,
* Research & Development, Financial Institutions like Banks ,Insurance etc.
* Exploration of natural resources, petroleum and minerals
* Tourism and related services like Hotels, Lodges etc.

Government incentives to investors are wide and varied the most important just to mentioned a few are manufacturing where an investor gets 100% investment allowance and enjoys Duty and VAT exemption on machinery, equipments and raw materials.

Under the Export Processing Zones programme investors here enjoy 3 year tax holiday, Duty and VAT exemptions, Single license, Exemption from stamp duty, Exemption for withholding tax, and 100% investment allowance.

Duty remission has benefits of Exemption on duties and VAT on raw materials utilized to process confirmed exports orders, Liberal Depreciation Rates, Loss-Carry forward, exemption of corporate tax until the business recovers, zero rating of capital goods and basic raw materials amongst others.

In the Tourism sector which is a major contributor to the economy a number of incentives have been put in place to spur the growth of the sector. Some of these measures are waiver of duties and VAT on investment, 100% investment allowance for new investments in tourist hotels.

The government has also put in place measures to protect foreign investors and their investments. Market-based reforms have been introduced and more incentives for both local and foreign private investments provided. These are repatriation of capital; repatriation and remittance of dividends are guaranteed to foreign investors under the Foreign Investment Protection Act and under the Somaliland constitution guarantee is provided against expropriation of private property.

In Conclusion, I am strengthening our Ministry of Commerce and its institutions will soon establish a one stop shop to provide investors with the professional assistance, information, facilitation and advice to enable you succeed in your investments. We are keen to engage with existing and potential investors.

Our motto is to be better than yesterday, less than tomorrow. With the support of our citizens our efforts will bear fruit and tomorrow will be better than today and yesterday.

Abdi Halim M. Musa, Deputy Minister of Commerce


If Somaliland has been the neighbor of Russia it could have been easily recognized

Written by Tedla Asfaw
http://www.qarannews.com/ Aug 29, 2008

Ethiopia: Russian Style Article 39

You do not need Article 39 of the so called constitution of TPLF to give power to the "oppressed nationalities", what you need is muscle. While the Western leaders like Bush trapped in the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony on lucky 8,8,08 Russia hit a jack pot and conquered South Ossetia of Georgia by rolling tanks.

The Article 39 of Ethiopian constitution applied on international level, what a surprise? We remembered the bombing of Kosovo by Clinton. Clinton ejected Serbian forces out of Kosovo by devastating bombardment and this country recently recognized as an independent nation by West and Russia refused to recognize it.

Here is the similarity what Clinton did ten years ago and what Russia did in the cover of Olympic distraction at the beginning of this month. Russia did not send planes rather tanks and "liberate" the South Ossetia ethnic Russians similar to the Clinton "liberation" of Albanians in Kosovo.

Russia is flexing its muscles and we are now in the era of new nations to be liberated by force of arms like Kosovo recognized by the West and new nations like South Ossetia and Abkazia recognized by Russia as independent nations.

We have in our neighborhood a Somaliland which declared its independence in early 1990 and no one has recognized its independence, however, life goes on and even much better than neighboring so called independent countries.

The TPLF of Ethiopia is blackmailing Ethiopians by threatening the so called Article 39 to use it when their hold on power is threatened. The fact of the matter is that you do not need Article 39. What you need is brute force, home or imported. You also need to declare yourself independent and if you are lucky like Kosovo you will be supported by the West or with the help of a neighbor such as like Russia which has the economic and military muscle to grant you and protect your Independence.

The problem on East Africa is we have no one independent dominant military or economic power. The powers in the Horn of Africa are serving the interest of western countries and China and there will not be easy break up like we witnessed in the Independence of Eritrea. "Independent Tigray, Ogaden, Oromia" which is the final goal of Meles similar to Kosovo, South Ossetia and Abkhazia will bring more death and destruction for our region.

If SomaliLand has been the neighbor of Russia it could have been easily recognized as an independent nation with full economic and military protection. Do not forget, Eritrea's recognition as an independent nation comes through USA help via Meles Zenawi; otherwise it could have been another Somaliland.


British Muslim delegation visits Ethiopia and Somaliland

http://www.app.com.pk/

LONDON, Aug 27 (APP)- Four prominent British Muslims have visited Ethiopia and Hargeisa in Somaliland as part of a Projecting British Islam visit. The main aim of the visit was to build stronger partnerships between British Muslims and the Ethiopian and Somali Muslim leadership. According to a Foreign and Commonwealth Office release, the delegation helped showcase the integral role of British Muslims in the UK and highlighted the work being undertaken in both countries by British organisations.

An important outcome of the visit was to add the voice of British Muslims to those in Ethiopia and Somalia who are opposed to extremist ideology. The four delegates were: journalist Fuad Nahdi, educationalist Sheikh Babikir Ahmed Babikir, Sabin Malik a Community Cohesion specialist and Habib Malik of Islamic Relief charity.

The delegates met students, civil society and religious leaders in both Ethiopia and Hargeisa. A highlight of the visit was when Sheikh Babikir Ahmed Babikir, one of the delegates, addressed 10,000 people during Friday prayers at the main Mosque in Ethiopia.

Other highlights included meeting the President of Somaliland and taking part in two lively Q&A sessions about Islam with young Somali and Ethiopian Muslims.

Speaking about their visit, the delegates said: “We went to Ethiopia and Hargeisa for discussions about issues of mutual concern, in particular to build partnerships between British Muslims and communities in both countries. We enjoyed an open and frank discussion with leading figures in Ethiopia and Hargeisa including Muslim scholars, community representatives, educational and women’s leaders. “We shared our experiences as British Muslims in Britain today and helped counter the misperceptions that existed about the role of Muslims in UK society. We also learned a lot from the experiences of our Ethiopian and Somali hosts. We were proud to represent the diverse range of British Muslim communities on this visit.”

Projecting British Muslims is a programme of visits by British Muslim delegations facilitated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to a range of Muslim majority countries, and countries with Muslim communities. The aim is to share their experiences as Muslims in Britain today and engage in constructive dialogue and debate with a range of political, religious and social groups and figures.


Projecting British Islam visit to Ethiopia and Hargeisa 18-23 August

BYLINE: FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE News Release issued by The Government News Network on 27 August 2008. SECTION: Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Government News Network

ABSTRACT

Four prominent British Muslims visited Ethiopia and Hargeisa in Somaliland from 18-23 August as part of a Projecting British Islam visit. The main aim of the visit was to build stronger partnerships between British Muslims and the Ethiopian and Somali Muslim leadership. The delegation helped showcase the integral role of British Muslims in the UK and highlighted the work being undertaken in both countries by British organisations. An important outcome of the visit was to add the voice of British Muslims to those in Ethiopia and Somalia who are opposed to extremist ideology.

FULL TEXT

Four prominent British Muslims visited Ethiopia and Hargeisa in Somaliland from 18-23 August as part of a Projecting British Islam visit. The main aim of the visit was to build stronger partnerships between British Muslims and the Ethiopian and Somali Muslim leadership. The delegation helped showcase the integral role of British Muslims in the UK and highlighted the work being undertaken in both countries by British organisations. An important outcome of the visit was to add the voice of British Muslims to those in Ethiopia and Somalia who are opposed to extremist ideology.

The delegates met students, civil society and religious leaders in both Ethiopia and Hargeisa. A highlight of the visit was when Sheikh Babikir Ahmed Babikir, one of the delegates, addressed 10,000 people during Friday prayers at the main Mosque in Ethiopia. Other highlights included meeting the President of Somaliland and taking part in two lively Q&A sessions about Islam with young Somali and Ethiopian Muslims.

The delegates said:

"We went to Ethiopia and Hargeisa for discussions about issues of mutual concern, in particular to build partnerships between British Muslims and communities in both countries. We enjoyed an open and frank discussion with leading figures in Ethiopia and Hargeisa including Muslim scholars, community representatives, educational and women's leaders.

"We shared our experiences as British Muslims in Britain today and helped counter the misperceptions that existed about the role of Muslims in UK society. We also learned a lot from the experiences of our Ethiopian and Somali hosts. We were proud to represent the diverse range of British Muslim communities on this visit."

Background information to editors:

1. The four delegates were: Fuad Nahdi (Journalist); Sheikh Babikir Ahmed Babikir (Educationalist); Sabin Malik (Community Cohesion specialist); Habib Malik (Islamic Relief).

2. Projecting British Muslims is a programme of visits by British Muslim delegations facilitated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to a range of Muslim majority countries, and countries with Muslim communities. The aim is to share their experiences as Muslims in Britain today and engage in constructive dialogue and debate with a range of political, religious and social groups and figures. To date there have been over 25 such delegations to approximately across the Middle East, Asia and Africa involving over 70 delegates.

3. Members of the Delegation are not spokespeople for the Government. They represent the UK and their communities. They are free to express their own opinions during the visits. The FCO and our Embassies arrange programmes that enable the delegates to engage with a wide range of opinion-formers or young people in the country they are visiting e.g. university students; community leaders, civil society groups. The groups they represent are not in any way affiliated with the British Government. Participants all freely volunteer their time.

Press Office, Downing Street (West), London SW1A 2AL


Somali refugees from Mogadishu find sanctuary in Somaliland

Source Guardian Weekly.co.uk/Aug 27, 2008. http://www.guardianweekly.co.uk/?page=editorial&id=701&catID=7

When Somalia’s last dictator, Siad Barre, launched a brutal counter-insurgency against rebels in the north-west of the country in the late 1980s, the fight led not only to that region’s declaration of independence as Somaliland in 1991, but also to the fall of Somalia’s last functioning central government. Mohamed Omer Warsama, a nurse and humanitarian aid worker from Somaliland, explains what it was like to survive Barre’s counter-insurgency and to live with the unresolved question of Somaliland’s independence.

Being a Somali has special meaning to me because blood is thicker than water – it is my nationality. I am a native of Somalia’s north-west, the former British colony now known as independent Somaliland. To be a Somalilander, as well as a Somali, is an unavoidable political truth. My clan and sub-clan, who come from the north-west along the Djibouti border, where we rely on camel herding and sorghum farming, have a cultural code to protect themselves from others. But personally, I rely on myself.

Somaliland’s battle for independence in the late 1980s was a nightmare. Sometimes I had to wake myself up as if from a dream, even though I was already awake. After the government bombed Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa, I was caught on the road between Hargeisa and the north-west town of Boroma where I worked. Fighting broke out while I was travelling through. I remember there was a tank and bullets fired in my direction, and I had to crawl for cover.

Eventually I made it home safely, but I cannot forget that violence. Somalia’s civil war had begun in my home region. By 1991 Somaliland’s clans, including my own, made a pact not to fight with each other and this enabled them to declare independence from the rest of Somalia, which had fallen into an even crueller civil conflict.

Our clans, the Gadabursi (also known as the Samaron), the Issa and the Isaak, each with their own sub-groups, finally decided to create Somalia’s first elected parliament. These days, although the Somaliland government functions, there is still hunger and suffering.

I was born in 1964 in Zaila, a village on the Aden Gulf coast close to Djibouti, and I was raised in Boon Village in the Awdal region. In childhood my family was very poor. I was one of 10 children. We were displaced from the Rular area near Bonn village during the civil turmoil of 1969.

As a young child I had to leave my family and cross the border from Somalia to Djibouti alone because my father couldn’t help us. So I was living on the street in Djibouti for three years. Finally, I met a special man who took me back to Somalia and literally changed my life. He helped me begin school in 1972.

After my graduation from the Nursing Institute in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 1987, I came back to Somalia to be the best man at my friend’s wedding, and I met my first wife there. She was one of the bridesmaids.

I returned to Somaliland and began working at the Boroma Hospital, which soon became home to the well-known Italian nun and aid worker, Annalena Tonelli.

Working in Boroma Hospital was the most remarkable time I have ever had. Serving in the vital tuberculosis clinic, which grew with the fundraising help of Ms Tonelli, I felt that I was truly able to help people. That was the time when Somaliland declared independence and the federal government was thrown out. Many refugees [mostly people from the north-western clans] flooded into Somaliland from the parts of Somalia that were at war.

In 2003, just as I had taken a trip out of town, gunmen entered our clinic and shot Ms Tonelli to death. They were allegedly paid by al-Qaida, but perhaps they came from another side. My colleagues renamed the clinic in her honour and put up a marble pillar to mark the place where she died. Although she began as a Catholic missionary, she had great respect for Islam and our culture and had simply wanted to help.

Since finishing at the Boroma Hospital, I began working with international agencies like Unicef, and began developing my own non-governmental aid agency based in Boroma. Working with the UN agencies and Somali local organisations has been a good experience for me, although there have been some critical obstacles such as transparency and overcoming the difficulties of fundraising.

In 2007 I had the rare opportunity to serve Unicef and the UN Development Programme as a researcher on child rights both in Somaliland and Somalia’s north-east. Talking to people from many different clans on both sides of the divide not only required me to risk driving through an area that was an active frontline along Somaliland’s shared border with Somalia proper, but also allowed me to see the debate from different sides.

While political actors argue about statehood and alliances, most regular people on both sides of the divide simply need income, healthcare and safety, and in that way they continue to be similar. While political leaders speak about the divisions between our clans, I found that on the ground in north-eastern Somalia, the people I worked with did not have strong feelings about me being an outsider. For most, the conflict is abstract.

My personal view on Somaliland’s attempt to become fully independent is complicated. There are many opposing views among the government and the people. But after the terrible events in Somaliland during the time of the dictator Siad Barre, many Somalis here believe in separation. Regardless, I think there will need to be not only a political agreement to stop fighting in the south, but also a north-south settlement to finally bring peace to Somaliland.

According to my ideas and experience, we Somalis are one people. We have the same language, religion and nationality. However, geopolitical considerations like former colonialism, foreign aid and new trends in the international Islamic community have caused divisions in our political ideas.

The Somaliland people, like other Somalis, have long had their own traditional government – councils of elders, religious leaders and women leaders – who work together separately from the state. The traditional leaders have done much to secure peace in Somaliland and could do the same for the rest of Somalia, but it depends on the politics of each sub-region and the leaders of state government heeding their advice.

I believe the political and religious questions are very different and should be kept separate. Solving the conflict between the new Ethiopia-backed Somalia government and Islamic radicals of the Al-Ittihad and Shabab in the south of Somalia is very hard because all sides are fighting for power. There must be a way to halt the fighting and find a way for them to reconcile what is best for people from all sides.

Life in Somaliland today is insecure. Job opportunities are very slim or non-existent, so life is very difficult. Without a lasting political solution on independence there will be very little foreign investment here. I worry about my kids' future. The situation has to change soon.

• Mohamed Omer Warsama was talking to Daniel J Gerstle.


Somaliland Deserves Recognition More than S. Ossetia and Abkhazia

Adnan Dahir

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/72350/ August 26, 2008

The President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev declared that Russia formally recognizes the independence of the two breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The two houses of Russian Parliament also called for the government to recognize these regions in a vote on 25th August 2008.

This announcement came days after a heavy fighting broke out this region, in which Russian troops moved within Georgia. Russia took this step to protect their interests in the region, but not actually the interest of Ossetian citizens.

The western countries immediately condemned the move. They blamed Russia´s decision as ´regrettable´. The West Countries are backing Georgian government and are severely against Russia´s recognition of these regions, which already had de facto independence. The West, especially America and its allies are against the move of Russia solely for their interest but not of the interest of Georgian people.

Likewise, Russia condemned the recognition of Kosovo for the West. This has worsened the already strained relations between the West and Russia. It also shows how the world powers are playing cards against each other by looking their own causes.

The population of South Ossetia and Abkhazia are 70,000 and 250,000 respectively in comparison with the population of Somaliland, which almost 3.5 Million according to government estimates. Furthermore, these regions have never been sovereign states but were part of either Soviet Union or Georgia.

Differently, Somaliland was British protectorate until it gained its independence in 26 June, 1960. Somaliland was sovereign state for four days but later merged with Italian Somali to form The Somali Republic. Due to severe hardships and breakdown of people´s expectations, Somaliland reclaimed their ´lost´ independence in 18 May, 1991 after a prolonged bloody struggle spearheaded by Somali National Movement (SNM) heroes.

Furthermore, Somaliland is ruled by a democratically elected President, Dahir Rayale Kahin. Somaliland has two houses of parliament, the Upper House or Guurti and the Lower House or Representatives. The country has multiparty system and held presidential, local and parliamentary elections.

Legally, the people of Somaliland have permanent identity, reside in internationally recognized boundaries of colonial era and the government system is exercised all over the country.

Then, why not the Western Countries, Africans, Arab Countries and Russia recognize Somaliland?

Today´s world, values are fading out and special interests dominate minds of many countries. The world has ignored the facts on the ground. But, the time will come that none will be able to deny the independence of Somaliland.


Somaliland police arrest TV reporter

http://www.garoweonline.com/ 26 Aug 26, 2008

BURAO, Somalia Aug 26 (Garowe Online) - Police forces in Somalia’s breakaway republic of Somaliland arrested a television reporter in the city of Burao, Radio Garowe reported Tuesday.

Fowzi Saleban Bindhe, a journalist working for London-based Universal TV, was arrested after he reported about opposition party Kulmiye’s Central Committee convention in Burao.

The opposition party, Kulmiye, and its leader Ahmed Silanyo is preparing for presidential elections in March 2009.

Somaliland Information Minister Ahmed Haji Dahir told reporters that Mr. Bindhe’s arrest is linked to a government decree placing a temporary halt on Universal TV’s operations in Somaliland “until they get licensed.”

Recently, two Universal TV journalists were temporarily detained in the separatist region’s capital Hargeisa for similar reasons.

Jama Ismail Shabel, chairman of the Kulmiye party convention, condemned the reporter’s arrest and called on the Somaliland administration to “stop the oppression of free media.”

Somaliland, in Somalia's northwest, unilaterally declared independence in 1991 but has not gained international recognition.


African Union – An obstacle to Somaliland Colonial Border

Abdulazez Al-Motairi

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/72292/ August 26, 2008

In the African Union (AU) there are countries that support Somaliland Cause of independence and others oppose it. Somaliland diplomatic fight back to win its lost sovereignty from the failed state of former Somalia, has received daring welcome from many African states. AU recommends the colonial border, but when it comes to Somaliland: AU says NO to Somaliland Colonial Border

Anti-Somaliland figures in the black continent mainly Somalis initiate their argument on colonial borders against Somaliland; they believe changing the colonial border in African will open Pandora Box of disintegration in many area of the countries.

However, this argument indirectly supports Somaliland, because Hargiesa Administration is demarcating the Somali map according to colonial border. Somaliland is demanding to restore centuries old British Somaliland Protectorate border, which existed until 1960. In July 28th 1886, British Parliament and Queen Victoria duly ratified current borderline of Somaliland, as the area was under Great Britain.

Moreover, Great Britain and Italian Government signed an agreements delimiting border between British Somaliland (Now Republic of Somaliland) and Italian Somalia (Now Republic of Somalia) on 1884. This again supports Somaliland´s call to restore colonial border in former Somalia. Somaliland Colonial Border is a victim of AU Policies, which implements regulations to some countries and denies the others.

Subsequently, both British Somaliland and Italian Somalia won independence on 26th June 1960 and 1st July 1960 respectively. More than 34 countries recognized British Somaliland as an independent and sovereign state including majority of AU Member States. Somaliland is demanding independence within its colonial borders.

Britain, as colonizing power in Somaliland, signed agreements with neighboring authorities including French in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Italy in Italian Somalia: to respect the colonial border of British Somaliland (Now Republic of Somaliland).

Based on aforesaid facts, AU has no right to suppress Somaliland´s claim of independence as per Cairo Accord. Like Somaliland and Somalia, many African countries united like Senegal and Gambia, where Egypt united with an Asian country – The Syria. Also, Eritrea disintegrated from Ethiopia based on colonial border and decision of the people of Eritrea. Senegal – Gambia and Egypt – Syria ended their unity without consulting to AU, because the unity wasn´t in their interest and as per Cairo agreement. So, why not the accord implemented in Somaliland?

All these nations joined to achieve social, religious or political agendas and later withdraw from such unions because unity is not on color, language and religion…etc. The unity should have pre-agreements to implement equality and justice between the uniting parties. Many Somalis advocate for the unity of Somalia based on religion, color, language and culture but it is quiet far from the fact inside Somalia.

BORDER CHANGING PRECEDENT – Dr. Bob Arnot NBC NEWS

Here is the irony. Julius Nyerere, first president of Tanzania, in the formative stages of the OAU, pleaded against redrawing African borders so that British Somaliland would not joint with Italian Somalia. Why? The fear was that a united Somalia would be a harbinger for the emergence of Greater Somalia, which, in order to annex surrounding Somali territories, would invade Ethiopia and Kenya. (The Republic of Somalia did invade Ethiopia in 1977, and Somali raiders still attack Kenya).

Even more ironic, Nyerere redrew his own borders, joining Tanganyika with Zanzibar to form Tanzania. Yet nearly 40 years later, Nyerere´s argument is being used to prevent Somaliland from being recognized as a sovereign state even though it was, briefly, an independent state after its liberation from British.

On balance, the OAU´s doctrine on the "inviolability" of boundaries inherited from the colonial powers does not apply to Somaliland because it is situated within the boundaries of the British Somaliland Protectorate defined in 1886 when it was declared a British protectorate.

Somalilanders lament that the United States and the United Nations have had little trouble with redrawing borders in the Balkans or the former Soviet Union, but still resist to recognize their nascent republic. - Dr. Bob Arnot NBC NEWS

THE ORIGINAL SIN – JULY 1ST, 1960 UNITY:

The Somalis were uneducated with little experience in fledging unity; the people wanted unity of Somali-speaker without understanding the need of the unity and its consequences. The Somali people scattered in five countries in the region starting from Djibouti, Somaliland, Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. The Somalis make about 30% of East African population.

Somaliland was first Somali-speaking nation to gain independence on June 26th, 1960 from Great Britain and four days later Italian Somalia (Former Somalia) on July 1st, 1960. Djibouti gained independence from French on 1977.

Somaliland took the first step to establish the united Somali Republic on July 1st, 1960 – only four days from Independence Day June 26th, 1960. Somaliland elders and politicians traveled all the way to Mogadishu to achieve their dream of uniting Somalis. They handed over their sovereignty without any conditions except one – to see united Somali Republic and all Somali speakers should be its citizens. This initiative of unity cost Somaliland lives of thousands of its citizens, and lost of sovereignty until today.

First President of Somali Republic Adan Adde – one of the Somali Intellectuals – asked Somalilanders to stay away for a while. He requested the Somalilanders to wait until the south Somalia solves their differences than we can talk of unity with Somaliland. But the enthusiastic Somalilanders for unity rejected and demanded immediate unity without preconditions.

About decade and half, Djibouti gained independence on 1977 and all Somalis were thinking that Djibouti will join Somalia but that did not happen. Djibouti declared independence and turned down the offer of joining Somalia. Somalilanders, who lost trust in the unity on 1977, advised Djibouti to stay away.

Many people start the failure of Somalia from 1991, but the situation in Somalia started deteriorating after 1964 failed military coup led by military officers from Somaliland. Somalilanders unveiled their lost density and government and how much they have been cheated by Somali government. In other hand, NFD and majority of Somalis in Ethiopia decided to remain under Kenya and Ethiopia respectively, which ended the idea of united Somalis. This was the only reason that Somalilanders handed over their government to Italian Somalia.

Somalis are not the only community that was divided but there are many African communities who share culture, language and even religion under different countries because of the colonial border.

Somaliland can only stay with Somalia if the world delimits the Political Map based culture, language, religion and ethics. However, Somaliland respects the AU Accord in Cairo on 1963 and demands independence based on terms of the accord. The Anti-Somaliland figures always overlook the AU Accord and spread propaganda against Somaliland demand of independence.

HOW LONG SOMALILAND TO REMAIN HOSTAGE FOR FAILED SOMALIA:

AU stopped Somaliland efforts to win recognition, after international communities including US conditioned AU recognition to Somaliland. AU, as we mentioned earlier, is maintaining colonial borders in an attempt to avoid future disintegration in the black continent. AU, clearly, knows that Somaliland is demanding independence based on colonial borders but unfortunately did not get good support from AU.

AU sent fact-finding mission to Somaliland on 2005, and the mission reported that Somaliland is different than Somalia and should recognition should be considered. The AU downgraded the hard work of Somalilanders and preferred it over the failure in Somalia.

Somaliland established the entire infrastructure necessary for a modern government including Cabinet, Parliament, Multiparty system, Army and Police… etc. Somaliland attracted the eyes of international community including USA especially during visit of Assistant Undersecretary of State Department Dr. Frazier to Hargiesa. This visit was sign of goodwill from USA to the people of Somaliland.

However, the world tells Somaliland to process their file through African Union (AU) and if AU support Somaliland independence that the result of the world will follow. So, why AU is pushing Somaliland back into failure? Why AU prefers failed Somalia over Somaliland? Aren´t Somalilanders an Africans and has rights in AU? What will be faith of Somaliland if Somalia remains in current turmoil for another 50 years, Will AU keep Somaliland back until Somalia solves its differences? What is the mistake Somaliland did to Somalia? So, AU can punish Somaliland to hold until Somalia wakes.

AU should address to these questions and other millions, because the people of Somaliland need explanation from AU, and Why AU is giving side to Somalia against Somaliland?

The people of Somaliland are committed to continue their independence with or without Somalia, and nobody will be able to stop Somalilanders from deciding their destiny.


Somalia in Comma - Somaliland is hostage to the failed Somalia

Abdulazez Al-Motairi

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/72197/ August 25, 2008

DIPLOMATIC EMBARGO ALIENATES SOMALILAND FROM WORLD

Diplomatic impediment is hampering Self-sufficient Somaliland efforts towards statehood. Somaliland needs to do business with international community and play vital in peace and human rights restoration in the world. If no diplomatic support, Somaliland democracy will die between search of sovereignty and international stubbornness on its cause.

When the regime of Siad Barre was ousted from power in Somaliland in 1991, the long waited dream of Somalilanders was finally realized with the return of their lost integrity and prompt filling of the power vacuum left by General Mohammed Siyad Barre – the regime that destroyed the unity of the Great Somalia, which was a combination of British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland after gaining independence in 1960.

In British Somaliland, the colony meant a marginal importance to the British Empire and was used merely as a logistical supply outpost for British ships sailing to India or to the Gulf of Aden. The British colonial praxis then could best be described as indirect rule and, as a result of this soft approach to indigenous political systems, the traditional order stayed largely intact.

The older and intelligent Somaliland generations signed an agreement with British in Yemen refusing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding – MoU with a foreign party on their own soil.

Following are the stipulations of the agreement:

1. Pregnant British women should not deliver their babies on Somaliland Soil, as per the understanding that the child has the right to hold the Somali nationality since he is born on Somaliland territory.

2. No British or accompanying foreigners including Indians will be allowed to bury their dead in Somaliland without obtaining a permit from the local council.

3. British citizens should not socially interact with Somalilanders including marriage.

4. British citizens should establish their own residential community separate from Somalilanders.

5. British citizens should not interfere with Somaliland´s religion, much so, propagate Christianity.

6. Educational institutions that will be established in Somaliland by British parties should gain the support of the local council.

7. British citizens should be considered as guests, not as colonizers.

8. British citizens should leave Somaliland anytime the people of Somaliland ask them to go.

These are some of the terms and conditions specified in the agreement signed between Somaliland elders and Her Excellency, the Queen of England and Wales representatives in Aden – Yemen. The agreement was written on animal skin, which still remains in the hands of the Somaliland elders today.

Our Senior Citizens who signed such an agreement with the British were either not educated or had no experience of signing high profile MoUs. Somalilanders adopted the problem solving techniques of the elders who resolved issues under the trees. The Somaliland modern democracy is nothing but a product of these traditional problem solving techniques.

After Somaliland was declared, clan leaders and elders in Somaliland gathered in a traditional meeting and proclaimed Somaliland independence in May 1991 at Burco City. Guurti (Upper House of Parliament in Somaliland) is a traditional conflict solving body in Somaliland, which has succeeded in bringing law and order in the country.

International Recognition:

Since then, Somaliland can be regarded as a democratic and stable region. With minimal foreign aid, it has managed significant progress in its effort to consolidate statehood. In a nationwide referendum held in 2001, the country introduced a new constitution with overwhelming 97% of support. In April 2003, voters were again called to the polling stations for the election of a new president. The ballots in which Dahir Riyale Kahin was elected as president were moderately free and fair. Opposition Parties Leaders Ahmed Mohammed Siiraanyo of KULMIYE and Eng. Faisal Ali Waraabe of UCID lost against Mr. Kahin in a historic, unique and democratic manner and readily accepted the result of election.

The consolidation reached a climax at the end of September 2005 when the country held parliamentary elections. International observers from South Africa, UN, I.G.A.D and AU called the elections free and fair. Furthermore, more voters turned out to elect candidates from different clans, a clear signal that Somalilanders are beginning to trust their political system. But the consolidation of statehood has so far not been followed by international recognition from the international community.

Meanwhile, the question of Somaliland's independence has created a row between the two former colonial powers of Somalia, Italy and Great Britain. Italy has strongly emphasized the importance of Somalia's unity and is subsequently supporting the T.F.G. headed by Abdullah Ahmed Yousif. Unfortunately, Britain´s support to its former colony has dwindled and sometimes rejected Somaliland´s claim of independence. Britain is the only country in the world, which is fully aware of Somaliland´s history particularly after gaining independence on the 26th of June 1960. Britain knows that over 34 countries have recognized Somaliland since its independence from the UK in 1960.

International Diplomatic Embargo on Somaliland:

Although Somaliland managed stability and continuity through its democratic policy, its foreign policy has been paralyzed by diplomatic embargo against Somaliland, where the international community realizes process, democracy and statehood in Somaliland but still remains blind and even refuses to hear the Somaliland voice of freedom. In 2007, Somaliland diplomacy started shinning after Rwanda Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Charles MURIGANDE highlighted Somaliland development followed by a lecture delivered by Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Mohammed Duaale in the last AU Foreign Minister´s meeting.

I.G.A.D. is committed to Somalia's unity fearing that a successful secession of Somaliland could be misinterpreted as a precedent of other secessionist movements in East Africa. Arab countries are trying to balance Ethiopia's influence in the Horn. Yemen, for instance, supported Jama Ali Jama, a rival of Yusuf in Puntland, as Yusuf is regarded by many Somalis and Arabs as too attached to Addis Ababa. According to Arab theory, United Somalia is only a factor to balance Ethiopian military presence in east Africa, which forces them to throw the Somaliland case of independence in a dustbin. Yemen serves as an important transport hub for small arms to TGS ailing President Abdullah Yousuf Ahmed of Somalia despite a United Nations arms embargo (before it was lifted).

Furthermore, Ethiopia builds muscles of TFG President Abdullah-yey regime, with its subject of exercise being perceived as against Somaliland. The mature politics of Ethiopia was instrumental in maintaining good relations with Somaliland as well as with Yousif and the T.F.G.

Ethiopia utilizes Somaliland Ports after Djibouti and Eritrea sliced it off the coast of the red sea. Currently, Berbera Port is the only sea access to Ethiopian business and government supplies, because Somalia ports remain vicious and perilous for Ethiopian use. Djibouti, on the contrary, feels uneasy to have modern and democratic Somaliland in the region, and Djibouti doesn't want to promote a business competitor for its main source of revenues – port revenue collections is the backbone of Djibouti economy. The government of Djibouti enjoys a very peaceful border with Somaliland.

US sources, in the Economist December 2005 issue, hinted that Italy is funneling weapons to the provisional government despite a United Nations arms embargo. Britain, as the former colonial power of Somaliland, is said to develop a much more open approach to Somaliland and has repeatedly encouraged Hargeisa's process of democratization.

The United States also pursues a more open approach. The U.S. State Department announced that it "welcomes the September 29 parliamentary elections in Somaliland." Furthermore, US based Center for Strategic and International Studies issued a number of recommendations to strengthen U.S.-African policy, describing Somaliland's capital Hargiesa as a strategic location in the global war on terror and criticized the lack of a U.S. presence in the area.

Conclusion: Although Somalilanders voted for their independence and exhibited their right of self integrity, the latter is still a victim of ongoing conflict on the international diplomatic embargo. The International Community is deeply divided on the issue while I.G.A.D is unable to endorse any solution. Somaliland´s future rests to be seen besides Somalilanders commitment to continue with or without support from the international community.

By Abdirahman Ali

Sources: www.somalilandpatriots.com

The world should be fair to Somaliland

Republic of Somaliland is an unrecognized de facto sovereign state in horn of Africa.

Somaliland plays critical role in regional politics, security and stability. Somaliland neighbors enjoy warn relationship with Hargiesa Authority. Somaliland established essential statehood infrastructure that many African Countries don´t enjoy.

Somaliland implemented unique form of democracy with elected president, parliament and Municipality Council across the nation. International bodies including UN labeled Somaliland elections as free and fair elections. Somaliland practices multiparty system, having three main political parties including UDUB, the ruling party of President Dahir Riyale, UCID and KULMIYE as strong opposition party with majority in Parliament. Upper House of Parliament is called GUURTI, which have members of senior and former political leaders.

Somaliland free education is another point of self respect, up to university degree of different qualification including Medicine and Engineering. Somaliland authority provides free health care to every citizen. Somaliland major cities of Hargiesa, Boorame, Berbera, Burco, Ceerigaabo and Laascaanood enjoy free public social services including water and health care.

Somaliland foreign policy regulators utilized every opportunity to bring long waited independence from international community, but unfortunately the world doesn´t want democracy promotion in Somaliland. International community appreciates Somaliland developments and security with empty promises, no international aid donors invested Somaliland, Hargiesa authority cannot do business with international financers like World Bank and International Monetary Fund – IMF. European Union acknowledged Somaliland process after English Minister of African Affairs visited Somaliland and reported excellent administration and democracy, followed by Vice Chairman of African AU and reported the same, even advised Somaliland recognition.

IGAD member nations have interest in Somaliland, Ethiopia opening diplomatic and commercial offices in Somaliland, Ethiopian Banks operates in different parts of Somaliland, and Addis Ababa maintains excellent trade link with Hargiesa administration utilizing Gulf of Aden seaport Berbera as major sea access of Ethiopia to international community. Djibouti with its ethical relationship with Somaliland has another exceptional with Dahir Riyale regime, which led Somaliland businessmen and traders to export and import commercial goods in Djibouti.

Speaking about Somaliland will let writer enter to infinite success of stories world, and notice development loving nation disabled by international community its diplomatic embargo. Somaliland need to do business with the world, not ask aid and help. Arabian Gulf Countries paralyzed Somaliland economy after banning livestock exports to their countries due to baseless deceases, World Health Organization - WHO tested Somaliland domestic animals to GCC countries negative of Saudi government allegations. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia administration opposes Somaliland theory of independence and wants to keep Somalis together, in order to balance Ethiopian Military presence in East Africa. Military Ruler, Mohammed Siyad Barre (President of Somalia 1969-1991) with Arab support went with Ethiopia into two civil wars over Somali dominated 5th region of Ethiopia. Barre plus his colleagues believed to bring Somali speaking people under one government, which led conflict with Ethiopia and Kenya.

Somaliland today, demands fair UN, AU, EU and Arab League attention into Somaliland search of independence, and not to disappoint people who worked hard and built solid infrastructure on democratic principles.

If no International diplomatic Support:

Somaliland stability and development helped United Nation and regional countries to access Somalia security situation, Somaliland will be useful in solving instability in Southern Somalia, Somaliland with its ethical and cultural link can be utilized to achieve remarkable results more than any other nation. Somaliland united with Italian Somaliland for thirty one years, as dream of establishing greater Somalia, at time Somalis in south were not aware of importance of Somali unity. The test was failure, and proved to international community that unity between Somaliland and southern Somalia will let the country into endless chaos.

The diplomatic embargo on Somaliland may bring newborn democracy and administration back into violence like other parts of Somalia. UNHCR relocated Somali refuge camps in eastern Ethiopia back to Somaliland territory, in coordination with Somaliland Ministry of Rehabilitation; this shows the stability of Somaliland enjoys to the world. Somaliland economy and trade need international investment and partnership. Somaliland may turn to terrorist heaven if diplomatic embargo not lifted.

Somaliland people are committed to develop their country further with or without international community, only international trade partnership with Somaliland may fasten economic development in Somaliland.

Allah Bless Somaliland………… we all stand united

By Abdirahman Ahmed Ali

Sources: www.somalilandpatriots.com


Somaliland oil ambitions make headway

http://www.africanews.com/site/list_messages/20130/ 25 August 2008

Rashid Nur, AfricaNews reporter in Hargeysa, Somaliland

Norway-based Asante Oil executives began an official 5-day Somaliland visit last Wednesday after they flew into Hargeysa's Egal international airport and were met by the Director General of the ministry of water and minerals (MW & M), Mr Ahmed Ibrahim Sultan and other ministry officials.

Speaking to reporters in airport VIP lounge, Mr Sultan briefly explained that the Norwegian delegation have come to finalise a work program with the ministry and complete outstanding details in the oil exploration agreement which the Norwegians signed last May’08 with the ministry.

Asante Oil has been licensed by the ministry to explore and extract natural gas/oil resources in blocks SL13 and SL14.

The Norwegian delegation comprised of Mr. Jarand Rystad (delegation head), Mr. Christian Eidem, Mr. Tor B. Lund and Mr. Muhamad I.Hassan, head of Asante Oil office in Somaliland.

The head of the Norwegian delegation, Mr. Rystad explained to reporters on Thursday (21 Aug), in a joint press conference held with the MW & M at Maansoor Hotel in Hargeysa, that Asante Oil is on its final leg in preparations to start its drilling operations by 2009, once the acquisition of the seismic data taken by TGS-Nopec is finalised by end of 2008.

Asante Oil executives gave a brief description of the company’s history, exploration plans, drilling program and highlighted costs already spent on their S/land acquisition amounting to millions of dollars.

The Norwegians said that their exploration agreement with the ministry did not involve any payments of signature bonus fees partly because this was covered by the company which part-funded the TGS-Nopec 2D seismic [offshore/onshore] survey carried throughout S/land during 2007/8.

Furthermore, in place of bonus fees, Asante Oil has guaranteed to carry out a social development programmes in connection with the agreement in which Asante Oil will provide one water-borehole rig and it’s maintenance for the people living in SL13/14 regions and at same time provide vocational training in oil industry job related employment for locals.

The minister of Somaliland’s MW & M, Mr Qassim Sheekh Yusuf revealed during Thursday’s Maansoor Hotel joint-press conference that the ‘Production Sharing Contract’ agreement made with Asante Oil will go before the council of ministers and the country’s parliament for final approval in the coming months.

The only other companies to have been licensed by the MW & M who own oil/gas exploration and extraction acreage in Somaliland are the Perth based Ophir Energy, a subsidiary of South Africa’s mighty conglomerate ‘Mvelaphanda Holdings’ and Britain's Prime Resources Ltd.

Along with Asante Oil, Ophir Energy and Prime Resources part-funded too last year’s TGS-Nopec’s 2D seismic survey carried out in Somaliland’s offshore/onshore. Both, companies are expected to begin drilling in 2009, according to MW & M.

Moreover, unconfirmed sources close to the ministry in Hargeysa disclosed that Ophir Energy, already, has recruited an Australian drilling ‘project manager’ who’d worked extensively in African oil exploration - to deliver its 2009 seismic and drilling program for its acreage in Somaliland. And said Ophir will probably begin its drilling operations 3-4 months ahead of Asante Oil and Prime Resources start their drilling operations in Somaliland next year.

The source, who asked not to be quoted, said Asante Oil, Ophir Energy and Prime Resources will definitely all be conducting their drilling programs by the coming year and much of this depends on how well and smooth the coming presidential elections in March 2009 turn out in Somaliland.

Asante Oil is made up of Mr. Christian Eidem, chairman and founder is the Norwegian professional footballer Christian Eidem who owns 11% of the equity, while another football personality, Kjetil Siem, is also an investor in it. Siem is a former sports journalist on Norwegian television who has now become an Internet businessman. He had managed the Norwegian club Valegenra until he moved to South Africa last year, taking up the post of CEO of the local Premier Soccer League (PSL) on a three year contract.

Jarand Rystad, is chairman of the board of the Oslo based investment fund Zoncolan SA, owns 17% of the Asante Oil capital. Another Asante Oil shareholder is its founder-shareholder Tor Lund, also a London based Norwegian and former head of Statoil Hydro’s Libyan activity and who has also worked in Angola and the Middle East. However, Asante’s leading shareholder, with 40% of the equity, is the fishing magnate Kjell Inge Rokke, the owner of the Aker conglomerate. Dyslexic and considered useless by his teachers when he was at school, Rokke went to make his fortune in the United States (Seattle) by trading in fish. He subsequently went back to Norway where he now owns a yacht and a private Boeing.[1]

Picture: Asante Oil chairman, Christian Eidem presents soccer kit and trophies to Somaliland minister of Sports, Mr M Saeed (2nd L) with Qassim Sheekh, minister of Water & Minerals (L) and Mr. M I Hassan, Asante Oil country rep (R), 21/08/2008. (Courtesy of Harowo.com)

References

[1], Africa Energy Intelligence, June, 2008


UN Integrated Regional Information Network (Kenya) August 20, 2008

MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE DISCUSSES FOOD CRISIS IN SOMALILAND

A ministerial committee in Somalia's self-declared autonomous region of Somaliland has started discussions on ways of resolving a food crisis worsened by runaway inflation in the country.

"We are here to search for solutions to the recent inflation and the food crisis facing the nation this year," Ali Mohamed Waran'adde, the civil aviation minister and chairman of the select committee, said at a news conference in Hargesia, the region's capital.

The committee, comprising nine members of Somaliland's Council of Ministers, held their first closed-door meeting on 13 August.

Waran'adde said the committee was looking at ways of improving the country's financial situation and boosting people's livelihoods through increasing income-generating activities.

Somaliland has, in the past six months, experienced drought, compounded by rising inflation, a situation that has led to sharp increases in food prices.

Members of the ministerial committee include Finance Minister Hussein Ali Du'ale, Qasim Qodah (Commerce), Mohamed Saleeban Weyne (Industry), Ali Mohamed Qorsef (Fishery) and Qasim Sh. Yusuf (Minerals).

Sources told IRIN the ministers were planning to increase revenue tariffs to raise the government's income, but the committee chairman, Waran'adde, said their main objective was to find ways of curbing inflation and improving the people's livelihoods.

"The meetings will continue in the coming days, and there is no discussion on the increase of tariffs; we are just dealing with the current problems in the country," Waran'adde said.

He added: "The recent inflation has led to the doubling of food prices and we have to find ways of dealing with this crisis."

On 26 July, Agriculture Minister Aden Ahmed Elmi issued a statement appealing to the international community for emergency aid, saying the food shortage was worsening. "We are calling on UN agencies, international aid organizations, Islamic countries, as well as the whole world to come to our aid as we are experiencing a difficult situation of food shortages because we didn't get rain on time, and inflation has led to increases in the price of food items," the minister said.

Elmi said the "Gu" rains were delayed, resulting in many farmers failing to cultivate and plant crops. He said army worms had also destroyed crops planted earlier.

He said a survey jointly conducted by his ministry and the Food and Agriculture Organisation's food security assessment unit had found massive crop failure across the country, adding: For this reason it is important to call for emergency aid, to get a quick response for food aid."


Bleak prospects await refugees from Ethiopia

Matthew Stein, Chronicle Foreign Service

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/24/MN2J124D2Q.DTL/ Aug 24, 2008

Hargeisa, -- Somaliland - Moktar Cadre has a large scar across the right side of his face and neck from burns that he sustained after Ethiopian police came looking for his father and set fire to his house while he was still inside. Four months later, the 37-year-old farmer fled his native Oromia province to Somaliland, a de facto independent republic that is unrecognized internationally.

In Somaliland, Cadre, whose father had been a supporter of a militant separatist group, expected a respite from a three-decade civil conflict between Oromo rebels and the Ethiopian military. Instead, he and an estimated 3,000 other displaced Oromos deemed rebel sympathizers by Ethiopian authorities have encountered a new set of daunting challenges.

Each month, some 200 Oromos arrive in Somaliland, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), creating increasing tension in a clan-based state suffering from a 70 percent unemployment rate.

Along the dusty streets of the capital city of Hargeisa, Oromo children beg for food and spare change, while their parents toil at such menial jobs as hauling trash, cleaning toilets and working as domestics. Many Oromos worry about being kidnapped by Ethiopia's Secret Service, which has been reported to be active in Somaliland and paying off corrupt police to avoid deportation.

As a result, many are virtual prisoners in a sprawling camp where they live with destitute locals and displaced Somalis, who have fled their own conflict between Islamists, clan militias and a weak transitional government.

"If my future was in Hargeisa, I'd kill myself," Cadre said. "People here always insult us, call us bad names and tell us to go back. I have no freedom."

On most days, Cadre and other Oromos have little to do other than sit under a hot desert sun, boil rice over a charcoal fire and swat swarms of flies. At night, they cram into squalid tents comprised of old blankets, tarps and pieces of cardboard.

"We had such a better life over there (Ethiopia)," said Ashrata, 23, whose farmer husband now hauls garbage to provide food for their of family of three. "We had property. It was our native land," she said.

The conflict in the province of Oromia, perhaps the most obscure of Ethiopia's internal and regional rebellions, is rife with accounts by human rights groups of arbitrary detention, political repression and rebellion. The struggle shows no sign of ending since Prime Minister Meles Zenawi assumed power 17 years ago.

After unilaterally declaring independence from Somalia in 1991, Somaliland has become the favorite destination for Oromos escaping the turmoil. In recent years, however, Somaliland officials have begun to show a thinning patience for the refugees, who they say come for economic reasons.

"Most of Ethiopia is at peace, so they always make up reasons to get asylum so that they can have better lives in different places," said Somaliland President Rayale Kahin. "It's a burden on us because our people have no jobs, but we are tolerant."

But securing asylum while living in an unrecognized country is no easy task. With the exception of Canada, no other nation has been willing to give the Oromos asylum. Recently, Moktar and 55 other Oromos were given permission to resettle in Canada by the end of the year.

"Canada works closely with the UNHCR to determine where to place our humanitarian efforts ... where resettlement spots are most urgently needed," said Karen Shadd, a spokeswoman for Canada's Citizenship and Immigration department in a recent e-mail.

In the U.S. Congress, some lawmakers are working to pressure the Ethiopian government to curb its human rights abuses against the Oromos and others. Last year, the House passed the "Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act sponsored by Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J. If it passes the Senate and is signed by the president, the law would withhold U.S. aid from Ethiopia until it implements human rights reforms.

Abdi, a 22-year-old farmer, says he was only 14 when first arrested on suspicion of paying students at his school to support the Oromo Liberation Front, an outlawed separatist organization. Abdi says he was incarcerated for nine months without warrant or trial.

"The first month was the worst," he said, as he lifted his shirt to reveal a series of scars on his back that were made by beatings with tree branches. "They told me, 'You're going to die here.' "

Abdi was eventually released, but after narrowly escaping a second arrest four years later, he said goodbye to his wife, mother and children and left for Somaliland.

In its defense, the Ethiopian government insists international rights organizations are spreading politically motivated lies.

"People must be out of their minds to accuse this government," said Bereket Simeon, special adviser to Prime Minister Meles. "This is a constitutionally led country where human rights based on international conventions are respected."

In the meantime, Abdi recently returned to Ethiopia to see his children.

"I love to see him, but he can't stay. It's too dangerous for him," said his mother, a soft-spoken woman named Fatuma, as her grandchildren climbed on their father's shoulders in a dusty mud house in the hills. "I wish he could."

THE OROMOS

The Oromos are the single largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, whose 25 million people comprise about 32 percent of the nation's 75 million inhabitants. They are indigenous to the nation's west and southwestern regions and speak Afaan Oromoo, which is also called Oromiffa. They are mostly Muslims and Christians.

Since being forcibly incorporated into the Amhara-dominated Ethiopian empire at the end of the 19th century, the Omoros have had an antagonistic relationship with country rulers, who have made repeated attempts to suppress their culture.

The Oromo Liberation Front, the embodiment of Oromo resistance, was formed in 1973 and has continued, although in a weakened state, ever since. In 2008, U.S. immigration and counterterrorism agencies described them as an "undesignated terrorist organization."

But Demeksa Bulcha, a member of the Ethiopian Parliament and chairman of Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement, one of three official political parties that represent Oromo interests, says the Ethiopian government uses the Oromo Liberation Front as an excuse to tighten its political grip.

"All the government has to do is say you're a supporter of the OLF and you can be imprisoned," Bulcha said.

Critics say the United States has remained mostly silent on the issue of human rights abuses in Ethiopia. Instead, the Bush administration has embraced Prime Minister Meles Zenawi as its best option to oppose the spread of militant Islam in Africa's volatile Horn of Africa. Relations between the United States and Ethiopia strengthened after the U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia at the end of 2006 to counter the Council of Islamic Courts, a Somali political party with suspected ties to al Qaeda.

SOMALILAND

Somaliland has been a self-declared independent republic since the Somali Nationalist Movement liberated the region from then-Somali strongman, Mohamed Siad Barre, in 1991.

Somaliland is bordered by Ethiopia in the south and west, Djibouti in the northwest, the Gulf of Aden in the north, and two other de facto independent Somali territories in the east - Maakhir and Northland.

Since declaring independence, Somaliland has drafted a secular Constitution, held three democratic elections and secured stable borders with its neighbors. Its government has been described as a power-sharing coalition of Somaliland's main clans.

The fear that international recognition of Somaliland's government could embolden other secessionist movements in the Horn of Africa has impeded foreign investment and multilateral assistance. As a result, Somaliland suffers from a 70 percent unemployment rate and a lack of many social services.


Discord among Somaliland´s Elite, as Outcry Rises against the Scandalous Huda Barkhad Woman

Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/72109/ August 23, 2008

What happens if the Vice President of a country has lost his own faith in the country that he has been appointed to serve?

The answer to this question is very simple; soon after, the country gets disintegrated.

This will soon happen to the calamitous pseudo-country ´Somaliland´ that betrayed all Northern Somalis´ rightful desire for peace, progress and national pride.

What else can be expected from a devious country that turned out to be the Somali History´s most shameful abnegation and the worst sample of servility toward the vicious enemies of Somalia, the Amhara and Tigray Monophysitic (Tewahedo: heretic) Abyssinians?

I republish here two reports that highlight the disintegration of social, political and moral order in the unrecognized Mafia-ruled pseudo-state of Somaliland. In the second, we remark the gloomy discourse of Ahmed Yusuf Yassin, Somaliland Vice President, a document that underscores the slim chances of the technical entity ´Somaliland´, a mere Abyssinian fabrication, to continue even for a few months.

In the first feature, we get an insightful about the criminal and inhuman activities of Somaliland pseudo-president Rayaale´s mistress, Huda Barkhad, Somalia´s most loathed woman. Her agents attempted to poison and kill Abshir Hassan Hashi, her ex-driver, whom she had closed in a jail, as she is scared to death that he will reveal rich and astounding details of her filthy character, criminal and fraudulent acts, and unmatched personal debauchery.

The world community should react against Hargeysa´s murderous, vicious, and scandalous mistress, and impose the immediate release of Abshir Hassan Hashi whose illegal imprisonment demonstrates perfectly well what sort of bestial gangsters run the Mafia state of Somaliland that nobody bothers to recognize.

The Driver of Huda Barkhad Whisked To Hospital In Critical Condition

http://www.somalilandtoday.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1391

London, 15 August 2008, (Somaliland Today)- The former head of the presidential transport and personal driver of the president´s wife, Abshir Hassan Hashi, who was languishing behind bars in Mandera central prison for the last three months, was rushed to Hargeisa General Hospital in critical condition last night.

Mr. Abshir who is a member of the KULMIYE central committee, the leading Somaliland opposition party, was arrested by Somaliland security forces three months ago. He was subsequently sent to Mandera central prison without being brought to trial before a court of law.

Mr. Abshir who remains in a special ward allocated for Somaliland Custodial Corps is chained to his bed by his feet and is guarded by three armed policemen.

A reporter from the Somali language daily, Geeska Afrika (Horn of Africa) who visited Mr. Abshir at his solitary confinement ward in Hospital has seen that the inmate was not in good physical health and psychological well being.

Mr. Abshir told the reporter that his health had rapidly deteriorated and argued that he was not brought to trial until now but nonetheless was sentenced to two year´s imprisonment by the so-called National Security Committee- an unconstitutional extra-judicial body that operates throughout the country.

" Last night around 12:00 o´clock, I vomited a thick and sticky blood, which splattered out and smeared all over my loincloth [sarong] and bed sheet. I reported the matter to the prison guard, who, in turn, informed his superior. The prison commander, having seen the seriousness of my condition, rushed me to Hargeisa General Hospital," said Abshir to the reporter. " I was brought over here [Hargeisa] this morning at 7.00am and as you can see, my body is swollen all over and I remain chained to my bed".

" I was never brought to trial to which I am rightfully entitled as a citizen. It was only very recently that the prison commander informed me that I was sentenced to two year´s imprisonment by the so-called National Security Committee even though no one had ever spoken to me about this. I have yet to see any papers relating to my imprisonment although I was held in prison for the last three months" added Abshir.

Somaliland Vice President paints bleak future for Somalia's secessionist entity

By Osman Jama Adam

http://www.lasanod.com/details.php?num=805

In a candid conversation with Diasporas Somalilanders the Vice-President of the self-declared Somaliland Republic painted a bleak picture of the economic and political crisis facing Somalia's secessionists' enclave. He shared with the audience, apparently in confidence, that he is in complete disagreement with President Riyaale with how the government handled the controversial issue of exporting livestock from the enclave.

On August 3, 2008 I was invited, I believe by mistake, to participate in a Tele-Conference organized by Somaliland American Council http://www.somalilandamerican.com/index.html, a Washington-based Ad Hoc group dedicated to the lobbying for the recognition of Somaliland as a State independent from Somalia. The subject of the conference was "Current Situation in Somaliland' and the Keynote Speaker was Ahmed Yusuf Yassin, Somaliland Vice President.

The following are the highlights of the Vice President presentations to an audience he believed was solely made up of the core constituency of the "Somaliland" Project.

The Government does not have the capacity to control events on the ground in Somaliland. " If a lawless teenager (Jirri) burns the Quran in the centre of Hargeisa, no government can do anything to stop it let alone bring him to justice.", Mr Yassin stated. He added if the government intervenes the whole incident would be turned into a clan against clan issue.

On the controversy over giving exclusive rights to a Saudi national to export livestock from the country, the Vice President stated that he is not in agreement with President Riyaale to give monopoly to a foreign national to export our livestock. However, in order for a free market to take effect for the export of livestock from Berbera we are required to come up with 3 million dollar deposit as a guarantee that the live stock is free from Rift Valley disease. The government does not have that can kind of money neither the business community.

Responding to a pre-submitted question on the Somaliland Constitution and how it relates to the controversy surrounding the export of livestock, the Vice President said that the Constitution was written 10 ago in English by a Sudanese constitution expert. No one is able to translate it into Somali. Therefore, neither "the President or myself know what is in the Constitution." "We need you, guys in the Diasporas, to translate this import document."

In concluding his speech, the Vice President, who is in Burco, stated that the only good news I have for you is that we succeeded in our long campaign to capture Las Anod. The key element in this campaign was, in advance of our militia invasion of Sool in 2007, we quietly and clandestinely sent dozens of former convicts, trained by our Ethiopian allies, to infiltrate the Sool communities in Adhi Cadey and Yagori. They settled and married from the community while all along providing intelligence and recruiting local collaborators. The Vice-

President added that they will continue following the same strategy in completing the occupation of Sool. At one point the Vice-President was interrupted by the Tele-conference Moderator who opinioned that we learned this strategy from our Protectors, the British, and thank God it is working! Laga Baray-ba; Laga Badi !!

Also the Vice-President reminded time and again during his presentation that the Ethiopians are our friends and that you, meaning the Diasporas Somalilanders, not to listen to those who malign Ethiopia. He also praised and thanked international NGOs. He said without them Somaliland can not survive for a day. So every Somalilander overseas should try his best to bring one NGO.

As a staunch defender of Somali Unity in spite of our current tragedy, this is the first time I participated in a "Somaliland" meeting whether by telephone or in person. I was flabbergasted by the contrast between Ahmed Yassin's honest briefing on "Somaliland" current situation and the deafening boasts and naked propaganda of Diasporas Somalilanders that their 'country' is peaceful, booming, and it is destined to be an international tourist destination. For a country that can not afford to come up with a 3 million dollar deposit, what do you expect the condition of the average Somali in Hargeisa and Burco?

Another question that comes to mind isn't the Vice-President a member of the Somaliland Government? During his presentation he time and again spoke in the plural 'We'. "We are against the Government handling the livestock issue." Does the 'We' refer to a sub-constituency in Somaliland that Ahmed Yusuf Yassin is a member but not President Riyale?

The Vice-President should be commended for his candor. He is popularly known in Somaliland as "WayDhaqaaq'day!", meaning "Somaliland is on the Move". It is a popular phrase he uses when addressing the masses on public events. But based on his presentation on August 3, 2008, it seems Somaliland "May Dhaqaa'qin.". Somaliland is not moving. On the contrary Somaliland is "stagnant" in a cesspool of dysfunctional governance that is plagued by crude divisive clanism and corruption.

In conclusion I wish to thank Somalilander Americans for organizing an open forum for all those interested in the affair of "Somaliland". It was a learning and interesting experience.


SOMALIA: Ministerial committee discusses food crisis in Somaliland

HARGEISA, 20 August 2008 (IRIN) - A ministerial committee in Somalia's self-declared autonomous region of Somaliland has started discussions on ways of resolving a food crisis worsened by runaway inflation in the country.

"We are here to search for solutions to the recent inflation and the food crisis facing the nation this year," Ali Mohamed Waran'adde, the civil aviation minister and chairman of the select committee, said at a news conference in Hargesia, the region's capital.

The committee, comprising nine members of Somaliland's Council of Ministers, held their first closed-door meeting on 13 August.

Waran'adde said the committee was looking at ways of improving the country's financial situation and boosting people's livelihoods through increasing income-generating activities.

Somaliland has, in the past six months, experienced drought, compounded by rising inflation, a situation that has led to sharp increases in food prices.

Members of the ministerial committee include Finance Minister Hussein Ali Du'ale, Qasim Qodah (Commerce), Mohamed Saleeban Weyne (Industry), Ali Mohamed Qorsef (Fishery) and Qasim Sh. Yusuf (Minerals).

Photo: IRIN. Food is costing more and more in Somaliland as inflation bites Sources told IRIN the ministers were planning to increase revenue tariffs to raise the government's income, but the committee chairman, Waran'adde, said their main objective was to find ways of curbing inflation and improving the people's livelihoods.

"The meetings will continue in the coming days, and there is no discussion on the increase of tariffs; we are just dealing with the current problems in the country," Waran'adde said.

He added: "The recent inflation has led to the doubling of food prices and we have to find ways of dealing with this crisis."

On 26 July, Agriculture Minister Aden Ahmed Elmi issued a statement appealing to the international community for emergency aid, saying the food shortage was worsening.

"We are calling on UN agencies, international aid organizations, Islamic countries, as well as the whole world to come to our aid as we are experiencing a difficult situation of food shortages because we didn't get rain on time, and inflation has led to increases in the price of food items," the minister said.

Elmi said the "Gu" rains were delayed, resulting in many farmers failing to cultivate and plant crops. He said army worms had also destroyed crops planted earlier.

He said a survey jointly conducted by his ministry and the Food and Agriculture Organisation's food security assessment unit had found massive crop failure across the country, adding: For this reason it is important to call for emergency aid, to get a quick response for food aid.”


Somaliland and British Council – Human Development Initiatives

Written by Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi

http://www.qarannews.com/Aug 19, 2008

The population pyramid, also called age-sex pyramid, of Somaliland displays more than sixty percent are between 15 – 30 years. The young citizens of Somaliland eager to study, and even some sponsor them selves to learn.

Today, large number of students can be seen waiting for classes at the private and public schools. The English language privates are booming and turned the Somaliland into English speaking nation. This is part of education revolution in Somaliland where everybody is hunting the knowledge. The government schools provide excellent learning environment and curriculum for the students.

British Council, which is located in Addis Ababa, can provide first-class professional education support to the English speaking Somaliland youngsters. The council will enable the Somaliland students to attend international examinations like accounting and auditing certification courses like ACCA, CAT, and CIMA…etc. If the Somaliland Ministry of Education encourages British Council to come Hargiesa, then it will produce well-qualified English speaking professionals.

The human development in Somaliland should be a process of extending citizen’s choices, which can be achieved by expanding human capabilities and functionings. The three basic essential capabilities for human development are for people to lead long and healthy lives, to be knowledgeable and to have access to the resources needed for a decent standard of living. If the basic capabilities are not achieved, then core rights are simply not available and inaccessible.

The human development will produce highly valued people, educated and lead extra economic and social development. However, educating the citizens will provide extra self-respect, better living standard, empowerment of the community.

Somaliland government and private sector should establish institutes to prepare the students for taking up international certification examinations. This will change the Structural Procedures implemented in the country, the system will be more professional and controlled.

For example, having certified auditors or IT Professionals will enable the government and private companies to control their revenues and accounting better; the corruption will be controlled easily through the perfect accounting system. Somaliland will be established as New York of Africa.

Some of the private companies in Somaliland grow bigger day after day, and need people with international standard qualification that can implement better professional systems like accounting, environment, safety, security, IT…etc. Somaliland government should sponsor Prometric Centers for IT Certifications like MCSD, MCSE, OCP, and MCP…etc. These will produce high-tech and qualified technical engineers.

The government should lead such initiative of preparing Somaliland students for better future, because the best investment in the world is within Human Development. The Somaliland student will be competitive at international job markets that will improve the living standard of the common family because majority of the families in Somaliland receive financial support from Diaspora.

Afterwards, the government will do marketing for the qualified Somalilanders at job markets in Europe, America and Middle East.

Somaliland can turn into place to find the qualified and English speaking professionals for many countries mainly the Islamic World, who will find Somalilanders not much different than local culture of their countries. Somalilanders are part of Arab and Islamic World, and will have better opportunity in Gulf region than Indians, Filipinos…etc.

This plan can be fruitful in less than 10 years.

In 2003, during my visit to Somaliland, I realized the people of Somaliland are hungry to learn and to discover the knowledge. Somaliland students own education basics and mainly completed 12 years of schooling or university unlike other parts of Somalia. The majority of children in Somaliland attend schools.

A call to Somaliland government:

Opening British Council in Hargiesa does not need much investment from Hargiesa administration; it is about request to the British Council, especially the current relation between the UK government and Somaliland is very positive. Also, British Council will find booming business in Hargiesa and Somalilanders, usually, pay the money to learn.

The initiative will reduce the unemployment because every qualified person will be demanding and competitive in the job market in Somaliland and abroad too. Human resources are major asset of Somaliland, which is equivalent to major economic backbone of the country – livestock exports.

Recently, large number of Somaliland youth, who were immigrating to Europe for better livings, died in the sea. This is because of the unemployment in the country and people are born to demand more. It is very sad to see youth dying in search of better life, and the government remains uncommitted in solving such problems. Human being, particularly the young, is the best asset of a country, and government should not tolerate with such incidents again.

In our rich oil producing Gulf countries, we recruit foreign manpower from Asia and Africa because there is no enough manpower to serve the booming economy and development needs. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh during his speech at US Congress, proudly, said India produce millions of English speaking professionals to serve the world via job markets. This is unique quality and Somaliland should take India as an example to challenge the world power.

If Somaliland produces qualified professionals to the world, the living standard of the people inside Somaliland will also improve. Because, as per Somaliland culture, the family members support each other unlike many parts of the world; at the end of the day, the professionals are Somalilanders and will come back anytime.

Somaliland will have thousands of its professionals coming back to home after satisfying their financial needs with very extensive experience from international markets. These returning professionals will share their experience in developing Somaliland.

Human Development Initiative vs. Caste based inequality:

The Somaliland communities will be more aware of their political, social and civil rights. The current biased treatment to some Somali communities like Midgan, Gabooye and others will be eliminated. Midgan, Tumaal and Gabooye…etc are Somali tribes living across Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and former Somalia; they face discrimination in marriage; they lost many of their rights due to inequality.

If the education takes roots in former Somalia, including Somaliland, will reform the understanding of the people, where education and qualification will be factor that differentiates between the people in Somaliland and Somalia. Such discrimination goes back to hundreds of years and need massive efforts to finish it.

The government, civil societies, democracy groups, political parties and people of Somaliland should work on implementing a procedure to utilize the young manpower in Somaliland and create job opportunities.

By Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi. Email: az.almutairi@yahoo.com


Somaliland: Notes From a Failed, State Can clans save Somalia?

http://www.qarannews.com/ by Emily Meehan, Aug 19, 2008

HARGEYSA, Somalia—When I first decided to quit my job in New York and head off to Somalia, I went out for drinks with a friend who has an astute command of geopolitics.

"Somalia is at war, and nobody cares! Mogadishu sounds crazy!" I told Mark.

"Nah. Somalia's OK," he replied. "They've got their clans—they can sort it out."

This logic was lost on me. What could clans do to solve the war in Mogadishu, and anyway, what's a clan?

Six months later, I am in Somaliland, a peaceful breakaway state in the north of Somalia, five hours by air from Mogadishu. I have come to learn the answers to my questions. I have heard that clans did make peace in Somaliland.

I see that Somalis don't look the same. Some are as pale as Saudis, others as dark as the blackest African. I meet people from many different clans, but members of the same clan don't necessarily look alike. An ad hoc council of five educated young men tell me there are 13 Somali clans. They warn me not to listen to confused officials who claim otherwise. Hawiye, Darood, Rahanweyne, Issa, Gadabursi, Sheikhal, Isaaq, Biyomal, Gaadsan, Yibro, Midgan, Tumal, and Gaboye are the clans. They make up one tribe and speak one language, Somali. The young men tell me that the father's lineage decides their clan. This genealogy isn't written down. It's an oral society. The clans might as well be like tribes—in fact, the people here call them that—and you can go to town with your Rwanda and Kenya comparisons, because warfare between rival clans destroyed south Somalia after 1991.

There is a drought in Somaliland, so I go to the desert to interview nomads who are living without water. I find a father outside his home, a structure of sticks and mats of woven grass covered with tin and colorful fabric. Ali Jama Odowa allows me and my team of two soldiers, a guide, and a driver to sleep on the ground outside his family's tent. Before we go to bed, and after everyone has listened to the scratchy shortwave broadcast of the BBC World Service, he tells me his problem: The drought might kill his cows, and they hardly have enough water to bathe with, cook with, and drink. The children look dangerously thin. I ask if he can take his family and move to another region where there's more rain. I have heard this is what nomads do.

"It's difficult for us to go where our clan doesn't live. We can't," he tells me.

"But there might be water there," I say, suggesting that he move into a region where the Darood clan rules. Odowa is from the Isaaq clan.

"There's no problem that would force us to go that far. We haven't seen that kind of a drought yet," he says, flustered. "We can travel inside Ethiopia where our clan lives, and we can wait for Allah to bring rain."

My guide and translator, Mohamed Amin Jibril, reminds me that Siad Barre, Somalia's dictator for 22 years, was Darood. Somaliland is populated by the Isaaq clan. Barre killed more than 50,000 Isaaqs in the Somali civil war of the late 1980s. In one incident, his soldiers tied more than 1,000 Isaaq men and boys to trees with barbed wire, pumped them full of bullets, and then drove over them with tanks, burying them alive. Barre's army bombed and razed Hargeysa, Somaliland's capital.

Isaaqs fled as refugees to Ethiopia or, if they were rich, to the United States, Canada, or Europe. So, to ask Odowa if he would move to a place where Daroods live is ridiculous, cruel even.

"You have made this man deny that there is even a drought!" my guide says disapprovingly. Odowa would rather die of starvation than travel inside the territory of an enemy clan, however lush.

Wandering around some more, we cross the unmarked border with Ethiopia. We run into a small, smiling lady in threadbare clothes; she has a dozen sheep. She and my guide speak in Somali, and I see that she is mentally ill. My guide picks up one of her sheep to joke with her, and she throws a stick at him and runs away, bursting into tears.

"It is something from the war. Maybe her parents were murdered in front of her," says Mohamed. "I asked her if she knew she was in Ethiopia, but she doesn't know what Ethiopia is. She does not know her own country even. She only knows her clan."

In the closest village, we learn that the woman's family was killed in front of her; only one brother survived. He and their extended family, the Isaaq subclan called Makahil, take care of her. She knows only what's necessary to survive. In a pinch, clan is more important than state. This may explain why Somalia never unified as a nation-state until 1960 and why Somalia has been a failed state since 1991.

Later, my guide explains how his clan protected him one night in Djibouti. He was in the neighboring country on a work assignment, but he had no money, so he slept on the beach. In the middle of the night, Mohamed says he woke to hear three Djiboutian soldiers discussing how they would drop a boulder on his head. Why they wanted to kill him is a mystery, but it isn't surprising in these parts. "I knew I had a relative who owned a guest house in the town, so I went there," Mohamed continues. "I woke him, and I said to him, 'I am your relative, I come from such and such clan, and my uncle is so and so.' " The distant relative was unmoved. "I told him, 'My security is threatened, and I need a place to sleep. I can sleep inside on the floor if you just let me in.' " Finally he agreed, and Mohamed slept safely.

I stay for three weeks in Hargeysa. It has been rebuilt since Barre's bombardment and looks a lot like Tucson, Ariz. The garden behind my hotel is the haunt of men with ideas. I meet politicians, poets, activists, and businessmen. They drink tea and converse in the style of many Italians I know. They're merry, grave, or excited, and sometimes arguments flare. Many have just returned to their country after fleeing in the 1980s. These members of the Somali diaspora are invariably progressive, and they don't speak of clans, except to complain.

"It's primitive gangsterism," says Ali Hassan Osman, a businessman who settled in Toronto 20 years ago. He met a white Christian woman there and married her. His son doesn't speak Somali. When Osman is annoyed with the slow service, he asks the waiters, "What is this, Jamaica?" He doesn't think bloodlines should matter anymore.

Abokor is the hotel concierge. During my stay, his wife gives birth to their first child, a son. "I have named him Jibril Abokor Isaaq!" he tells me. "People can't believe it, because Isaaq is really my last name, and it's also the main clan of Somaliland. And Jibril Abokor is a subclan of Isaaq. So his name is after my subclan and my clan!" It's like an American naming his baby Cambridge Boston Ireland.

My friend Mark's claim that clans can work out their own problems proves to be correct here. One of the regulars in the hotel tea garden is Somaliland's only psychiatrist, Omar Dihoud. He co-founded one of the rebel groups that ousted Siad Barre in 1991. Dihoud is a natural born storyteller and always has one ready for me when we meet. The best is the tale of how he helped to disarm his subclan after 1991. Somalilanders who had fought against Barre turned against one another once the dictator was gone. They were all members of the Isaaq clan but from different subclans. "There were many young people armed with Kalashnikovs," says Dihoud. "They used to shoot each other, and it was very dangerous to travel from place to place. There were more than 30 checkpoints between Berbera and Hargeysa."

One day in the middle of this chaos, the elders of Dihoud's subclan invited him to a brainstorming conference. One of their boys had killed three men from another subclan, and the elders from that subclan demanded justice. How would these elders prevent such things in the future, and how could they convince their violent young men to give up their arms? "I am a psychiatrist," Dihoud remembers telling them. "And as I am a psychiatrist, I know we are all paranoid after the war. We are all traumatized. We had blood on our hands. We fought against a dictator, and we killed each other. So everybody is paranoid that somebody is following him. And we think that if we give up the arms, other tribes will attack us. Let us disarm ourselves and give the arms to the government."

The sultan of Dihoud's subclan, whose authority could be compared to Native American tribal chiefs, ordered the boys to join the army. Other sultans across the region issued the same orders, and now Somaliland's small government has a huge, unified army. (Click here to hear Dihoud tell this story.)

In matters of love, clan elders are less popular judges. One man tells me he was never permitted to marry a Midgan woman because his clan considered Midgans inferior. Somaliland's own Romeo and Juliet is the legend of Hothan and Elmi Boderi. Residents look to the sky with wonder in their eyes when they speak these names, but no one could properly explain the tale to me until, by chance, Hothan's son drove me to the coast. Abdisalam Mohamed Shabeelleh says his mother was a member of a noble clan. About 60 years ago, when the late Hothan was 12 years old, she went into a bakery in her village to buy cookies. There she met the owner, a middle-aged man named Elmi Boderi. It was love at first sight for Elmi, but because of her youth and noble blood, he was not allowed to speak to Hothan. For months he didn't eat or sleep; all he did was recite mad love poems in the streets. And then he died.

Romance may not have changed with the times. I ask Abokor, the new father, whether his family cared what clan his wife belonged to. "If I bring to my family [someone from] some other clan as a wife, they will not bother me," he says. "Although my wife and I are in the same clan."

Emily Meehan is a freelance reporter focused on politics and war. She contributes to National Public Radio, Wired News, and Good magazine and is writing a book about Somalia. Meehan was formerly a columnist at the Wall Street Journal Online.


SOMALIA: Five arrested over threats to NGO workers

De-mining in Somaliland: Five people have been arrested for allegedly threatening officials of an NGO that carries out de-mining activities

HARGESIA, 18 August 2008 (IRIN) - Five people have been arrested in Somalia's self-declared autonomous region of Somaliland after they allegedly threatened officials of an NGO that carries out de-mining activities.

In one incident on 16 August, four people in a truck forced a vehicle carrying officials of Halo Trust off the road. In the second incident on the same day, a man went to the Halo Trust offices in Hargeisa, the capital, and tried to assault an official.

Ahmed Mohamed Gas, logistics officer for Halo Trust, told IRIN that the NGO’s officials were returning to the capital from Waddo Geel Road, 8km south of Arabsiyo village in the newly established region of Gabiley west of Hargeisa, when the attempt was made.

"We had been to Waddo Geel where we held meetings with the residents on the de-mining of that road; when we reached Arabsiyo centre, we stopped to buy something in a shop and a truck, nicknamed 'Shambo Hayran' passed us," Gas said. "We then drove after it and when we tried to overtake it, the people in it turned the truck towards our car, forcing our driver, Hassan Kosar, to go off the road and hit some trees along the road."

He said the truck then left the scene despite efforts to stop it. The same thing was repeated further up the road after the NGO vehicle got back on the road.

"Finally, there was a third attempt by the same truck at about 12:30pm when it got to Abarso [20km west of Hargeisa], this time the men came out and even slapped us around; we chose to downplay the incident in order to save ourselves and we drove off," Gas said.

Later, at the Halo Trust offices in Hargeisa, Gas said, he was called out by a man who had driven into the compound and asked to speak to an official of the NGO.

Somaliland police said they were investigating the incidents "As I was speaking to the man, a truck drove towards us and suddenly stopped near us, someone come out carrying a thick stick and tried to beat hit me on the head but I blocked it using my hand, seriously injuring it, then the police came and arrested the men in the truck," Gas said.

He said two of the men arrested were involved in the earlier incidents when the first truck attempted to drive them off the road.

"After they were arrested we identified them as part of a group of people who attempted to steal scrap metal from our [Halo Trust] garage in mid March 2008," Gas added.

Somaliland police said they were investigating the incidents.

Between 2002 and 2004, at least five foreign nationals were killed in Somaliland, four of whom were working for aid organisations. At least 15 people were arrested over the deaths and some of them were sentenced to death or long prison sentences.


Weapons And Mine Clearance In Somalia

http://www.voanews.com/uspolicy/2008-08-15-voa4.cfm/ 16 August 2008

Decades of conflict in Somalia continue to threaten political and economic stability in the Horn of Africa region. Weapons caches, landmines, and explosive remnants of war endanger the populace and provide a steady supply of arms to terrorists and insurgents.

To help reduce this deadly threat, the U.S. State Department has launched a one-million-four-hundred-thousand dollar conventional weapons destruction program, which will also include the clearance of landmines and explosive remnants of war throughout heavily affected areas of northern Somalia.

This initiative is being carried out through grants to two non-governmental humanitarian organizations, Mine Advisory Group America, or MAG, and the HALO Trust. MAG will destroy stockpiles of conventional weapons collected from three military camps in Puntland, a region with more than two-million people located in northern Somalia. The grant will also fund the continued deployment of a MAG explosive ordnance disposal or EOD team tasked with identifying and destroying new stockpiles of munitions. Additionally, MAG will provide training to develop local EOD capacity.

The grant to The HALO Trust will reinforce landmine clearance operations in Somaliland. With over four-hundred-forty local Somali staff, HALO Trust is already the largest humanitarian demining organization in that region. Specifically, the grant will support HALO Trust demining teams which are equipped with state-of-the-art mine detectors, developed by the U.S. Department of Defense's Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program.

The U.S. government grants to MAG and The HALO Trust will decrease the impact of landmines and explosive remnants of war on the Somali people while enabling enhanced development and humanitarian relief programs throughout the country.

The U.S. has been working for many years to reduce the threat these deadly munitions pose to civilians in many countries. And that effort is reflected in reduced casualties from landmines and explosive remnants of war. From an estimated twenty-six-thousand such casualties worldwide four years ago, five-thousand-seven-hundred-fifty-one were reported in 2006. By working together, the United States, other donors, and the mine action community can continue to work towards an "impact free" world.


Former refugees launch university in Somaliland

Drawn by better governance and investment opportunities, Africans across the diaspora are increasingly returning to their home countries.

By Hussein Ali Nur and Guled Mohamed. Reuters, August 12, 2008

HARGEISA, Somalia - Almis Yahye Ibrahim remembers when he and his friends hit on the idea of building a university in one of the world's most neglected corners, the breakaway republic of Somaliland.

It was the winter of 1997, and they were hanging out in Helsinki's cafes, keeping the Finnish winter at bay. That's when they dreamt up the International Horn University.

Four years ago, armed with diplomas and savings and driven by a desire to make a difference, the three men and another friend who had been in Malaysia returned home to build their dream. The towering university now stands in Somaliland's hilly capital Hargeisa.

"We had better lives and jobs in Europe," said soft-spoken Mr. Ibrahim, the university's president.

"It was not an easy decision to leave all that and return to a totally destroyed country wrecked by civil war."

Ibrahim left in the 1980s and first went to Egypt before ending up in Finland. Of his friends, another also fled Somaliland while the two others are from Somalia.

Investments by returning refugees provide a lifeline to millions in Somaliland, which does not receive any direct foreign aid as it is not recognized internationally.

This trend of Africans returning home to do business is taking tentative hold in several sub-Saharan countries.

As nations shake off war, adopt better governance, and cash in on a commodities boom, former refugees and other members of the African diaspora are coming back, drawn by patriotism and investment opportunities in a region which the International Monetary Fund expects to grow by 6.5 percent this year.

In Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and elsewhere, these returning nationals are using skills acquired abroad and local knowledge to do business.

"The returnees have transformed Somaliland," said Abdullahi Ali, who drives a taxi for a returning refugee in Hargeisa.

A former British protectorate, Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 when former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted, plunging the Horn of Africa country into anarchy.

Thousands of people left the north during Mr. Barre's reign. He bombed Hargeisa to crush antigovernment forces in 1988, killing thousands of people.

Some refugees began to return in the mid-1990s.

Officials say the returnees now number in the thousands, with Somalis from other regions also attracted here by the relative stability.

Slightly larger than England and Wales, Somaliland has enjoyed relative peace and prosperity and has held democratic elections, with a presidential vote scheduled for next year.

In a move to lure refugees home, the administration has introduced tax waivers on new investments to fuel more growth.

Despite its poverty, Somaliland and the region offer investment opportunities for those brave enough to return.

Half of Somaliland's cabinet and lawmakers are former refugees who came back mainly from Europe and America. Former refugees have also become small-factory owners or created businesses, for example, in telecommunications.

Ibrahim has even bigger dreams: he wants to fashion future leaders. "We don't have leaders in our country but we have managers. Our aim is to produce visionary leaders in future who can bring back hope and amalgamate our people. There is a huge appetite for such leadership and we hope to be the source," he said.

Ibrahim and his friends used their savings to start building the university. After they opened, they won grants from Islamic banks and institutions, mainly from Gulf states.

He estimated they had so far spent nearly $500,000. The grants help fund the day-to-day running of the university, including paying staff salaries.

Ugandan, Kenyan, and Asian lecturers provide tutorials in the the university, which offers master degrees and PhD courses, in conjunction with Malaysia Open University. Around 500 students pay an average of $450 per semester.

"Diasporas are the heart of our economy," said Mahamud Jiir, the mayor of Hargeisa. "We now waive tax ... to encourage more diaspora investment. The economy is built on them. They are our lifeline," he said, referring both to those who return and those who send money back.


Somaliland American Council open forum with Vice-President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin

http://www.qarannews.com/ Aug 14, 2008

Somaliland American Council, a chapter of East Africa Policy Institute, hosted a lively exchange between the Somaliland Diaspora community and the Vice president of the Republic of Somaliland, Mr Ahmed Yusuf Yassin.

The vice president started his remarks by thanking the audience and the organizers of the teleconference for giving him the opportunity to have a conversation with them. He then briefly described the history and the difficulties facing Somaliland in terms of the economy, security and the educational needs present in the country. After those remarks, he embarked in answering a number of tough questions from the audience as the following transcript from the session indicates.

1. Question from Mudane Hussein "Gacmadheere"

Q. What is the reason why your gov. won't allow us to sell our livestock at the market value?

VP. The Saudi businessman, Aljabari was the only one who answered our call for help and invested his own money up front (3M) to build in Berbera a quarantine facility that will allow us to vaccinate livestock before exporting them to the middle east directly from Berbera, instead of going through Djibouti. This facility will be ready in 4 months and then we will allow the free market to determine price and livestock traders.

2. Samiya Cali Madar

Q. The govenment donated 2000 heads of livestock to Djibouti recently, since chartity begins at home and there is a large need for food in the country, why did you not help those in need at home?

VP. The need is large and we know it, but our actions had something to do with building a better relation with our neighbor.

3. Yusuf Sultan, NJ, USA

Q. Berbera is ghost town and is showing a lot neglect, even the newly built power factory is not producing any power due to fuel shortages, all of this happens when this is the city that generates the most revenue for the gov. What are you planning to do to change the situation?

VP. Fuel costs are a lot higher now than they were when it was built and resources are limited, but truth be told, this is a city neglected by its own people, every community is building its own city, why are the people of Berbera not building their own city ?

4. Samsam Haybe Hersi, Toronto, Canada

Q. Is the Guurti going to have an election, or will they be selected like they were the last time?

VP. There is going to have to be a special election for the Guurti, something different than one man one vote, because of the nature of their office. They are a very important body and they are the reason why we are so successful, they will be here long after everyone else is gone from the scene.

5. Mohamed Hassan Ali Awale, Boston, MA, USA

Q. In your public statements you come across as some one who is a defender of the constitutuion; Why is your administration constantly breaking the law? For example, why are you enforcing monopolies like Total and Aljabari?

VP. Total was the company that restored the fuel Tanks and invested in the infrastructure. Total has 50 year contract (issued to them by the previous administration) furthermore anyone who wants to import fuel can do so today provided they meet the company (Total)standards and conditions.

6. Ismail Hassan Yassin, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Q. Every time the president leaves town, you promise to do something different than what his administration has done so far, then when the president gets back into town, nothing gets done. Can we intrerpret that you have policy and political disagreement with President Rayale and you are unable to institute those promises?

VP. There are no policy or political differences between the president and myself.

7. Ibrahim Abdi, Baltimore, MD, USA

Q. Every time there is a public demonstration, the police end up using live bullets and people die, how can the public express their dissent publicly without having to fear being shot at.

VP. We will have the best demonstration in the contry when all fire arm is removed from every house. hold, because we know that every one has at least three rifles at home.

Q. Moderator followed up; Mr. Vice President, the only shooting that took place came from the police. Why not invest in buying the police some shields and helmets to protect themselves form stone throwing youths, instead of using live bullets?

VP. We do not have the resources to buy such equipment, we don't even have funds to buy bullets for our snipers.

8. Foosi Saleebaan Aw. Bindhe, Burco, Somaliland

Q. It is getting closer to when UDUB is going to have its convention, are you running for president, or Vice President again?

VP. We are a team and I am running as Vice President again.

9. Prof. Amina Xaaji Aadan, CA, USA

Q. Poor countries need to foster and aid their local industries in order to grow their economies, why is your administration issuing and eforcing monopolies for foreign corporations at the expense of local business?

VP. The Saudi businessman Aljabari was the only one who answered our call for help and invested his own money up front (3M) to build in Berbera facilities that will allow us to directly export our livestock from Berbera, instead of going through Djibouti. This quarantine facility will be ready in 4 months and then we will allow others via the free market.

10. Hassan Ali, Maine, USA

Q. The previous Election Commission is recognized as having done a good job despite the difficulties of their period, yet some feel that they were not properly compensated and have actually been humiliated when they were fired by having the police reposses their vehicle. Is your administration going to consider some kind of compensation for them?

VP. I don't recall the incident you describe about their cars being confiscated by the police, and I agree with you they have done a good job. The difficulty is that now they all joined in different political parties and are no longer an independent players. It would have been easier to do something had they not done that.

11. Cabdirahman Jama Ahmed (Shootali), Manchester, UK

Q. Do you have a fire fighters and fire trucks in Somaliland?

VP. No we do not, fire trucks require funds we do not have at the moment and now we have the police to respond to fires without proper equipment.

12. Mohamed Bashe Ibrahim, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,

Q. Why is the gov. not changing the old Somali currency into the Somaliland shilling from the eastern regions?

VP. We know there is a problem of old Somali currency being used in the easteren region and we have already taken steps to address the problem. We are planning to resolve this problem before the election.

13. Hussein Beergeel,

Q. Why is your government not addressing the water shortage in Hargeysa?

VP. We are currently in the process of digging new wells in Hargeisa and we have also completed some wells already.

14. Abdi Hussein, Atlanta, GA, USA

Q. There are allegations made by none other than members of the parliament that all the revenue from Berbera port are not reflected on the budget. Can you address this issue?

VP. I want you to come to Berbera and do the auditing yourself to put your mind at ease. Of course that is not the case and all the revenue sources are accounted for.

15. Abdillahi Ahmed, Toronto, Canada,

Q. Having had to postpone the election once already, how confident are you that this time elections will take place in March 29,2008?

VP. The election commission is the body responsible to determine the time to hold elections, however the political parties have agreed on this timetable and I believe the elections will take place at the appropriate time. If there are issues we have mechanisms in place to deal with them then.

Moderator; If by the time elections are to take place, the voter registration is not completed, will you postpone the election once again or are you going to have the elections take place like the previous election which did not require no voter registration completed?

VP. It is worth noting that some of the parties (particulary UCID) are adamant about completing the voter registration before any elections are to take place, and we have come to a concensus on the matter.

16. Abdillahi Daud, MN, USA

Q. Why your government is not helping the private sector to create local jobs? For instance, the government refused to impose high tariffs on foreign products which compete on goods currently produced in Somaliland?

VP. We try to help out our small business and we do not impose any taxes on them, and God willing we will help them more in the future.

17. Hassan Yonis, MN, USA

Q. Your administration has promised in October of 2007 to start construction of the Berbera cement factory, what has caused the delay and what is the latest status?

VP. The German company in charge of building the factory is about to start the project and is due to arrive within the next few months. The agreement calls for openning bidding to anyone if the Germans are unable to complete the project with the required time.

18. Caydaruus Cilmi Yusuf,

Q. What is your administration going to do about the flood of young people loosing their lives in the Red sea while attempting to leave the country for better jobs?

VP. We are aware of the situation, and let me point out to you, that the Somaliland diaspora are also contributing to this problem by coming home and showing off with your computers and cameras without sharing the reality in the Diaspora with the youth. Because of that the young people think that leaving the country is the answer to getting good jobs.

19. Ahmed Ali, Seattle, WA

Q. What is your position in opening up the process and allowing more parties to participate in the election?

VP. The constitution is very clear in that regard and we can only have three parties

20. Moderator:

Q. Your administration has blocked private ownership of radio stations, and you have made the claim that there is a need for legislation and regulations in place before you can open the airwaves to the private citizens. How come you have given license to the BBC and VOA to establish FM stations in Somaliland, while denying your own citizens the same rights?

VP. We have signed contractual agreements with the foreign press, and God willing we'll allow the local press to own private radio in the future.

Moderator: Mr. Vice President, we thank you for speaking with us today.

Source Somaliland. American Council


Support of Somaliland: An Open Letter to General Secretary of GCC

http://www.qarannews.com/ Aug 14, 2008/by Abdulazez Al-Motairi

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was established on 25th May 1981 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE. These countries established open economy and common political agenda. This agreement came after all members agreed fully the terms of the agreement including defense.

The GCC is also part of Arab league located in Cairo, Egypt. Similar policy applies to Somaliland, which shares culture and language with Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. The aforesaid common features cannot be the uniting factor, because the uniting people should accept each other. GCC States run their internal affairs independently same as Somaliland with Somalia.

Republic of Somaliland, located at northern part of former Somalia, won independence from Britain on 26th June 1960. 34 countries recognized Somaliland as an independent state. Four days later, Somaliland joined Italian Somalia, former Somalia, on 1st July 1960 to form Somali Republic. The main reason behind the unity was to bring Somali-speaking population in Horn of Africa under one government.

This failed after Djibouti, with 70% Somali-speaking population, rejected to join Somalia after 1977 independence. Also, the Somali-speakers in Ethiopia and Kenya remained under their governments and turned down the offer to join Somalia.

However, Somaliland stayed under the failed unity for 21 years until the last hope of the objectives of the unity ended in 1988 after Somalia Air Force and Military bombed and killed the civilians in Somaliland. Afterwards, Somaliland decided to go alone on 18th May 1991.

Similar to GCC countries, the unity comes with agreement of the uniting parties. The GCC states are planning common immigration and common currency. This is how the healthy unity works, but not forcing the people into corrupted government.

The unity between Somaliland and Somalia took place without pre-agreements; it was an enthusiastic union. There was no study on the best way that people can unity; there was no real understanding to the unity; the illiteracy rate was very high during the unity in 1960.

The people of British Somaliland suffered under Somali government; they lost all their rights and share in the administration; they were killed in organized genocide by the Siyad Barre (ruler of Somalia 1969-1991) government in Mogadishu. Somaliland brought 50% of the Somali unity in 1960 but got nothing in return; Somalilanders neither got high profile post in the Somali governments nor the capital of the country. Everything went to former Italian Somalia (Southern Somalia).

Even, the international media reported public killing against Somaliland people at Jazira area in Mogadishu during 1980´s; the media estimated the victims in Jazira area about 200 civilians from northern regions of Somalia (Now Somaliland). Jazira area is located at the coastal line of Mogadishu.

Today, Somaliland is willing to live peaceful side-by-side with their Somali brothers in Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. The international communities realized that forcing Somaliland into unity with Somalia will not be fruitful and will add insults to old injuries.

More than 3.5 million Somalilanders voted in favor of independence from former Somalia in 2001 with 97% YES Vote. It is teachings of democracy to accept the voice of the public.

The GCC, Arab League and African Union should support Somaliland similar as EU and America support to Kosovo.

GCC and Transitional Government of Somalia (TGS): Recently, The TGS asked the GCC countries not to do business with any part of former Somalia without consulting it. This form of hypocoristic policy is to damage economically the stable parts of former Somalia. Somaliland had historical trade with GCC states including Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman in more than four centuries like livestock exports.

Also, the leader of TGS Abdullah Yusuf convinced many Arab states to force Somalis living in their countries to use his new passport instead of old Somali passport, which will have negative influence in livings of the Somali people because 90% of the Somali families inside Somalia and Somaliland receive financial support from their relatives working in Europe, Northern American and Arabian Gulf.

Knowingly, TGS does not control Somalia in general; even Mogadishu is not under TGS control. The supporters of TGS are mainly from "Puntland" due to the leader of TGS is former President of "Puntland".

Today, the residents of Mogadishu are fighting against TGS and Ethiopian invasion into Somalia and even Somaliland does not have good relation with TGS authority. Ethiopians brought the TGS and if Ethiopia withdraws then TGS will go with it too.

The international organizations and NGOs like UN deal with Somali groups independently because the situation is very complicated. Also, GCC states should follow similar procedure. The Arab countries, in general, should play neutral policy in Somalia.

Somaliland is quite different from the rest of Somalia because they have elected government and parliament. There is law and order and the government is the decision maker; there is human rights respect and democratic process. The government of Somaliland controls all its territories starting from Sool region in East to Awdal region to west.

The Opposition Parties control the elected Parliament, and monitors the government activities. The entire legislation process should win the majority support of the parliament. Somaliland is country with complete democratic institutions. In 2003, Somaliland held Municipal, Presidential and Parliament elections in a row. The international election observers declared the election free and fair.

Finally, in order to serve the Muslim people in East Africa, we call the GCC to respect the integrity of Somaliland because it came with desire of 3.5 million people. The GCC Countries should avoid dealing with one warlord in Somalia like Abdullah Yusuf, who doesn´t control even Mogadishu.

The people of Somaliland are very grateful for continuous support of GCC charity organizations.

By Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi
Email: az.almutairi@yahoo.com
Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi, MA in Journalism and Mass Communication, Columnist, Freelance Journalist and Weekly article writer about Middle East and African politics and human rights. He is member of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).


'Al Shabaab' gathering outside Somaliland town, says Minister

http://www.garoweonline.com/10 Aug 10, 2008

HARGEISA, Somalia Aug 10 (Garowe Online). Al Shabaab militants who are spearheading an Islamist insurgency in southern Somalia are gathering outside of Burao, a key town in the northern breakaway region of Somaliland, a government minister has said.

Abdullahi "Irro" Ismail, Somaliland's interior minister, told the BBC Somali Service on Saturday that the militants organizing in the outskirts of eastern Burao are loyal to Mr. Hersi Ali Haji Hassan, a businessman who was arrested by local police last week.

"Hersi Ali has links to al Shabaab," Interior Minister Irro said, adding that he will be brought to court after Somaliland police found "telecommunications evidence" during an investigation.

Mr. Hersi Ali, who recently resigned from the Somaliland Election Commission, has openly opposed a trade agreement the Somaliland administration signed with Saudi Arabian company Al Jabberi, sources said.

Somaliland's Livestock Traders Union, for which Mr. Hersi Ali was deputy chairman, has opposed the Al Jabberi deal on grounds that the agreement gives the Saudi company a "monopoly" over rights to export Somaliland livestock aboard.

Dahir Riyale, the Somaliland leader, issued a directive last week allowing the export of livestock already on the grounds of the Port of Berbera, but effectively banning any export thereafter as part of the Al Jabberi deal.

Somaliland has deployed extra troops in and around Burao, where the government says its searching for the 'al Shabaab' fighters and armed trucks.

But a local analyst speaking on the condition of anonymity told Garowe Online that Mr. Hersi Ali's arrest is "political," saying that he was opposition party Kulmiye's hand. picked man for the Election Commission.

The militia gathering in the outskirts of Burao belong to the clan of the arrested trader, the source added.

Al Shabaab, which the U.S. government considers a terrorist organization, is very active in much of southern Somalia, especially in Mogadishu where the insurgents have claimed responsibility for attacks on government troops and allied Ethiopian forces.

Somaliland, in Somalia's northwestern regions, unilaterally declared independence from the rest of the country in 1991 but has not gained international recognition.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, August 10, 2008/Source: Jamhuuriya, Hargeysa, in Somali 10 Aug 08

SOMALILAND POLICE ARREST EIGHT MEN SUSPECTED OF FORMING ARMED MILITIA

Police in Burco, the regional HQ of Togdheer Region arrested eight people and two vehicles early yesterday morning.

Police officers said that they suspected that the men were among a group suspected of planing to mount guns on vehicles in Ceel Dheer locality.

The eight men and the two vehicles, now held in Burco police station, were arrested between Sii-bakhti neighbourhood and City Plaza Hotel in Burco. One two vehicles, a Toyota pick-up was carrying a welding machine.

There are no independent reports confirming whether the men were part of the group, which the government suspected was planing to form armed militia, whose mobilization was going on in some parts of Togdheer Region.

The reports of the formation of the armed militia has caused panic, following movements by government forces in eastern parts of the country in the past few days. [Passage omitted]


UNI (United News of India) August 10, 200

LIFE SOMALIA DIASPORA TWO LAST HARGEISA

BYLINE: Report from UNI brought to you by HT Syndication.

Ibrahim, the university president, has even bigger dreams: he wants to fashion future leaders. ''We don't have leaders in our country but we have managers. Our aim is to produce visionary leaders in future who can bring back hope and amalgamate our people.

There is a huge appetite for such leadership and we hope to be the source,'' he said. Ibrahim and his friends used their savings to start building the university. After they opened, they won grants from Islamic banks and institutions, mainly from Gulf states. He estimated they had so far spent nearly $500,000. The grants help fund the day-to-day running of the university, including paying staff salaries. Ugandan, Kenyan and Asian lecturers provide tutorials in the the university, which offers master degrees and PhD courses, in conjunction with Malaysia Open University. Around 500 students pay an average of 450 dollars per semester. LIFELINE Despite its poverty, Somaliland and the region offer investment opportunities for those brave enough to return. According to a European Union study seen by Reuters, the area has substantial untapped resources of oil, coal and metals such as gold, platinum, copper, nickel and zinc. Oil majors such as ConocoPhillips, and Chevron staked out claims in the 1980s in Somalia but suspended operations when the country imploded in the 1990s.

Somaliland's 850 km of coastline also offer potential for a fisheries industry. The mayor of Hargeisa, Mahamud Jiir, a former refugee who lived in Britain, says fresh investment has fuelled a construction boom in Hargeisa, a city still speckled with ruins from the 1988 bombing attack. ''Diasporas are the heart of our economy,'' said Jiir, an engineer who also owns a construction company which builds up to 50 new buildings in Hargeisa every month. ''We now waive tax on factory parts and other goods to encourage more diaspora investment. The economy is built on them. They are our lifeline,'' he said, referring both to those who return and those who send money back. Hassan Mahamud Hassan, 32, returned from neighbouring Djibouti in January last year. He invested 500,000 dollars to build the Imperial hotel in Hargeisa. The hotel now employs 40 people and caters mainly to returning refugees and aid workers. ''The country depends on us. Our staff are better paid than government workers. There is a need to educate new returnees on the best investment opportunities available,'' Hassan said outside his hotel, as a group of men drank Italian cappuccinos at a next-door coffee shop.


Returning to Somaliland to Shape the Future

by Reuters, Aug 08, 2008/By Hussein Ali Nur and Guled Mohamed,

HARGEISA, Somalia (Reuters). Almis Yahye Ibrahim remembers when he and his friends hit on the idea of building a university in one of the world’s most neglected corners, the breakaway republic of Somaliland. It was the winter of 1997, and they were hanging out in Helsinki’s cafes, keeping the Finnish winter at bay. That’s when they dreamt up the International Horn University.

Four years ago, armed with diplomas and savings and driven by a desire to make a difference, the three men and another friend who had been in Malaysia returned home to build their dream. The towering university now stands in Somaliland’s hilly capital Hargeisa. "We had better lives and jobs in Europe," said soft. spoken Ibrahim, the university’s president.

"It was not an easy decision to leave all that and return to a totally destroyed country wrecked by civil war." Investments by returning refugees provide a lifeline to millions in Somaliland, which does not receive any direct foreign aid as it is not recognized internationally. This trend of Africans returning home to do business is taking tentative hold in several sub. Saharan countries.

As nations shake off war, adopt better governance and cash in on a commodities boom, former refugees and other members of the African diaspora are coming back, drawn by patriotism and investment opportunities in a region which the International Monetary Fund expects to grow by 6.5 percent this year.

In Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Ethiopia and elsewhere, these returning nationals are using skills acquired abroad and local knowledge to do business. "The returnees have transformed Somaliland," said Abdullahi Ali, who drives a taxi for a returning refugee in Hargeisa.

BIG DREAMS

A former British protectorate, Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 when former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted, plunging the Horn of Africa country into anarchy. Thousands of people left the north during Barre’s reign. He bombed Hargeisa to crush anti. government forces in 1988, killing thousands of people.

Some refugees began to return in the mid. 1990s. Officials say the returnees now number in the thousands, with Somalis from other regions also attracted here by the relative stability.

Ibrahim left in the 1980s and first went to Egypt before ending up in Finland. Of his friends, another also fled Somaliland while the two others are from Somalia.

Slightly larger than England and Wales, Somaliland has enjoyed relative peace and prosperity and has held democratic elections, with a presidential vote scheduled for next year.

Analysts say it is not recognized globally because of concerns that rewriting colonial borders would open a Pandora’s box of other secession claims. The enclave’s annual budget stands at approximately $35 to $40 million. Analysts say around 80 percent comes from customs duties and earnings from the port of Berbera, on the Gulf of Aden. The diaspora contributes around $450 million (233 million pounds) annually in remittances.

In a move to lure refugees home, the administration has introduced tax waivers on new investments to fuel more growth. Half of Somaliland’s cabinet and lawmakers are former refugees, who came back mainly from Europe and America. Former refugees have also become small factory owners or created businesses, for example in telecommunications.

Ibrahim, the university president, has even bigger dreams: he wants to fashion future leaders."We don’t have leaders in our country but we have managers. Our aim is to produce visionary leaders in future who can bring back hope and amalgamate our people. There is a huge appetite for such leadership and we hope to be the source," he said.

Ibrahim and his friends used their savings to start building the university. After they opened, they won grants from Islamic banks and institutions, mainly from Gulf states. He estimated they had so far spent nearly $500,000. The grants help fund the day. to. day running of the university, including paying staff salaries.

Ugandan, Kenyan and Asian lecturers provide tutorials in the university, which offers master degrees and PhD courses, in conjunction with Malaysia Open University. Around 500 students pay an average of $450 per semester.

LIFELINE

Despite its poverty, Somaliland and the region offer investment opportunities for those brave enough to return. According to a European Union study seen by Reuters, the area has substantial untapped resources of oil, coal and metals such as gold, platinum, copper, nickel and zinc.

Oil majors such as ConocoPhillips, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron staked out claims in the 1980s in Somalia but suspended operations when the country imploded in the 1990s.

Somaliland’s 850 km (528 miles) of coastline also offer potential for a fisheries industry. The mayor of Hargeisa, Mahamud Jiir, a former refugee who lived in Britain, says fresh investment has fuelled a construction boom in Hargeisa, a city still speckled with ruins from the 1988 bombing attack.

"Diasporas are the heart of our economy," said Jiir, an engineer who also owns a construction company which builds up to 50 new buildings in Hargeisa every month. "We now waive tax on factory parts and other goods to encourage more diaspora investment. The economy is built on them. They are our lifeline," he said, referring both to those who return and those who send money back.

Hassan Mahamud Hassan, 32, returned from neighbouring Djibouti in January last year. He invested $500,000 to build the Imperial hotel in Hargeisa. The hotel now employs 40 people and caters mainly to returning refugees and aid workers. "The country depends on us. Our staff are better paid than government workers. There is a need to educate new returnees on the best investment opportunities available," Hassan said outside his hotel, as a group of men drank Italian cappuccinos at a next. door coffee shop.


Somaliland Vice President paints Bleak Picture for Somalia’s Secessionist Entity

Osman Jama Adam August 07 , 2008

http://wardheernews.com/articles_08/August/Osman_Adam/07_Somalilands_Vice_President.html

“We don’t Know What is in This Constitution; it is in English and I can’t read or write English”

In a candid conversation with Diaspora Somalilanders the Vice. President of the self. declared Somaliland Republic painted a bleak picture of the economic and political crisis facing Somalia’s secessionists’ enclave. He shared with the audience, apparently in confidence, that he is in complete disagreement with President Riyaale with how the government handled the controversial issue of exporting livestock from the enclave.

Ahmed Yusuf Yassin (WayDhaqaaqDay)

On August 3, 2008 I was invited, I believe by mistake, to participate in a Teleconference organized by Somaliland American Council, a Washington. based Ad Hoc group dedicated to the lobbying for the recognition of Somaliland as a State independent from Somalia. The subject of the conference was “Current Situation in Somaliland’ and the Keynote Speaker was Ahmed Yusuf Yassin, Somaliland Vice President. The following are the highlights of the Vice President presentations to an audience he believed was solely made up of the core constituency of the “Somaliland” Project. 1. The Government does not have the capacity to control events on the ground in Somaliland. “If a lawless teenager (Jirri) burns the Quran in the centre of Hargeisa, no government can do anything to stop it; let alone bring him to justice,” Mr. Yassin stated. He added if the government intervenes the whole incident would be turned into a clan against clan issue.

2. On the controversy over giving exclusive rights to a Saudi national to export livestock from the country, the Vice President stated that he is not in agreement with President Riyaale to give monopoly to a foreign national to export our livestock. However, in order for a free market to take effect for the export of livestock from Berbera we are required to come up with 3 million dollar deposit as a guarantee that the live stock is free from Rift Valley disease. The government does not have that kind of money; neither the business community.

3. Responding to a pre. submitted question on the Somaliland Constitution and how it relates to the controversy surrounding the export of livestock, the Vice President said that the Constitution was written 10 years ago in English by a Sudanese constitutional expert. No one is able to translate it accurately into Somali. Therefore, neither “the President nor myself know what is exactly in the Constitution.” “We need you, guys in the Diasporas, to translate this important document.”

4. In concluding his speech, the Vice President, who was calling from Burco, stated that the only good news I have for his Diasporas audience is that we succeeded in our long campaign to capture Las Anod. The key element in this campaign was, in advance of our militia invasion of Sool in 2007, we quietly and clandestinely sent dozens of former convicts, trained by our Ethiopian allies, to infiltrate the Sool communities in Adhi Cadey and Yagori. They settled and married from the community while all along providing intelligence, smuggling arms and recruiting local collaborators. The Vice. President added that they will continue following the same strategy in completing the occupation of Sool. At one point the Vice. President was enthusiastically interrupted by the tele. conference Moderator who gushed with glee that” “it seems we learned this strategy from our Protectors, the British, and thank God it is working! Laga Baray. ba; Laga Badi !!” 5. Also the Vice. President time and again reminded his audience that the Ethiopians are our friends and that you, meaning the Diasporas Somalilanders, not to listen to those who malign Ethiopia. He also praised and thanked international NGOs. He said without them Somaliland could not survive for a day. So every Somalilander overseas should try his best to bring one NGO.

As a staunch defender of Somali Unity in spite of our current crisis, this is the first time I participated in a “Somaliland” meeting whether by telephone or in person. I was flabbergasted by the contrast between Ahmed Yassin’s honest briefing on “Somaliland” current situation and the deafening boasts and naked propaganda of Diasporas Somalilanders that their ‘country’ is well. governed, peaceful, booming, and it is destined to be an international tourist destination. For a country that can not afford to come up with a 3 million dollar deposit, what do you expect the condition of the average Somali in Hargeisa and Burco? Another question that comes to mind isn’t the Vice. President a member of the Somaliland Government? During his presentation he time and again spoke in the plural ‘We’. “We are against how the Government is handling the livestock issue.” Does the ‘We’ refer to a Somaliland Secret Society that excludes President Riyaale but includes the Vice. President, Ahmed Yusuf Yassin? I am just wondering. On the other hand does the ‘We’ refer to the Opposition? If so why is he still the Vice. President? In other jurisdictions in the world the Vice. President would have either voluntarily resigned or sacked by the President. The Vice. President should be commended for his candor. He is popularly known in Somaliland as “WayDhaqaaq’day!,” meaning “Somaliland is on the Move”. It is a popular phrase he uses when addressing the masses at public events. But based on his presentation on August 3, 2008, it seems Somaliland “May Dhaqaa’qin.” i.e. Somaliland is not moving. On the contrary Somaliland is “stagnant” in a cesspool of dysfunctional governance that is plagued by crude divisive toxic clanism, sub. clanism and corruption.

In conclusion I wish to thank SomalilandAmericans for organizing an open Forum (albeit mute) for all those interested in the affair of “Somaliland”. It was an eye. opener and learning experience.

Osman Jama Adam. A Dubai. based Freelance Writer With special interest in Human Rights and the Environment.


FACTBOX: What is Somaliland?

Reuters. Aug 7, 2008

Investments by returning refugees and remittances from those still abroad provide a lifeline to millions in the breakaway Somaliland Republic.

Here are some details about Somaliland:

GEOGRAPHY: Somaliland is about the size of England and Wales with an area of 137,600 sq km (68,000 sq. miles). It shares borders with Republic of Djibouti to the west, Ethiopia to the south and Somalia to the east.

POPULATION: The population of Somaliland is estimated at around 4.0 million.

CAPITAL: Hargeisa is the capital of Somaliland with an estimated population of 0.45 million. The other main towns are Burao, Borama, Berbera, Erigabo and Las Anod.

LANGUAGE: Somali is the official language. Arabic and English are the other official languages.

RELIGION: Islam (Sunni).

GOVERNMENT: Somaliland's system of government consists of a house of representatives elected directly by the people and an upper chamber, or Guurti, consisting of traditional elders representing the different clans and sub.clans.

ECONOMY: The economy is mostly powered by $450 million a year in remittances from diaspora. The government's annual budget is around $40 million .. an amount the U.S. government spends every six minutes.

.. According to a European Union study, the region has substantial untapped resources of oil, coal and metals such as gold, platinum, copper, nickel and zinc.

A NEW BEGINNING:

.. There is hope in Somaliland that 2009 presidential elections will lead to international recognition of the northern Somali enclave as an independent country.

.. The polls are seen by many as an acid test for the former British protectorate which broke away from Somalia in 1991 when the ouster of former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre plunged the Horn of Africa country into anarchy.

.. Somaliland has enjoyed relative peace and prosperity and has held previous democratic elections, but analysts have said that it was not recognized globally because of concerns that rewriting colonial borders would open a Pandora's Box of other secession claims.

Sources: Reuters/http://www.somalilandgov.com/


The president of Somaliland produced anew decree of exporting livestock

http://www.somaliweyn.org/pages/news/August_08/7August61.html/ Mogadishu, August 7 2008 SMC

The head of the self. styled state of Somaliland Mr. Dahir Rayale Kahin has produced rigid decree towards exporting livestock from his state of control Somaliland.

In the past couple of months there was great scuffle in the exportation of livestock from Somaliland to the rest of the world particularly in the immediate Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The presidential decree was based on three significant points.

The released statement reads like this; the current animals which are now in the habour should only be transported for export, and more other animals can be brought at the habour apart from those ones of the Saudi tycoon Al. Jabir till the renovation of Berbera is old port is over and who ever is seen attempting to export his animals would face the law.

The president set a committee to mediate between him and the mercantile of Somaliland regarding about the exporting of animals from Somaliland.

On the other hand the spokesman for the Somaliland traders Mr. Gamadere said that they will think twice about the decree released from the office of the president, and added that they hold a press conference and expose their reaction about the statement which emerged from the office of the president.

The disagreement about the exportaion of livestock from Somaliland was the focal point in past 2 to 3 weeks, and the elders of Somaliland are jointly campaigning on how to overthrow Rayale from the throne, since he is working on interest of foreigners.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, August 6, 2008/Source: Horn Cable TV, Hargeysa, in Somali 2030 gmt 5 Aug 08

SOMALI PIRATES SAY "TO TAKE ACTION" AGAINST GERMAN HOSTAGES OVER RANSOM

[Presenter] The commander of the pirates who kidnapped a German family has warned of severe consequences never seen before if the ransom they demanded earlier is not paid. Our reporter in Sanaag Region, Abdirazzaq Ali has the details.

[Reporter] The commander of the pirates holding the German couple for the second month running has sent a message to the couple's relatives and country saying that they would embark on action they have been preventing for a long period if the ultimately agreed ransom of 1.4m dollars is not paid.

He said that those individuals blocking them from getting the ransom would be responsible of the [pirates] action, adding that the individuals can do nothing in rescuing the two Germans.

Since no vehicle can access the mountainous area where the Germans are held, which is also far from towns, it is difficult to deliver the personal needs of the couple.

The individuals blocking the pirates from being paid the ransom have not taken any step [presumably in releasing the couple]. However, the question is the kind of problem that could result from the pirates' action that they said they would take.


Foreign traders reached at Hargisa in Somaliland

Muqdisho, August 5 2008 SMC

Foreign traders from different nation arrived at the headquarters of the self. styled state of Somaliland which falls north in the Somali map.

These foreign traders are representing different trade companies which operate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Kaziqistan, and Russia.

This high trade delegates have safe landed at Egal international airport yesterday, afternoon and were nicely welcomed at the airport by members in Somaliland admi nistration, and were taken to the house of Somaliland where they were open heartedly received by the president of Somaliland Dahir Riyale Kahin and some of his ministers.

The main objective of these trade delegates is how to invest Somaliland's land.

The president of Somaliland Mr. Kahin said that his authority is ready to receive anybody who wants to invest Somaliland.

These delegates have within yesterday reached the old coastal town of Berbera on scrutinizing mission in the old habour of Berbera and Berbera airport too.

These delegates said that they will renovate the airport which seems to rather unsuitable for planes to land and take off.

Foreign traders are latterly pouring into Somaliland, and it was some weeks ago when a Saudi tycoon signed agreement with the authority of Somaliland on the side of animals exporting.


Tourists in Somaliland

By Peter Buttigieg and Nathaniel Myers/

http://www.qarannews.com/ Jul 31, 2008

Last week we went to Somalia as American tourists. We stayed only a night, but that was plenty of time to wander unescorted through the local market, explore town in a battered Toyota station wagon, and even head out into the desert to admire some ancient cave paintings. It might seem an odd choice of vacation spot, given that Somalia, so long synonymous with "failed state," appears to be growing ever more dangerous. The insurgency against the American. backed Ethiopian occupation persists, and just last week it was reported that a particularly radical group has launched a campaign to murder relief workers, who are there trying desperately to avert an oncoming famine.

Indeed, we were able to travel safely to Somalia only because of a peculiar but important technicality: The world makes no distinction between the Republic of Somaliland, the autonomous and self. governing territory that we visited, and the rest of Somalia to its south.

Since declaring independence in 1991, Somaliland has achieved a level of peace and stability beyond the wildest dreams of the quasi. government in Mogadishu. Yet remarkably, throughout the many years the international community has funded, fed and sought vainly to stabilize Somalia, it has studiously ignored the peaceful and democratic polity to Somalia's north.

This is not an oversight but a conscious policy decision: No country on earth will recognize Somaliland as a peer. The African Union has occasionally "studied" the issue, but its members are loath to endorse what would amount to secession from one of their own.

The United States and many European states have said they will defer to the African Union's policy. despite their willingness last year to proactively promote the controversial independence of Kosovo.

With the world averting its eyes, the remarkable achievements of Somaliland have gone unnoticed. In one of the world's most dangerous and unstable areas, it has managed to establish peace and stability, and gone on to develop a unique democratic regime that incorporates both direct elections and formal roles for traditional clan elders. It has established a legal system that carefully balances local tribal custom, Islamic jurisprudence, and Western constitutional tradition. While democracy's reputation is precarious throughout much of the Muslim world, this devout country has held elections on its own initiative and at considerable cost to its national reserves.

The international community's approach to Somaliland not only ignores these accomplishments; it might actually destroy them.

Without formal recognition, Somaliland cannot enter into trade agreements with other countries, and is unable to exploit the natural resources under its earth and its Red Sea port of Berbera. It struggles to attract foreign investors willing to operate in an "ungoverned" area. It can't even receive normal development aid from donor countries and agencies, because they cannot channel aid through an unrecognized government. Instead, the people of Somaliland receive only a portion of the aid designated for "Somalia."

The situation has left Somaliland underdeveloped and desperately poor, with the government often unable to provide even the most basic public services. Of no less concern, the durability of its democracy has recently come into question, with scheduled presidential elections delayed until next March. (The official explanation was that the authorities in this nation of nomadic goat herders needed more time to register voters.)

It's hard to know which is more improbable: that an impoverished country in a chaotic but strategically important region would develop its own fragile democracy, or that the United States would deliberately ignore its requests for assistance.

In the absence of Western political and economic engagement, Somaliland is pursuing investment and support from China and Gulf countries. Such support might be enough to ensure Somaliland's survival and eventual growth, but it will crowd out America's chance to win the gratitude of a potentially valuable ally in a very troubled area.

From the journalist who took us to lunch to the guide who took us to the cave paintings, the people we met in Somaliland were welcoming, hopeful and bewildered by the absence of recognition from the West. They were frustrated to still be overlooked out of respect for the sovereignty of the failed state to their south.

"Every member of Parliament in Mogadishu gets a salary paid mostly by U.S. and EU funds," one Somaliland official told us. "And every one of them is a killer. If you kill enough people, you are called a warlord and you get invited to conferences. Meanwhile, I was elected by thousands of votes in a free election, but the international community does not consider us a country. They should be rewarding democracy, not killing."

Peter Buttigieg is a management consultant in Chicago and a fellow at the Truman National Security Project. Nathaniel Myers is a political analyst in Ethiopia


A Letter to the Governor of Gabilay

By: Mohamed Hirsi Bahal/ http://wardheernews.com/ July 30, 2008

First of all, I’ am congratulating you and the people of the Region for the regional status given to the District of Gabiley. Unlike other newly formed Regions, Gabiley Region has agricultural potential both in crop production and animal husbandry. With the implementation of a sound agricultural plan and positive human interaction based on fair judicial land holding, the Region can become the bread basket of the country.

While the Region possesses such vital natural resources, it, however, lacks social justices that embody all sub. clan groups living or used to live in the Region. No one can deny that a large number of people whose livelihood depended in agriculture were subjected to forced exodus while at same time their personal properties in terms of lands and buildings were taken away. It is lamentable that the issue of returns of personal properties to their legal owners particularly in Gabiley has never been given the merit it deserved in solving the long standing property ownership problems. Both the late President Egal and the present one put the issue under the carpets, even if it is a sore wound that remains untreated.

There has never been a well defined land tenure statue in the country either during British rule or the subsequent national governments. Land holding was based socio. cultural basis transferable from generation to generation. Local government offices kept records for taxation purposes only with no delineation of land boundaries often causing acrimonious frictions among the farmers. While such land tenure deficiency existed, people were tilling their lands in harmonious relationship.

Then what tilted the balance to make Gabiley one sub. clan Region? The euphoria that emerged from Borama reconciliation conference did not bring remedy to the plights of people who were evicted from their lands in Gabiley district. In addition, one example of government's impotence in safeguarding the public lands against flagrant grabbing by one sub. clan was how Tug. Wajaleh Project land parceled by people who believed in the homogeneity of Gabiley.

Whatever injustice happened both at the national and district level, it is not too late to rectify the Region's problems of human dimension. Now, being the Governor of the Region, you have to come up with prudent policy to institute a legal frame works inviting people who were displaced to return to their lands.

Mr. Governor, a leader must have a passionate connection with the people in all sectors of societies under his realm especially those whose properties were infringed. A good leader some times takes kind of decision which may appear unpopular to some segment of the society he service, and acts corrective measures for the sake of the disadvantaged.

You have inherited a system of governance that promoted fertile ground for sub. clan hatred, disfranchised voting rights, breakdown of community solidarity, and unpleasant ethnic undertone. Such prevailing social injustices in the Region are tests to your tenure of service, and require tenacity, perseverance, and prudence to create conducive environment that can bring reconciliation of all people of the Region. People with sincere hearts and minds cherish the magnanimity of settling outstanding issues by dialogue.

Number of thorny disputes that arose in Somaliland were finalized on win. win bases, and as a result, brought admiration from the international community. No reason why the issue of land and properties of displaced people remains in limbo for 17 years.

In conclusion, my message to you, Mr. Governor, Mayor, and Regional counselors is to convince the people that peace and prosperity can be achieved when they grasp the principle of live and Let Others Live.

Mohamed Hersi Bahal, E. Mail:mhm_40bhl@yahoo.com


Somalia: Clanship Politics.. a critical analysis

http://www.somalipressreview.com/view.php?articleid=761/Jul 30, 2008

So much has been said about Kulmiye being the saviour of Somaliland. So much has also been said about Udub being defunct of sound political, economic and social development plans. Whilst the latter is perhaps true to some extent, less has, however, been said of the deep seated structural constrains to our nation building i.e. the political impasse and the ineffectual political machinery. This paper argues that some of the most fundamental issues facing our emerging nation pre. date President Riyale’s government and will, in all likelihood, continue to exist long after he is gone. I maintain that the fundamental causes of what befell us are much more complex than they appear on the surface, and surely than opposition parties would have us believe. In fairness nothing dulls the mind more than accepting on face value that Udub is the culprit of current impasse. I use the term ‘impasse’ because in the present context of the turmoil in the troubled Horn of Africa, some might not agree that Somaliland has a problem to start with. I partly agree to this. There is peace and stability (rare commodities in the Horn) and the private sector business is booming. But whilst these are necessary conditions, they are however not sufficient for the building of a viable nation state. The focus of this paper is the dead. end clanship politics which has turned our nation building on its head.

But before embarking on the vicious impact of clanship politics, let me first point out that it would be naive to suggest that social organisation based on genealogical arrangements has no role to play in Somaliland political system. Both in good and bad times Somalis have had to live with the dictates of a social system that is arranged along genealogical lines. Wars were fought and peace deals struck in which clan thinking played instrumental role. It is not only an integral part of the Somali social fabric, cultural heritage and (semi). political life, but also in the defining days of Somaliland in early 90s, clan elders played and still continue to play an ingenious role in the reconciliation process, peace building and peace maintenance. This seemingly positive aspect of clan politics is undisputable; ‘seemingly’ because (as will appear later) solutions brought about by clan based thinking are not self evident. They merely resolve problems they create. Nonetheless those well. versed in the traditional social structure were formally recognized and provisions were made for them in the form of Guurti or House of Elders. But true as it may be, the role of Guurti is often used to over explain peace and stability Somalilanders are so proud of.

Also I am not suggesting a wholesale or an outright rejection of clanship politics, because that is unrealistic and because also we may feel lost and bewildered, as it gives us a sense of belongingness, sense of security. At least for now. But my concern is that with the use of clanship approach over and above ideological views we are unintentionally conspiring against our emerging nation. The point I am trying to make is that the use of the Guurti model as a blueprint for all political associations is ill. advised. Modern state. building, clearly calls for a more sophisticated approach, where personal dispositions are much more important than clan attributes. It involves in norms and values. It also involves in competencies, knowledge and skills that do not inhere in the lineage structures. My argument, though I am not pretending it is a novice one, is that our tendency to use clan based approach as a ‘master key’ to all problems (from land demarcation to institutions building as will be discussed below) is, though not the only one, at the core of our self. imposed political impasse.

In my view clan loyalty and political thought formation are two distinct aspects, which are incompatible with modern nation state building. The negative impacts of clanship politics are too numerous to contain in this brief paper. I will, however, discuss few aspects which I think deserve immediate attention. First clanship approach potentially creates ethical and moral dilemmas particularly when perceived clan interest and the real national interest do not coincide as is often the case. It creates dilemmas for those who have the interest of the nation at heart. Whilst central tenets of kinship relations are to support each other in times of need, and in terms of ‘your (blood) nearest is your dearest’, it nevertheless is evident that it has disastrous impact on the formation of national identity. Clanship politics, as many would agree, is inherently destructive. It is a subtle agent that undermines all processes of nation building, much the same way termites eat away wood and gradually cause it to disintegrate. Worst yet, it is counter. productive and frustrates the emergence of common citizenry that unites people. It is surely devoid of altruism, but rife with rivalry sentiments and fragmentations.

Whilst it is understandable that clanship mentality is stubborn, difficult to eradicate social ailment which now sadly permeated political institution building at all levels, it is however not undoable to neutralise its undermining impact. My concern is that kinship card is now being played openly in the political arenas. areas where ideally speaking clan doctrine has no business to do. What troubles me is that on the one hand we want some sort of an effective national political system to emerge, but on the other hand we nonchalantly tolerate political thought formation which is construed within the confines of one’s clan. The dysfunctional clan politics and the absence of collective national identity which transcend clanship behaviour, I maintain, is a dangerous stalemate. Indeed if we do not de. tribalise our political ideas formation and develop a culture of independence of thought, we might as well forget the nation state we dream to build. For our recent history is rich with evidence showing that when clanship doctrine enters the political arena through the front door, nationhood escapes through the back window.

As the renowned Somali anthropologist, I. M. Lewis in his book A Pastoral Democracy suggested the major fallacy of clan logic is it is inherently indeterminate in the sense that it has no permanency in the formation of for instance a coalition at even sub. clan levels. If we extend that logic we might partly understand why we are where we are in relation to nation building. It is disheartening to see how the destructive working of clanship politics escapes our attention. Whilst we probably might all agree that the clan logic is incompatible with modern day state machinery, for some obscure reasons we continue utilising it with much indifference. We may blame our leaders for the political mess we are in, but equally important is to note that there is a collective failure on our part to conceptualise our problems in their proper historical context. To accept the inept explanation that the sitting government is responsible for the current political impasse is to me unpalatable and even absurd. Because if this were true we would not only have been fault. finding with our leaders but we would too have nostalgically been talking in terms of the ‘good old times’. In fact we have been moaning all along since the new history of Somaliland begun in 1991 or since 1960 for that matter. Somaliland’s current problems are thus, I think, not only historical as just suggested, but also structural; because they are deeply engrained in the social organisation of our segmented society. It is true that we are trapped in a tribal prison in which our behaviour is sadly sanctioned, as Lewis put it, by an ever shifting clan loyalty.

Against this backdrop, one can paradoxically suggest that the much referred reconciliation conferences in Burao and Borama in the early 90s in which traditional elders convened to broker peace deals was perhaps no more than a tribal solution to a tribal problem. What I am getting at is to suggest that despite its significance in peace making, clanship politics was never looked at critically. Indeed its destructive working on nation building was glossed over with the simplistic explanation that our traditional or indigenous approach to nation building is fit for purpose. To some extent this may be the case, but only in so far as the issue at hand is of genealogical nature; in other words ensuring that social contracts between different clan and sub. clan families function at their very basic level. But beyond this point it has no value anymore than traditional medicine can be used to cure fatal diseases. Needless to say then that clan based approach to nation and institution building is the prime suspect in our nation’s malfunctioning political system.

Much of our political stalemates thus, have clannish causes, which not only prevent nationalism and patriotism, but also the emergence of new generation of politicians (I will take up this in an upcoming paper). It follows from here that the same social forces which impede current government and which also impeded previous governments, will most likely continue to constrain future governments unless Somalilanders address fundamental structural (not tribal) questions. For now much of what we see are manifestations of the impact of the divisive force of tribalism which is further aggravated by a serious lack of quality leaders. Our impasse is in this respect self inflicted, which has less to do neither with the incumbent government nor with the international community’s reluctance to recognize Somaliland as an independent state.

To illuminate the above discussion let us consider the issue of the new regions as an example. Whilst clearly there was no pressing need, Udub recently shredded this small emerging nation literally into smaller sub. clan entities. No one protested. In fact there were jubilations and celebrations at the announcement of the new regions. Udub, I think, took a potentially disastrous step into the unknown. Will such move help Somalilanders gel together as a nation or will it further reinforce clan identity at the expense of the national identity? Given the nation’s segmented social structure I am afraid that such move is likelier to reinforce social disintegration. Udub’s creation of the additional regions is a prime example of what colonial rulers saw in us – that we are socially a deeply divided society. It is also what allows hegemony seeking Ethiopians invade neighbouring Somalia, commit atrocities and get away with it (hopefully at least for now). Further with these irresponsible moves we run the risk of lapsing unwittingly into a sort of feudal political system.

Opposition parties are no strangers to such clan based policy. For instance Kulmiye has recently moved to consolidate its power structure by appointing central committee members along kinship lines. With this Kulmiye is guilty of exclusive policy. It might have won few clan. minded people, but it surely had lost the trust or alienated many potential electorates. But more importantly Kulmiye lost any moral high grounds to hold the government to account for the irresponsible move of ‘divide to rule’ and thus unfortunately in this respect Kulmiye is not a serious contender or alternative to Udub. So long as this is the case I doubt that we are heading for an immediate political settlement in the country any time soon. The annoying problem is that we cannot simply take care of some ill. defined clan interest and continue to naively belief that such strategy would in turn take care of our shared national interest. To believe so is to violate the essence of the bottom. up approach, which we are now using as a panacea for issues of a fundamentally different nature: nation and institution building. Running a nation and building its institutions is as much complicated, if not more so, as running a medical or educational institution. It would be absurd and unintelligible to suggest that it is Habr X’s time to nominate the Dean of Hargeisa University.

One could be tempted (and justifiably so) to blame both parties for showing despicable clan behaviour, but any outcry would most probably be met with resistance because such moves are merely responses to the directives of the clanship doctrine. Important question to be asked here is: can Somaliland transcend the dangerous clan based politics? Perhaps yes. If we are morally serious (and probably we are), we should be addressing our propensity to form alliances along genealogical lines.

Mohamed Obsiye, London/ E. Mail: mobsiye78@hotmail.com


Merciless Saudis land in Somaliland

http://www.pr. inside.com/merciless. saudis. land. in. somaliland. r730535.htm

2008.07.30. With weak, ridiculous and unsympathetic leaders, the small new nation of Somaliland sleep walks into a nightmare never visited along the shores of the Red Sea.

Somaliland having four million people to feed with meagre resources in this global economic hardship, a dark cloud arrived to haunt the natives from Djibouti's red sea coast to Kenya's Indian Ocean. A cloud which many ignorant African leaders are frightened to mention and it's coming at immense speeds.

With Europe's scramble for Africa, Somaliland was made British Protectorate mainly to support British garrisons based in Yemen with supplies of meat. With this tradition of animal rearing, it's dominance came to provenance with the building of Berbera port as a major livestock export charming nomadic herders from Somaliland and Abyssinia. In fact the black headed sheep are called "Berberawi" in the middle east; named after the ancient port city's name.

Plot to pave way for Arab colonialism

Having survived from genocide and risen above the ashes of failed former Somali Democratic Republic, it's livestock became a victim to merciless and scrupulous countries engaged in a subversive economic blockade designed to bring final death to people already haunted by self. indulgent neighbouring countries. By 1998, Somaliland along with the rest of the horn faced an on. going ban to export livestock to Arabia after many questionable judgements were passed to Saudi Arabia ironically by corrupt anti. Somaliland officials working for the Food and Agricultural Organisation such as Somalia's former transitional Prime Minister Geddi.

The year 1998 was the year when the Arta Conference held in Djibouti sponsored by the Wahabi leaning organisations created what we now know as the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia paving way for current disasters. Their main plot was to economically subjugate and cripple Somaliland since Arab Union suspected the livestock trade to be crucial source of revenues for the Somaliland government. With this, they hoped Somalilanders to abandon their country and join the little beggars bowl often handed out in the endless self. styled "reconciliation conferences".

As Somaliland proved imperturbable, nearly a decade later Saudis emerge yet again to cripple and dominate economic activities in Somaliland. This time with the help of $26 Million USAID donated to improve the small and stagnant economy of Djibouti currently hosting American military in their "war on terror". Peculiarly, the same country who introduced talibanisation into Somalia is now hosting Americans to "hunt" the same people it once created.

Djibouti and Saudi businessmen embarked on a project called Red Sea Livestock Trade Commission to take advantage of USAID donations to build a livestock export facility which they hoped to monopolise the horn trade. Since the Arab countries were the main importers, they sat the terms of agreements with Red Sea Livestock Trade Commission led by a consortium of Arab business men headed by Suleiman Al. Jabir: a Saudi national. To make matters worse, Somaliland government accepted a poorly negotiated contract which expected to sell livestock to Al. Jabir only monopoly loosing free trade for the first time ever.

Exacerbating hunger and unemployment

Just as Djibouti's economies are heavily based upon logistic services to and from the port of Djibouti, Somaliland's economy is based on the livestock trade unlike in Somalia whose revues include funds from piracy, chemical/nuclear waste dumping and kidnapping of foreigners. Understandably Somaliland's traders were united in outrage and indignation against such agreement with Al. Jabir. This despite past calls by the Somaliland government for traders to invest in the building of a small facility worth $3 million to test and quarantine livestock. However, building such facility do not guarantee the opening of the Arab markets, hence the astuteness of Somaliland traders. It is now expected that such obstacles will never be lifted as long as Arab countries' prejudices remains.

Monopolising the back. bone economy of Somaliland is akin to a hostile act determined to breath havoc in what little good the country has enjoyed. Such monopoly will create poverty amongst those who once provided sustenance to families through the trade and exacerbate current unemployment. Such cocktail of ill. judged leadership and utter failure to jealously guard the interests of the people may finally bring an end to the current administration.

Since its paramount for importing countries to be assured of livestock safety and their welfare, Somaliland communities must understand and should consider again to invest in their own facilities possibly in exchange for lower taxes and improved services to the business donor community. Current facilities at Berbera are only holding facilities contrary to the contracts the government entered into agreement with Al. Jabir monopoly promising facilities similar to those at Djibouti.

Livestock carrier ships shall also be considered to facilitate the welfare of animals as many traders will be insured against loss of animals to the sea. Only this week did many trader loose their animals to high seas after two cow. boy Yemeni boats sank in the red sea. Berbera port officials shall avoid releasing such boats into the dangerous seas.

Arab Scramble for Africa After many years of Arab chauvinism and bigotry, finally they had capitulated to western supremacy due to their incapacity to challenge and negotiate with western oriented modernity. To add insult to injury, Arab nations had also failed to match their Asian counter parts such as Singapore, Indonesia and China.

The result has been a potent revival of Arab renaissance in the Old World when Africans were the bogeymen, and Arabs the Sultans. Many African countries now suffer a land grab by Asians for the sole purpose of only exporting essential agricultural produce to their ever hungry nations instead of supplying desperate home countries. Uganda alone now has 21% of its agricultural land occupied by people of Asian origin. Faced with unsustainable economic habits of food imports, many Arab countries now deliberately seek and encourage their investors to purchase agricultural land in corrupt African regimes. An example is the current Saudi influenced president of Djibouti who has been awarded with farmland within Ethiopia by the Ethiopian Prime Minister, no doubt as an agent of Saudi Arabian businessmen since he has no knowledge of farming.

Rahman Hassan, a junior veterinary technician in Burao talked of African failure to learn from history. He points out to major race issues touched by Kenyatta having found himself facing death threats from British settlers during his presidential campaign. As farming land and trade routes were respectively dominated by British and Indians, he said: "When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the Land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible"

Those in Africa must question their governments why their needs are ignored in a world where food prices rise steeply and fuel almost impossible for the average person to fathom. In Somaliland, a bag of rice imported from India had increased by 300%, and dates from Saudi Arabia by 200%.

If current capitulation of African leaders continues, the continent maybe full of starving children, starved of ideas eventually falling victim into another slavery by a different continent.. With the rise of the west, west Africa fell victim to slavery. Similarly, with the current rise of the Asia economies and petrodollars, east Africa is unfortunately heading for a similar fate.

Stronger leaders with strong emphasis on nationalism, economic progress and selective protectionism in the name of "security" need to be sought after to run African governments compared to current weak, docile and selfish leaders prone to exploitation.

Continent fragmented and ghettoised

Much of the current predatory administrations in Africa is born out due to infantile political crisis often created by few individuals hell bent on bringing constitutional crisis to their own country just to extend their own tenor. Its common to hear African countries falling into chaos during elections or electoral arguments whether to extend presidential terms. An example is current Somaliland administration named as the "Crisis Government" ("Dawladii Muranka") as it continuously brings disrepute into the constitution often due to setting unreachable targets causing electoral board to fail their duty, hence postponing elections as a result. Sadly, such leaders bent on fighting against freedom and accountability enshrined in the constitution are tantamount to criminals rather than their inability to comprehend the magnitude of their responsibilities.

Unlike in Europe where the power of "empowerment" prevails, African continent takes pride in its overt provocation of citizens to either pick arms to destroy their own homes or to destroy that of neighbours. For almost two decades, the self styled African Union is still asleep on the issue of Somaliland's reclaim to independence from its fraudulent union with Somalia on the 1st of July 1960. Although not helped by the non. existent of its former partner "Somalia", they did fail to progress as the EU extended a hand of friendship to countries such as Montenegro from the old Yugoslavia; after all they will all be part of the EU umbrella. Conversely the African Union not only insults Somaliland in public meetings, but is yet to officially issue a visitor's pass.

To bring halt to such fragmentations and men of ill-will, common Africans must unite to cooperate in the demise of such blood thirsty predatory systems in their respective countries without military means. Such men would not have existed if they were not kept alive by others wilfully adopting because of ethnic ghettos or self. interests. Its time we all fought with tooth and nails to safe our resources for our children just as Asians are protective of their resources.

Author: Shuun Isaaq


Tensions at Somaliland port between govt, livestock traders

Source: Garowe Online, 24 Jul 24, 2008

BERBERA, Somalia July 24 (Garowe Online). There are growing tensions in the northern Somali port city of Berbera between the local Somaliland administration and livestock traders, who have opposed the administration's economic deal with a wealthy Saudi Arabian businessman.

The news Website Somaliland.org reports that traders have brought thousands of livestock to Berbera for export to the Middle East in recent days.

But the Somaliland administration has deployed extra troops and armored vehicles in Berbera, especially at the port and around facilities holding the more than 9,000 livestock, according to Somaliland.org.

In 2007, Somaliland leader Dahir Riyale inked a controversial agreement with al Jabberi, giving the Saudi company exclusive export rights to the region's livestock.

The administration recently put a halt to livestock being exported by local traders via Berbera port, angering the Somaliland Livestock Traders Union.

The union's chairman, Abdullahi Mohamed Abdirahman, has been in the custody of Somaliland police since Sunday and local authorities have not formally charged him yet.


QUEENS WITHOUT CROWNS: Somaliland women’s changing roles and peace building

http://www.life. peace.org/default2.asp?xid=404

Amina Mohamoud Warsame

The roles of women in Somaliland are changing. The eruption of the civil war in Somalia in 1988 was a turning point in the history of the Somali people. In the aftermath of the war and amidst ongoing changes, the internationally unrecognised Republic of Somaliland is rebuilding itself, and is making a slow but remarkable social and economic recovery. In this process the women are playing an important role.

The purpose of this study has been to identify and document the changing roles of women in Somaliland, and to analyse its implications for family dynamics and peace building. The project has been carried out by the Somaliland Women Research and Action Group (SOWRAG) in Hargeisa and the Life & Peace Institute.

Mohamoud Warsame is a teacher and has a MA in social sciences. She has been heading the women’s research and documentation at the Somali Academy of Sciences and Art in Mogadishu, and initiated the Somaliland Women’s Research and Action Group. She is also a member of the National council of Hargeisa University and a member of the Somali Women’s political forum.

Also available in French. 2002, 2nd ed 2004, 90 pp. PRICE: €15 $20


Horn of Africa Bulletin: "Somaliland’s Diaspora: The absent but active constituency"

Dr. Laura Hammond

Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of Londo

Horn of Africa Bulletin, JUNE. JULY 2008, http://www.life. peace.org/default2.asp?xid=316

On 15 May 2008, the term of office for Somaliland's president expired without preparations being in place for a new election. For a few weeks the territory teetered on the edge of a constitutional and political crisis, as political parties argued about what to do, and donors threatened to withdraw their support for the electoral process. Rather than resort to force, however, the parties agreed to refocus their efforts to register voters and prepare elections. A new schedule calls for presidential elections to take place by April 2009 and parliamentary elections to follow soon thereafter.

In the run. up to the elections, Somalilanders both inside the de facto independent state and in the far. flung diaspora are busy raising funds, solidifying political platforms, nominating candidates, and discussing issues that will influence their vote. Perhaps more than any other country, the diaspora's involvement in politics is crucial.

The Somaliland diaspora, like that of South Central Somalia, defies most preconceptions of what constitutes a diaspora. Most of the Somali educated class have multiple passports, and move between Somaliland, the United Arab Emirates, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Europe and North America. Many may be considered members of a 'part. time' diaspora, since they spend a part of each year inside Somaliland.

Nodes in the transnational Somali network – whether London, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C. or Stockholm – are stages on which the politics of Somaliland are discussed and contested. Those living in or visiting these places are actively engaged in shaping the political debate about Somaliland's present and future. Political parties have offices in most places where large numbers of Somalilanders live. Even where the numbers are not as great, participation in internet blogs and chatrooms created a de. territorialised space in which political discussion generates momentum that has a practical impact on politics 'back home.'

An example: Somalilanders in the UK

Somalilanders have a long association with the UK. Their country of origin was a British colony from the late 1800s to 1960, when – together with southern Somalia (which had been an Italian colony) – it gained independence. Despite the fact that

Somaliland joined the south a few days after independence to form the Republic of Somalia, many Somalilanders continued to foster a national identity based on the territorial boundaries of the former British territory.

The first Somalis to travel to the UK were merchant seamen, who settled in coastal areas such as Cardiff and Liverpool. Students also came to the UK, and some settled there. More recently, many Somalilanders have come to the UK as refugees. Unofficial estimates as to the number of Somalis living in the UK range from 95. 250,000. The official 2001 census reported a population of 43,000, though this number is certainly an underestimate.

The Somali National Movement (SNM) was formed at a conference held in London in 1981 by Somalilanders living in the UK, Saudi Arabia and Somalia. The SNM is credited with ousting dictator Mohamed Siad Barre's troops from the north of the country. The SNM formed the first government of Somaliland when the territory declared its independence in 1991.

Party politics in Somaliland

The establishment of the Constitution of Somaliland in 2000 set down the rules for political organisation. Under the Constitution, no more than three political parties may legally exist (Article 25); these must not be based on membership of a single clan or draw its support from a single region (Article 26). The three main political parties to emerge since then, and which will appear on the ballots in 2009, are:

• Kulmiye: Peace, Unity and Development Party (Somali:
Kulmiye Nabad, Midnimo iyo horumar), led by Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo • UDUB: United Democratic People's Party (Somali:
Ururka Dimuqraadiga Ummadda Bahawday), led by President Daahir Rayaale Kaahin
• UCID: Party for Justice and Welfare (Somali:

Ururka Caddaalada iyo Daryeelka, or UCID), led by Faisal Ali Warabe Furthermore there are also political parties that are not registered or legally recognised but still try to gain support, such as the QARAN led by Mohamed Abdi Gaboose. All of the legally recognized parties have a presence in the UK, although Kulmiye is reputed to have the strongest base in the Diaspora. Iqbal Jhazbhay, a long. time observer of politics in Somaliland, has noted that Kulmiye derives its support from the middle class and educated elite.

Kulmiye's chairman, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, is himself a British citizen who divides his time between London and Hargeisa (the capital city of Somaliland). UCID's chairman, Faisal Ali Warabe, also hails from the diaspora, having returned from Finland to become more active in Somaliland politics.

All of the parties look outwards to their supporters in the diaspora not only for funding, but also for technical/professional support and for input on planks in their political platforms. Jhazbhay notes that the diaspora has helped to provide Somaliland with a 'crucially strategic link to the outside world in a way that has helped it to overcome the diplomatic isolation imposed by non. recognition.'

All parties send their candidates to meet with groups in the diaspora. In addition, communication between the diaspora and Somaliland communities takes place through the media: the BBC Somali Service that nearly everyone listens to as well as radio stations with smaller, more localized followings based in Somaliland and in many European countries. A proliferation of websites, blogs, Facebook and You. Tube sites, together with old. fashioned community meetings, social gatherings, and visits home, facilitates transnational interaction and sharing of information and opinions.

Electoral track record

Electoral politics is new to Somaliland, as only three previous elections have been held. The first, elections for local council seats, was held in December 2002. In

2003, voters turned out for the first multi. party presidential election. When the total 488,543 votes cast were counted, the UDUB party candidate and Acting President – Rayaale – had won by only 80 votes over nearest rival Kulmiye, led by Silanyo. Rayaale had served as vice. president under former President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal and as acting president since Egal's death. Kulmiye chose to accept the results of the election, despite accusations of voting irregularities, in the interests of preserving the peace.

Since 2000 Somaliland has had a bicameral legislature, which includes an elected House of Representatives (Golaha Wakiilada) and a clan. appointed Council of Traditional Elders (Golaha Guurtida), each with 82 seats. However, these seats were appointed by clan elders until the first parliamentary (Council of Representatives) elections, held on 29 September 2005. As a result of these elections, the two opposition parties, Kulmiye (which won 28 seats) and UCID (which won 21 seats), together gained control of the legislative body. This is one of the only examples in Africa of a country in which the executive and legislative branches are controlled by different parties.

As many as 30 Parliamentarians are considered to be from the diaspora. Therefore, the Parliament has in the past had difficulty gathering the minimum number of representatives needed to take decisions as so many of its members were either living or travelling abroad.

Although only those registered and living in Somaliland on election day will be allowed to vote, the role of the diaspora in the elections will be critical. This absent but active constituency has the power to change the face of political leadership and discourse in Somaliland.


Somaliland: between press freedom and limitation

Horn of Africa Bulletin, JUNE. JULY 2008

Markus V. Höhne, PhD candidate, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany, mhoehne@eth.mpg.de

A much more comprehensive version of this text can be found in Markus V. Höhne 2008: Newspapers in Hargeysa: freedom of expression in post. conflict Somaliland, Africa Spectrum 43/1 (2008), pp. 91. 114

Newspapers in Hargeysa: emergence and current distribution

The first newspapers were established in Hargeysa, the capital of Somaliland, as early as 1991, just after military dictatorship had ended with the overthrow of Mohamed Siyad Barre. The situation in Somaliland was still characterised by violence and political chaos. The papers consisted of a few dozen hand. printed leaflets. During the first years of transition from the rule of the Somali National Movement (SNM) to civilian government, freedom of expression was, however, threatened again. In those insecure times, militias would kidnap journalists producing articles or cartoons that were against the SNM government. At the same time, many of the pioneer journalists and editors had been guerrillas or at least SNM supporters themselves.

These experiences helped to toughen them against inconveniencies and threats by the government. Over the years, the conditions as well as the technology for producing newspapers in Somaliland improved considerably. In 2004, three professional printing presses existed in Hargeysa, of which one was state owned and two were privately owned. Parallel to these developments, the number of printed copies grew from a few dozen in 1991 to currently one to two thousand per journal per day. The three major daily newspapers produced in Somaliland are Maandeeq, Jamhuuriya, and Haatuf. All of them have a weekly issue in English (Maandeeq/The Horn Tribune, Jamhuuriya/The Republican, Haatuf/Somaliland Times). Maandeeq is produced under the auspices of the Ministry for Information and National Guidance of Somaliland. The other two journals are independent.

The newspapers are distributed and sold in the streets of Hargeysa. A part of the print run is transported by car or plane to other towns in Somaliland, such as Boroma, Buro, and Erigabo, and sold there. Of course, the number of a few thousand copies per day seems to be very low when compared to a population of about half a million in Hargeysa alone. Nonetheless the newspapers have a considerable impact because they are read collectively. It is very common to observe crowds of people, typically men, on street corners or in teahouses reading a journal together. Furthermore, in the course of the day an issue is passed from hand to hand among friends or acquaintances. Young people in Somaliland and Somalis in the diaspora access the journals online (see: www.jamhuuriya.info; www.haatuf.net; www.maandeeq.com). Besides Radio Hargeysa that is government owned, and BBC Somali Service that covers world news as well as Somali. related issues in general, the independent newspapers in Hargeysa remain of singular importance as providers of local, Somaliland. specific information that is also critical of the government.

Institutionalising and legalising the media

In 2003, the Somaliland Journalist Association (SOLJA) and the Society for Somaliland Independent Journalists and Writers (SSJW) were founded. They were complimented by the Women’s Journalists Association (WOJA) in 2006, which prints a monthly paper called Almis. Most recently, in May 2008, the National Union of Somaliland Journalists was founded at a conference organised by the SSJW in Hargeysa. It is designed as a union for all of Somaliland’s journalists. Most probably it will counter the influence of the Mogadishu. based National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) that is also active in Somaliland (until 2005 NUSOJ was called the Somali Journalists Network [SOJON]). The new umbrella organisation serves to underline the independence of Somaliland from the south. These organisations represent the interests of the country’s journalists today.

In late 2003, the elaboration of a press law began to be discussed in Somaliland. The adoption of such a law was prescribed in article 32 of the Constitution of Somaliland, which deals with the ‘freedom of public demonstration and expression of opinion, as well as freedom of the press and other mass media’. The public discussion about the press law was controversial. The Somaliland newspapers, the journalist associations SOLJA and SSJW, and the (transnational) Somaliland civil society opposed the first draft of the law as they considered it to be antipodal to freedom of expression. The final version of the law adopted in January 2004 was influenced by these discussions, to the benefit of the media.

In articles 6 and 7 the Press Law specifies that organs and individuals engaging in the publication of information must register with the government. Article 8 outlines the rights of the journalists to protection under the law, to access to information, and so forth. The obligations of the media are described in article 10, for example, to report truthfully, to respect Islamic religion, and not to reveal military secrets. These latter provisions have the potential for abuse by the government. Yet, for some time the newspapers continued to operate freely and critically after the adoption of the law.

The crack. down on Haatuf: undermining freedom of speech

The relationship between the government and the media changed dramatically in early 2007. On 2 January 2007, armed police raided the office of Haatuf/Somaliland Times. The managing editor, Yusuf Abdi Gaboobe, who resisted the operation, and the editor, Ali Abdi Diini, were arrested without warrants. Later, two more journalists, Muhammad Omar Sheekh and Muhammad. Rashid M. Farah, were detained. The crackdown on Haatuf took place in connection with articles published between late November 2006 and early January 2007, which criticised President Dahir Rayaale Kahin’s handling of a land dispute in Boroma, his hometown, and accused his wife of corruption.

In reaction, SOLJA, civil society representatives, SNM veterans, and international human rights organisations protested against the arrest of the journalists and the government’s plan to charge them under the Penal Code. This code was drafted in 1962 and came into force in the Somali Republic in 1964. In the absence of a reformed code, it is still in effect in Somaliland. Despite these protests, the Hargeysa Regional Court proceeded with the charges. The trial took place in an improvised courtroom in the Mandera Police Academy near the port of Berbera. The journalists’ lawyers protested against the procedures and finally boycotted the concluding session. On 4 March 2007, the court sentenced Yusuf Abdi Gaboobe to two years imprisonment for hindering the police in carrying out its operation. The other three journalists were sentenced to two years and five months for “insulting the good name and honor of the Head of State and for inciting the national forces of Somaliland to rebel against the state and encouraging the general public to riot and engage in acts of public disorder against the state”. In addition, the court ordered the Haatuf Media Network (HMN), the publisher of Haatuf and Somaliland Times, to pay a fine and called for the suspension of the HMN’s license. On 29 March 2007, President Dahir Rayaale Kahin pardoned the four journalists.

The impact of these events on freedom of expression in Somaliland has been considerable. The case shows that, first, the Xeerka Saxaafadda (the Press Law) is ambiguous regarding what sanctions apply to journalists in breach of their obligations under article 10 of this law. While the media people maintained that the Penal Code should not have been applicable, the government proceeded with it. Second, the government obviously does not feel obliged to follow civil law procedures when charging journalists. Third, the holding of court proceedings in a police station in an improvised courtroom far away from Hargeysa could be interpreted as unwillingness on the side of the government to adhere to democratic procedures. Since the journalists were pardoned only a few weeks after their conviction, the events could also be understood as a – rather rough – demonstration of force towards journalists in Somaliland, who admittedly do not always heed their obligation to deal with information in a cautious manner.

The proposal of a new and more restrictive press law

While the Haatuf journalists returned to their workplace and HMN continues to publish its newspapers, it recently became clear that the events of early 2007 have had further repercussions. In November 2007 the Somaliland government sent a new bill on press and publications to the House of Representatives. This bill is currently being discussed in the Parliament and the public. It was modelled after the Yemeni law on press and publication. In section 3, the new law gives considerable powers to the Minister of Information, who is granted the right to issue the necessary license and, in cases of changes or non. compliance with provisions outlined in the law, to withdraw it again. Section 5 includes the prohibitions and penal provisions. Article 98 in particular outlines a number of far. reaching prescriptions, interdicting the publication of anything which may cause social discord and division among the people of Somaliland, and which runs counter to the principles of national sovereignty and the unity of the country (article 98 c and d). According to critical observers, this new bill introduces considerable criminal sanctions, such as fines and imprisonment (Article 99), confiscation of property, including printing presses (Article 101) and seizure of printed materials (Article 102). Somaliland’s journalists and civil society members are worried about this new bill and strongly reject it. They demand the implementation of the ‘old’ press law adopted in 2004. Simultaneously, the President extends his critical stance towards the press. In early 2008, for instance, he refused to update the press on his recent journeys abroad and political plans. The situation remains undecided.

Conclusion

Since the toppling of Siyad Barre’s repressive regime, privately owned media has set foot in Somaliland. Over the years the press has developed profile critical of the government. Recent events concerning the newspaper scene, such as the passage of a press law in early 2004 and the subsequent attempts by the government to repress all overly free and daring journalism, are part of the ongoing struggle to find the difficult balance between freedom and restriction of the press that is the basis of any liberal democracy. The crackdown on Haatuf in 2007 and its repercussions – particularly the proposal of a new press and media bill on the part of the government – are just additional twists in this context; the government has made it clear that it wishes more control and restrictions. Yet, many of the country’s journalists have their own personal experiences with the liberation struggle. This SNM legacy seems to add to their self. confidence vis. à. vis the government in difficult times. In this context a return to suppression à la Siyad Barre in Somaliland is rather improbable. As the new bill is with the Parliament, media people and members of civil society are voicing their opposition. It is yet unclear in which direction freedom of the press in Somaliland will develop – toward the relative freedom legalised in the press law of 2004 or in the direction of new and probably dramatic limitations.

A comparison to the situation in the wider region shows that while the government and the media in Somaliland argue over the limits of freedom of expression, journalists in the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia and Eritrea, as well as in warlord. ruled and violence. ridden southern Somalia, are struggling for survival.


Somaliland became a victim of Ignorance of Mass Destruction

http://www.geeskaafrika.com/somaliland_29jul08.htm

Djibouti (HAN) July 29th, 2008. The IMD put Somaliland on a thin thread hanging on a branch of a tree in a “xagaa” wind!

IMD dances with the evil and evildoers. It dances with the wrong, with the bad and with the unconscionable! IME rebels against the right and the righteous, against the moral, and conscionable people. That is its nature! IMD compounded with her twins. arrogance and obstinacy is a lethal force, a blind force that destroys otherwise a flourishing society. It is the mother of evil! We are people blinded by IMD, ruled by IMD and destroyed by IMD! We are in this, once again!

Look at what it did to the first republic of Somaliland of June 26,1960!

Look at what it did to Somali republic of July 1st 1960 [although the union was travesty and not ratified hence]! Look at what it did to the greater Somali hood and to the Somali peninsula!

Look at what it is doing to this second republic of Somaliland, which was founded, by the blood and the treasure of the martyrs and the Mujahedeen, the sons and daughters o S/L!

Before liberation, Somaliland lost her identity, personality as well as sovereignty! In IMD rule, Somaliland endured indignation, disgrace and disrespect! Somaliland lost her voice, her dignity and indeed her self!

When the conscionable sector of her sons and daughters answered the call of conscience courageously, Somaliland stood up against IMD machine Siyad and clique, and won the war Somaliland sacrificed blood and treasure to find her self once again and she did find her self but that short lived! Again, Somaliland hastily gave her self away to IMD, to the evil!

The (only) difference between Siyad Barre’s time demons and to day’s demons in Somaliland is the difference of clan affiliation and geography and nothing else! Somaliland is back to the circle of shame and sorrow! Somaliland is pretending for some thing she is not! Some thing she did not work for! But some thing served as a camouflage for a preying gang!

The impact of IMD is more wide spread in the Somali peninsula as a whole, although relatively speaking it varies from one place to another in degrees! However the effect of IMD is apparent in Somalia more than any other place!

Late dictator Bare and his clique were a classical example of IMD. That force destroyed the house of Somali Republic founded in 1960. They unwisely indiscriminately targeted and singled out (Isaqs) one community from the rest of the other Somali community for ethnic cleansing! For a policy of “ displace. as. to replace” and every body else was on board in that execution, in that evilly! That is how IMD works! That act destroyed the house of the Somalis in everywhere and in any where in the east and in the horn of Africa!

When liberating Somaliland, the intent was not only to drive away the genocidal regime of Siyad Barre. The vision was among many other virtues to: 1. to form a government, which believes Somaliland and works for Somaliland in the first and in the second place. That did not happen! 2. to build a government by the people and for the people. That did not happen! 3. to build a government, which lives and operates with in the bounds of the law of the land. That did not happen! 4. to build a government, which knows the interest of Somaliland and puts that before nay other interest. That did not happen! The opposite happened! 5. to build a government of conscience, and moral values. A government, which respects the constitution. That did not happen! Instead a government of IMD grabbed power under circumstances of clan culture, in its negative side, in alliance with IMD, for they are natural alliance

When ever the president, now operating out side the constitution, blunders and (he often does) caught in that, his clan stands up for him to defend his wrongs although he does no good for them like he does no good to the nation as a whole! But they are not alone in this IMD effect! They are like the rest of the people, irrationally responding to the clan instinct! A government of IMD preys and sells her people to the highest bidder in any cost! Such government ‘Al Jaberalizes’ otherwise the free market as they are doing in Somaliland!

In another front, since when. the government party, the mainly government sponsored national elections commission, and the two supposed to be opposition parties became legislatures? Who gave them the constitutional power to renew a presidency its term expired in April 2008? Further the “quarto” regulated and virtually legislated when the elections will take place, changed dates now and then. And what political parties can or cannot participate the election process! The “quarto” also re. arranged when and what sequences the presidential and municipal elections can happen! In that unlawful exercise the “quarto” declared that only three parties and no one else are the sole national parties!! That is not only a constitutional travesty but it is a disgrace and an out. right betrayal! Committed against Somaliland by three parties, which wants to monopolize the political process in Somaliland in an unconstitutional way and means! How the said “quarto” joined forces and how they form this unholy alliance is mysterious History will reveal in due time! On the outset it seems that they sided with their petty interest against the interest of Somaliland, and that is despicable!

There is nowhere anywhere in the constitution, in common sense and in the interest of the nation which stipulates that only three parties are allowed all the time in the country! There is nowhere anywhere which says only three parties shall have the monopoly to be the sole parties in the country! That is another “Al Jaberization” of Somaliland politics and political parties! Now as one said, “Who died lately?” “That one on his way to the grave yard” the other replied! Unfortunately, God forbid, that is or could be Somaliland as things are happening now and before, for some time! If “ Al Jaberization” of every thing is not stopped Somaliland could be that one going to that place! But who can address these problems? IMD never confesses let alone corrects her mistakes! In fact they (IMD) insist on the wrong. For them the wrong is right and visa versa!

Somaliland is in deep trouble. For one thing, there will not be any fair and credible elections under the present NEC, and under the boss of the said NEC and the corrupt system intrigued in Somaliland! Somaliland is a victim of IMD for the third time in her history! However we don’t give up the mercy of Allah for doing that is a sin. But again sit and hope for the best won’t wash!

[The author is a member and a candidate for vice president in Kulmiye party, however, intellectually and with good conscience he could not agree with them in this unlawful, unwise and immoral move to join forces with the wrong side of history. Not with the people of Somaliland!]

However peace.

by : Ibrahim Mead. Ottawa, canada


Voter registration upcoming in Somaliland

http://www.afrol.com/articles/30037

afrol News, 29 July. The breakaway republic of Somaliland, which will hold presidential elections in April next year, to be followed by local elections, will start voter registration in October, according to a presidential decree. Somalilanders thus hope the country's democratic image abroad will prevail, but trouble is looming.

Somaliland's President Dahir Rayale Kahin has issued a directive for implementing the voter registration of all Somalilanders eligible to participate in the upcoming presidential and local assembly elections, according to reports by the local newspaper 'Qaran News'.

A press release issued by President Rayale's press office said voter registration was to commence on 14 October this year. This, according to the constitution, would be in time to organise the presidential polls, "to take place not later than 6 April 2009," according to an agreement negotiated between Mr Rayale's ruling UDUB party and the opposition UCID and Kulmiye parties in June.

Somaliland. a former British protectorate that united with ex. Italian Somalia in 1960. unilaterally declared its renewed independence from Somalia in 1991, and has since developed into a stable and peaceful democracy.

Mr Rayale came to power after the death of founding President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal in 2002, being appointed by the council of elders. He however won the country's first, and so far only, multi. party presidential elections in April 2003 by a very slim majority. In September 2005, the first successful parliamentary elections were held. Both polls were seen as free and fair by international election observers.

Doubts on President Rayale's democratic intentions however emerged this year. As his presidential term came to an end on 15 May, Mr Rayale had his term extended by the Somaliland council of elders "because preparations for new polls were not according to time schedules." The decision caused loud protests among opposition parties, threatening they would treat Mr Riyale's presidency as "illegal".

An agreement between the ruling UDUB party and the opposition was however reached in June, approving an extension of President Rayale's term by one year and slating new elections for April 2009. The deal was hailed as a great victory for Somaliland's democratic path and its tradition for finding peaceful solutions to conflicts.

Nevertheless, the conflict level in the still unrecognised state has remained high, also after the June agreement. Only this week, 43 opposition MPs threatened to impeach President Rayale over a deal the government struck with the Saudi company al Jabberi, effectively giving it an export monopoly over livestock exports from Somaliland; the country's main foreign currency earner. MPs hold this is in breech with the constitution that defines economic policies "based on the principles of free market."

Also in the two eastern provinces of Sool and Sanaag, stability is again threatened and both voter registration and the polls could be difficult to pull through. Sool and Sanaag formed part of British Somaliland, but clan linkages here are closer to Somalia's north. eastern autonomous Puntland province, which in 2002 occupied the two provinces. The 2003 and 2005 polls could therefore not be held in Sool and Sanaag.

Somaliland troops managed to recapture most of Sool and Sanaag last year and were mostly welcome by clan elders in the region. It was therefore hoped that Somaliland elections for the first time could be held in Sool and Sanaag. However, clan elders since then have disagreed to whether Puntland or Somaliland authorities should be invited to control the region. Earlier this month, Sanaag elders urged both parties to withdraw to allow for a decision being made.

Meanwhile, however, Puntland has increased its activities in Sool and Sanaag, with reported clashes in the town of Las Qorey. It is believed that Puntland authorities will put great prestige in preventing any Somaliland elections being held in the two provinces it claims.


First HIV surveillance programme in Somaliland

afrol News, (http://www.afrol.com/articles/30012) 28 July. The first. ever HIV surveillance programme in the self. declared republic of Somaliland has been launched. The surveillance is set to explore key findings of the earlier research, with a focus on most. at. risk populations.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) have announced their launch of the first community. based HIV surveillance programme in Somaliland. Building upon its groundbreaking Somali HIV hot. spot mapping research, IOM says it has started a "bio. behavioural HIV surveillance survey" in the breakaway republic, in collaboration with WHO.

Focus on the earlier study was on so. called "most. at. risk populations". The HIV hot. spot mapping was the first Somali research study to identify and engage transactional sex workers and their clients, including truck drivers, uniformed services, seafarers and militia. "Key findings indicated poor knowledge of how HIV is transmitted and prevented, low condom use and multiple, concurrent sexual partners," according to IOM.

HIV surveillance is widely regarded as the cornerstone of an evidence. informed AIDS response. The "bio" component establishes who is HIV. infected, which is then linked to "behavioural" indicators of risk practices, according to IOM Hargeisa Head of Office Adrienne Testa.

The findings is set to guide the Somalilander government's HIV response to develop and inform programmes for risk populations, including sex workers, truck drivers, uniformed services and other vulnerable groups. Baseline prevalence of risk behaviours and HIV infection are also expected to be established.

The community. based surveillance among most. at. risk populations is also to complement WHO's HIV surveillance among Somaliland antenatal clinic attendees, says Ms Testa.

Data collection is to start August 2008, according to IOM, "to establish HIV and STI prevalence, as well as HIV and STI risk perceptions, condom usage patterns, barriers to condom usage, gender. based violence and integrated health service needs," she notes. Local partner organisations included the Somaliland National AIDS Commission (SOLNAC).

The project, which is funded by UNICEF, the Global Fund and UNAIDS, will initially be conducted only in peaceful Somaliland. But IOM says it hopes to be able to replicate it also in troubled Somalia, starting in the relative peaceful semi. autonomous north. eastern region of Puntland and moving down to South Central. This was however "subject to additional funding," IOM said.


MPs call for Somaliland leader's impeachment

http://www.garoweonline.com/ 29 Jul 29, 2008

HARGEISA, Somalia July 29 (Garowe Online). Lawmakers in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland have launched serious accusations against President Dahir Riyale, including charges of violating the region's constitution and high treason.

Legislators in Somaliland's lower house of parliament, the House of Representatives, met Sunday in the capital Hargeisa, where 43 MPs opened debate on Riyale's livestock export deal with Saudi Arabian company al Jabberi.

Under that agreement, al Jabberi has exclusive rights to export Somaliland livestock from the port of Berbera. But the deal has angered local traders and lawmakers, some of whom have openly called for Mr. Riyale's impeachment.

"If the House of Representatives wants to gain the confidence of those who elected them, then President Riyale must be impeached," MP Said Elmi Roble said, according to a report by Somaliland newspaper Jamhuuriya.

The lawmakers cited Article 11 from the Somaliland Constitution, which states: "…the national economic policy based on the principles of free market."

The MPs argued that the al Jabberi deal provides a "monopoly" on livestock export for the Saudi company, while neglecting the commercial interests of local traders.

The Somaliland leader was also accused of 'high treason,' which is an impeachable offense under Article 96 of the breakaway republic's constitution.

Somaliland, in northwestern Somalia, has its own government and the region enjoys relative peace but has not been recognized internationally since unilaterally declaring independence in 1991.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, July 24, 2008/Source: Radio HornAfrik, Mogadishu, in Somali 0500 gmt 24 Jul 08

SOMALILAND TO BEGIN REGISTERING VOTERS 4 OCTOBER

[Presenter] The president of the Somaliland administration, Dahir Riyale Kahin, has announced a date for the official commencement of voter registration exercise. Our reporter, Muhammad Abukar Ahmad has more details.

[Reporter] In a press statement issued yesterday by the spokesman at the Presidency, the president of Somaliland officially announced the date on which the registration of voters in the region is to commence. The Somaliland administration said the registration of voters will begin on 4 October 2008. The president is said to have announced commencement of the voter registration exercise in connection with the laid down electoral laws.

Somaliland's electoral commission together with the three political parties recently agreed on the scheduling of elections. The voter registration exercise is said will close at the end of December 2008.

Presidential elections are expected to be held on 29 March 2009.


Somaliland elections slated for April 2009

http://www.afrol.com/articles/29439

afrol News, 18 June. All major political parties in the self. declared state of Somaliland have reached a consensus that country's the next presidential elections should not be hold later than 6 April next year. This extends the term of President Dahir Riyale Kahin. The agreement came after a long deadlock in negotiations, threatening to destabilise the otherwise peaceful and stable country, which since its unilateral independence declaration in 1991 has achieved well. established democratic institutions.

According to a statement by the Hargeisa. based Somalilander government, the country's three registered and approved political parties UDUB, UCID and Kulmiye have "agreed on the process of the upcoming presidential and local government elections that has been delayed due to unforeseen technical reasons."

The three political parties, of which Kulmiye and UCID represent the opposition, "agreed that the Somaliland presidential election to be held first and to take place not later than 6 April 2009 and the local government elections to follow."

The Somaliland Election Commission had facilitated the agreement and led negotiations between the ruling UDUB and the opposition parties. Somaliland Vice. President Ahmed Yusuf Yassin attended the signing ceremony in Hargeisa's Hotel Mansoor, and signed the agreement on behalf of the UDUB party.

President Riyale, who earlier won Somaliland elections termed free and fair, originally saw his term in office ending on 15 May. But in April, parliament passed a motion extending the President's term because preparations for new polls were not according to time schedules. The decision caused loud protests among opposition parties, threatening they would treat Mr Riyale's presidency as "illegal".

The political crisis that followed was seen to threaten social peace in Somaliland, thus leading the ruling party and opposition to seek a negotiated solution. Also foreign relations were threatened. Donor countries in May announced they would withhold millions of dollars destined towards Somaliland's voter registration process until the political crisis was resolved.

During the negotiations, headed by the Election Commission, the ruling party was obliged to make some concessions to assure opposition recognition of President Riyale's extended presidency term. The agreement emphasises that state funds and staff cannot be used to promote Pesident Riyale's and other UDUB candidates' campaigns and that access to state. owned media shall be equal to all political parties. Further, two free seats in the Commission were given to the opposition. No further extensions of President Riyale's administration were to be allowed.

The deal has been celebrated as a victory of the tradition of peacefully negotiated settlements in Somaliland. Both the opposition and Vice. President Yassin hailed the Somaliland's "peace and democracy" traditions and urged donors to stay confident in the unrecognised country.

Source: Voice of America (VOA) Date: 11 Jul 2008

Fears of military clash growing between Somaliland and Puntland

By Alisha Ryu

Nairobi. Residents in the town of Las Qoray in a disputed region between Somaliland and Puntland say there are signs of an impending military clash between the two regional rivals, following the take over of the strategic coastal town two days ago by Somaliland troops. As VOA Correspondent Alisha Ryu reports from our East Africa Bureau in Nairobi, tension between Somaliland and Puntland began escalating about two weeks ago when Somali pirates arrived in the Las Qoray area with four hostages.

Las Qoray resident Mohamed Aynab tells VOA that the town is at the center of a brewing conflict and scared residents are preparing to flee. Aynab says people in Las Qoray are terrified and confused by the sudden presence of Somaliland troops in their town and Puntland threats to take it back by force. He says Somaliland authorities are now in charge of Las Qoray.

The trouble began soon after Puntland. based pirates moved to the mountains near Las Qoray in the disputed Sanag region with four hostages they kidnapped last month off the coast of Somalia near Yemen. Sanag's regional Governor Mohamed Said Nur says local elders asked Puntland to temporarily withdraw its forces in the area and give the elders a chance to negotiate with the pirates for the release of the hostages.

The governor, who is loyal to the Puntland government, says there was fear that the pirates could kill the westerners if they felt threatened by soldiers and that is why the troops pulled out of the Las Qoray area last week. He says Somaliland took advantage of the situation and moved its troops in.

VOA was unable to reach Somaliland officials for comment. In media reports, Somaliland officials said that its troops entered Las Qoray to mount a rescue of the hostages. A Somaliland military commander told Reuters news agency that his troops had the pirates surrounded and that the area had been sealed off.

Governor Nur insists that local elders are still negotiating with the pirates. He says if the negotiations fail, Puntland troops would be redeployed to Las Qoray, raising fears that the two sides could fight over control of the town.

Since 1998, semi. autonomous Puntland has claimed Sanag, and its neighboring Sool region, as sovereign territory based on the ethnic make. up of the region's inhabitants and their clan ties to Puntland. Somaliland, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but is not internationally recognized, claims both regions based on the colonial border drawn by the British.

The disputed strip of desert has been the site of numerous skirmishes. Two major battles took place just in the past year. Last October, the two rivals clashed over control of Las Anod, the capital of Sool. Five months later, they exchanged heavy gunfire in the town of Dahar in the Sanag region.

Each prompted warnings that a full. scale war could break out and further destabilize Somalia and the Horn.


http://www.pr-inside.com/somaliland-s-suffering-touches-one-r719281.htm, 2008-07-23

Somaliland's suffering touches one Canadian

With nearly two decades of living in a virtual zoo for humans, the latest imposed government of former Somali Democratic Republic objected not to the failed policies of it's donors to seek illusive 'Al-Qaeda members' causing endless destruction of Mogadishu city, but to an appointment of one individual as coordinator of the body set up by the Security council to monitor arms follow in the old 'Somalia' purely for the ethnicity of his espouse having been born in Somaliland.

In a mediocre letter of rambles sent to the Security Council, their opposition to the nomination of an experienced Canadian researcher and expert Matt Bryden raised questions about his 'credibility'. This ironically coming from a transitional government consisting of warlords, war criminals, American food stamp recipients, European welfare claimants and mental illness sufferers as represented by the Chief of Somalia Police Force after an investigation by Channel 4's wonderful Despatches program.

Not surprisingly, such men of course choose to waste their time on something maddeningly self-indulgent and too gruesome for the average person to comprehend.

This latest development of Somalia's outright discriminations against people associated with Somaliland maybe new to our generation born in the late eighties or early nineties, but those who lived through the fraudulent unification of Somaliland and Somalia still rue that day (26th June 1960) for obvious reasons.

Because this day was the day they were transformed from proud nation celebrated for abundance, generosity and eloquence to one unintelligently called "Qaldaan" in Somali Somalia. This was coined by Somalis in Somalia who with their rudimentary grasp of the Somali language convinced themselves to be the superior of the two territories, hence the word "Qaldaan" literally meaning "un-real" assuming themselves to be 'the realest Somali'. At it's height, innocent civilians running from Arab and western donated 'civilian erasers' weapons were welcomed with new belittling such as the words "xabadi keento" ("those who ran upon hearing little bullets" despite the government's use of war planes and shelling). As cities in the former British Somaliland Protectorate were abandoned for refugee camps, Somalia slowly descended into a failed state.

As a result, programs to criminalise Somaliland culture and language began including demonising Britain while celebrating Italian fascism and the ban on the eating of Khat which then was only popular amongst a minority of religious men. Somalia National Theatre in Hamarweyne also organised offensive plays demeaning Somaliland's 'strange culture' most memorable played by Aw Koombe; a comedian who often played the role of Bantu Somalia grudgingly struggling to understand Somalilanders. Contrary to the ideals often sold to the rest of the world as a 'unionist' state, Somalia deliberately employed open divisive methods to pull the country apart to its current state of bestiality.

Naturally, current transitional government led by the cousins of the chauvinist military junta leader Mohamed Siyad Barre continues to in act such past policies whether by passion or misplaced delusional self-pity. It was interesting to note the self styled government's power trip and myopic attention to 'Somalia's territorial integrity'; a 'territorial integrity' which only came due to the fraudulent union of British Somaliland Protectorate and Italiana Somali colony since Djibouti chose to stay independent as Ethiopia and Kenya chose to scavenge on what was left to them by Britain.

Indeed, Somalia stood upon the blood and sweat of Somaliland. As Somalilander's patience and willingness to suffer for creating the Greater Somali ideology at the hands of cruel Somalia ended. The evil of Somalia fell to its demise currently being finished by Ethiopian mercenaries and American bombers unashamedly justifying their killing spree just as they have done to Iraq.

A close look at the current transitional government proofs my assertions from the fact that many illiterate men from Somalia hold crucial positions including the Ministry for Development while self-serving former professors from Somaliland are currently only named as directors. All this is happening under the United Nations, an organisation founded to combat racism and promote justice.

It will be both horrible and cruel if the United Nations was to lend a hand to such evil political system in Somalia, while Somalia transitional government and it's entities such as 'Puntland' continue to deny food and peace to civilians caught up in the hail storms of Ethiopian and Eritrean second grade weaponry. Only the terminally messed up believes that a warlord government is better than the millions of dying and sick displaced children and women.

Author: Shuun Isaaq e-mail, Phone: 078124655201


UNDP supports first Women's Lawyers Association in Somaliland

Source: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Date: 22 Jul 2008/http://www.reliefweb.int

UNDP has supported the establishment of the Women's Lawyers Association in Somaliland (SWLA) which opened early in 2008. The Association is the first female lawyers association in Somaliland. This is an extremely important step, both in terms of assisting female lawyers in their professional career and in providing appropriate and gender-sensitive legal advice to women in Somaliland.

There are currently five female members of the SWLA with a further 17 women set to graduate from the University of Hargeisa's law faculty in September this year, bringing membership up to 22. UNDP has provided grants for women to attend Hargeisa law faculty since 2004. Last year, it saw the first four women graduate from the faculty, increasing the number of female lawyers in Somaliland from one to five.

The sole practicing female lawyer in Somaliland until last year was Ifra Aden Omar, who heads the SWLA. Ifra is also the Director of the Women and Children's Unit at the Hargeisa legal aid clinic that was itself established with UNDP's help in 2003. In 2007, UNDP provided funding to hire a second female lawyer to assist Ifra in providing free legal aid services to women and juvenile cases. The most common cases Ifra handles are rape, domestic violence, divorce, child custody, child maintenance and inheritance.

Judiciary project manager, Antonia Mulvey, says the SWLA faces an uphill battle in becoming established.

'It will take time for the male-dominated legal profession to understand and accept the importance of women lawyers in society.

'UNDP is providing assistance to create awareness and the means to run the association in terms of equipment, technical and financial support as well as legal training and establishing links with female lawyers outside Somaliland.'

Currently, there are no prosecutors or judges in Somaliland. UNDP is in discussion with the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General's office to identify methods and support newly graduate women to practice as either prosecutors or trainee judges/registrars.

Aims of the SWLA

1. Provide a professional and social network for women lawyers
2. Promote the wider participation of women in development
3. Encourage greater participation of women lawyers in developing potential of their role within Somaliland
4. Promote continuing education and legal awareness for women
5. Advocate for the interests of women in the legal profession
6. Achieve justice and equality for all women
7. Achieve and equality for all disadvantaged groups
8. Promote equal opportunities
9. Create and enhance awareness of women's contribution to the development of the law
10. Provide free legal aid for women and children in Somaliland


Somaliland: An Example of Peace and Democracy

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/68960/ by Ahmed Khayre, Jul 22, 2008

In Somaliland, the recent political discourses have been lately focused on how to combat the increase in global prices? How to implement the voter registration drive for the upcoming Presidential elections? How to increase diplomatic and trade initiatives? How to maintain the peace and stability of the country? How to proceed with the five year Reconstruction and Rehabilitation programme? How to create jobs and a brighter future for the youth of Somaliland? And so on.

All these discussions are being conducted through the normal democratic avenues, an elected parliament, a free press and a public dialogue, discussion and consensus formula, a rarity in the region or even in most parts of the globe.

Somaliland has recently begun to explore further diplomatic and trade initiatives with its neighbours to the north and northwest, such as Djibouti, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. These iniatives are being taken to highlight the political and economic maturity of Somaliland and its peoples, who refuse to remain mired in blood and conflict, who with their own unique process brought peace and stability, and who refused to hark back to a failed "mirage" that never was and never will be, Greater Somalia.

The people of Somaliland desire to control their lives in every city, town, village or grazing land, and Somaliland is a nation which as shown remarkable ability to bring peace and security to its citizens. The real leadership of Somaliland are its peoples. A government by the people, of the people, for the people, in which laws are obeyed and respected, in which there is freedom of expression, and in which people are more interested in making sure their own home is in order before commenting on their neighbour´s situation.

The people of Somaliland are more interested in being an example to others in the region that are in dire straits by making sure that the country remains, democratic, stable, and progressive. The people of Somaliland are aware that this can only be achieved by strengthening the institutions of the nation through that unique formula of dialogue, discussion and consensus.

Somalilanders have never shirked from the problems facing their poor and under-developed nation, but through local initiatives and local solutions, Somaliland has been able to face and overcome many of its problems, naturally, there is a long way to go, but there is something to be said for being brave and positive.

It is worth mentioning that much of the news from Somaliland primarily deals with developmental issues facing nation, good or bad, and much of the news written on Somaliland is about efforts to continue on its forward path, however, there are some articles on Somaliland from certain quarters which are neither constructive nor factual. These latter articles are being written by those who have failed to bring peace to their nations, who are bereft of ideas and are desperate to blight Somaliland's image, they haven't succeeded for almost eighteen years and they never shall.

Somaliland is nation without dictators, usurpers, and certainly no murdering warlords.

Somalilanders welcome all those seeking refuge, seeking inspiration and seeking the road to stability, democracy and good governance.


Somaliland still Pushing Through For Recognition

http://www.qarannews.com/ by Somalilandnation, Jul 22, 2008

A breakaway, semi-desert territory on the coast of the Gulf of Aden, Somaliland declared independence after the overthrow of Somali military dictator Siad Barre in 1991.

The move followed a struggle against Siad Barre's auotratic regime, in which the SNM defeated the regimes armed forces. Tens of thousands of people were killed and towns were flattened.

Overview

Overview Facts Leaders Media

Though not internationally recognised, Somaliland has a working political system, government institutions, a police force and its own currency. The territory has lobbied hard to win support for its claim to be a sovereign state. Livestock rearing is a key economic activity

The former British protectorate has also escaped much of the chaos and violence that plague Somalia, although attacks on Western aid workers in 2003 raised fears that Islamic militants in the territory were targeting foreigners and have been dealt with by the local authorities.

Although there is a thriving private business sector, poverty and unemployment are widespread. The economy is highly dependent on money sent home by members of the diaspora,duties from Berbera, a port used by landlocked Ethiopia, and livestock exports.

The latter have been hit by embargoes on exports, imposed by some Gulf countries to inhibit the spread of Rift Valley Fever, which have been resolved.

Somaliland's leaders have distanced themselves from Somalia's central transitional government, set up in 2004 following long-running talks in Kenya, which they see as a threat to Somaliland's soveriegnty.

Somaliland was independent for a few days in 1960, between the end of British colonial rule and its union with the former Italian colony of Somalia. More than 40 years later voters in the territory overwhelmingly backed its self-declared independence in a 2001 referendum.

Facts: Overview Facts Leaders Media
Territory: Somaliland
Status: Self-declared republic. Not recognised internationally.
Population: 3.5 million (Somaliland government estimate)
Capital: Hargeisa
Major languages: Somali, Arabic, English
Major religion: Islam
Life expectancy: n/a
Monetary unit: Somaliland shilling
Main exports: Livestock
GNI per capita: n/a
Internet domain: n/a
International dialling code: +252

Leaders

Overview Facts Leaders Media

President: Dahir Riyale Kahin

Dahir Riyale Kahin, from the ruling Unity of Democrats (UDUB) party, won Somaliland's first multi-party presidential elections in April 2003 with a slim majority.

His 5-year term, which officially ended in May 2008, was controversially extended by Somaliland's council of elders. A deal was later reached with the opposition for the presidential election to be held on the 9th April,2009

Mr Riyale was originally appointed in 2002, having been the Vice-President to the late Mohamed Ibrahim Egal upon the latter's passing.

Dahir Riyale Kahin - pressing for world's recognition of Somaliland

On taking office he said his priorities would be to ensure the territory's continued security and to press for international recognition for its independence.

Voters went to the polls in September 2005 to elect a new parliament; MPs had hitherto been chosen by clans through a process of consultation. Somaliland's leaders saw the election as the culmination of a democratic process which, they hoped, would better the chances of international recognition.


Source: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Date: 22 Jul 2008/http://www.reliefweb.int

Somali villages invest in solar-powered pump, with high returns

By Iman Morooka

HARAF VILLAGE, Somaliland, Somalia, 22 July 2008 – Water has long been a scarce resource in Somaliland, where a two- to five-hour daily walk to fetch household water is not uncommon. Collecting water has traditionally been the task of women and girls, who are therefore unable to attend school regularly.

Amira, 7, is luckier. She lives in a Haraf village, a few kilometres outside the capital of the self-declared republic of Somaliland in north-west Somalia. Haraf is one of five local villages that have been able to install water kiosks with help from UNICEF.

That means both going to school and fetching water are now part of Amira's daily routine. ‘I come once a day to get water. When I have school, I go either before school, early in the morning, or in the afternoon after school,’ she said.

Haraf ‘s new source of safe drinking is a solar-powered water pump installed by UNICEF with funding from the Danish Government, the Ministry of Water and Mineral Resources, the non-governmental organization Red Sea and the local community.

Environmental and economic benefits

Before the installation of the solar pump, Haraf relied upon an older, UNICEF-supported hand-pump system. In service for nearly 20 years, the old pump had become insufficient for the population, which has swelled with displaced people.

‘Traditional generators are costly to operate and manage, as they constantly require fuel and manpower. With rising fuel prices, conventional methods make it difficult for poor people to have stable access to water,’ said Director General Ahmed Suldan of the Ministry of Water and Mineral Resources. ‘We have long hoped to introduce the solar energy-powered equipment, and with the help of UNICEF, we were able to make this a reality in five villages so far.’

The kiosk in Haraf serves more than just the village. Residents from surrounding villages and even trucks from the capital, Hargeisa, use the water source. In the coming year, the pipe will be extended to the village school, according to UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Officer Ibrahim Ali.

Precious resource

Nafisa, a mother of six, goes to the water kiosk three times every day.

‘Now it is much easier for us to get water from the tap, and it is cleaner and tastes much better than before because it comes from further deep,’ she said. ‘We still use the hand-pump water for the livestock and washing, while the tap water is for drinking and cooking. Many of us need the water, so we have to use in moderation.’

Volunteers from the village clean the tank once a week and check the taps for wear. They also monitor usage, to be sure the precious resource is not wasted.

Due to a general scarcity of water in the region, there is a growing need for finding long-term, low-cost solutions to ensure the safe water supply. This pilot project is an example of how, with a small investment and the strong commitment of community leaders and members, a safe source of water can be made available for multiple communities.


Dahabshiil breaks rice duopoly

http://www.somalipressreview.com/view.php?articleid=751/21 July The price of rice has dropped after Somaliland’s two main rice importers Jama Oomaar and Awad Indhodeero and Sons slashed the price of rice following Dahabshiil Money Transfer company’s grab of the market share by importing rice. Haatuf newspaper reports that Oomaar and Indhadeero and Sons hoarded rice before food crisis engulfed Horn of Africa but the profit they would have made from soaring price of food was affected by Dahabshiil’s decision to diversify into importing cheap quality rice and break the duopoly. Business managers from the Oomaar and Indhodeero and Sons told Haatuf newspaper that their decision to reduce the price of rice “has got to do with rice that Dahabshiil imported to make it more affordable.” The price of flour has dropped after Dahabshiil imported cheaper, selling $45 for 50 kg, 10% decrease from last week’s flour price. An analyst in Hargeisa says prices of rice and flour may drop even further. Dahabshiil Money Transfer’s entry into the rice market has been greeted with joy as the Holy Month of Ramadan will begin in two months’ time.

Somalia: The chairman of livestock merchants in Hargeysa is arrested

http://www.somaliweyn.org/pages/news/July_08/21July12.html, Mogadishu, Monday, July 21 2008

The chairman of livestock traders in the self-styled state of Somaliland Mr. Abdullah Mohamed Abdurrahman was detained after discarding an agreement signed between the authority of Somaliland and a tycoon from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The administration of Somaliland has earlier signed an agreement with the K.S.A mogul by the name Suleiman Al-Jabber regarding about purchasing the livestock of Somaliland.

The arrested trader is also the deputy provincial commissioner of Togder region having the ticket of the ruling party Udub, and he was arrested while he was in hotel in Hargeysa town.

The chairman is now at the criminal investigation department in Hargeysa where he is been asked several questions from different directions, and yet the authority of Somaliland has not yet commented about the arrest of this notable person.

However his deputy chairman Mr. Hussein Mohamed Awale called the arrest unlawful one.

The authority of Somaliland has last week produced a decree reading that each and every trader who wants to export livestock to the K.S.A should obviously pass the Saudi tycoon Al-Jabber, and the price should be a fixed one 42US$.

The opposition party Kulmiye termed the arrest as oppression and violating the price standard of the animals in Somaliland.

On the other hand the chairman of an opposition party Ucid Mr. Feysal Ali Warabe condemned the arrest of the trader and called it intimidation and totalitarianism.

Mohamed Omar Hussein, shiinetown@hotmail.com


The world wants to know the difference between Somaliland and Somalia

http://www.qarannews.com/ Researched by: Somaliland info Columnist London, UK, Jul 21, 2008

London, UK. (sli) - There are so many confusion going on around the world, and it is the time to clarify the different between Somaliland and Somalia, there are some Somalis (puntlands) who use the generosity and take the Somaliland's credit by them self. Today we will talk about the two cultural histories and what the foreigners see about these two countries.

Culture of Somaliland.

Culture of Somaliland encompasses a wide range of Somali activity and Islamic structures that give Somaliland a rich cultural and historical heritage. Nomadic and Arab Islamic cultural significance have also played a key role in Somaliland's cultural history and poetry have been described as the twin pillars of Somaliland culture.

When Somaliland broke away from Somalia, millions of Somalilanders live abroad (all around the world) came back and began to re-build their country. Somaliland is home to what is often considered to be one of the most interesting attractions in the Horn of Africa. Somaliland people love their country and their people.

Somaliland’s Elders Culture and Politicians.

Somaliland has formed a hybrid system of governance under the Constitution of Somaliland, combining traditional and western institutions. In a series of inter-clan conferences which began in May 1991in Burao, under Abdirahman Ali "Tuur" and culminating in the Boorama Conference in 1993 which met for four months and led not only to a gradual improvement in security, but solidified the fledgling country. Mohammed Ibrahim Egal was re-appointed as president in 1997, after his death in South Africa, under the Somaliland constitution, Dahir Rayale Kahin, the Vice-President assumed the office of President. Somaliland started to be multi Party, or fully Democratic country.The traditional Somaliland council of elders (Guurti) was incorporated into the governance structure and formed the upper house, responsible for selecting a President as well as managing internal conflicts.

Government became in essence a "power-sharing coalition of Somaliland's clans", with seats in the Upper and Lower houses proportionally allocated to clans according to a predetermined formula. In 2002, after several extensions of this interim government, Somaliland Elders and Politicians finally made the transition to multi-party democracy, with district council elections contested by six parties.

The country has three political Parties: UDUB Party, KULMIYE Party, UCID Party

The current President of the Republic is Dahir Rayale Kahin (in 2003 Kahin became the first Somaliland president to be elected in a free and fair election) and the vice-president is Ahmed Yusuf Yasin of UDUB Party who were elected on April 2003 for a five year term.

Where are you from?

When foreigners ask Somalilander where they come from, their (he/she) first answer is I am from Somaliland, and the foreign ask back yes but where in Somalia, the Somalilander answers back and says Somalia is Somalia but Somaliland is a different country, we joined with Somalia in 1960, but have regained our country and broke away from Somalia and we are a stable country and democratic. You can tell every Somalilander are proud to be Somaliland and respects the shared borders countries like Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Somalia, Somaliland depends on the loyalty of the Somaliland people, as they say “Power to the People”

Culture of Somalia.

Competition between the Somali clans that lived in this country, Somalia has been without an effective central government since President Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991. Years of fighting between rival warlords and an inability to deal with famine and disease have led to the deaths of up to one million people. Somalia is an Islam country; the clan structure and the nomadic lifestyle are also major influences.

In 1991 President Barre was overthrown by Somali National Movement ( SNM ) along with their coalition USC. Howver, politicians in Somalia failed to agree on a replacement and plunged the country into lawlessness and clan warfare.

In 2000 clan elders and other senior figures appointed Abdulkassim Salat Hassan president at a conference in Djibouti. A transitional government was set up, with the aim of reconciling warring militias. But as its mandate drew to a close, the administration had made little progress in uniting the country.

In 2004, after protracted talks in Kenya, the main warlords signed a deal to set up a new parliament, which later appointed a president. Its authority was further compromised in 2006 by the rise of Islamists who gained control of much of the south, including the capital, after their militias kicked out the warlords who had ruled the roost for 15 years.

With the backing of Ethiopian troops, forces loyal to the interim administration seized control from the Islamists at the end of 2006. A surge in violence ensued. It is estimated that 60% of Mogadishu's residents have since fled their homes. Because of the civil war, the country has a large Diaspora community, one of the largest of the whole continent. Millions of Somalis live in refugee camps in Ethiopia, Yemen, northeastern Kenya, and Djibouti.

Where are you from?

When foreigners ask Somalis where they come from, their (he/she) first answer is I am from Somalia, but I originally come from Yemen, Ethiopia, Portugal, Turkia, Burundi, Rwanda and so on. The foreigners are so confuse and ask them selves if this people (Somalis) are lying or want to no further question to ask their so called Somali which they humiliated and migrated from. The foreigners don’t stop the questions, they also ask why Somalis are fighting each other, their main answer which they have similarity is “every clan wants power and my clan is strongest”,

We believe you can tell the different between Somaliland and Somalia there are so many differentiations that we want you to share with us and you can also add in the comment box of what we forget to talk about.


Africa's isolated state

By Richard Lough in Hargeisa, Somaliland http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2008/07/200871383754692.html/ by Richard Lough in Hargeisa, Somaliland, Jul 21, 2008

Abdilahi Omar sips on a glass of sweet milky tea as traffic in Hargeisa, Somaliland's capital, increases ahead of the morning rush.

In front of him young boys ride their donkey carts to the river to collect water while ice-cream trucks serving soft-scoop start their rounds.

"So you can see, Hargeisa is calm," says the newspaper editor gesturing to the traffic police armed not with automatic rifles but with fluorescent batons and whistles.

"People are going to work peacefully, you can walk freely. There are no guns on the streets here."

This is not Somalia as the outside world knows it. But then, Somalilanders will tell you this is not Somalia. Period.

Somaliland, which is 137,600 square kilometres in size (comparable to England and Wales) and lies to the north of Mogadishu, is also a territory in limbo: it prints its own currency, flies its own flag and even issues its own passports.

But it is a state no other country will recognise.

Turbulent history

Somaliland won its independence from Britain in June 1960, a few days before Italy relinquished colonial control of neighbouring Somalia.

An emotional union ensued, creating a Somali Republic with its capital located in Mogadishu. But it soon proved to be an unhappy marriage.

"Somaliland became the poor relative, the isolated, forgotten corner of the Union," Edna Adan, a retired senior UN official and former wife of Somalia's first Prime Minister, Mohammed Ibrahim Egal, told Al Jazeera.

Issues over adequate political representation for Somaliland in the national parliament and government fuelled resentment and distrust and led to the creation of a rebel group opposed to Mogadishu's control.

By the time the war ended in 1991 Somali bombers had razed Hargeisa to the ground but the Republic had crumbled leaving Mogadishu in the hands of warring tribes.

Somaliland's own clan-based society emerged from three decades of turmoil and the conflict with Mogadishu deeply divided.

But on May 18, 1991, tribal elders held negotiations in the shade of Acacia trees and in the ruins of schools before unilaterally declaring Somaliland independent.

Today, in downtown Hargeisa a Soviet-era MiG fighter jet sits mounted on a plinth to remind people of the civil war Somaliland rebels fought against Siad Barre, who ruled Somalia from 1969 to 1991.

International obscurity

A Soviet-era MiG fighter in downtown Hargeisa reminds people of the civil war But despite a degree of stability compared to many corners of the continent, not least the perennial chaos in Somalia, Somaliland leaders say the outside world has turned its back on them.

But with no international support for Somaliland's independence, Hargeisa may have little negotiating room.

African neighbours have refused to allow the Horn of Africa to be partitioned and the UN and other international countries have refused to recognise Somaliland's secession.

"The international community has taken the wrong decision, ignoring Somaliland while it waits for Somalia to wake from its coma," said Dahir Riyale Kahin, Somaliland's President.

Self-sustenance

Money vendors in Hargesia have substituted bank transfers The lack of political recognition has also meant that it is impossible for Hargesia to negotiate loans and assistance from international donors. It is not party to the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.

"We are a democratically functioning state ... but the international community is hindering our success," Kahin told Al Jazeera.

With lack of international donor assistance, Somaliland's infrastructure is slowly being crippled. There is no international postal service here and no banking system recognised by financial institution abroad.

Exchange companies and money vendors provide an alternative for funds coming in and out of Somaliland.

The paediatric ward at the Hargeisa General Hospital - the country's only referral hospital - is in need of refurbishment.

The plaster-board ceiling is caving in. The ward's only oxygen cylinder lies discarded in a corner, covered in dust.

"The facilities here are very limited," said Dr Farhan Omar, one of 16 junior doctors who qualified last year, the first to train locally, ever.

"We have severely malnourished young children and we don't even have the high-energy milk they require, and although we receive support for the government and some international aid agencies, more help is needed"

The lack of doctors, drugs and equipment is woeful, but not a surprise. The government's total budget this year is a modest $50 million - Britain spends that on health alone every four hours.

Somaliland's health, education, and infrastructure sectors require massive inflows of cash.

But for as long as Somaliland's international status remains disputed, financial assistance will remain out of reach. So, too, will bilateral agreements with foreign governments.

Diaspora Money

It is money from the Diaspora that is behind Hargeisa's transformation from concrete-ruin to bustling-city. Glass-fronted multi-storey buildings now dot the skyline while numerous telecommunications companies vie for a slice of the lucrative Internet market.

"I came here first and foremost for the money. It is your money and business is business," said Abdul Abdirihaman Wabere, a Somaliland entrepreneur.

Wabere fled to North America at the outset of war in the 1980s. Now he divides his time between the US and Hargeisa where he runs a successful IT firm.

"There was nostalgia too. This is my country and we have brought a technology that was not here before and that itself is a leap-frog," he added.

Many families still depend on remittances from relatives living abroad. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) believes the Diaspora sends home more than $500 million to Somaliland every year.

Wabere fears this gives Somalilanders a false sense of financial security when ultimately their economy remains fragile.

Charm Offensive

The Somaliland government is trying to charm its way to global recognition.

Kahin recently offered Somaliland's natural deep-water harbour at Berbera as a home for America's AFRICOM headquarters.

"Our only hope is the US which says it promotes democracy and has spent a lot of money in the Middle East," says Faizal Warabe, Chairman of Somaliland's opposition Justice and Welfare Party and a candidate in next year's presidential elections.

The government is quick to highlight its democratic credentials in comparison to the lawlessness of its southern neighbour.

However, there are shortcomings. Critics claim the government is repressive, exerting excessive control over political opponents and the media.

Allegations of corruption tarnish the government's record.

Nevertheless, Somalilanders feel they should be allowed to reap the peace dividend. That should start with formal recognition, argues Edna Adan. Anything else is a slap in the face to a country pushing for peace and stability.

"Failure to recognise Somaliland is a failure to recognise democracy itself. The achievements of Somaliland can be a good example for


Livestock Trade Remains a Monopoly in Somaliland

Source: Jamhuuriya.info, 20 July, 2008 Hargeisa (JMG) – President Dahir Rayale Kahin met the Saudi tycoon, Mr. Al Jaabiri during the latter’s four day visit to Somaliland.

No official statement has been given about their meeting although the visist of the Saudi Businessman came after complaints by local livestock businessmen to free the market.

Minister of Livestock, Mr. Idiris Ibrahim Abdi in a statement to the press on Friday morning announced that some changes have been made in the agreement between Republic of Somaliland and the Saudi tycoon on the monopoly of the livestock trade.

The minister speaking about the changes stated: - The two sides agreed that the livestock in Berbera by local businessmen was not in comparable to the agreement between the two sides but were allowed to export them on July 15th to anywhere they wish.

- They increased the price of a head of sheep from by $5 (that is from $36 to $42).

- During the Hajj season the price will be rised from $42 to $45.

- The two representatives of The Saudi Businessman were discharged from their services and were forbidden to take part in future livestock trade.

- The Saudi Businessman in order to ease the soaring price of food will import essential food items and sell them without any profit in the country. This will not be on regular bases but will be introduced when prices of food increase.

The minister said that he was not present during the meeting of the President and the Local Livestock Committee on Saturday evening and couldnot say what has been discussed but he emphasized saying that Livestock Business Committee have been informed about the new agreement to which he say they consented. “The committee complaint was not only that the price by the Saudi Businessman was low but that they wanted livestock business to be free.”


Somalia-IDPs face harsh life in Hargeisa city somaliland

http://www.mareeg.com/fidsan.php?sid=6919&tirsan=3

For over a year many Somalis fleeing conflict in the capital, Mogadishu settled in areas of hargeisa city the capital of Somaliland, establishing a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs), which have recently turned into bad life.

Though they lack schools and health services, people have found security here, away from the tensions in their home locations, but life is being teetering into bad to worse

Aisha Ali lives in a dome-shaped hut made of little more than rags and sticks. When the rain falls, it pours through the gaps onto Omar and her four children.

She says she has not had enough food for her children since last year when she and her family came to south of Hargeisa , the largest IDP settlement in Somaliland.

"My husband was killed by the Ethiopian forces as we fled the city last year," Omar told Mareeg, "We came here with nothing; we just live on the occasional handouts we get from aid agencies."

When she arrived at the camp early last year, Omar built a makeshift home out of sticks cut from nearby woods and old clothes. Despite her lack of knowledge in building, she managed to put together the sticks and old clothes so that her children get a semblance of shelter over their heads.

"Then I began searching for food and water for my children, although I had lost contact with all my relatives and neighbors, I just went out," she said.

As the rainy season close to come in Somalia, approximately one million people live in appalling conditions without adequate food, water and shelter.

Twenty-five-year-old Dahir Elmi says life in the camps is hard enough to warrant risking his life for work and a better future in the Gulf States. "I do not want to waste my time living like this. Better I should waste my life seeking a better one." Elmi said as soon as he can get the money together -- about a thousand US dollars -- he'll pay a smuggler to take him across the Red Sea to the Arabian Peninsula.

Hundreds of young men and women from the camps die each year trying to cross the Gulf of Aden to Yemen from the semi-autonomous northeastern Somali region of Puntland. They expect to go on from Yemen to the oil-rich Gulf States where they hope they will get jobs.

Some do eventually get to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, but many others are lost at sea; deported back from Yemen; or end up in camps as bad as the ones they've fled.

Calls for increased assistance for Somalia's IDPs have been growing since the food crisis took hold this year. But the calls seem to have fallen on deaf ears. This may be due to the competing emergencies in Darfur, Burma and China as well as the difficulties of bringing aid in to Somalia while pirates operate along its coastline and the security situation within the country remains poor.

But the most important factor could well be that donors have tired of appeals for help for the long-suffering people of this war-torn country.

By: Abdi Guled and contributed by Liban Osman Qassem ( Lucky-Man) Email: naasir0513@hotmail.com


Somaliland ends efforts to search two German hostages

http://www.pr-inside.com/somaliland-ends-efforts-to-search-two-r712453.htm/ 2008-07-19 02:02:11 -

German couple apparently kidnapped in Somaliland's Sanaag region caused Somaliland government to take bold initiatives to rescue the hostages.

Somaliland police forces investigating the two missing German tourists reported to be in Somaliland territories deep in the mountainous range of Al-Madow has been aborted after costly hunt for the kidnappers.

Defence Minister Abdalla Ali Abraham ordered military personnel to accompany police forces as suspected kidnappers were reported to be heavily armed. Somaliland already with an experience in releasing hostages learning from the suffering of another German hostage, quickly dispatched personnel to surround all possible areas potential as ideal for hostage takers including towns but to no avail.

"Smokescreen"

In a surprising twist, Interior Minister Abdalla Ismail "Irro" suggested such reports of two hostages in Somaliland territories may have been smokescreen for the kidnappers. He identified the suspected location both hostages are held as western part of Bender Qasim also known as Bosaaso city in Somalia and not in Somaliland's territory.

In an interview with Somaliland news agency, he refused to comment more and requested his hope for moral sense to prevail in Somalia. The latest kidnapping is believed to be as a result of the current internal politics in the piracy invested Somalia's self styled autonomous "Puntland State of Somalia". The kidnappers are believed to be raising funds to fight local elections against current leader of Puntland General Adde Mose.

Both hostages are believed to be alive and in good health, often being moved to different houses at night. Although the search has ended, the investigation to close this case still continues.

Impunity from criticism

Puntland enjoys good relations with Somalia's enforced self styled Transitional Federal Government (TFG) as it's president Abdullah Yusuf is current tribal elder of Puntland. This has given Puntland authority immunity from international condemnations and protected them from charges of "terrorism" often cheaply thrown at anti-tfg entities by the international communities.

While Somaliland was spending men and money on the search for the hostages. Pro transitional government media in Somalia were inciting calls for arms against Somaliland forces in Sanaag making their intension to side with the hostage takers. Consequently, sporadic little demonstrations appeared in towns with the intension to stop the search for the two hostages. Somaliland forces adhere that such demonstrations did not change their plans.

"We did not go to invade ourselves, we were forced to clarify the fate of the hostages and we are glad to finish it now" said Somaliland Defence Minister

Condemnations required

Traditional Somali culture has always been hospitable to the traveller, but prolonged experiences of statelessness and abject misery has turned what was a simple and harmonious existence into a perilous savage and beastly predators. This pattern of kidnapping for the sole purpose of seeking ransom is now widely accepted phenomena in the Puntland authority's domain.

Puntland founded on the Islamic principles of equity and justice in 1998 now stands out as the place where UNHCR ships are held for ransom, tourists are kidnapped, and hatred against Somaliland is openly incited by radios.

Security officials provided with UNDP (United Nations Development Program) facilities such as boats admitted on the BBC Somali that it's employees may have aided and abetted such pirates using UNDP supplied boats as launch pads for the attacks on ships. Such thuggery against ships and civilians shall be condemned by donor communities.


New Donor Approach To Emerging Societies: The Case of Somaliland

http://www.qarannews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2053&Itemid=65/ by Timothy Othieno, Jul 16, 2008.

Over the past two decades, development practitioners and donor agencies have been pre-occupied with the need to engage more effectively with fragile states. In many fragile societies, the state-building process is a violent one, leading to human tragedy and the destruction of infrastructure.

Donors have been reassessing how they engage with such societies to move away from the traditional ‘response to crises', to an approach that is more effective and involves the people they are trying to help. Some researchers (Fritz and Rocha Menocal, 2007) observe that the state-building model promoted by donors has a narrow focus and fails to address some of the challenges facing fragile societies. This model - state-building through the promotion of democracy based on market economics - may need rethinking. Several alternatives have been proposed, including state-building efforts that are shaped and led from within the state to ensure legitimacy and sustainability.

In the absence of a comprehensive and internationally accepted state-building strategy, it would be sensible to adopt a strategy that would support peaceful local/internal state-building processes in fragile societies. The purpose would be two-fold: to give donors ‘entry points' to engage effectively with these types of societies in areas where they could actually make a positive impact; and to move away from their comfort zone to focus on local ownership as the key ingredient. It would be especially important to shift the focus of donor engagement on such processes that have had either minimal or no donor or other support to sustain them. Somaliland casts light on such an approach. Here, peaceful, indigenous state-building processes have benefited from limited donor assistance.

Since 2000, Somalia has received an average of around £100 million a year from the international community, with the bulk of funding going to the south of the country. However, this imbalance is slowly changing. The UK government, for example, has increased funding for Somaliland's home-grown initiatives over the past six years. Funding from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) for its overall Somalia development programme increased from £3.1 million in 2002-2003 to £26.5 million in 2007-2008. Somaliland now receives around half of this funding for governance, security, emergency humanitarian relief and assistance to service delivery.

DFID also provides institutional support through a partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), including capacity-building for key ministries and local administrations and support for a new constitutional process. This partnership also focuses on establishing the rule of law, including training for the police and judiciary. DFID not only co-funds the Interpeace programme to promote peace-building across Somalia, it also funded Somaliland's democratic presidential elections in 2003, as well as the parliamentary and local elections in 2005.

Somaliland is unique in that, unlike southern Somalia, it has restored law and order and become one of the most democratic parts of the Muslim world (Bradbury, 2008). The dynamics of its reconciliation process revolve around a complex interplay of modern forces on the one hand, comprising the generation of African post-colonial liberation-cum-resistance and, on the other, the traditional, indigenous forces of the north-west's clan leadership (Hussein, 2003). In the early 1990s these forces were accommodated by several "hybrid" institutions, mixing western and traditional forms of government. Somaliland adopted a national charter known as a beel - a clan or community system.

The beel system of government acknowledges kinship as the organising principle of society. It has developed into a power-sharing coalition of Somaliland's main clans, integrating tradition and modernity in one holistic representatives. For Somaliland, donor aid has played an integral role in sustaining and even developing these institutions and arrangements. The result: a peaceful and developmental society in the midst of a chaotic regional environment. Somaliland demonstrates that aid can make a difference if targeted to the right areas. Similarly, if we look hard enough, we can find other ‘progressive nuggets' in similarly fragile settings. The task before us, therefore, is to identify these nuggets of development and use aid to nurture and sustain them.

Although state-building in Somaliland has been an internal initiative, the authorities in Hargeisa have worked with donors from the beginning, advising them on the funds and assistance needed. The analysis of peaceful indigenous state-making processes in fragile societies, backed by efficient and limited donor aid, could inform a possible new donor engagement approach in such societies. Donors have not yet found concrete ways to make failed states function, and in the absence of a comprehensive and internationally accepted state-building strategy, it is vital that donors engage with the indigenous, local, peaceful processes that are already taking place, and foster them through sustainable aid.

In conclusion, donors need to be both sensitive and attentive to indigenous state-building and developmental processes. Their understandable urge to act at speed should not jeopardise developmental work alongside fragile societies. This is work that will, in the long-term, help to remove that fragility as Somaliland demonstrates. There, we have seen the value of allowing citizens to share their own vision of the future and the kind of state they want.

By Timothy Othieno, ODI Research Fellow. Email: t.othieno@odi.org.uk. For more information visit http://www.dfid.gov.uk/consultations/somalia-consultation-background.asp


Somaliland´s Economy Remains Steady And Progressive

by Abdulazez Al-Motairi. http://www.qarannews.com/ Jul 08, 2008

Somaliland is progressing towards achieving its economy goals on two key commitments including providing education for everyone in the country starting from primary school until university. This commitment is almost accomplished as the students start schooling and enroll the universities in their own hometowns in Somaliland.

The second key elements is providing suitable environment for foreign investors mainly from Middle East, Europe, America and Far East. The strong security, stability and democracy contribute in turning Somaliland into Commercial and Financial Hub of the region in the very near future.

The foreign companies can find the entire infrastructures to run their business like electricity, water, security and well-qualified English speaking graduates. Today, Somaliland can proudly say "We produce half million English speaking professionals in every three years". This reminds me, the speech of Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at US Congress saying "We produce millions of English speaking and well-qualified professionals to international job markets per annum." This sets India as the role model of Somaliland in economy development.

Somaliland stepped up efforts to reduce the use of gasoline in the country, and today Somaliland Presidential Palace is using solar system instead of oil to generate their electricity power. This is free democracy where reformation starts from top office but not in the public. Somaliland Electricity Authority announced the new power revolution of utilizing the sun energy in electricity production; this is the first step towards wider economy reforms. The reform may look slower but will remain steady to achieve objectives and encourage of local products. Economy wise, Somaliland will look very developed in next 15 years.

Somaliland´s top priority is to prevent overheating inflation of living cost, which damaged many poor countries worldwide. The soaring prices are another challenge; this can be controlled by encouraging the local products. Today Somaliland´s agriculture sector mainly from Gabiley and Awdal regions can provide enough food supplies to the country including wheat and corn.

Somaliland exports, mainly the livestock are the economy backbone. The local newspapers reported large number of Arabian businessmen pouring into Somaliland, and signing business deals with their Somaliland counterparts.

The current elevated oil prices around the world resulted worldwide increase of prices of consumption items including Rice, Sugar, Wheat...etc. This is not at the hands of the government of Somaliland, it is an international issue that affected everywhere in the world as result of towering oil prices. Somaliland people took initiative steps to use the locally produced goods instead of foreign ones.

Somaliland Central Bank kept the exchange rate of Somaliland Shillings under control against US dollars. Somaliland shilling is very valuable compare to Djibouti currency.

The people, mainly in the eastern regions of Somaliland, are passing through difficult time due to increasing prices of the basic food items. The government carried out projects in these regions to avail the basic social services like water and school projects.

Today, the major cities in the east regions of Somaliland like Laasanod City are enjoying free water supplies and 90% of the children are schooling everyday. The illegitimate administration, Puntland, even failed to establish such basic services during illegal occupation in these regions. Security is another important factor in Laasanod, where it is difficult to see armed militia or individuals in the city. This is the quality of Somaliland.

In Somaliland, Human Development ends Poverty: The human development is measurement of combination of life expectancy, literacy, education attainment and GDP per capita. Somaliland improved all these measurements without international community support. The life expectancy of Somaliland mothers improved due international obstetrics/gynecology standard services by Adna Maternity Clinic in Hargiesa and similar clinics in other major cities, which helps thousands of mothers with childbirth difficulties.

Also, the security and lack of fighting will surely enhance the life expectancy of people in all different ages.

Literacy and Education attainment is been reduced by the government and private schools owners, and today Somaliland can proudly say that 75% of its children attend schools. This is achievement in 17 years without international support. GDP per Capita, will be calculated after recognition - Insha Allah.

The Infant mortality rate was reduced sharply in Somaliland as per the statistics of Ministry of Health. All these is been done in 15 years, what incredible progress!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Africans need to learn from Somaliland and India, where poverty will be history in the next coming years. Somaliland invests in human development and providing good quality schooling system to its children; the citizens have equal access to the education system.

Investment experts acknowledged that best investment is "Human Investment". The children of Somaliland are one of the most precious assets in the country. Somaliland is capable of producing half million well-trained professionals in each three years. It is very remarkable achievement by young nation like Somaliland and without outside help. Human Development is the key to achieve better economy of tomorrow.

Somaliland´s modern development history started on 26th June 1960 but unfortunately failed to continue due to illegitimate union with Italian Somalia on 1st July 1960. The people of Somaliland suffered under Siyad Barre (ruler of Somalia 1969-1991) dictatorship that did not help the people and even did not allow them to help them selves.

In mid 1980´s, a group of university graduated youth named UFO (a type of whirlwind signaling a change in the weather) organized them selves at their own expenses to make change in social services in Somaliland. They decided to support their people in Somaliland like Hargiesa, particularly after Siyad Barre government failed to provide good social services. They supplied beds to Hargiesa Hospital and stationery to the school children.

Siyad Barre arrested them for supporting the public until collapse of his government in 1991. This was the kind of pressure on Somalilanders, who even wished to help them selves without the government. Until today, many jealousy Somalis who campaign against Somaliland believe similar ideology of Siyad Barre that says "Don´t develop and progress if we are not". My Somaliland friends told me such people are called in Somali language "XAASID". Majority of UFO members are active and living in different parts of the world.

Somaliland people are born to be progressive and developed regardless of the obstacles they face in their way towards the top. Somaliland people are very tolerant and peaceful; the war is the last option to consider; the people mainly don´t look into politics and focus their personal business unlike Somalia where everybody is politician; this is what restored the law and order in Somaliland.

We, the free people, call the international community including EU, AU, IGAD and Arab League to recognize Somaliland, because the people of Somaliland can make better difference in the world


SOMALILAND POLICE COMMISSIONER SAYS TWO DIED IN HARGEYSA RIOTS

BBC Monitoring International Reports, July 7, 2008/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 7 Jul 08/BBC Monitoring

[Presenter] The minister of minerals and water, Qasim Shaykh Yusuf, the minister of agriculture, Adan Ahmad Ilmi, and the mayor of Hargeysa, Eng Husayn Mahmud, this evening held a joint press conference at the Ministry of Minerals and Water in Hargeysa.

The officials addressed the security situation and the riots over water drilling which occurred in Hargeysa today. The minister of minerals and water and the minister of agriculture said that the riots were caused by misunderstanding and misinformation spread by troublemakers who don't have the interest of the people and the country at heart.

The ministers stated that the water project has given priority to Marodichex Region where Hargeysa is situated. They stressed that the rig that is used to drill for water will stay in the region until it completes its work before moving to other regions.[Passage omitted].

The Police Commissioner confirmed that two civilians died in the riots and five others were injured, adding that nine policemen also sustained various injururies. He urged the public to preserve security.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, July 6, 2008/ Source: Radio HornAfrik, Mogadishu, in Somali 1600 gmt 6 Jul 08/BBC Monitoring

CLASHES HINDER EFFORTS TO SECURE RELEASE OF ABDUCTED COUPLE

[Presenter] Puntland and Somaliland forces today exchanged gunfire in parts of Sanaag Region in which the two administrations claims ownership. Jamac Gabarani sent this report from Boosaaso.

[Gabarani] According to the Governor, [Mahmud Said Nur] the skirmishes that took place in [word in distinct], Sanaag Region was said to be between Somaliland forces and those of Puntland administration supported by area residents.

[Nur] The fighting is between residents of Puntland supporting the administration forces against Somaliland forces.

[Gabarani] Some reports indicate that the skirmishes are between supporters of Somaliland and hijackers in the area.

[Governor] No no, they [Somaliland forces] do not even know where the hijackers are. They are in Dhagax Dhowre, and as per the law they are not supposed to cross from there.

[Gabarani] What caused the fighting then?

[Governor] They [Somaliland forces] want to cross over to the town of Laas Qoray.

[Gabarani] Are Puntland administration forces in Laas Qoray?

[Governor] Yes they are.

[Gabarani] How far is the scene of the fighting from where the hijackers are?

[Governor] It is about 10 km.

[Gabarani] Why are they [Somaliland forces] going to Las Qoray?

[Governor] They are looking for defectors who are in a place 20 km away from Somaliland.

[Gabarani] According to Sanaag Regional govenor, Mahmud Said Nur, there were no losses sustained in the gunbattle between the two administrations. Area residents expressed concerns about the skirmishes which are likely to once again fuel hostility between the administrations of Puntland and Somaliland. Somaliland forces are said to have come into the area after an abducted German couple were said to be held in the mountains in Sanaag Region [the area where the skirmishes took place]. I asked elders in the region about whether any progress has been made in securing the release of the German couple and they said the negotiations have been interrupted by the fighting between Puntland and Somaliland forces. It is still not clear how the Puntland administration will respond to the perceived attack by Somaliland forces.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, July 5, 2008/Source: Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 5 Jul 08/BBC Monitoring

SOMALIAND POLICE RESTRICTS TRADER FOLLOWING MEDIA REPORT

Police in the self-declared republic of Somaliland have ordered the chairman of Somaliland livestock traders, Haji Abdullahi Muhammad Abdirahman, not to travel out of Hargeysa, the capital of Somaliland.

Police have accused him of giving information that is against national security to the media.

The chairman was given the order after he was summoned and questioned at Somaliland police HQ.

The chairman said he was informed that he was an accused, and was being sought by the police.

At the police HQ, he stated that he was told that he gave wrong information to the media, and was involved in matters that are against Somaliland's security.

The livestock traders' chairman said he believes that he didn't talk about anything that was against Somaliland, adding that it is not a crime to speak to the media and give your views, or make requests to the state. He denied any wrongdoing.

The chairman is under restriction following a court ruling. He stated that he was disappointed by the police order, saying that it would affect his business activities. [Passage omitted]


BBC Monitoring International Reports, July 4, 2008/Source: Garoweonline.com in English 4 Jul 08/BBC Monitoring

RIGHTS WORKER SAYS GERMAN HOSTAGE IN SOMALIA DIABETIC

A couple from Germany who were kidnapped in the Gulf of Aden by Somali pirates last month are being treated well, but the husband has diabetes and is running low on medicines, a human rights defender who visited the hostages told Radio Garowe.

Yusuf Ahmed Jama, an official with a Puntland-based human rights agency, was allowed to visit the German family in a remote area of Sanaag Region.

"I spoke and stayed with the hostages for two days," Mr Jama told Radio Garowe, a community station based in the capital of Puntland. He identified the husband as Mr Juergen Kantiner [phonetic] and his wife, Mrs Sabine Merck [phonetic]. According to the aid worker, Mr Kantiner "only has three days of [diabetic] medical supplies left".

Mr Jama said that the wife "is in good health," but was roughed up during the initial kidnapping when she was reportedly "beaten lightly".

The family had a boat filled with supplies and were travelling around the world when the pirates kidnapped them near the coast of Aden, Yemen.

The hostages are well fed and have "their own cook," according to Mr Jama.

"They [German couple] are taken around each day, but the place is like Tora Bora," he added, referring to a well-known mountainous region in Afghanistan.

He indicated that the hostages have been in contact with family members, the German Federal Police and the German embassy.

On the kidnappers, Mr Jama said they are a group of "trained and well-armed men who are not easy to approach", adding that they allowed him a visit because of it was for a "humanitarian purpose".

On Thursday [3 July], traditional elders in Sanaag Region called on the regional governments of Somaliland and Puntland to withdraw their security forces from the area.

Somaliland and Puntland troops have been stationed in the vicinity of the area where the German hostages have being held since 23 June with unconfirmed reports saying the soldiers shot at each other recently.

Sources in the port city of Boosaaso said Puntland soldiers from Sanaag had returned there yesterday, but there was no report regarding a withdrawal of Somaliland forces.

Sanaag clan elders are holding talks with the kidnappers and have pledged to double efforts to release the hostages.


Somaliland: When A Culture Of Peace Takes Root

http://www.qarannews.com/ Written by Makwaia wa KUHENGA, Jul 04, 2008

CAN you imagine a place swarming with beggars and jobless people yet just adjacent there are stalls and stalls of money in banknotes including American dollars, British pounds and so forth in the open with no policemen around to secure those stalls of money?

This is the market place in downtown Hargeisa, Somaliland, where I took a walk the other day. In fact, at several of them, the owners were not around -- they had slipped away to say their midday prayers (Dhuhur) -- leaving the stalls to themselves!

In a language best understood back home in Dar es Salaam, I was visiting the money shops -- or bureau de changes -- not in closed door shops with armed guards outside -- but open air ones!

The Somaliland bank notes looked like mitumba (second-hand clothes) at Mchikichini in Dar es Salaam. You can buy any amount of Somaliland shillings or change any amount of foreign exchange without flinching or being suspicious that you are being sold counterfeit money!

As I took a walk while shaking my head incredulously, I ran into several people up and about their businesses not even thinking that they are "swimming" or passing past stalls of money.

I asked my guide if there are cases of theft or robbery with violence in that kind of business. "No. In fact people can leave their cars for a long time even overnight without worrying of someone stealing the cars or breaking into them," he replied.

Not satisfied, I asked an assortment of businesspeople I had invited to form a panel for my television show interview on the ‘magic formula' that has made people "rationalise" hunger or able to co-exist with poverty and affluence. "This phenomenon you see is a result of the fruits in a situation where a culture of peace takes roots. People have experienced so much suffering and deprivation as a result of war and occupation that they are sub-consciously not prepared to act in a manner that would jeopardise the well-being of others," said one of them.

So this is the country I was visiting -- Somaliland. Then known as British Somaliland, it was granted independence from British colonial rule on June 26, 1960.

Shortly after independence, it entered into a union with its southern neighbour -- formerly Italy ruled Somalia -- with Mogadishu as the capital. The spate of military coups that engulfed the hastily unified Somalia brought in their wake the military dictatorship of the best known Somali military ruler, General Siad Barre, who, as it has now been sadly noted, was the first and last best or worst known leader who led a semblance of government acknowledged by international standards.

What followed after his regime also toppled by coups was a series of clan warlords each claiming to be presidents of Somalia. Under the circumstances, a national liberation movement was taking roots in Northern Somalia or Somaliland as was known during the British colonial rule. The Somaliland Nationalis Movement was born and took up arms to correct the hasty union and take a break from the military dictatorship in Mogadishu to reclaim Somaliland.

Ultimately, the movement was triumphant reclaiming Somaliland on May 18, 1991 after a protracted bloody struggle during which intervening period, the city of Hargeisa was flattened by bombardment by the forces of Somalia Mogadishu led at first by General Siad Barre.

This is the Hargeisa I was visiting 17 years after liberation and recovering from the ashes of bombardment and war.

Peace has replaced war and peace in all its senses. What was most inspiring to me was how the people of Somaliland as reflected in the people of the capital city were going about their life courageously and with the attendant dignity.

I happened to attend the independence day -- equivalent to Tanzania's Uhuru/Jamhuri Day every December 9 -- celebrated here every June 26, the day the British granted independence to Somaliland.

It was a low-key event as I noted because there were no military parades as is the case back home where the president would take a salute from the armed forces.

But even then, President Dahin Kahin of Somaliland, threw a state dinner to his citizens -- who in turn staged traditional dances and comedy plays to the audience, which I was also part.

What struck me was the similarities of the comedy Tanzanians see on television by a group called "Ze Comedy", the difference being that this one in Hargeisa this time chose to perform before the president.

Someone was translating for me what they were saying on stage. They were talking of the ever-hiking prices in the markets and petrol stations, which reminded me of the situation at home. But the Somalilanders were pushing home a subtle message for their president to note!

But the best I could do was to sympathise with the Somaliland president whose government's national budget is on self-reliant basis -- there is no 40 per cent component of budgetary support such as enjoyed by my own country, Tanzania from the donor community! Makwaia wa KUHENGA is a Senior Journalist and Author recently on a visit to Somaliland.


PR Newswire, July 3, 2008

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken Visits North-West Somalia

UNICEF is making a difference in Somalia despite difficult circumstances; Urges world to remember Somali children

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken, today ended a five-day visit to the troubled east African nation of Somalia and called on the world to remember the plight of that country's children.

"Unfortunately this is a region that's better known for conflict, insecurity, drought and floods," said Aiken who has been a UNICEF Ambassador for four years. "It's truly remarkable that UNICEF is still able to make a difference in the health, education and overall well-being of Somali children."

Aiken traveled to Hargeisa, Gabiley and Boroma located in the north-west region of the country, known as the republic of Somaliland. Here, Aiken was able to observe first-hand UNICEF-supported projects, which promote child health, safe water, sanitation and hygiene, primary education, child protection and girls' empowerment.

Somalia is a country in which less than 25 percent of the population have access to basic health services, less than 30 percent attend primary school and only 29 percent have access to a safe water source.

It's also a place where 98 percent of girls are subjected to genital circumcision and has amongst the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.

One of Aiken's first stops was the Somaliland Cultural and Sports Association (SOCSA), an enclosed facility in Gabiley dedicated to empowering girls through sport and cultural activities.

"The girls here are able to learn about leadership and health, acquire life-skills and play sports within a safe environment," said Aiken. "Even the youngest girls that I've met at SOCSA, impressed me with how confident and articulate they are as a result of this project."

At a camp for 1500 internally displaced families in Hargeisa, Aiken met 11-year-old Abduraman, who helps to support his five siblings and blind mother by working each morning to collect stones. He uses his earnings to pay for school, which he attends in the afternoon.

"Somalia has some of the lowest enrollment rates in the world, but every child has the right to an education," Aiken stressed. "UNICEF is working to help ensure that even working children get to go to school. UNICEF has also provided the camp with child protection monitors, teacher-training and school materials."

In Boroma, Aiken also visited maternal and child health clinics to observe nutritional feeding and immunization activities along with projects supporting children with disabilities, the eradication of female genital mutilation and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

"Now that I have seen Somalia for myself, I feel it is important for the American public to remember that the Somali people have the same dreams for their children that we do," said Aiken, who in recent years has also visited conflict areas in Afghanistan and Uganda for UNICEF.

"The country is one of the most desperate in the world. Fortunately, UNICEF has always been there and continues to provide the support needed to make a difference. No other organization is more capable of making such a difference than UNICEF," Aiken added.

The lack of a permanent central government has contributed to Somalia's status as one of the poorest and most volatile countries in the world. One of the most serious droughts since the 1970s has affected large parts of the country, exacerbating hardships for rural populations. \

CONTACT: Marissa Buckanoff, +1-212-922-2485, mbuckanoff@unicefusa.org , or Richard Alleyne, +1-212-880-9177, ralleyne@unicefusa.org,both of The U.S. Fund for UNICEF


Somaliland hopes election will lead to recognition

By Hussein Ali Nur and Guled Mohamed

HARGEISA, 29 June 2008 (Reuters)--The breakaway state of Somaliland hopes next year's presidential elections will lead to international recognition of the northern Somali enclave as an independent country, officials said on Sunday.

The polls are seen by many as an acid test for the former British protectorate which broke away from Somalia in 1991 when the ouster of former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre plunged the Horn of Africa country into anarchy.

Somaliland has enjoyed relative peace and prosperity and has held previous democratic elections, but analysts say it is not recognised globally because of concerns that rewriting colonial borders would open a Pandora's Box of other secession claims.

"The election is a test for Somaliland's recognition bid," electoral commission chairman Mohamed Ismail Mohamed said. "So many countries are waiting to see how we will conduct our election. It will be transparent, free and fair."

READ MORE http://africa.reuters.com/top/news/usnBAN950946.html


A female mayor in Somaliland?

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/casestudies/files/africa/somalia-women.asp, 26 June 2008

For the last 20 years, Khadija Hassan Hussein has worked as an accountant for the Ministry of Local Government in Somaliland.

In this time, she has seen male employees praised and promoted while women who are just as capable stay in the same positions for years on end. Under-appreciated, female workers have no choice but to find employment elsewhere or plough on until retirement in relatively lowly jobs.

Now, having seen enough of this inequality, Khadija is mounting a courageous challenge to it. Backed by a DFID-funded organisation, she aims to get more women into decision-making roles - and, with mayoral elections soon to take place in her region, she intends to lead by example, blazing a trail that goes right to the top.

Getting more women into politics

Outside work, Khadija is an active member of a group that pushes for women's rights. The NAGAAD regional forum brings together local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to get Somaliland's women to play a bigger part in politics. Amongst its activities are training sessions that aim to turn women into skilled political operators.

Khadija is also a member of the region's ruling political party. This means she is frequently out in the community, talking to ordinary people about the issues that matter to them, in particular their health needs. It was while she was out on her rounds, working hard to promote new health initiatives, that the idea of running for mayor was first suggested.

Putting herself in the running

Speaking to clan elders in her area about healthcare, Khadija soon won them over with her professionalism. Having gained their personal support, these respected community figures even began to accompany her on awareness campaigns, helping to engage local people and adding weight to her words. Of course, as she informed people about the health initiatives she also spread the NAGAAD message that women need to be given more of a say in the decisions that affect their lives.

Some of the elders were so impressed by Khadija's leadership qualities that they indicated she would make a good district mayor. Not one to take such a compliment lightly, Khadija made up her mind to run for office at the next opportunity.

Training for the top

A female mayor would be a first in Somaliland, but with the elders and, increasingly, the community behind her, Khadija feels that success is well within her grasp. In fact, she believes that her gender could give her a major advantage. "I tell (local people) that, as a woman, I do not belong to any clan," she says, "so I'm not seeking to perpetuate the needs of certain people to the detriment of others."

Through NAGAAD, Khadija attended leadership classes that reminded her of the importance of serving the whole of the community, rather than just a section of it. Participants in the training exercises were also urged to rise above party differences and support each other across the board. These valuable sessions were made possible by DFID funding to a local NGO, Progressio.

With the election now approaching, the NAGAAD forum is continuing to help Khadija, offering her advice and lobbying door-to-door on her behalf. The next step is for the party to endorse her for a seat. Then, if polling day turns out to her advantage, Somaliland's voters will have elected their first female mayor - paving the way, perhaps, for more Khadijas in years to come.


Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu) June 27, 2008

SOMALILAND REMEMBERS 27 JUNE NORTHERN REGION'S INDEPENDENCES DAY

BYLINE: Abdinasir Mohamed Guled

In the capital Hargeisa and the different towns of Somaliland esteemed carnivals on the 27th anniversary of the sovereignty of the northern Somalia regions has been set out Friday.

Dignitaries from Somaliland government have gathered round at the ceremony locations to share the nation with the honored day that marks when the colonial troops have been overthrown by power from the northern regions.

Clapping people have been walking with happy in the city greeting with thrill and were chanting "win freedom". Speaking at the freedom square where the first the northern region's first flag was raised the president of Somaliland Dahir Rayale Kahin

He says that Somaliland has achieved a level of stability not seen in the rest of Somalia.The tiny African region broke away from the rest of Somalia 10 years ago, but its secession has never been internationally recognised.

While Mogadishu is terrorised by competing armed factions, Somaliland's capital Hargeisa is one of the safest cities on the continent.

The international community's reluctance to endorse Somaliland's independence is based on the principle - enshrined in the OAU charter - of the inviolability of colonial borders.

Somaliland has been officially independent before - for four days in 1960, between the end of British colonial rule and integration with the rest of Somalia which had been under Italian administration.

When the country descended into civil war after the collapse of Mohamed Siad Barre's dictatorship in 1991, Somaliland declared independence.

To the rest of the world, Somaliland remains an invisible state.

In Burco town a crowd of supporters have jointly called for Britain Somaliland's former colonial power to be the first to recognize the state's independence.

Somaliland is bordered by Ethiopia in the south and west, Djibouti in the northwest, the Gulf of Aden in the north, and two other de facto independent Somali territories in the east, Maakhir and the Northland State, although these two eastern states are historically claimed by Somaliland and British Somaliland. This claim draws Somaliland's eastern border against Puntland, another Somali state that also claims this territory.

In 1991, after the collapse of the central government in Somalia, the main part of the territory asserted its independence as the Republic of Somaliland in May 18, 1991. It regarded itself as the successor state to the briefly independent State of Somaliland, but did not receive any international diplomatic recognition.

The economic and military infrastructure left behind by Somalia has been largely destroyed by war. The people of Somaliland had rebelled against the Siad Barre dictatorship in Mogadishu, which prompted a massive reaction by the government.

The late Abdirahman Ahmed Ali Tuur was the first president of Somaliland. Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal was appointed his successor in 1993 by the Grand Conference of National Reconciliation in Boorama (Borama), which met for four months and led not only to a gradual improvement in security, but solidified the fledgling state.[2] Egal was re-appointed in 1997, and remained in power until his death on May 3, 2002. The vice president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, was sworn in as president shortly afterwards, and in 2003 Kahin became the first Somaliland president to be elected in a free and fair election.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, June 27, 2008/Source: Qaranimo website, Toronto, in Somali 26 Jun 08/BBC Monitoring

SOMALIA ERITREA-BASED REBEL GROUP MARKS SOMALILAND INDEPENDENCE FROM BRITAIN

Officials of the splintered Alliance [for the Re-Liberation of Somalia, ARS] led by acting chairman Zakariye Hajji Mahmud, Jama' Muhammad Ghalib, Husayn Muhammad Aydid, Shaykh Hasan Dahir Aweys, and Fowsiyo [Muhammad Shaykh] today attended in Asmara, Eritrea, a well-organized ceremony [marking 48 anniversary of former British Somaliland independence day] along with up to 100 alliance members.

Reports say the ceremony was attended by European embassies in Asmara, a large number of Somalis as well as by members of the alliance based in Asmara. Foreign officials and leaders of the Asmara based [alliance] gave speeches at the ceremony. [Sakariye Hajji Mahmud said]: "I am very delighted we are celebrating 26 June [Somaliland independence day]. I am sad about the division that exist between southern and northern regions. We know that Somalia is under occupation but it is important that we bear in mind the 1988 massacre perpetrated against the self-proclaimed Somaliland. We would like to apologize to them [Somaliland] and we have seek the liberation of the country [Somalia]."

Also speaking was alliance deputy chairman Jama' Muhammad Ghalib, who dwelt on the struggle that was waged to liberate Somaliland and the 1988 atrocities, which he said was disheartening.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, June 25, 2008/Source: Somali Puntlandpost website in Somali 24 Jun 08/BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND URGES PUNTLAND TO HELP FREE KIDNAPPED FOREIGNERS

The Somaliland administration has spoken for the first time about the kidnapping of foreign tourists near Laas Qorey coast on the Puntland side of Sanaag Region [southern Somalia].

Somaliland Vice-President Ahmad Yusuf Yasin has said that the kidnapping was planned and stated that they will fight the group holding the foreigners. "The kidnapped foreigners, four in number, were seized while they were sailing a yacht in the Red Sea, and the kidnappers then took them into Laas Qorey mountains," the vice-president told the press.

Somaliland Vice-President Ahmad Yusuf Yasin said his administration would exert efforts to free the foreigners, and urged the Puntland administration to help it. "We ask the Puntland administration to help us free the kidnapped foreigners," Yasin said while speaking to the Somaliland press.

The kidnapped foreigners are said to be French and Russians. The kidnappers abandoned the yacht when it run out of fuel. This is the second time kidnapping has occurred in Sanaag Region.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, June 24, 2008/Source: ADI news agency website, Djibouti, in French 23 Jun 08/BBC Monitoring

DJIBOUTI PRESIDENT RECEIVES SOMALILAND LEADER

The president of the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland, Daher Rayaleh Kahin, yesterday started a two-day working visit in Djibouti.

Mr Kahin who came to show support to Djibouti in the conflict opposing it to Eritrea, was on Monday [23 June] received by President Ismail Omar Guelleh in the presence of the communication minister, Ali Abdi Farah.

The strengthening of brotherly ties shared between Djibouti and Somaliland were at the centre of the discussions between the two leaders. [Passage omitted]


BBC Monitoring International Reports, June 23, 2008/Source: ADI news agency website, Djibouti, in French 22 Jun 08/BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND LEADER BEGINS TWO-DAY VISIT TO DJIBOUTI

The president of the self-declared republic of Somaliland Dahir Riyale Kahin arrived in Djibouti on Sunday for a two-day visit.

On arrival, he was received by the government spokesman and minister of communication and culture Ali Abdi Farah. President Dahir Riyale Kahin is accompanied by several members of his government. [Passage omitted: other Djibouti officials present to welcome Kahin]

The Somaliland leader will tomorrow hold talks with the Djibouti head of state, Ismail Omar Guelleh, with whom he will assess the prospects of bilateral cooperation and the means of strengthening it in all spheres.

Djibouti and Somaliland maintain cordial relations.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, June 23, 2008/Source: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 21 Jun 08/BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE DAY OBSERVED WITH SERIES OF ACTIVITIES

The international Refugee Day of 20 June was observed in Somaliland this year through a series of activities that began on 15 June with a drawing competition involving 10 refugee children. An environmental sanitation campaign in which refugees cleaned four areas in Hargeysa city was also launched on Sunday. The campaign which lasts for 4 days involved cleaning sites around Hargeysa Group Hospital and the Gobanimo market.

On 17 June a workshop and briefing for the local media was held at the Imperial Hotel in Hargeysa. At the workshop which was organized by the UNHCR office in Hargeysa, representatives of the media were briefed on the UNHCR's mandate and the nature of its humanitarian role in assisting refugees generally, and particularly in Somaliland. The workshop was facilitated by the head of the UNHCR's sub-office in Hargeysa, Mr Fiddelis Swai, an accomplished journalist on his own.

On 19 June Hargeysa stadium was the site of several types of sport activities.

In the morning a team of women refugees played volleyball against Somaliland women while a children football match was arranged between a team composed of refugees and another made up of Somaliland returnees and IDPs [internally displaced persons]. In the afternoon, there was a marathon which was won by Ethiopian refugee Takala Mariyam and a football match that drew aid workers against a team of refugees.

20 June fell on a Friday which is a public holiday in Somaliland. So the activities for observing this world refugee day will culminate today by holding at least seven major activities that will include an art exhibition, drama performance, traditional songs and dances and awarding trophies for winners of the sport events and the drawing competition on "protection" as well as the best students in the refugee school.

All these activities which are sponsored by the UNHCR office in Hargeysa will be held at the Refugee Social Welfare Centre in Hargesya.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, June 23, 2008/Source: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 23 Jun 08/BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND UK MINISTER'S PRESS CONFERENCE

A British delegation led by Kim Howells, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office visited Somaliland on Tuesday.

After holding talks with senior Somaliland government officials, Mr. Howells held a press conference at the Maansoor Hotel in Hargeysa.

The following are his opening statement and the press conference which was also attended by Somaliland Foreign Minister Abdillahi Muhammad Duale and an official of the UK's Department for International Development.

"I want to first of all say what a privilege it has been to meet the head of state and the ministers in his cabinet. We have had fruitful discussions across a very wide range of subjects. And these include looking at the prevailing political atmosphere of the whole of Horn of Africa.

We've looked at the problems of the economy and the need to find jobs for young people. We talked of course about the links between Somaliland and the United Kingdom. And I have just had lunch with a large group of UK citizens who now work in Somaliland. That was a real privilege for me too.

There are a number of issues which you might like to question me on. These include the general problems that we have in trying to counter terrorism.

Somaliland is seen increasingly as an oasis of peace and potential. And we would very much like to ensure that it stays that way. Yet we know that there are many people out there who would like to disrupt life in Somaliland, who see it as a country which is trying to modernize itself in a way that they find distasteful. So it is very important to give our young people not just only in Somaliland, but in the UK, too, some vision of a much better future.

We want to help with that, in every other aspect of policy that we can. We are already very active here. Our Department for International Development is active in Somaliland.

Indeed of all of the money which goes from the British government to Somalia 40% of it comes to Somaliland. That amounts to 9 million pounds a year which is a large amount of money. I know from my discussions this morning that Somaliland's budget deficit is about 10 million pounds.

What we would like to see is Somaliland grows in economy and in investment. We would like to see jobs and skills proliferate in this country so that Somaliland doesn't have to depend on aid from other countries, that it can exist as a prosperous entity on its own. That is the main focus of my visit. I'm very glad to have been able to come here and hear about the strengths, the weaknesses, the problems and the potentials of Somaliland first hand."

Kim Howells, MP, British Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Hargeysa

Q: One of the reasons given for the secrecy that shrouded all the recent visits paid by British officials to Somaliland is that you wanted to avoid any leakages regarding your discussions on the returning to Somaliland from the UK of Somalilanders whose applications for asylum in Britain were rejected. Is it so?

A: First, of all can I say that increasingly these days ministers not only from Britain but from many other countries become target for terrorist acts that host governments increasingly try to ensure that visiting ministers stay safe. It doesn't do much for the reputation of a country if the minister goes home in a box. Secondly, as far as asylum seekers are concerned we want to cooperate very closely with Somaliland on returnees. If people come into Britain illegally, or come for one reason and then when they realize they can't stay claim asylum, then we have a duty to the British public to return them home. We do so by utilizing the judicial system in Britain which wouldn't allow us to get away with anything that is illegal, or anything that threatens the civil rights, or human rights of people who are sent back to countries from which they have come. That is the way we do it. It is transparent and legal. No country can sustain for ever unlimited numbers of people who entered their territory illegally.

Q: Can they [the rejected asylum seekers] appeal to European courts?

A: Yes they have got every right to appeal to the European courts and we would never stop them from doing that.

Q: Since you have mentioned terrorism, you provide support to Somaliland's efforts at combating terrorism. Although your support is very much needed and appreciated here, however it is channeled through a controversial organization that is called the National Intelligence Agency instead of the police. Is it therefore politically correct for your government to channel resources through an organization that is considered illegal by most people here?

A: Well, I don't know the legality and I don't know the nature of this organization. I would ask in a moment if the Foreign minister would answer this. But can I say this: we would never knowingly put money into any organization in any country which is illegal within that country. We believe that the best way forward in all things is transparency and openness. If this is a real question, well it is certainly the first time I have been asked about it.

Foreign Minister Dualle... "Yes there is a close cooperation between the Somaliland and UK governments along with other partners internationally on combating terrorism. In this aspect, the agency through which the UK government is providing assistance to us is the Migration [Department]. The delegation has visited the Migration this morning to see how its surveillance system worked. Because of the security situation our nation requires full support in terms of infrastructure, human resources and training. There is nothing illegal about it.

Q: With turmoil engulfing the whole region, isn't it a matter of time before Somaliland goes down as well unless given recognition?

A: Yes, Somaliland lives in a very very tough neighborhood, and it is one where the politics change from day to day. What Somaliland needs is a degree of certainty. It needs to know where it stands in relation to the rest of the international community. But that means that the international community has to understand what Somaliland's aspirations are, where it stands in relation to Somalia, where it sees itself moving to. And also there are some other things that I have been learning this morning. I think there are some definite aspirations. I've heard a lot about education, skills, and infrastructure. The fact that Somaliland occupies a very strategic part of north east Africa with a huge hinterland where people would want to export the goods that they manufacture, the commodities that they grow, the things that they create and Somaliland would be very well positioned to be a great exporting port of those things. I think that Somaliland even without the talk that I've heard of exploration for minerals for example, has the promise of a great future. I think the biggest uncertainty is that firms and companies in countries that might invest in Somaliland want a degree of certainty of what is going to happen to their investments in the future. That means there must be legal clarity and a consistency of business regulation. Those things I sense are the very issues that the Somaliland government are trying to deal with at the moment. The international community has a duty to try to help them to see the way through that mist so that the world sees Somaliland as a good place to invest in.

Q: Britain has always been supporting the TFG, while ignoring democratic Somaliland. Why?

A: This implies something which is not true. For a start the transitional government in Somalia has been in [existence] for a very short time. So to say Britain supported it always is nonsense. Secondly, we have very very strong links with Somaliland. It is why the Department for International Development is here. It is why we argue the case for financial intervention and other forms of intervention in Somaliland when Somaliland needs it. Britain is a good advocate for Somaliland and I think you have to be sensitive to the global ramifications of the demand for recognition because no one has recognized Somaliland at the moment. What you are asking me is will Britain take a lead. And that is a very different thing from saying that Britain doesn't support Somaliland. That is a lie.

Q: While Italy always helps and protects its former colony of Somalia, Britain has ignored or at best forgotten Somaliland.

A: I reject totally and strongly as I did the last question that Britain forgot Somaliland. And I'm certainly not aware that the Italians are some kind of supper force that is protecting the rest of Somalia. It doesn't look like it to me, I have to tell you. It is in a very desperate state. In contrast to this is Somaliland which is a very very different place. We always have been interested in Somaliland and we will continue to be. That is why our agencies are here and that is why I'm here.

Q: Isn't it high time that aid for Somaliland be given directly to the Somaliland government instead of channeling it through UN and international NGOs?

A: (John from the Department for International Development). The British government disperses its aid to many countries through international organizations. It is not just Somaliland. It is a cost effective way of delivering aid. There are plenty other examples of countries who receive our support either through EU funding or through UN agencies or the African Development Bank. So you mustn't think that this is a sort of a special form of funding which is just for Somalia or Somaliland. It is part of a development practice edict. It is a modern way of spending development money.

Q: Your government has supported the recent UN Security Council resolution which allows the TFG authorize military actions against pirates in Somalia's waters including Somaliland's. Somaliland is concerned that the TFG's Abdillahi Yusuf would abuse this authority to score points against Somaliland by for example ordering the invasion of this country's territorial waters under the pretext of combating piracy.

A: It is a UN Security Council resolution. The problem of piracy was regarded as such an acute one that action was needed immediately. You know as well I do that for Somaliland's territorial waters to have been subject to a different regime would have thrown the whole thing into turmoil and abyss. No progress would have been made for the same very reason that there hasn't been progress made so far on the recognition of Somaliland. I think we got to be very patient and think about this in the long term. You can't have an exception coming up in a United Nation Security Council resolution because you happen to believe that this would politically be conducive to an early recognition of Somaliland.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, June 23, 2008/Source: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 23 Jun 08/BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND PILOT WELCOMED AS HERO

Lt-col Ahmad Muhammad Hasan, a former military pilot who was sent, in July 1988, on a mission to aerially bombard civilians in Hargeysa and Burco but refused to do, and instead defected to Djibouti, has arrived in Somaliland this week where he received a hero's welcome for his courageous action. Before crash landing his Mig aircraft in Djibouti and asking for political asylum, Ahmad Muhammad Hasan had dropped his bombing load in the Naaso Hablood wilderness.

Over 100, 000 civilians were killed in the genocidal campaign unleashed by Siyad Bareh's military and tribal militia against Isaak civilians in the northern regions of the former Somali Democratic Republic or present day Republic of Somaliland. Saturated aerial bombardment of mainly Hargeysa and Burco, plus other urban and rural centers, caused most of the deaths.

Former pilot, Colonel Ahmad Muhammad, is being received as a hero wherever he goes in Somaliland, but the man who hails from the Abgal Hawiye clan of Mogadishu, is modest.

"I just saved my soul from doing something awful. I objected to bombing innocent civilians and ran away for my life, but whether I'm in Europe or in Somaliland, the Isaaks are welcoming me as a hero which I always question if I really deserve it," he told reporters in Hargeysa on Thursday.


Author of 'Becoming Somaliland' Arrives in Hargeisa

http://www.apd-somaliland.org/news/20080622markbradburystory.htm Mark Bradbury, author of the recently published book 'Becoming Somaliland' returned to Somaliland on 20 June. Mark, a development consultant, has worked extensively in North East Africa since 1988.

The Somaliland launching of Becoming Somaliland was held on 10 June at the Maansoor Hotel. This event was hosted by APD and Progressio, a London based International NGO that supported the publication of this important book.

Mark is the author of many other materials on Somaliland and the region, including Somaliland Country Profile that was published in 1997.

In a meeting with the APD staff on 22 June Mark explained that his current visit to Somaliland has two purposes: First, to assist with APD’s Peace Mapping Project and, Second, to do some preliminary organization for an educational training course that will be held in Somaliland on 11-17 of October.

The course, developed by The Rift Valley Institute, will bring scholars to this region to train international aid workers about the culture, history and political context of the Horn of Africa.


International Republic Institute(IRI) opens office in Somaliland

Hargeisa(QARAN, Jun 20, 2008 )- The International Republic Institute(IRI) has formally opened a new office in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland.

The International Republic Institute is a non-profit, non partisan organisation dedicated to advancing freedom and democracy worldwide by helping to support civic institutions, open elections and good governance.

At a reception held at the Mansoor Hotel in Hargeisa attended by senior members of the Somaliland government, members of the Somaliland parliament, party officials, social activist, members of the press and other guest, the Speaker of the Somaliland parliament, Mudane Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi welcomed the opening of the new IRI office in Somaliland.

In a his brief remarks at the ceremony, Speaker Abdirahman Mohamed stated that IRI has always played a significant role in the democratic development of Somaliland and by opening an office in the country has shown its support of the country's democratic credentials.

Speaker Abdirahman Mohamed concluded his remarks by pledging the support of the people of Somaliland towards IRI's efforts in the country and encouraged the people of Somaliland to safeguard and maintain the stability which has made Somaliland a beacon of hope in a volatile region.

The IRI director for East Africa, Mr. Ted Levassiur also spoke at the ceremony to mark the opening of the new IRI office in Hargeisa. Mr.Levassiur outlined recent co-operation between Somaliland and IRI including the historic presidential and parliamentary elections in 2003 and 2005 respectively.

The opening of the IRI office in Hargeisa is seen by many as sign of further engagement between Somaliland and other international institutions.


Agriculture equipment for the community of Haraf in Somaliland

Hargeisa(QARAN Jun 19, 2008)- The Somaliland Agriculture minister, Mudane Aden Ahmed Elmi participated in a ceremony to present new equipment donated by Candelight to the bee farming community in the village of Haraf.

The equipment consists of items for the storage and production of honey. These equipments are part of programme prepared by the Somaliland Agriculture ministry, funded by FAO and implemented by Candlelight.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mudane Aden Ahmed stated that the equipment is the first stage in the improvement of the cultivation and processing of the local honey production industry in Somaliland. Mudane Aden Ahmed declared that both the Somaliland government and its international partner, FAO, are confident of a successful outcome in this new programme.

Mohamed Warsame from the FAO office in Somaliland gave a brief presentation on the objectives of the programme which is designed to promote and explore new economic markets in the country.

Other speakers at the ceremony also included, the Somaliland Home Affairs minister, Mudane Abdillahi Ismail Ali, Ahmed Ibrahim Awale from Candlelight and the head of Haraf village council, Ismail Saeed Hassan.


Al-Amudi adviser and delegation arrive in Somaliland

Hargeisa(QARAN Jun 19, 2008)- A delegation of five members including the adviser to the Saudi business mogul Al-Amudi, Mr. Nabiyo Samuel have arrived on a visit to Somaliland.

The delegation was met at Egal International airport in Hargeisa by senior officers from the Somaliland Water and Natural Resources ministry.

The delegation also includes Mr.Robert J. Rossetter from Svenska Petroleum Exploration based in London, England.

Speaking to the press at Egal International airport, Mr. Samuel, adviser to Al-Amudi stated that the delegation expect to meet with members of the Somaliland government to discuss trade and business issues during their two day visit.

Mr.Al-Amudi is a Saudi businessman with interests in the Horn of Africa and a regional office in Addis Ababa.

According reliable business sources there have been strong indications of Al-Amudi interest in exploring the market in Somaliland, and in particular livestock and natural resources.


Somaliland, the world´s superlative democracy

by Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi. http://www.qarannews.com/ Jun 18, 2008

About Somaliland: Somaliland is a forgotten nation in the Horn of Africa. When the Republic of Somaliland - named after a territory known as British Somaliland before its independence on June 26, 1960 - was born 34 countries recognized it during the rush of independence in Africa in the Sixties.

Somaliland, with a population of 3.5 million and an area of 68,000 square miles (135,000 kilometer square), joined the Italian Somaliland on July 1, 1960 to form the Somali Republic. The unity loving community of Somaliland worked hard to see a united and democratic Somalia and achieved their dream of establishing a Somali Republic by merging British Somaliland and Italian Somalia territories.

Somalia started as a democratic country according to an agreement between the British and Italian Somalia. Unfortunately the democracy ended when General Mohammed Siad Barre, a strongman from the south staged a military coup. Although, Somalilanders protested against power sharing before Siad Barre, but remained within Somali Republic to save the unity.

General Barre ruled Somalia for 25 years at gun point. He used his so-called national army forces to destroy major northern cities such as Buroa, Berbera, Borama and the current capital of Somaliland Hargiesa. Aircrafts taking off from Hargiesa International Airport bombed Hargiesa City leaving behind more than 50,000 women and children dead during 1988.

In response to General Barre's atrocities an armed liberation resistance group called SNM (Somali National Movement) consisting mainly of Isaac tribe was established.

Beginning of Somaliland: SNM launched armed struggle against Barre´s regime and his henchmen – mainly Mareehan and Ogaden tribes. After waging a costly armed liberation war with the Said Barre regime, the dream of Somaliland became true and established Somaliland Republic. Many members of current Transitional Government of Somalia in Mogadishu are considered War Criminal in Somaliland including General Morgan.

SNM's struggle lasted for three years after when Barre´s so-called Somali National Army were driven out from the former British Somaliland in 1990. Since then Somalia has been facing an endless civil war until now.

Elders of former British Somaliland met in the eastern city of Burao on May 1990 to announce the establishment of an independent Republic of Somaliland on 18th Nay 1990, ending 26 years of occupation by leaders mainly from former Italian Somalia. They formed the first the transitional government of Somaliland with Abdurrahman Ahmed Ali as its first president.

Mr. Ali's government completely restructured the functioning government departments -- including the National Army, Ministers Cabinet, Parliament, Legal and Justice Departments and local Municipality. During its first four years Mr. Ali´s government focused on security and stability.

Somaliland’s Justice Department functions independently with courts in different levels -- including regional civil courts, criminal courts, and the Supreme Court.

Somaliland’s first step into democracy: When President Ali completed his four-year transitional term, he was succeeded by President Mohammed Ibrahim Egal, who was elected by the Elders Council and Parliament. Mr. Egal was won two successive terms and led Somaliland for years until his demise during his second term in 2003 at the age of 78. A national funeral was held for Mr. Egal at the port city of Berbera- his birthplace.

According to the constitution of Somaliland Dahir Riyale Kahn, who was Mr. Egal´s Vice President, completed the remaining period of Mr. Egal´s second term. In 1997 Somaliland held a referendum, which was monitored by UN and South Africa, on the national constitution and 97% of the voters gave a YES vote to the constitution and independence of Somaliland.

In 2004 Somaliland successfully held Presidential, Parliamentary, and Municipality elections under the supervision of UN. Although these three elections highlighted Somaliland´s deep rooted democracy to the international community, but the response and reaction were only empty promises.

Currently Somaliland has three political parties – including UDUB, the ruling party, and KULMIYE and UCID which are strong opposition parties and have majority in the parliament. When the results of the presidential election were declared, UDUB emerged the winner and the Supreme Court invited Dahir Riyale Kahin to form the government. UDUB won in very close margin only 80 votes over the strong KULMIYE Party.

Former Vice President Riyale Kahn was elected as the third President of Somaliland in 15-years of Somaliland independence.

However, the opposition parties worked-hard and won the parliamentary elections by capturing 120 out of the 210 seats. Senior Member of UCID Eng Abdurrahman Erro and current Speaker of the Parliament was nominated to chair the parliament. Here, it shows the balanced democracy of Somaliland, where opposition controls the Parliament House.

The ruling party – UDUB – leads the Municipal Council at Capital Hargiesa with 65% of the seats. Somaliland enjoys warm relations with member states of IGAD.

Terrorists attacks in Somaliland: In 2003, a group of gunmen linked to Al-Qeada in east African attempted to ambush the first Presidential Election of Somaliland, after the gunmen entered the capital, Hargiesa, and fired the police men.

Somaliland Police killed and arrested the others in three hours battle at the capital. The public helped the police to identify the hide outs of the terrorist.

In 2004 during terrorist attacks, the two British citizens, the Principal of Sheikh Secondary School and his wife, were murdered in cold-blood inside the school campus. However, Somaliland´s Special Task Police (STP) captured the terrorists, and the dangerous terrorist are serving life term sentence in Central Jail of Hargiesa, Somaliland Capital.

At the same year, Kenyan aid worker killed in the road between Hargiesa and Berbera but gunmen infiltrated the country across the border with Somalia in the east. But unfortunately after murdering the aid worker they escaped.

In 2007, Puntland militia kidnapped a German citizen at Sanaag region of Somaliland. Somaliland Police supported by Army Forces freed the German citizen in very exceptional and well-planned operation.

During the last two of years Somaliland intelligence agents (Criminal Investigation Department) picked up over 15 jihadi terrorists with links to al-Qaeda as a part of the international war on terror.

Security Service in Somaliland: The Somaliland Coastal Guard (SCG) frequently cooperates with the US and other international peace keeping forces stationed in Djibouti. SCG hunts Somali pirates at Somaliland water to ensure trouble-free movement in the region, particularly World Food Program (WFO) food aid to Somali refuges.

Both Ethiopia and Djibouti have diplomatic offices in Hargiesa. Somaliland recently signed a remarkable economic agreement with Ethiopia to allow the latter to use its Berbera Port. Ethiopian trucks carrying Ethiopian commercial goods pass through Somaliland territory peacefully.

In other hand, Hargiesa International Airport receives some 25 commercial aircrafts a day -- including Ethiopian Airways and Kenyan Regional Airways besides Somaliland owned private airlines. The airport authority in Hargiesa provides safety and security according to IATA regulations.

Somaliland has entire different departments of security including Home Land Security, Police, Jails Authority and Armed Forces.

Somaliland President Dahir Kahn delivered a famous speech in the House of Commons in London. He is the second Somaliland President address the British Parliament following Mr. Egal's address in 1960 in search of independence. Besides the British Parliaments, President Kahn has also addressed the Ethiopian and Djibouti parliaments.

In 2006, Somaliland President visited London and Washington and signed many MoU and agreements with Washington and London Administrations. To read more on the visit: http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/58737

Human Rights in Somaliland: In Somaliland, no body is above the law including government officials, where elected parliament is major monitoring body in the country against any human rights violations and corruption.

Somaliland citizens and expatriates in Somaliland have equal access to Somaliland Courts and other Judiciary System, besides the social services like education and health services.

Somaliland Education syllabus is fully directed to the development of human right and dignity to promote the human respect as fundamental principle. It promotes understanding, tolerance and friendship among all its inhabitants regardless of religion or ethic. Parents or guardians have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Somaliland completely implements entire paragraphs UN Human Rights Declaration in Geneva. Somaliland is establishing it self as most peaceful nation worldwide. Minorities and Women get full rights as the constitution of Somaliland grants extra protection to women and children.

Diplomatic embargo alienates Somaliland from the World: Although Somaliland managed stability and continuity through its democratic policy, its foreign policy has been paralyzed by diplomatic embargo against Somaliland, where the international community realizes process, democracy and statehood in Somaliland but still remains blind and even refuses to hear the Somaliland voice of freedom.

For further information about how the international stubbornness on Somaliland paralyzed the human rights and democracy process, Please read the article: http://www.somalilandpatriots.com/news-3779.html

Somaliland democracy is patiently waiting the international community support before it is too late. Somaliland does not need financial support from the world but to accept their existence. Somaliland is working for creating better African in economy and environment. Somaliland is living without no loans from international donors, and they are planning to see Africa free of Loans.

Africa is reach continent with large of natural resources, Somaliland wants to lead Africa in utilizing their natural resources and stop waiting aid from outside world. Human rights are another factor of Somaliland, where Somaliland constitution implements Geneva declaration to assure that every human being gets enough care.


Somaliland state economy rapidly expanding

afrol News, 17 June 2008-- The recently approved 2008 budget of the self-declared republic of Somaliland has seen an increase of 27 percent from the 2007 budget. Domestic economic growth and increased engagement of donors have created a much improved revenue base for the Somalilander government.

The Somaliland Ministry of Finance recently presented its budget for the upcoming 2008-09 fiscal year to the Hargeisa parliament, where, after thorough scrutinising, it was approved of.

Somaliland's new annual budget has a total frame of US$ 51 million. While this represents one of the world's smallest national budgets, it is nevertheless seen as a big achievement for a state that has not been recognised by any nation. Somaliland in 1991 dissolved its 1960 union with the rest of Somalia, and has since that established full-fledged democratic institutions, a national currency and a banking sector.

With political stability and internal peace, the Somalilander economy has been steadily on the rise, despite the lack of foreign recognition. Its unrecognised status has also meant that Somaliland's government cannot get access to international credits. While Somaliland thus avoids the debt trap, it however keeps budgets very low.

While domestic economic growth has led to a somewhat greater revenue base for the Hargeisa government, this year's budget increase is mostly based on increased international engagement in this only peaceful and stable corner of Somalia. Somaliland recently reached an agreement with the World Bank and donor nations on a five-year Reconstruction and Rehabilitation programme worth around US$ 550 million dollars, which is to help improve infrastructure, economy and social facilities.

According to the Somalilander government, "the budgetary increase of 27 percent from last year is to accommodate with in the budget the rising world food prices that also affected Somaliland and provide gradual planned pay increases for government workers, increasing government support to higher education institutions, health services and rural developments."

While Somaliland spends relatively great amounts on defence - a consequence of constant war threats from other parts of Somalia - the Hargeisa government has a good record regarding investments in social infrastructure, especially health and education services.

The new budget has been met by some criticism for its continued large spending on security, consuming around half of the national budget. Somaliland's armed forces also received the biggest budget increase this year. Critics hold government should spend more on health and education services, which still are very poor despite significant improvements.


In Somaliland, The Truth Prevailed

Source: http://www.qarannews.com/ Jun 16, 2008. by Al-Mutairi

After the people of Somaliland regained their independence on 18th May 1990, they passed through difficult times where the enemies plotted plans to fail the nationhood of the country; the enemies created chaos between Somaliland tribes to create instability in the country. Majority of these opponents are jealousy Somalis, who misread the leadership of Somalia belongs to their tribe only and they led Somalia many years. The jealousies attack anybody, which they feel threat to their illicit believe of owning the leadership.

These illogic Somalis did not understand that if Somaliland rebuilds from the destruction by the Siyad Barre's men, and survives from the current chaos, which paralyzed the country will benefit them directly or indirectly. They always believe that if their part of Somalia fails then no other part should remain progressive and developed. Somalis call such people jealousy.

Djibouti is good example of the advantage of being out of the Somalia, Djibouti rejected to join Somalia after independence in 1977. Today, Djibouti is government running its own affairs freely and fairly. The wise leadership of Djibouti took right step in turning down the unity application, because if they are part of Somalia, they could have end up similar Somali chaos. Djibouti hosted many peace conferences for Somalis to solve their differences, and Somaliland if gets independence will be similar to Djibouti or better.

These Somalis, who reject Somaliland, should see Somaliland as successful example to pass the tribalism and clannish problems in Somalia. In Somaliland, the tribes, who fought each other badly, came together and solved their differences in order to establish better future for their children. This is unique quality, which is inside every Somali but utilizing such quality needs good thinking like Somaliland tribes. The eastern states of Somaliland, including Sool, eastern Sanaag, Buuhoodle, and Saraar did not join the development in Somaliland due to Puntland's interferences in Somaliland Affairs. But today, the people of these states understood and selected to join the democracy rather than tribalism.

Abdullah Yusuf, the leader of Majeertaniya - Puntland, claimed the eastern states of Somaliland by the name of tribalism. After winning majority of Majeerteen support, he formed the fake government - Puntland - in 1998. Abdullah Yusuf created Puntland to win the leadership of Somalia, and he did. He had no intension of developing neither the people nor Puntland. Today, he is in Mogadishu dreaming to lead Somalia under gun point of Ethiopia.

The enemies of Somaliland exaggerated the recent political deadlock between the Somaliland Opposition Parties and the Government. The enemies told the world that Somaliland is disintegrating; they told current deadlock will be the finishing of Somaliland; they tried to hide the reality in Somaliland that people, government and opposition parties have common goal, to protect the integrity and stability of the country.

On 3rd June 2008, Somaliland Opposition Parties and Ruling Party signed history deal, rescheduling the election timetable up to April 2009. Somaliland has objectives of registering its citizens before the next election, which is very rare plan in Africa. Today, in Africa, there are very few countries doing free and fair elections like Somaliland. But this never happened in Somali history.

The enemies failed to understand that our political difference don't reflect from our national interest. In Somaliland, national interest and promoting democracy is top priority among Opposition and the Government.

Somaliland is the first Somali-speaking nation in the history to have free and fair democracy. Somaliland has Opposition (Kulmiya and UCID) and ruling party UDUB. The opposition has majority in the Parliament and Speaker of the Parliament is from the opposition. The ruling party UDUB won 2003 Presidential election in 80 votes over Kulmiya. This is free and fair election. There are similarities between Somaliland and USA democracies, where opposition rules the Parliament House in both the countries.

The President of Somaliland comes on election and goes by voting. Tribalism has no place in Somaliland election because the current President of Somaliland Dahir Riyale Kahin is not from the tribe "Isaaq", which the enemies always accuse for overlooking and forcing the other non-Isaaq tribes to remain within Somaliland. The enemies sometimes call Somaliland as Isaaq-Land. The president invalidated such illogic claims by the enemies to downgrade Somaliland independence and democracy.

Somaliland people solve their difference on roundtable and discussions, Somaliland succeeded to create unique form of problem solving. This shows the world, Somaliland people have one common objective "To Keep Somaliland Independent", which always leads them to settle their differences. In Somaliland, national interest is important than tribe unlike Somalia, where Abdullah Yusuf of Majeerteen is killing the Hawiyo civilians on bases of old bad-feelings between the two tribes - Hawiyo and Majeerteen.

After observing 2003 Somaliland Presidential election, the South African Observer Mission on Somaliland Presidential Election of 14th April 2003 issued statement on In other hand the Norwegian Electoral Observers Mission by Berit Nissing Lindeman and Stig Jarle Hansen issued statement on freeness and fairness of Somaliland Election on These were all positive reports on Somaliland election result.

This is Somaliland democracy and the world narrates; it is unique democracy in Africa and Middle East; the UN, EU, AU, IGAD and Arab League should support these hardworking citizens of Somaliland.

Recently one of the Anti-Somaliland websites in Puntland (www.garooweonline.com) narrated the democracy progress in Somaliland and the power of negotiation in Somaliland in its editorial column titled as (Somaliland's young democracy survives a major blow).

On 14th June 2008, UNDP donated vehicles to Somaliland Ministry of Justice and Police. UNDP realized the importance of Somaliland Judiciary System and Police to serve the public. UNDP don't support the warlords in Somalia but only to the growing democracies.

When minor problem takes place in Somaliland, the enemies try to increase the size of the problem, because they believe their interest is in Somaliland's failure. The enemies including the trash-talker and doomsayer Muhamad Megalonmmatis. He always writes character killing articles to downgrade Somaliland, instead Somaliland grows stronger and broader from critics. The Doomsayer Megalonmmatis told the world that Somaliland is disintegrating before 15th May 2008, but Somaliland proved him wrong after the historic agreement over election timetable on 3rd June 2008.

The world understood that trash-talker Megalonmmatis is erroneous and writes based on wrong information given by tribal-minded Somalis mainly from Ogaden tribe.

Megalonmmatis writes about four articles everyday to downgrade Somaliland without proper information and in unethical manner. He keeps repeating the information of his old articles with character killing titles. The title of the article is important for him but the contents are the same.

If readers examine his articles, he/she will discover same contents repeated in each article about Somaliland. The reader understands that Megalonmmatis is either mad or paid mercenary by unrealistic Somalis trying to achieve personal interests.

These unrealistic Somalis believe that united Somalia can liberate the 5th Region of Ethiopia. They always fail to take their share in the federal government of Ethiopia; they don't represent the inhabitant of the 5th Region of Ethiopia; they are mercenaries trying to achieve their personal objectives at the expenses of the poor people in the 5th Region of Ethiopia. The people in that region need food and clothing, everyday there is tens dying for hunger.

So, it is good for Megalonmmatis and his illogic Somalis, who give him erroneous information, to support their brothers in the 5th Region of Ethiopia instead of attacking the rich and prosperous Somaliland.

The people of Ogaden tribe in Ethiopia need food and shelter; these people don't need character killing articles on the internet; the ogaden people in the 5th Region of Ethiopia did not even see the computers and modern technology; they are struggling to get he basic livings due to illegal activities of ONLF and Al-Itahad Al-Islamia in the region. The people in the 5th Region of Ethiopia consider Somaliland as brothers and do business with them like trading their livestock with Somaliland.

Again, ONLF (Ogaden National Liberation Front) and terrorist organization Al-Itahad Al-Islamiya don't represent the people of the 5th Region of Ethiopia. The Somalis living in Ethiopia are part of 68 million Ethiopians. They have representatives and leaders in the Federal Government of Ethiopia; they had brave leaders like late Abdul Majid Hussein. ONLF and Al-Itahad Al-Islamiya are those killing the innocent people of the 5th Region of Ethiopia, they always fire the Ethiopian Army bases from the villages.

At end of the day, ONLF calls the UN and Human Rights Organizations to look into the dead bodies of the innocent citizens of 5th Region of Ethiopia. Unfortunately, Human Rights Organizations failed to ask the killer and murder of the people. They are ONLF, who always fire the Ethiopian Army at the middle of the women and children, who later dies at the cross fire.

Ethiopia carries out projects in the 5th Region of Ethiopia; there are schools and hospitals. But unfortunately, illegitimate terrorist organizations like ONLF and Al-Itahad Al-Islamiya misleads the people against their own government - Ethiopia. Ethiopia is willing to help the people in the region, if and only if they remove these organizations out of their areas because they are enemy groups as per Ethiopian government.

ONLF is planning to rename the 5th Region of Ethiopia after "OGADEN" tribe. Ogaden tribe makes about 40% of the people living in the region. So, what about the other tribes like Hawiyo, Harti and Isaaq who live in the 5th Region of Ethiopia? Does ONLF theory of "Republic of Ogaden" mean state for only Ogaden tribe members? Can one tribe be a government? Will the other tribes accept the name Ogaden to be called? These and many other questions will come if the 5th Region of Ethiopia gets independence, which is not possible in next 1000 years because the majority of the people support the federal government.

Conclusion

Somaliland democracy grown up at the hands of its and truth will always prevail, regardless of the trash-talking by some writers. Somaliland is in strong position and nobody can send them back to failed unity. Arabic proverb says "The false don't last long" so as the articles of Megalonmmatis.

About the people living in the 5th Region of Ethiopia, Somaliland wishes them rich, secure and prosperous region. Somaliland always remains in their side against the terrorist organizations, and Somaliland will not be a save heaven for ONLF.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, June 15, 2008/Source: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 15 Jun 08/BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND UNIDENTIFIED MISSILE SINKS ERITREAN GUNBOAT

At least one gunboat belonging to Eritrea was sunk after being hit by a missile yesterday. According to highly reliable sources the boat was blown to pieces after taking a direct hit.

All the crew members were believed to have been killed, the sources said.

It was not known whether the missile has been fired by the French warships currently stationed in the Red Sea off the Eritrean-Djibouti coast or by the Djiboutian navy.

The Eritreans have reportedly been using 2 gunboats to fire on Djiboutian ground troops who since last Wednesday were trying to dislodge the Eritreans from positions inside the Djiboutian border that they seized on Tuesday.

On Tuesday fighting broke out between Eritrea and Djibouti at the Ras Dameria border point where the 2 sides have been amassing troops in the last several weeks.

The Somaliland Times can confirm the defection of 80 more Eritreans soldiers to Djibouti since Thursday. Scores of Eritrean soldiers were reported surrendering to the Djiboutian side on Wednesday.

Djiboutian casualties since the war started have been estimated at 20 dead and over 100 injured.

Meanwhile latest repots from the frontline reaching Djibouti indicate that the Eritrean troops have now been pushed back to their former positions before the outbreak of this week's hostilities.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, June 15, 2008/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 15 Jun 08 BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND LEADER CONDEMNS "ERITREAN AGGRESSION" AGAINST DJIBOUTI

[Presenter] The president of the Republic of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, has articulated Somaliland's position regarding recent fighting between Djibouti and Eritrea.

President Kahin said that the people and government of the Republic of Somaliland are opposed to Eritrean aggression against the Republic of Djibouti.

The president sent condolences to the people of Djibouti on death and injuries suffered by their soldiers in their bid to fight off Eritrean aggression.

He wished the president of Djibouti and his people victory. The press release was signed by presidential spokesman Si'it Adani Moge. [Passage omitted]


BBC Monitoring International Reports, June 15, 2008/Source: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 14 Jun 08/BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND UNDP DONATES VEHICLES TO POLICE, JUDICIARY

The United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] on Thursday handed over a total of 19 brand new vehicles to the Somaliland government in Hargeysa.

The vehicles which will be used by the Somaliland police and courts departments, were meant to enable these two institutions improve their communication operations and effectiveness.

13 of the vehicles were given to the police while the judiciary received the remaining 6.

It was understood that under its 'Rule of law' programme, the UNDP has over the last five years provided various types of support including training and institutional capacity-building to both the Somaliland police and judiciary.

According to Mr Abdouleaye Mar Dieyi who is the UNDP deputy Director General of the Bureau for Arab States, the UNDP's assistance to Somaliland has in the past years focused on three main areas: rule of law and security, governance and recovery and sustainable livelihoods.

"Within these areas inputs are tailored to specific priorities in Somaliland based on consultations with our counterparts, main beneficiaries and development partners and the interventions of the three programme components are carefully coordinated to create synergies between the activities and maximize the impact of programme output towards achieving the intended outcomes," said Mar Dieyi who flew from New York to attend Thursday's ceremony for handing-over the UNDP-donated vehicles to the Somaliland government.

The occasion was also attended by Mark Bowden the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance for Somalia and UNDP's Resident Representative who said that the UNDP has doubled the resources it put into Somaliland from 3 to 7m dollars last year.

He also pointed out the significant contribution to the effectiveness of UNDP operations in Somaliland that is expected to come from structural changes that allow a lot of delegated authority to programmes here.

Commenting on the delivery of the vehicles to the Somaliland side, Mr Bowden said "It is very practical and tangible sign of cooperation with the Somaliland government in institutional building and in the promotion of the rule of law. At the end of the day it is some of the practical contributions like vehicles that make a difference to the capacity to operate and be effective and accountable on the ground."

Meanwhile, the UNDP's country director for Somalia, Bruno Lemarquis has disclosed that his organization will expand its presence in Somaliland by establishing offices in other regions outside Hargeysa. He said by reaching out to other regions, "the UNDP will be in a better position to have dialogue with the community, to assist their needs and to respond to them."

Mr Lemarquis said the next step for his agency's approach will be to do more in the area of livelihood assistance.

The human rights component of the UNDP's Somaliland programme has often drew criticism from the public as lacking effectiveness. Although some human rights training was for instance provided to the police, however the impact has so far been weak.

According to a former senior police officer, the UNDP should continue providing assistances to both the police and judiciary while seeking security and judiciary reforms. The two ministries of Justice and Interior which together receive the bulk of UNDP assistance are at the same time considered to be among the most corrupt and unaccountable government agencies in Somaliland.


Somalia Is The Legal State, But Unrecognized Somaliland Is A Real State, Says New Book

Somaliland Times, Issue 334 / 14th June 2008/Source: Pambazuka News

Book explores "empirical statehood" in Somaliland vs. "juridical statehood" in Somalia

‘Why write a book about Somaliland, a lightly populated region on the edge of Africa which, if the international community had its wish, would be reincorporated into a federal Somali state?’ The author, Mark Bradbury, answers his own question by filling an important gap in the literature on Somali studies. The book, written by someone who has been deeply engaged with the region for many years, provides a comprehensive and inspiring account of how people in Somaliland and its diaspora ‘debated, defined and created a new polity’ in the aftermath of war, and in so doing challenged normative assumptions about what states look like and how they are built.

The book tells the story of the process of state-building in Somaliland from the start of European colonisation in the early 19th century to the holding of multi-party elections in September 2005. Two notable characteristics of the political system that has taken shape in Somaliland since it declared its independence from Somalia on 18 May 1991 are its fusion of modern and traditional forms of political organisation and its strong roots in society.

The Somali National Movement (SNM), which fought against Siad Barre’s regime in the north-west during the 1980s, published its political manifesto in 1981. It proposed ‘a new political system built upon Somali cultural values of cooperation rather than coercion’. This challenged the political orthodoxy of the time, as the author explains, because the clan was then regarded as incompatible with a unified, modern state. From 1988 a council of clan elders, or guurti, acted as an advisory body to the SNM’s central committee. After the war this evolved into the upper house of a bicameral parliament thus, uniquely in Africa, incorporating a traditional institution within the formal structure of the state.

Somaliland’s lack of international recognition, and the west’s preoccupation with events in the south of Somalia after the fall of Siad Barre, forced Somalilanders back on their own resources. The succession of clan conferences in the first half of the 1990s which cemented the peace and fashioned the new state were led by elders and financed from domestic or diaspora sources. This strengthened their legitimacy, as did the use of customary processes of dialogue and consensus-building and the highly visible nature of the discussions. With the country’s limited access to external aid and finance, funds from the diaspora have been essential to the survival of many families. They have also underpinned the rebuilding of public institutions, from universities to hospitals, and the regeneration of key sectors such as telecommunications and housing.

Support for the path Somaliland has taken is by no means universal, even within Somaliland. Despite his evident respect for what has been achieved, the author also makes an honest assessment of the shortcomings and challenges. The government’s detention of its critics, restrictions on the media, and use of emergency laws to prohibit public debate on sensitive issues (such as the prospects of reunification with Somalia) have been widely criticised both within and outside the country. Its writ barely extends over the eastern regions of Sool and Sanaag. Its finances remain highly dependent on tariffs on a single export (livestock). Neither the clan-based system of political representation nor the multi-party system which replaced it has so far shown much concern for the rights of women and minority groups. And what were once some of the system’s strengths are now showing signs of weakness: the moral authority of the guurti, for example, has been undermined by being institutionalised within government, leaving elders vulnerable to accusations of having a vested interest in the regime’s survival.

Nevertheless, throughout the 17 years since Somaliland revoked the 1960 Act of Union, its people have shown a remarkable level of political maturity. Three elections have been held since 2002: district, presidential and parliamentary. All were found by external observers to be reasonably free and fair, while power passed peacefully on the death of one president to another, even of a different clan. The ruling party won the presidential elections in April 2003 by a whisker – just 80 votes – and yet the party which was narrowly beaten into second place chose to contest the results (and eventually accept them) using constitutional means. The multi-party parliamentary elections in 2005 created a situation in which – uniquely in Africa, according to the author – the ruling party does not control the legislature. Although Somaliland slipped back into civil war between 1994 and 1996, on the whole the preference has been to resolve problems through dialogue rather than violence. Time and time again, religious leaders, civil society activists, elders, poets and businessmen have joined together to mediate between conflicting parties when the political system has reached an impasse. These achievements are rightly given their due recognition in this book.

The literature on the state often draws a distinction between juridical and empirical statehood. In the case of Somalia, it is the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu – the product of an externally driven process of negotiation, and now surviving only with the military support of Ethiopia and the West – that enjoys juridical statehood in the eyes of the international community. But it is Somaliland, unrecognised under international law, which has achieved the greater degree of empirical statehood, and it has done it with only a fraction of the resources that have been directed in search of peace and stability in the south. The comparison may not be entirely fair, given the differences in context, but as Mark Bradbury points out, the West’s line on Somalia – that the solution to its problems must lie with Somalis themselves (including the resolution of Somaliland’s current ‘diplomatic limbo’) – is rather undermined by its heavy-handed intervention against the Union of Islamic Courts. Bradbury does not use the word, but a fair degree of humbug has for a long time characterised the West’s dealings with Somalia/Somaliland.

In a recent article in the International Herald Tribune, two staff from the International Crisis Group commented on the distorted priorities of those crafting resolutions at the UN, seemingly more concerned with piracy off the Somali coast than with the suffering taking place on land. ‘Strange how an African country can be moving from prolonged chaos to violent collapse and no one in the world notices until a couple of European boats get seized by armed gunmen,’ they wrote. All too often the good news out of Africa receives similarly short shrift. The world is starting to wake up to what has been happening in Somaliland and to what its people have achieved on their own terms. This book will make a major contribution to that process of enlightenment.

This review of the new book, Becoming Somaliland, by Mark Bradbury, was written by Izzy Birch of Fahamu and appeared in Pambazuka News 371, Challenges of Democratic Transitions in Africa, May 15, 2008.

Bradbury, M. (2008) 'Becoming Somaliland'. Progressio, in association with James Currey, Indiana University Press, Jacana Media, Fountain Publishers and East African Educational Publishers. Softback, 271 pages.


Africa ’s best kept secret, A challenge to the international community Africa ’s best kept secret, A challenge to the international community

Source: http://www.qarannews.com/ Jun 14, 2008

This essay outlines recent developments in the Horn of Africa with particular focus on the emerging democratic state of Somaliland.

It maps out the key political contours of Somaliland and Somalia. In this respect, the implications of recent developments for the international community and multilateral institutions are analysed.

Somaliland has shown extraordinary determination to succeed. Those governing Somaliland have shown respect for democratic principles, begun to develop natural assets which will strengthen the economy, and rebuilt much of the capital city.

The union with Somalia has proved difficult to say the least, while relations with Kenya,Djibouti and African multilateral organisations remain complex. Yet despite the advances the citizens of Somaliland have made, recognition of Somaliland as a viable independent entity by the international community remains an uncertain hope.

“Somaliland should be let to go its way, for it has resources to sustain itself. “The situation in Somalia now is a culture of rules without rulers, a stateless society,”

“There is order there [ Somaliland ], they have the potential to survive”. One day, he says, Somaliland will organise and get back to the larger Somalia.­

Interview with Ali Mazrui

“The fact of the situation in Somaliland is that they have elec ted a government in the most democratic way possible, within the constraints of public finance; they have star ted the process of demobilization and disarmament; they have structured custom services in the port of Berbera and introduced an audit system. None of this effort can be attributed to a single United Nations initiative”, John Drysdale 1

Transcending diplomatic purgatory?

Some major African players are taking a new look at Somaliland, that state on the strategic Horn of Africa that continues to pay the political and economic price for declaring independence twice: in 1960 and 1991.

Somaliland is labelled as a ‘breakaway state’ by some analysts, while others describe it as ‘the little country that could’. Professor Ioan Lewis, the doyen of Somali studies, accentuates this latter observation in his seminal and up-da ted book, A Modern History of the Somali. His conclusion in this revised study states:

For the moment, thus, it seemed that despite the reluctance to recognize the Somaliland Republic officially, this might actually be for some time the only viable Somali state on offer. It might accordingly prove necessary to recognize that, in this as in so many other cases, half a loaf is better than none. 2

In fact, Somaliland did nothing more than end a union it had entered into as a sovereign independent state, and has since pulled itself up by its own bootstraps. Recently, Senegal,the European Union and Somaliland ’s neighbour, Ethiopia,have shown promising signs of wanting to end the impasse.

Ethiopia hos ted Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin on a state visit in 2002 and 2003, and President Wade of Senegal hos ted the Somaliland president in early 2003. Somaliland ’s northern neighbour, Djibouti,has also shown signs of planning to mend fences with Somaliland. Recently, Somaliland President Kahin made a three-day official visit to Djibouti,where its was agreed to re-establish diplomatic links and to co-operate on border security.

A South African delegation paid a fact-finding visit to Somaliland in January 2003 and declared it to be “a challenge rather than a problem for the African Union”. 3 More recently, the South African department of Foreign Affairs sent a diplomat under UN auspices to explore the situation in Somaliland. In May 2003, South African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Zuma hos ted the Somaliland Foreign Affairs Minister for talks on advancing peace and stability in the region. Law advisers from the South African Department of Foreign Affairs support Somaliland ’s argument for independence. “It is undeniable that Somali­land does indeed qualify for statehood, and it is incumbent upon the international community to recognise it,” reads the DFA legal report.

As Fatima Ismail, a UN human rights expert notes: The country has shown the African Renaissance spirit of self-reliance and resilience and has produced a sustainable government and constitution. … They have got their act together while in the south ( Somalia ) the Transitional National Government (TNG) has been unable to do so. … The international community must take notice of this. It cannot remain ostrich-like with its head in the sand 4.

The energy that the international community has put into the process that led to the installation of the southern TNG government in Somalia has not produced the desired result. Kenya is currently hosting the 14 th international peace conference on Somalia. 5

Kenya ’s mediation of the peace process in Somalia

The Kenyan government appoin ted a new mediator to take over the Somalia peace talks in Eldoret,Kenya,which have been bogged down since they began in October 2002. Bethwell Kiplagat, a senior Kenyan diplomat, will replace Elijah W Mwangale, who was blamed by Somali warlords and Western diplomats alike for not properly managing the talks.

“Warlords continue to hold sway in Somalia and violence has resumed to a disturbing degree. The international community should be looking at the reality on the ground,” according to Fatima Ismail.

Professor Hussein Bulhan, head of the Somaliland Academy for Peace and Develop­ment and former head of the Anti-Apartheid Movement at Boston University notes: If the international community plans to apply the principal of territorial unity and the fiction of a ‘sovereign Somalia’ without understanding the history, facts on the ground and the genocide experienced, it would be planting the seeds for conflict more deadly than previously seen in Africa.

The expectation of the Somaliland people has rightly been raised by the success of their democratic and modest economic development. To frustrate this expectation and to force a union with the South, against the will of the people, is also to court a deadly conflict.

Supporting peace in Somaliland only where it prevails, providing an incentive to it and extending it, is a worthwhile and realistic target. Ethiopia,which makes increasing use of the Somaliland port of Berbera,has opened a diplomatic trade-liaison office in the capital of Hargeisa, as have numerous other EU and UN agencies. The Uni ted States and other Western powers, mindful of the strategic importance of the Horn, continue to investigate establishing an interest office in Somaliland —something that would be impossible in the ungovernable Somalia.

Somaliland ’s major problem is that is too small to wield any muscle against the international organisations that ignore it. It requires a country willing to be a facilitator for its cause of reconstruction and diplomatic recognition.

Somaliland ’s background

As the African focus moves increasingly off the Great Lakes and onto the Horn of Africa, this country of three and a half million people may well become an example of stability, good governance and economic discipline. Geographically, Somaliland covers an area of 137,600 square kilometres and forms the top of the ‘figure seven’ shape made by the Horn of Africa. It is roughly the size of England and Wales put together. It was formerly British Somaliland whereas Somalia (the bottom of the seven shape) was an Italian colony. Both colonies gained independence in 1960. Somaliland decided shortly after independence to form a union with the south. Before taking this step, however, it had already been recognised by 35 countries. This partnership was decidedly biased in favour of the south.

When southerner Siad Barre took power in a coup, he brutally crushed northern opposition. This included flattening the Somaliland capital of Hargeisa, using a combination of artillery, South African mercenaries and bomber aircraft that took off from the airport on the outskirts of the city. On the outskirts of the capital there are a number of UN-acknowledged mass graves as testimony to southern brutality.

After Barre’s fall in 1991, the Somalilanders was ted no time in ending the union with the south. After months of deliberations attended by many sectors of society, the grand conference of Burco as well as the second conference at Borama (similar to the South African Codesa) revoked the act of union and reinsta ted the independence that their territory previously enjoyed.

This action raised hackles in the then Organisation of African Unity, ever nervous about secession and determined, for better or worse, to maintain colonial boundaries. In fact, Somaliland ’s declaration of independence transgressed neither of these. The country was not breaking some pre-independence bond with the south. It was merely breaking a union that it had entered into as an independent state, for which there are numerous African precedents. Somaliland has not viola ted colonial boundaries. It has occupied no more than that territory once occupied by the British, and recognised as independent in 1960 by the international community.

Not only are Somaliland citizens disenchan ted with the uneven arrangement and traumatised by the civil war that killed more than 50,000 of their compatriots and displaced around 500,000 of them. They also see no inducement to return to formal ties with what is to all intents and purposes an anarchic state.

The TNG of Somalia

The TNG of Somalia, that holds the seat at the Uni ted Nations, the Arab League and the African Union, cannot pretend to control anything more than a few blocks of Mogadishu. What caused this rush towards recognising a government with neither territory nor administration, after having ignored what is arguably a real and effective government in Somaliland ? Strangely, the TNG’s mandate expired in August 2003, yet it continues to attend international summits such as the October 2003 Summit of the OIC in Malaysia. The remainder of the country remains ungovernable and in the control of warlords.

Following the withdrawal of UN peacekeeping troops from Somalia in 1995, the international community, and particularly the Uni ted States that pulled out a year earlier, wan ted nothing to do with anything bearing the label ‘Somali’. However, security considerations since 11 September 2001 have reinforced the strategic importance of the Horn that is now being patrolled by a German-led European force.

Somaliland ’s emerging democracy

The rebuilding of Somaliland ’s’ capital Hargeisa, which Barre reduced to rubble and turned into a minefield, has happened without assistance from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The economic development has been suppor ted largely by Somalilanders in the Diaspora. Proven oil reserves, coal and gemstone mining, livestock and fisheries production, remain untapped although some South African businessmen are beginning to explore these opportunities. 6

More importantly, Somaliland has built a reasonably strong democratic society that passed the test of transition last year when President Mohamed Egal died and a successor was needed. Within hours of the confirmation of his death at One Military Hospital in Pretoria,Vice President Kahin was sworn in as national leader. Both Egal and Kahin had been nomina ted by a council of elders in 1993 that re-elec ted Egal in 1997. Kahin faced a full electorate in the country’s first presidential elections on April 14 this year. International observers, including South Africans, declared the presidential elections as “peaceful, orderly and transparent”. 7

Somalilanders had their first taste of democracy in May 2001 when an internationally observed referendum confirmed their wish to remain apart from Somalia and endorsed a new constitution. Highly successful municipal elections, also internationally observed and the first since 1969, were held on 15 December 2002. Somaliland is undergoing a full house of democratic procedures with parliamentary elections due to follow the presidential ballot.

Djibouti : Credible neighbour?

Relations with northern neighbour Djibouti were chilled when that French-domina ted enclave hos ted a conference that parachu ted the Transitional National Government into power in Mogadishu,Somalia. By all credible accounts, the President of Djibouti, interfered in this process quite considerably and some concluded that the process had been hijacked and driven by his specific interests.

Observers have rightly questioned where in history a president has enjoyed the right to nominate delegates to the parliament of a neighbouring country? 8 In addition, the election of a long-standing minister in the scorned Barre regime to the post of TNG president was received with shock in Somaliland. This gut-wrenching shock is captured by a Somali refugee in Kenya who said “Mogadishu has fallen into the clutch of thugs, no better than hyenas, who have no idea what honour is, what trust is, what political responsibility means”. When asked whether he would go back to Mogadishu he went on, “Would you ask a hyena to watch over your beef stew? Because you would be a fool if you trus ted a hyena, wouldn’t you?” 9 By contrast, a recent UN 2002 review declared Somaliland as “the exception to the violence” and the prevailing anarchy in Somalia. 10

Territorial integrity versus justice and Nepad

South Africa ’s state lawyers agree that “any efforts to deny or delay would not only put the international community at the risk of ignoring the most stable region in the Horn [of Africa ], it would impose untold hardship upon the people of Somaliland due to the denial of foreign assistance that recognition entails.”

The South African state law advisers address this issue too, noting that, The interest of world peace and stability require that, where possible, the division or fragmentation of existing states should be managed peacefully and by negotiation. But where this is not possible, as is the case with Somalia,international law accepts that the interests of justice may prevail over the principle of territorial integrity.”

This South African legal document is suppor ted by the assertion from the Brussels-based think tank, the International Crisis Group (ICG), that Somaliland ’s demand for recognition presents the international community with stark choices. “The question confronting the international community is no longer whether Somaliland should be recognised as an independent state, but whether there remain any viable alternatives,” the ICG report says.

It says that the international community could either “develop pragmatic responses to Somaliland ’s demand for self-determination or continue to insist upon the increasingly abstract notion of the unity and territorial integrity of the Somali Republic ”. It warns that the latter course is likely to lead to a new round of civil war in Somalia.

The ICG says an international fact-finding mission should visit Somaliland to assess the situation and “recommend policy options”. It also calls on the African Union to grant Somaliland “observer status pending a final decision on its international status”.

Clearly, Somaliland ’s extraordinary indigenous conflict-resolution methods may provide an example to the southern Somalis. But now, the international community and especially African agents of peace and security cannot be delicately silent on supporting Somaliland ’s success story and its emerging democracy. Nor can they hold Somaliland citizens hostage to the chaotic developments of Somalia in the south. Are we ready for this critical NEPAD imperative to consolidate peace, stability and governance? Or do we ignore a “ Somaliland [that] can claim to be more democratic than any country in the region” 11. Recent field analysis of Somali­land ’s developments and its emerging democracy has been described as “tremendous progress by any developing country’s measure” 12.

As Dianna Games has noted, The international community should not underestimate Somaliland ’s determination to succeed … Recognition is as much a question of security as it is economic development. The longer Somali­land remains unrecognised, the greater its vulnerability 13.

Finally, do we care to nurture a reasonably successful and emerging democracy in a stark environment where, as Professor Ali Mazrui notes, “African democracy is in intensive care”? In this respect, Africa requires more success stories. Will emerging democracies be suppor ted,and allowed to breathe, or will the plug be pulled on the patient by neglect and diplomatic purgatory? (14) Notes 1. John Drysdale, What Ever Happened to Somalia ? London : Haan Associates, 1994, p 147. See also the interview with Professor Ali Mazrui in the Kenyan newspaper, Daily Nation, Monday, July 21, 2003, “Foreign powers stalk Somali talks” at.
2. See for an insightful overview article by David Shinn with the title: “The Little Country that Could” and IM Lewis, A Modern History of the Somali, 2002, Oxford : James Curry, p 310. See also IM Lewis, “Mohamad Siyad Barre’s Ghost in Somalia ”.
3. Another text of importance is the recent International Crisis Group report on “ Somali­land : Demo­cratisation and Its Discontents”, Nairobi/Brussels, 30 July 2003.
4. This fact-finding visit was undertaken by Mr Welile Nhlapo, Head of the Presidential Support Unit in the Presidency of South Africa. The Unit primarily focuses on conflict resolution in Africa. Deputy Director Sarel Kruger also visi ted Somali­land. See the press report “SA assessment Mission look for Somaliland entry points” on his visit:
5. See also the Mail and Guardian report on the South African state legal report on Somaliland’s case for independence.
6. See also F Kornegay at:http://www.businessday. co.za/bday/content/direct/1,3523,1422201-6096-0,00.html and “Sound AU alarm on destabilisation of Somaliland ”, Business Day, 10 November 2003,.
7. See also the press statement of the Somaliland Foreign Ministry on the official visit to South Africa of May 2003.
8. Amnesty International, while not the favourite of all political activists, called recently for acknowledgement of Somaliland ’s record of stability, political pluralism and media openness. It recently convened its regional conference in the Somaliland capital of Hargeisa. See its press release of 21 February 2003 at http://web.amnesty.org/library/ Index/ENGAFR520022003?open&of=ENG-SOM
9. See the recent report of the International Crisis Group, “Negotiating a Blueprint for Peace in Somalia ” at. The report depicts the situation on the ground and has no ted that the TNG has collapsed and shows no sign of life on the streets of Mogadishu.
10. See S Field, “ Somaliland elections boost oil prospects”, Sunday Independent, April 20 2003,p 7, and JJ Cornish, “Hope in the Horn of Africa”, Mail & Guardian, April 25 2003,p 20. South African businessman, Mr Tokyo Sexwale, has shown interest and has bought four oil block concessions from the Somaliland government. See also the report by S Field, “ Somaliland : the little Country that Could”, Global Dialogue, p 6..
11. “Interim Statement of the South African Observer Mission on the Somaliland Presidential Elections of 14th April 2003”, issued on 15th April 2003. The ten person South African election observer team included members from the Johannesburg-based Electoral Institute of Southern Africa. See http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/News/0,,2-11-1447_1348911,00.html. See also the report of the Norwegian electoral observer mission by Berit Nising Lindeman and Stig Jarle Hansen at: http://www.humanrights.uio.no/forskning/publ/nr/2003/08/nordem_report-contents.html
12. Anonymous. “Government recognition in Somalia and regional political stability in the Horn of Africa”, Journal of Modern African Studies, 40, 2 (2002). The recent visit by Somaliland President Kahin to Djibouti is an attempt by Djibouti to mend fences with Somaliland and a subtle acknowledgement that the Djibouti induced TNG administration in Mogadishu has not delivered. See “Kahin Trip Set to Strengthen Somaliland – Djibouti Relations” http://allafrica. com/stories/200310150110.html
13. F Nuruddin. Yesterday, Tomorrow: Voices from the Somali Diaspora. London,Cassell, 2000.
14. See “ Somalia : Review of 2002”, da ted 17th January 2002 on the website of the United Nations Integra ted Regional Information Network.
15. See International Crisis Group media statement on Somaliland.
16. G Mills, “Aid could be doing more harm than good”, The SundayIndependent, November 2, 2003,p 9. See G Mills, “ Somaliland ’s pursuit of independence”, Janes Intelligence Review, December 1, 2003.
17. D Games, “Somaliland: Painful push for recognition”, Business Day, October 30, 2003, p 13 See also her article, “Perhaps Somalia should be left to sort itself out”, Business Day, November 20, 2003.
18. Ali A Mazrui, “Democracide: Who Killed Democracy in Africa ? Clues of the Past, Concerns of the Future”, October 2003, unpublished paper, p 19.


Somaliland President receives UNDP delegation

From Qarannews.com, Jun 12, 2008

The President of the Republic of Somaliland, Mudane Dahir Rayale Kahin hosted an official reception for a delegation from the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP) last night at the Presidency in Hargeisa. The UNDP delegation included Mr.Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Director for the UNDP office for the Arab region, Mr. Mark Bowden, coordinator for the UNDP Humanitarian office, Mr. Bruno Lemarquis, Somaliland and Somalia office cordinator and several other senior officers from the UNDP office in Hargeisa. The UNDP delegation are on a short visit to Somaliland to evaluate the current UNDP projects in the country.

Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye gave a brief statement to thank the government and the people of Somaliland for the warm welcome afforded to the delegation during their stay in Somaliland and also praised Somaliland for the security and stability currently prevailing in the nation.

Mr. Mar Dieye also stated that the UNDP has been able to increase its funding for projects in Somaliland during this fiscal year. In response, the President of Somaliland, Mudane Dahir Rayale Kahin thanked the UNDP office for its continued support of the development in Somaliland and gave an overview of the nation's recovery from the destruction at the hands of the Barre regime during the civil war between 1988-1991.

President Rayale also stated that it is the aim of Somaliland to continue on its democratic path coupled with good governance and strong social development through dialogue, discussion and consensus. Mudane Rayale assured the visiting delegation that the upcoming Somaliland Presidential and local assembly elections will be held as declared in the recent tri-party agreement. In conclusion, President Rayale requested that the UNDP and other UN agencies take further steps to assist Somaliland in combating the global increase in food and fuel prices, especially since Somaliland does not receive direct aid due its lack of international recognition.

Attendees at the official reception for the UNDP delegation included, Madame Huda Burkhad, the first lady, and several senior Somaliland ministers including, Mudane Hussien Ali Duale, the Finance minister, Mudane Ali Ibrahim, the Minister of Planning, Mudane Abdillahi Mohamed Duale, the Foreign Minister and staff from the President's protocol office.


Somaliand serves a reminder to Westerners as to what Somalia could be

BYLINE: By Paul Salopek, Chicago Tribune, June 11, 2008

HARGEISA, Somalia - Somalia isn't supposed to be this normal. Untroubled by petty crime, money changers in this quiet desert city leave their stacks of currency unattended - in piles the size of refrigerators - while they pray in mosques.

Earnest government officials, elected in what may be the cleanest voting in Africa, eagerly meet reporters in roadside cafes, a practice that would be suicidal in the violent south of the country, where occupying Ethiopian troops do battle with a ferocious Islamist insurgency. (Even more unusual, the officials insist on picking up the tab for camel-milk tea.)

Across town, another private university is being planned - the sixth in the region. It won't teach the Quran, unlike the few other surviving educational facilities in war-ruined Somalia. Instead, its curriculum will be secular and American - pinched from Portland State University in Oregon, to be exact.

"This is what frustrates us," said Dahir Rayale Kahin, president of the obscure, self-declared republic of Somaliland, a parched enclave the size of Oklahoma that proclaimed its independence from Somalia in 1991 and is angling to become a platform for U.S. power in the region.

"We are a functioning state but the world still ignores us. Instead, it props up a failed state in the south, in Mogadishu, a place with no rule of law, a state that is nothing."

Remote, desperately poor and unrecognized by any country - yet astonishingly stable and free - the separatist republic of Somaliland marked 17 years of democratic self-rule last month, a remarkable milestone of good governance that served to remind its few Western visitors, wistfully, of what's missing in the rest of Somalia: airports that aren't mortared by rebels, streets that are safe to walk at night, votes that are counted fairly, and a fledgling army that has managed, so far, to trump the divisive Somali obsession with tribe and clan.

Not everyone is celebrating. The U.S.-backed transitional federal government of Somalia, which theoretically rules this shattered nation from the war-gutted capital of Mogadishu, condemns Somaliland's leaders as traitors and renegades. And local and international human-rights groups have noted that Kahin, Somaliland's second president, has become more authoritarian in the past year, jailing and then pardoning local opposition politicians and reporters.

But as the United States struggles to contain the threat of Islamic terrorism in Somalia - and in the rest of the volatile Horn of Africa - dusty Somaliland, population 3.5 million, has stepped up as an unlikely partner in that Herculean task.

Stretching across the north of Somalia along the blistering-hot shores of the Gulf of Aden, Somaliland recently offered its derelict port of Berbera as a base for the Pentagon's new Africa Command, or AFRICOM. The Pentagon, which already operates a counterterrorism base in neighboring Djibouti, has yet to respond to the proposal.

Somaliland's government also has invited U.S. oil companies to reclaim their 1980s exploration rights in the region, abandoned during the civil wars that led to Somalia's collapse. So far no companies have returned, citing legal concerns about Somalia's claim of sovereignty over the region. For the same reason, Somaliland receives little foreign aid.

Washington must walk a tightrope in its relations with a rustic statelet that covers about a quarter of Somalia and is inhabited primarily by camel and goat herders.

Officially, the Bush administration has deferred the issue of Somaliland's independence to the African Union, which has a historic aversion to tinkering with old colonial borders on the continent. Angry Somalilanders argue that they actually are restoring their colonial boundaries: The region was a British protectorate that joined with Italian-ruled Somalia in 1960.

It is partly that history, Somaliland elders say, that girds their mini-state against Somalia's violence and chaos. While the Italians undercut tribal authority, allowing young warlords to seize power, the British left old clan structures intact. Somaliland's nascent government now includes a council of elders, or Guurti, that helps resolve disputes.

Still, U.S. policymakers fear that allowing Somaliland to become Africa's newest country would sink the already feeble transitional government of Somalia, which is propped up today by U.S. cash and troops from the African Union and another U.S. ally, Ethiopia.

Ethiopian forces, aided by U.S. intelligence, installed Somalia's unpopular federal authorities 18 months ago after an invasion that toppled a conservative Islamic movement. Since then, thousands of people have died - and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes - in a stubborn Islamist rebellion.

Except in Somalia's strangely placid north. "I don't know why America ignores its only real friend in the region," said Mustafa Farah, a youth chewing khat, a popular narcotic leaf, in Somaliland's self-designated capital of Hargeisa. "You could walk with an American flag across this city and nobody would bother you. We like Americans."

In fact, many Somalilanders are Americans. Though statistics are scarce, the regional government here estimates that as many as 100,000 Somaliland expatriates may live in the United States. Some of the region's parliament members speak English with cornfield-flat Minnesota accents. The entrepreneurs building the new university are modeling their classes on those of their alma mater in Portland, Ore.

Remittances sent to local families from the United States and elsewhere are believed to dwarf the Somaliland government's annual budget of $50 million - a figure roughly equivalent to U.S. funding for fighting brush-fires this year in San Diego County, Calif.

For its part, the State Department has allocated $1 million to help Somaliland organize its next presidential race, to be held no later than April 2009. It will be the region's fourth round of elections since declaring independence. No free elections have been held elsewhere in Somalia for almost 40 years.

Somaliland's experiment with democracy hasn't been without glitches.

The president faced criticism last year for imprisoning three journalists on charges of defamation. Three politicians also were held after trying to form a new opposition party. The government quietly released the men, fearing their arrest had damaged its bid for international recognition.

"We will go ahead with our elections and we will never give up," Kahin, the Somaliland leader, said while relaxing at the presidential palace one recent evening. "We are a patient people."

Wrapped in a traditional sarong-like skirt and stirring a cup of tea, he cited Kosovo and East Timor as recent models for achieving independence. He noted that those fledgling states had separated from viable countries - whereas Somaliland simply wanted a divorce from the wreckage of Somalia.

Outside, in a handmade republic in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the world, the city's generator-powered lights punctually kicked on. And among the mosques' amplified calls to prayer there came the tinny strains of hip-hop.


Africa News, July 9, 2008/BYLINE: Garowe Online

Somaliland Troops Take Cover Las Qorey Town

LAS Soldiers loyal to Somalia's separatist government of Somaliland drove into the coastal town of Las Qorey on Wednesday, marking the first time Somaliland troops had captured the strategic town.

The Somaliland unit is backed by more than 20 armored trucks and led by an individual named Col. Hashi Yare, according to local reports.

The troops did not meet any resistance upon entering Las Qorey, with sources telling Garowe Online that Puntland security forces had withdrawn towards the east.

Col. Abdullahi Anshur, a senior military commander in Puntland, confirmed to reporters in the port city of Bossaso that Somaliland forces had captured Las Qorey.

The commander vowed to "retake" the town by military force.

Since 2002, Somaliland and Puntland authorities have clashed several times over ownership of Sanaag and Sool regions, with the latter falling under Somaliland control last October.

Unconfirmed reports said a group of gunmen who kidnapped a married couple from Germany on June 23 relocated the hostages to Badhan district, also in Sanaag region.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, June 9, 2008/Source: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 7 Jun 08 BBC Monitoring

(CORR) SOMALILAND PRESIDENT SAYS STATE, OPPOSITION AGREED TO END POLITICAL DEADLOCK

(Correcting headline to read Somaliland president to avoid giving impression that item is about Somali president)

Text of report in English by Somali newspaper The Somaliland Times website on 7 June; subheadings inserted editorially: [President Riyale: "We and the opposition have agreed to end the political deadlock"]

On Tuesday (3 June), President Dahir Riyale Kahin announced in a press conference held in his office, that his government and the opposition had agreed to end their political differences over the next presidential and local municipal elections scheduled at the end of 2008 and early 2009.

Speaking to reporters, Riyale expressed joyfully that his government and the opposition have agreed to settle their differences in order to end the political squabbling in the country and to ensure that the political parties are prepared to take part in a just and fair election.

Government serious

"During our meetings with the opposition, it was agreed that the presidential vote should be held before the local municipal elections. This was an opposition request. We accepted this request. We did this to win the confidence of our colleagues in the opposition and show the opposition that my government is dead serious and determined to hold these elections. For a long time now, the opposition have been accusing the government of using delaying tactics to forestall the presidential election. To prove that this is not true we agreed to hold the presidential vote before the local municipal vote," said Riyale.

Closer ties with opposition

In an unusual upbeat mood, the president stressed that it was most crucial that his government and the opposition stood together in a united front when it comes to national issues and said that one of the agreements made with the opposition was to formulate a closer working relationship with each other and to keep in constant touch by holding meetings on regular basis. "We all want the same thing, whether, as leaders or ordinary citizens and that is whatever is good for the country," said Riyale.

President Riyale stressed that he would like to inform the public that the government and the opposition, as from Tuesday [3 June], have resolved their political differences and from now on will work together in a common front. "We and the opposition must assist the National Election Commission (NEC) in helping them execute their duties.

Voter registration

The voter's registration exercise which the NEC will be conducting is new to us and has never been attempted before in this country. I believe, because this is new to us, there was bound to be disagreements between the government and opposition.

This is a very important feat which needs to be completed. When you consider 2 out of every 5 people in Somaliland are non-citizens, either from Ethiopia or Somalia. This is why we must register every Somaliland citizen because, tomorrow, only those issued with an ID card will have the right to exercise their vote in the coming elections," said the president.

Somali peace conference

Riyale urged the media to weigh the type of information it relays to the public. "Too often, news material not worthy of our national cause is fed to the public, which only makes matters worse for all." After President Riyale concluded his speech, the following questions were put to him by the media.

[Media] As you know, there is a UN Security Council [UNSC] delegation attending the Somali peace conference initiative taking place in Djibouti, do you think that they will drag Somaliland into the conference? Did they invite you to attend and how would you reassure the public on this matter?

[Kahin] First of all, let me inform you that there are bound to be many issues which will collide with Somaliland's interests, but this conference, in particular, is held for southern Somalia. To be precise, it's for the opposition in Asmara and the other camp (TFG), and is an attempt to get these two to have dialogue. The UNSC delegates are not going to reach or make some policy at the conclusion of this peace initiative, but they want to witness, firsthand, what is going on in Somalia and want to encourage the opposing camps to have dialogue and make peace. From there they will be travelling to another 5 other African countries.

But let me inform you that whether they send a UN peacekeeping force or not to Somalia, I can reassure you that this will not have anything to do with Somaliland. Our government is not in the cold about this. It is well aware of what is going on, and do not think that we have not contacted the outside world on this. We have expressed our concerns to the international community and continue monitoring the situation and in touch with the international community.

Elections "decisive factor" in quest for diplomatic recognition

[Media] The last few months have seen a political deadlock in the country, and the government and the opposition have now brought an end to this deadlock. How far do you think that this will help or advance the campaign for attaining recognition by 2008, the year often said to be when Somaliland will achieve its international recognition?

[Kahin] First, all things are in the hands of God, and whether we get our recognition or not, it is dependent on Him. What we need to do is put effort and do our best in ascertaining our recognition.

But, I personally believe that the coming elections will be the last hurdle and decisive factor marking an end in our long search for diplomatic recognition. In the international arena, no one gets a ready-made and packaged piece of political policy as a gift. There are many obstacles, crises and wars are going on in the world, with many competing interests and political gains.

In truth, we have been unlucky when travelling overseas and there is little mention of us in the media of the country we are visiting, even though they may mention us but they will always give the larger coverage and space to Somalia. We do stress to the world leaders and media why they continue to focus on Somalia, a non-existent entity and at same time not mention us at all.

It is imperative upon us that we do try and do our best to convince the world that we deserve to be recognized and continue to do our best. Nonetheless, I'm sure we will get what we deserve, God-willing.

Signing of agreement

[Media] It's being said that the three party chairmen have not yet signed the agreement reached by you and the opposition; don't you think that this should be done as soon as possible so it (agreement) becomes binding?

[Kahin] Regarding the political parties, let me inform you that the three parties each commission a special select-party committees made responsible for executing, processing and formulating the agreements made by the party leaders and we have each anointed them to be signatories to the agreements. All the party leaders have given guarantees to stick to the agreements.

Immigration issues

[Media] In recent times there has been an influx of non-Somaliland residents entering the country and a large number of Somaliland residents leaving the country. What precautions has your government taken about this?

[Kahin] We are not alone in this. The same dilemma is being faced by many African countries. In particular, those under 30 years are the core ones leaving their countries for the West. It is most unfortunate that we are losing our young. It is a serious problem, and there is not much we can do about this. Many of these are not from poor family backgrounds and cannot be said it is due to poverty that they are leaving for the West, but rather, for economic gain.

We have in the past tried to deport many of the foreigners in the country. But when you consider that these people have come to seek safety and shelter due to insecurity in their countries, we have taken the decision to let them stay in the country until peace returns to their regions.

Presidential term

[Media] The 5 years you were given the mandate for the presidency has expired, therefore under what oath are you continuing to run this country?

[Kahin] I am under the same oath which I've been under for the past 5yrs.

[Media] Mr President, many people hold the view that even though, your term has expired that you are not willing to vacate the presidency, regardless of whatever happens. What would you say to this?

[Kahin] This is not true, I am the president by law, whether my term has expired or not, we have a constitution, please, read the articles which makes my presidency legal. I have mentioned to you already my willingness to vacate the office of the president. I have brought forward the presidential vote before the municipal elections. This is a clear indication on my part that I am ready to vacate the office sooner than the law allows.

[Media] What is your message to the UN Security Council?

[Kahin] The UN Security Council, I would like to let them know, just like I have done on many other occasions, that they should not treat Somaliland as if it is part of Somalia.


Global Insight, June 9, 2008. BY Gus Selassie

Foreign Nationals Detained for Illegal Exploration in Breakaway Somali Republic

Security forces in the breakaway republic of Somaliland have reportedly arrested two foreign nationals on Saturday (7 June) for allegedly prospecting for minerals without permission. According to reports, the two foreigners--with confusion still surrounding their nationalities--were arrested in Las Qorey district in Eastern Sanag region, before being transferred to Hargeisa (the capital) for questioning.

Significance:Somalia has substantial unexplored mineral deposits, including gypsum, salt, iron, coal, granite, uranium, and zinc--which is believed to be available in large quantities in the area the two foreigners were arrested. The country also believed to have potential for oil production with theFinancial Timesnewspaper reporting last year that two Chinese oil companies--the China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) and China International Oil and Gas (CIOG)--had reached an agreement, reportedly to explore the Mudug area of north-eastern Somalia.


Somalia: Las Anod Clan Elders 'Give Up' On Puntland Govt

Garowe Online (Garowe) 8 June 2008

Clan elders who represent the dominant clan in Sool region, in northern Somalia, issued a document on Sunday stating that they have "given up" on the regional government of Puntland.

The document was signed by seven elders representing the Dhulbahante clan that dominates the region of Sool, which has been a battleground area between Puntland and the breakaway republic of Somaliland since 2002.

In October 2007, Somaliland troops aided by some Dhulbahante fighters seized control of the Sool provincial capital Las Anod for the first time.

The clan elders fled Las Anod following the Somaliland takeover and lived for months in Garowe, the capital of Puntland.

According to the signed document, this group of Dhulbahante elders left Garowe in April after Puntland leader Gen. Adde Muse refused to take steps aimed at regaining control of Las Anod and being treated with "disrespect" by unnamed officials at the State House.

The elders have lived in the town of Tukarak - on the road between Garowe and Las Anod - for the past 75 days, where they have held extensive discussions with intellectuals, military officers and Diaspora members regarding the delicate situation in Las Anod.

The elders criticized the Puntland leadership' s excuse for inaction by claiming that the Dhulbahante clan is "divided" on Las Anod, saying: "The [Dhulbahante] Clan held a meeting in November [2007] that was attended by all clan chiefs to show that the clan is not divided...and prepared clan militias and weapons to reinforce the [Puntland] Administration."

The elders' signed document stated that the Dhulbahante clan has "given up" on the Puntland government, which is accused of "not having any interest in the absence of Las Anod."

The elders called on the Dhulbahante clan to hold an emergency meeting so they can consult on the liberation of Las Anod and decide on future relations with the Adde Muse administration.

Puntland soldiers have not been paid over the past five months and recently President Muse told his troops that the government is unable to pay their salaries.

Some of the soldiers have reportedly began joining pirates, who have netted millions of dollars from ransom payments in recent months.


Africa News, June 8, 2008/BYLINE: Garowe Online

Somaliland Police Questioning Yemen, China Nationals

Police authorities in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland are questioning two foreigners who were arrested in the region of Sanaag on Saturday, sources said.

The two men - one from Yemen, the other from China - were arrested alongside four Somalis in the port town of Las Korey.

The two foreigners were transported to a police station near Erigavo, the provincial capital of Sanaag, Somaliland Defense Minister Abdullahi Ali Ibrahim told reporters.

The group of men were caught with equipment and actual mineral samples, Mr. Ibrahim told a VOA Somali Service interview.

The four Somali men who were accompanying the foreigners have since been released, with officials saying the men hail from the neighboring sub-state of Puntland.

But Somaliland authorities accuse the Yemeni and Chinese nationals of entering their territory "illegally."

According to Somaliland media reports, the two foreigners are suspected of collecting mineral samples for a yet-unknown foreign company.

Somaliland investigators are questioning the foreigners in a bid to find out the purpose of their secret visit and the name of their employer, a police source said.

Puntland response

Puntland government officials have issued conflicting responses to the arrests.

Abdullahi Said Samatar, Puntland's security minister, told the BBC Somali Service that Somaliland police had detained "a group of fishermen," including the Yemeni and the Chinese national.

But Jama Hersi Farah, Puntland's state minister for securty, told the VOA Somali radio program that the men are suspected of "bringing weapons" into Puntland.

He indicated that the group of six men fled away from Puntland security forces, but were later arrested by Somaliland police in Las Korey.

Mr. Farah categorically dismissed Somaliland's claims that the men were collecting mineral samples from the region.

In recent months, northern Somalia - which is composed of Somaliland and Puntland - has been of increasing interest to foreign companies intending to exploit the region's rumored natural resources wealth.

In Puntland, a Canadian oil company has set up an operations camp in a remote town in May, although a recent report published by Garowe Online indicates that all foreign oil workers have been evacuated from the camp due to security-related reasons.

The government of Puntland has angrily denied the report in a press release issued on the government's official Web site.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, June 7, 2008

SOMALILAND WELCOMES UN DECISION TO DEPLOY FOREIGN ANTI-PIRACY WARSHIPS

Somaliland has welcomed the United Nations decision to deploy warships to fight pirates along the Somali coast.

Somaliland welcomed the Security Council decision to allow foreign warships to fight Somali pirates who operate off the Somali coast. Somaliland Minister of Fisheries said his country welcomed the move to fight pirates who hijack ships carrying humanitarian aid and business cargo along the Somali coast.

The minister said that Somaliland has in the past tried to fight pirates but has not been successful because they have more sophisticated arms than those Somaliland forces have.

The UN security council last Monday 2 June made a decision to allow foreign warships off the Somali coast to fight Somali pirates who hijack ships.

The Swedish government has in the past said it would participate in fighting pirates off the Somali coast. Puntland administration has also in the past said they would assist in efforts to rid the Somali coast of pirates.

Source: Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 7 Jun 08/BBC Monitoring


Africa News, July 7, 2008/BYLINE: Garowe Online

Three Killed As Somaliland Police Open Fire On Protestors

Hundreds of protestors burned tires and blocked roads in the capital of Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland, Radio Garowe reported Monday.

The protestors, mostly young men, walked in hordes and started from the southern neighborhoods of Hargeisa, Somalia's second-largest city and the seat of power for Somaliland's separatist government.

Somaliland police attempted to disperse crowds by firing bullets into the air, but witnesses said the protestors continued their march towards downtown, where government offices are located.

Soldiers aboard armored vehicles later joined the police effort to stop the protestors, leading to a number of deaths.

One protestor told Radio Garowe that locals were angered by the Somaliland administration's to remove a water rig in south Hargeisa.

According to local speculation, the rig will be taken to Awdal, the home region of Somaliland leader Dahir Riyale.

Mohamed Dubad, Somaliland's chief of police, told the media that 2 civilians were killed and 5 wounded, while 9 police officers sufferend injuries during the protest which ended in the afternoon.

But local newspapers reported a death toll of 3 people and more than 10 wounded civilians, citing information from Hargeisa hospitals.

The Somaliland regions, in northwestern Somalia, have enjoyed a stable government in the past decade while much of south Somalia remains embroiled in domestic armed conflicts and foreign military interventions since the collapse of the central government in 1991.


Agence France Presse, June 7, 2008

Somaliland detains Chinese, Yemeni for illegal mineral exploration

Authorities in the Somali breakaway region of Somaliland on Saturday detained a Chinese national and a Yemeni for prospecting minerals without permission, an official said.

The region's Interior Minister Abdullahi Osmael Ali said the pair were arrested in Las Qorey district in Eastern Sanag region, where they were prospecting for minerals. The area is believed to be rich in zinc.

"The two men were confirmed to be Chinese and Yemeni nationals. They were travelling in Somaliland without permission," he told AFP.

They were transferred to the region's capital Hargeisa where they were detained.

Somaliland, which broke away from Somalia five months after the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, is fiercely protective of its territory although the United Nations and African Union have refused to recognise its independence.

The region of 3.5 million people, which adopted a provisional constitution in 1997 and ratified it four years later, boasts its own president, government, parliament, police force, penal code and currency.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, June 6, 2008/Source: Garoweonline.com in Somali 5 Jun 08

SOMALILAND COURT JAILS FIVE FOR ABDUCTING AID WORKER

The Hargeysa regional court [in Somaliland capital] today sentenced five people, who were found guilty of abducting a German national in Sanaag Region four months ago, to 11 years in jail.

Hargeysa court judge Feysal Abdullahi Ismail read the names of those convicted as:
1. Abdirahman Warsame Xayd.
2. Muhammad Yusuf Hirsi.
3. Hasan Salad Farah
4. Abdirahman Muhammad Nur.
5. Abdirizaq Abdullahi Ali.

Witnesses, who were brought from Sanaag Region, testified against the suspects before the court. The German official, Mr Daniel Brokel [name as published], was kidnapped while travelling in the [Sanaag] region. He was abducted together with a white woman while his driver was shot in the legs.

Somaliland Attorney-General Husayn Abdi Ghalib told the media, after the verdict, that the ruling was in accordance with Article 486 of the Somaliland penal code.

After the abduction, the kidnappers took the German national to the mountain areas of east Sanaag,where they were captured by Somaliland forces.

The lawyers defending the suspects said the verdict is against the law and that they intend to appeal. [Passage omitted]

Meanwhile, the Somaliland government has released five men suspected of engaging in piracy. The suspects were captured as they crossed the border at Wajaale village between Somaliland and Ethiopia. They were released after being found innocent.

The Hargeysa regional court released the men and returned money that was confiscated from them during the arrest.

The men have returned to Puntland where they originated.


Kidnappers of German aid worker jailed in Somalia

HARGEISA, Somalia (Reuters 5 Jun 2008) - Four gunmen who admitted kidnapping a German aid worker in Somalia this year were jailed for 11 years on Thursday in a northern republic, court officials said.

Daniel Bronkal of German Agro Action was briefly taken hostage in February in the breakaway region of Somaliland. He was freed by local troops who fought his abductors.

The kidnapping of aid workers and foreigners is common in Somalia. Somaliland split from the rest of Somalia in 1991 when warlords toppled military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, plunging the country into anarchy. It has governed itself since then.


History as tool in Somaliland bid

The Somali region argues that its history as a separate entity and peaceful existence make it a prime candidate for independence.

http://www.isn.ethz.ch/news/sw/details.cfm?id=19044, By Abdurrahman Warsameh in Mogadishu for ISN Security Watch (04/06/08)

The row over presidential and parliamentary elections in the as-yet unrecognized republic of Somaliland, in the northwest region of Somalia, was resolved Sunday after the three national parties held marathon talks in the presidential residence in Hargeysa, the capital.

But the dispute, which was triggered by the decision of the upper house of the parliament to extend President Dahir Riyale Kahin's term for a year, did not mar the independence anniversary celebrated by "Somalilanders" on 18 May.

Unlike southern Somalia, Somaliland has been stable since it unilaterally declared independence shortly after rebels overthrew then-ruler Mohamed Siyad Barre in 1991, arguing that "the union did not work according to the aspirations of the people." Since then, the country has been seeking diplomatic recognition from the rest of the world.

Saeed Adaani, the Somaliland presidential spokesman, told ISN Security Watch that Somaliland's quest for recognition from the international community has both legal and moral bases "since the issue is not one part of a sovereign country seceding but the demand for separation from an unholy union."

"Many people are unaware that south Somalia, which was an Italian colony, and Somaliland, [which] was a British protectorate, voluntarily united in 1960 after being two separate countries for centuries."

According to Adaani, historically, the two "countries" have never been one, but it was the decision of the people of Somaliland to join with the south that was the catalyst for the union, which, he argues, has not worked in their interests.

"We have every right to reclaim our independence and revoke the unworkable unity between the two countries, [both of] which can have good neighborly relations between them just like with other countries," Adaani told ISN Security Watch.

International case falling on deaf ears

The leaders of the pro-independence government - led by Riyale's ruling United Peoples' Democratic Party and strongly supported by the only other legally-mandated parties, the Kulmiye and the Justice and Welfare Party - has forcefully pushed its case for independence on the international stage, focusing particularly on the UK, the US, the EU and the African Union (AU).

Somali government spokesman Abdi Hajji Goobdoon told ISN Security Watch that the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia "does not recognize the existence of a breakaway part of the sovereign state of Somalia."

"In its latest resolution on Somalia, the UN said it respects the unity, sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Somalia and urged world countries to do so," Goobdoon said.

"So we and the world do not recognize two Somalias, but one single unified country called Somalia that is indivisible and whose unity is sacred and nonnegotiable," he added.

Despite recent signs that the international community is interested in the stability of, and democratic political process in Somaliland, no country has come forward to extend the much sought after recognition. According to Omar Ali, a Somali commentator in Mogadishu, this is because, since the unification agreement was signed in Mogadishu, a separation agreement should also come from Mogadishu.

"Whoever they are, southern leaders, whether [they are] feudal warlords, the Islamists, or the current transitional government, have all unanimously opposed the secession of the northwestern regions," Ali told ISN Security Watch in Mogadishu. "And the leaders in Somaliland have been openly hostile toward the south, which they accuse of three decades of repression and persecution."

He says that Somaliland's case cannot be compared to that of Eritrea, which has received near-automatic recognition from the world following independence from Ethiopia. The latter's co-operation was instrumental in the separation of the two countries.

"Somaliland did not get or seek the cooperation of southern Somalia political leaders and distanced itself from what has been going on in the south by saying it will only speak with southern leaders after they recognize Somaliland. And southern leaders do not want northern regions to go. A real catch-22," says Ali.

According to Somaliland, the circular argument revolves in the other direction. "There is no way for us to speak with people who do not acknowledge our existence," Adaani said.

"To those who insist that we talk to south Somalia leaders about our independence, we say Somaliland is, has always been and will forever be an independent state whether we are recognized or not," he said.

Somaliland: The Horn's best kept secret?

Whatever the status of Somaliland as a political entity, its supporters say the self-declared country has taken long strides toward reconstruction, stability and democratization while the rest of the country has suffered total chaos and lawlessness.

Somaliland has established its own government institutions, three political parties, a parliament and a police force. It also has a flag and currency of its own. The country has been stable since declaring independence nearly two decades ago while south Somalia has been the scene of recurrent violent confrontations between competing forces.

The entity's first elections in 2003 were commended by US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer during her visit to Somaliland earlier this year.

The visit has been seen as a signal of the US government's interest in development in Somaliland. The US and the EU have conditioned their acceptance of Somaliland independence on recognition by the AU. Frazer confirmed this view, stating during her visit that she believed "the issue of recognition should be left with the AU.

"We will work with the AU and will respect whatever decision it takes on Somaliland's status" Frazer told local reporters.

Delegations from the AU, the EU and various UN organizations have visited the entity, praising its stability, security and political progress.

A not entirely peaceful peace

For residents of the self-declared country, the prospects for recognition may seem remote, but they say the peace they have enjoyed is more important than confirmations of suzerainty from the international community.

"At least we are proud that our part of this violent sub-region is peaceful enough to live [in] and there will come a day when recognition for our state and what we have achieved will come," Mohamed Hajji, a resident of Hargeysa who calls himself a "Somalilander" rather than Somali told ISN Security Watch.

But the accolades about its peaceful existence do not ring entirely true: The territory is not under full control of Somaliland as Sool and Sanaag, two border provinces of the region, have been under the administration of the semi-autonomous Puntland. This contest has led to a number of deadly confrontations between the two sides.

Somaliland's army retook Las Anod, the administrative capital of Sool region, late last year after bloody clashes, making parts of Sanaag the only remaining territory not under Somaliland control and further aggravating the already explosive relations between Somalia and Somaliland according to Yusuf Jama, a political scientist in Garowe, the capital of Puntland.

"The thinking was that the recognition of Somaliland's independence should first come from Somalia after a "yes" vote from a free and fair referendum carried out from the local people. But now Somaliland leaders are further alienating themselves from Somalia," Jama told ISN Security Watch.

"I see federation or confederation or another form of coexistence, apart from outright independence, [as being the most likely] viable solution for the both Somalis and Somalilanders."

Abdurrahman Warsameh is an ISN Security Watch correspondent based in Mogadishu.


AU and IGAD should support Somaliland´s Homemade Democracy

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/63945, June 04, 2008, Abdulazez Al-Motairi, Email:az.almutairi@yahoo.com. Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi, MA in Journalism and Mass Communication, Columnist, Freelance Journalist and Weekly article writer about Middle East and African politics and human rights. He is member of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

The government and Opposition Parties in Somaliland proved their compliance to protect the peace and stability in the country. They settled their differences over the timetable of the Presidential, Parliament and Municipal Council elections. Somaliland people said no to one party system that survives in many African and Muslim world; they established multiparty democracy with little support from outside world.

The international community including the regional authorities is closely monitoring the unity of the people of Somaliland towards establishing peaceful society. The world remains silent witness to the Somaliland democracy and development and does little to promote it.

Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and African Union (AU) are not taking courageous step to recognize Somaliland because of a fear that recognizing Somaliland may open chain of disintegration in the troubled region.

Both AU and IGAD should follow the report of AU fact-finding mission to Somaliland in 2005, led by His Highness the Deputy Chairman of AU Patrick Mazimhaka. The report recommended that Somaliland Case should be considered different from other parts of Somalia.

The mission ruled out IGAD´s fear of disintegration, which considered Somaliland recognition as opening Pandora box.

IGAD and AU should take the lead in helping the functioning parts of the black continent like European Union (EU) policies towards Kosovo. AU and IGAD should not let Somaliland democracy down; instead they should lead the way for Somaliland.

Why, we Africans cannot decide good destiny to our members? IGAD and AU know that Somaliland received independence from Britain on 26th June 1960 and than mistakenly united with Italian Somalia on 1st July 1969 – means four days after independence.

IGAD and AU know that Somaliland suffered 23 years at gunpoint due to the mistake of uniting with Somalia. The question lingering in my mind is, how many years more, do AU and IGAD want Somaliland to suffer?

Somaliland needs neither financial support nor democracy analyzers from AU, IGAD and even from the international community. Somaliland demands the world to admit its existence.

Somaliland built up the entire infrastructure needed in modern state including functioning institutions, Military, Police, Jails Authority, independent judiciary and many others. Somaliland has all eligibility to win seat at the United Nation.

Assistant Undersecretary of African Affairs at U.S. State Department Dr. Frazier highlighted the importance of recognizing Somaliland, and how such move will have positive impact on reducing the size of Somali problems.

"U.S. will encourage the Africans to recognize Somaliland but will not take first step of recognizing Somaliland before AU." Frazer said in an interview with Somaliland media during her visit to Hargiesa. This throws the ball on the table of AU.

AU should act fast on granting recognition to Somaliland, because the country needs it very badly, as they cannot do business with outside world. AU, as African authority, should support its people but not downgrading them.

Dr. Frazier visited Hargiesa – Somaliland Capital – in an attempt to show the goodwill of the United States of America towards Somaliland recognition. Recently, Frazier told Somaliland Times that U.S. government is willing to open diplomatic office in Hargiesa.

Also, U.S. Forces in the neighboring Djibouti are frequent visitors the Somaliland´s main seaport Berbera.

In 2006, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed his administration´s willingness to establish military base in Somaliland. These events can be good example to AU and IGAD to take courageous step in recognizing Somaliland. AU should know that Somaliland is held between two rocks and cannot deal with other countries due to lack of diplomatic recognition.

Somaliland case is timed bomb that can blow up if no proper support is provided. AU and IGAD should understand if Somaliland falls into chaos then the problem of Somalia will be double or may be triple. The Somali problems need to be solved in modules or units. Today, Somaliland is the most developed and functioning part in Somalia and they deserve to be saved from the chaos they paralyzed Somalia for almost two decades.

Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin officially submitted application to AU and IGAD to get membership but unfortunately till today, there is no response from both the organization.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed Somaliland delegate to London, even the delegate were invited to visit the British Parliament. This shows international community´s eagerness to support the Somaliland search of independence.

In other hand, Somaliland remains solid and strong in addition to committed to promote democracy and good governance in the country. This attracted both U.S. and UK but unfortunately IGAD and AU are unable to hear the voice of freedom and democracy development in Somaliland.

The problem of Somalia cannot be solved in one shot, Africans and UN Security Council should know that theory of "United Somalia" failed. Somali problem can only be solved if put into modules, which will make the process of reconciliation easier. The world should be fair with Somaliland and its unique homemade democracy.


Somalia: Somaliland Minerals Ministry Starts Selling New Oil Blocks

http://dalkasomaliland.com/158.html, 4 Jun 4, 2008

Hargeysa, Somaliland, May 31, 2008 (SL Times) – The Somaliland ministry of Water Mineral Resources has started awarding concessions to interested oil companies.

According to the director general of the ministry, Ahmed Ibrahim Suldan, a UK-based Norwegian-owned company called Asante Oil has already purchased rights to a new oil block.

Mr. Suldan disclosed to Jamhuuriya newspaper on Friday that the deal with Asante Oil was negotiated during a recent trip that he and the minister of Water and Minerals Qassim Yusuf, have made to the UK and the USA.

It was only last month when Somaliland president Dahir Riyale Kahin told Reuters that one of his priorities for this year was an auction for oil exploration licenses pending the wrapping up of a data seismic survey by TGS-Nopec, a Norwegian oil service company.

In a subsequent statement issued also in April, the Somaliland ministry of Water and Mineral Resources said that the survey was completed and the data was being processed for an international bid round planned for late 2008.

The data acquired by TGS was not expected to be made available to clients before the third quarter of this year.

However in yesterday’s Jamhuuriya interview, the director general of the MW&MR gave no explanation for what prompted the government to cut a deal with Asante Oil before the release of data survey results except to say that the company was eager to stay one jump ahead of others.

Mr. Suldan said that he hopes drilling for oil in Somaliland will commence by 2009.

He made no mention of the amount of money that Asante Oil agreed to pay for its acquisition in Somaliland.

The granting of concessions for oil and minerals exploration in Somaliland is often done in secrecy.

Only Minister Qassim is allowed to represent the Somaliland side in any negotiations concerning the financial aspects of such deals. All agreements however have to be endorsed by Qassim’s boss, Riyale.

Under Qassim, the MW&MR is known to have signed about a dozen of oil and minerals exploration agreements with foreign firms and individuals. None of these agreements have been submitted to parliament for ratification as required by the Somaliland law.

Both Qassim and Riyale have so far paid no heed to repeated calls by the parliament that the administration should seek ratification for exploration agreements it had concluded with foreign companies.


Somaliland: Navies to Tackle Somali Pirates

http://www.unpo.org/content/view/8226/142/, 03 June 2008

The UN Security Council has unanimously voted to allow countries to send warships into Somalia's territorial waters to tackle pirates, providing as strong an indication as ever that the Somali central government is incapable of governing its own territory. Below is an article published by the BBC:

The resolution permits countries that have the agreement of Somalia's interim government to use any means to repress acts of piracy for the next six months.

Twenty-six ships have been attacked by pirates in the waters in the past year.

The vote came as the UN launched separate peace talks with factions involved in Somalia's conflict.

But the Islamist opposition said face-to-face talks would not happen at the meeting in neighbouring Djibouti until the government set a timetable for the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops, who are supporting the government.

Rife piracy

Somalia's coastal waters are near shipping routes connecting the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, and the country's government is unable to police its own coastline.

Consequently, piracy is rife off Somalia's 1,800 mile-long coast, says the BBC UN correspondent Laura Trevelyan.

The resolution was drafted by France, the US and Panama.

Our correspondent says France originally wanted to expand the motion to allow piracy to be tackled in other areas, such as West Africa.

China, Vietnam and Libya said they voted for the measure because it only applies to Somalia, and does not affect the sovereignty of other countries.

But diplomats say the Security Council action is significant because it is using the force of international law to allow navies to chase pirates and armed robbers.

Boycott

On Monday, Security Council envoys met representatives of the Somali government and the opposition at a luxury hotel on the shores of the Red Sea.

The talks, which are being held in Djibouti because Somalia is deemed too dangerous, are part of a UN plan to broker the first official direct talks between the Somali rivals.

But Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, deputy head of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) said it would not agree to face-to-face talks until a timetable was in place for the Ethiopians to leave Somali territory.

"The Ethiopian presence is the main obstacle to [the] peace process, and the main obstacle to reach a lasting solution for Somalia," he said.

The Ethiopians helped the government oust Islamists from Mogadishu in December 2006.

But President Abdullahi Yusuf says there would be a security vacuum if the Ethiopians withdrew before being replaced by UN peacekeepers.

"I am willing to do whatever it takes to promote peace and stability in Somalia," he said.

Somalia has not had a functioning national government since 1991.

An Islamist insurgency there has been mounting almost daily attacks on the weak government, which is backed by the United States, because Washington believes the Islamists are associated with al-Qaeda.

The UN says almost two million Somalis desperately need assistance.

A small contingent of African Union troops is in Mogadishu but has done little to quell the violence.

The talks are being boycotted by the hard-line al-Shabab militia, blamed for many of the attacks on government troops and their Ethiopian supporters.

The UN mission is due to travel to South Sudan on Tuesday.

It is also scheduled to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo, where millions of people have been displaced by fighting in the east of the country.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, June 2, 2008/Source: Haatuf, Hargeysa, in Somali 1 Jun 08, BBC Monitoring

USA TO OPEN "DIPLOMATIC OFFICE" IN SOMALILAND - OFFICIAL

The US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Jendayi Frazer, said that the Bush Administration intends to open a diplomatic office in Hargeysa, Somaliland. Frazer also said that it was unfortunate that the African Union has not yet made any decisions about the recognition of Somaliland. This, she said, has delayed the decision by the United States to recognize Somaliland as an independent state.

Mrs Jendayi Frazer was speaking at Washington University, Seattle, where she gave a lecture titled "The future of Africa and its politics as regards United States". The assistant secretary of state spoke at length about the American foreign policy in Africa and its influence on the politics of continent.

Jamal Abdi Gabobe, who is a PhD student at Washington University, asked Jendayi Frazer: "A few months ago, the Somaliland president came to Washington DC, and you later went to Somaliland and you were very well received. Can you tell us about the relationship America has with Somaliland?"

Mrs Frazer answered, "It is true that the Somaliland president came to visit us in the United States, and we went to Somaliland as well. Somaliland has done a lot of good things. There is democracy in Somaliland, elections have been held and others are expected. We are interested in all of that and we are working with Somaliland in that regard. We also cooperate with Somaliland in matters pertaining to the fight against terrorism."

The US secretary of State said the current administration is thinking of opening a diplomatic office in Somaliland but added that she is not sure that will happen in the six months remaining before the end of the current administration's term.


Balance of power in Somalia shifts towards the Islamic Courts

http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=18114

http://www.flickr.com/photos/strangeland/2549346681/ Dispatches From the Horn: Somaliland

"Good morning, this is the manager. Are you awake? Is the room OK? Is the water hot? Are you comfortable?"

"Yes, everything is fine."

"Good, your driver is ready. Have you eaten breakfast?"

"No. I was just on my way down."

"That's OK, I will send something up. Just one thing. When you go out today, you cannot wear shorts like earlier. This is not acceptable. And one other thing, and this is just a small thing. Do not tell anyone you are Israeli. We are Sufi tradition, but the Wahabi's are moving in. They have built 250 mosques in the capital alone."

This was one of many strained conversations I would have with Adbi. His hotel is in Hargeisa, capital of the de facto state of Somaliland. They are a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) along with Nagaland, Transdniestria, Northern Cyprus and dozens of others.

Abdi has been there, done that. Somali born, educated in the West, world traveler, he splits his time managing his investments in his birthplace and raising his family in the States. Acknowledging that I am over my head here, I am relieved that he has appointed himself my travel agent. I would play guinea pig in his adventure tourism side-business during my brief stay.

My appointed driver/guide is Abdullah 'Little King Kong'. He speaks seven languages and has written a book on his country's history. "I saved a Dutchwoman from a snake bite. She is thanking me by lining up a publisher in Amsterdam." Our first stop is the camel market. It is more goat than camel. A young boy approaches me and asks for two pieces of information: nationality and religion. My response of "Canada" and "Budhist" is met with a blank stare.

Walking through the capital, Abdullah points out how safe it is in Somaliland. I ask him why it isn't safe in in Somalia. "We are people of peace; they only know how to fight." I ask him when they will get their independence. "Soon" he says. "Not until the US builds a military base here," I think to myself.

We move on to our next stop, the neolithic cave drawings at Las Geel. During the drive, Abdullah points out the shells of buildings leveled by the army of Somalia's former president Mohammed Siad Barre. Tank and other military skeletons also pop up. "Didn't the US support Barre?" I ask. "Yes, but this is OK. If you only look to the past you cannot see the future."

En route to our final stop -- the old port town of Berbara -- Abdullah points to the distant horizon and starts laughing along with my armed escort. He explains that they served in the army together and are reminiscing about the time the escort was shot and Abdullah carried him on his back all day while the escort pleaded to just let him die. "It was just over there," they continued laughing.

We find our way to the beach populated by large white crabs and camels. Just as I am about to immerse myself in the warm Gulf of Aden, Abdullah says "I forgot to tell you. The US is building a naval base just down there." I take a dip with a smile on face confident of this fledgling nation's future.


President Riyale: “We & The Opposition Have Agreed To End The Political Deadlock”

Source: Somaliland Times, Issue 333, 7 June,2008

Hargeysa. – On Tuesday (3 June), President Dahir Riyale Kahin announced, in a press conference held in his office, that his government and the opposition have agreed to end their political differences over the next presidential and local municipal elections scheduled at the end of 2008 and early 2009.

Speaking to reporters, Riyale expressed joyfully that his government and the opposition have agreed to settle their differences in order to end the political squabbling in the country and to ensure that the political parties are prepared to take part in a just and fair election.

“During our meetings with the opposition, it was agreed that the presidential vote should be held before the local municipal elections. This was an opposition request. We accepted this request. We did this to win the confidence of our colleagues in the opposition and show the opposition that my government is dead serious and determined to hold these elections. For a long time now, the opposition have been accusing the government of using delaying tactics to forestall the presidential election. To prove that this is not true we agreed to hold the presidential vote before the local municipal vote,” said Riyale.

In an unusual upbeat mood, the president stressed that it was most crucial that his government and the opposition stood together in a united front when it comes to national issues and said that one of the agreements made with the opposition was to formulate a closer working relationship with each other and to keep in constant touch by holding meetings on regular basis.

“We all want the same thing, whether, as leaders or ordinary citizens and that is whatever is good for the country,” said Riyale.

President Riyale stressed that he would like to inform the public that the government and the opposition, as from Tuesday, have resolved their political differences and from now on will work together in a common front.

“We and the opposition must assist the National Election Commission (NEC) in helping them execute their duties. The voter’s registration exercise which the NEC will be conducting is new to us and has never been attempted before in this country. I believe, because this is new to us, there was bound to be disagreements between the government and opposition.

This is a very important feat which needs to be completed. When you consider 2 out of every 5 people in Somaliland are non-citizens, either from Ethiopia or Somalia. This is why we must register every Somaliland citizen because, tomorrow, only those issued with an ID card will have the right to exercise their vote in the coming elections,” said the president.

Riyale urged the media to weigh the type of information it relays to the public. ‘Too often, news material not worthy of our national cause is fed to the public, which only makes matters worse for all.’

After president Riyale concluded his speech, the following questions were put to him by the media.

Media: As you know, there is a UN Security Council delegation attending the Somalia peace conference initiative taking place in Djibouti, do you think that they will drag Somaliland into the conference? Did they invite you to attend and how would you reassure the public on this matter?

First of all, let me inform you that there are bound to be many issues which will collide with Somaliland’s interests, but this conference, in particular, is held for southern Somalia. To be precise, it’s for the opposition in Asmara and the other camp [ TFG], and is an attempt to get these two to have dialogue. The UN SC delegates are not going to reach or make some policy at the conclusion of this peace initiative, but they want to witness, firsthand, what is going on in Somalia and want to encourage the opposing camps to have dialogue and make peace. From there they will be travelling to another 5 other African countries.

But let me inform you that whether they send a UN peace keeping force or not to Somalia, I can reassure you that this will not have anything to do with Somaliland. Our government is not in the cold about this. It is well aware of what is going on, and do not think that we have not contacted the outside world on this. We have expressed our concerns to the international community and continue monitoring the situation and in touch with the international community.

Media: The last few months have seen a political deadlock in the country, and the government and the opposition have now brought an end to this deadlock. How far do you think that this will help or advance the campaign for attaining recognition by 2008, the year often said to be when Somaliland will achieve its international recognition?

First, all things are in the hands of God, and whether we get our recognition or not, it is dependent on Him. What we need to do is put effort and do our best in ascertaining our recognition.

But, I personally believe that the coming elections will be the last hurdle and decisive factor marking an end in our long search for diplomatic recognition. In the international arena, no one gets a ready-made and packaged piece of political policy as a gift. There are many obstacles, crises and wars are going on in the world, with many competing interests and political gains.

In truth, we have been unlucky when travelling overseas and there is little mention of us in the media of the country we are visiting, even though they may mention us but they will always give the larger coverage and space to Somalia. We do stress to the world leaders and media why they continue to focus on Somalia, a non-existent entity and at same time not mention us at all.

It is imperative upon us that we do try and do our best to convince the world that we deserve to be recognised and continue to do our best. Nonetheless, I’m sure we will get what we deserve, God-willing.

Media: It’s being said that the three party chairmen have not yet signed the agreement reached by you and the opposition; don’t you think that this should be done as soon as possible so it [agreement] becomes binding?

Regarding the political parties, let me inform you that the three parties each commission a special select-party committees made responsible for executing, processing and formulating the agreements made by the party leaders and we have each anointed them to be signatories to the agreements. All the party leaders have given guarantees to stick to the agreements.

Media: In recent times there has been an influx of non-Somalilanders entering the country and a large number of Somalilanders leaving the country. What precautions has your government taken about this?

We are not alone in this. The same dilemma is being faced by many African countries. In particular, those under 30yrs are the core ones leaving their countries for the West. It is most unfortunate that we are losing our young. It is a serious problem, and there is not much we can do about this. Many of these are not from poor family backgrounds and cannot be said it is due to poverty that they are leaving for the West, but rather, for economic gain.

We have in the past tried to deport many of the foreigners in the country. But when you consider that these people have come to seek safety and shelter due to insecurity in their countries, we have taken the decision to let them stay in the country until peace returns to their regions.

Media: The 5 years you were given the mandate for the presidency has expired, therefore under what oath are you continuing to run this country?

I am under the same oath which I’ve been under for the past 5yrs.

Media: Mr President, many people hold the view that even though, your term has expired that you are not willing to vacate the presidency, regardless of whatever happens. What would you say to this?

This is not true, I am the president by law, whether my term has expired or not, we have a constitution, please, read the articles which makes my presidency legal. I have mentioned to you already my willingness to vacate the office of the president. I have brought forward the presidential vote before the municipal elections. This is a clear indication on my part that I am ready to vacate the office sooner than the law allows.

Media: What is your message to the UN Security Council?

The UN Security Council, I would like to let them know, just like I have done on many other occasions, that they should not treat Somaliland as if it is part of Somalia.


Somaliland forces arrest two Westerners

HARGEISA, Somaliland, (Reuters, June 7, 2008) - Security forces in a northern Somaliland republic arrested two Westerners on Saturday thought to be surveyors working for a Canadian mining company, government officials said.

Somaliland's Defence Minister Abdillahi Ali Ibrahim said the two men had entered the country illegally and had been detained in Las Qorey district, Eastern Sanag region, with four Somalis.

"I will not be revealing the identity or nationality of the two Caucasians at present," Ibrahim told reporters. "I will only say that they were travelling in a car and are believed to have been surveying minerals in the area." The four Somalis were all from neighbouring Puntland, he said, all six men were being taken to the Sanag capital Erigabo.

Government sources said the two Westerners were believed to be employees of a Canadian company hoping to conduct a seismic survey in the area, which is rich in zinc and other minerals.

They did not elaborate.

Vancouver-based Africa Oil Corp (AOI.V) is carrying out a survey in Puntland. Company officials could not immediately be reached.

Somaliland split from the rest of Somalia in 1991 when warlords toppled military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, plunging the country into anarchy. It has governed itself since then. (Writing by Daniel Wallis)


President Rayale receives a delegation from SOS Kinderdorf International

Hargeisa (Qarannews, Jun 07, 2008 )- The President of the Republic of Somaliland, Mudane Dahir Rayale Kahin received a delegation from the SOS agency at the Presidency in Hargeisa

The SOS delegation led by its Mr. Helmut Kutin are on short visit to Somaliland to inspect various projects being implemented by the agency across Somaliland.

SOS Kinderdorf International is currently undertaking several projects in Somaliland primarily in the fields of education and assisting local orphanages. One of the largest SOS projects in Somaliland includes Sheekh secondary school and the new school at the orphan centre in the Ahmed Dagah district of Hargeisa.

The SOS delegation led by Mr.Kutin will inaugurate a new children's centre in Burao.

Other members of the SOS delegation include the Secretary-General for Africa and the Middle East, Mr.Aristide and other senior officers from the SOS Kinderdorf International.

At an official dinner for the delegation, President Rayale thanked SOS Kinderdorf International for the various projects implemented throughout Somaliland and Mudane Rayale also praised the efforts of the late Abdillahi Mohamed Hersi "Aschari" who played a vital role in the co-operation between Somaliland and SOS.

The official dinner for the SOS Kinderdorf International President Mr.Helmut Kutin and his delegation was attended by the Somaliland ministers of Foreign Affairs, Mudane Abdillahi Duale, Finance, Mudane Hussein Ali Du'ale and Education, Mudane Hassan Haji Mohamud Warsame.


Somaliland: The US and Somaliland: A Roadmap

http://www.qarannews.com/ Written by UNPO,Jun 06, 2008

Preeminent international affairs commentator, Dr J Peter Pham, provides an overview of recent strong strides made by the government of Somaliland in gaining international recognition, with particular focus on its relationship with the US, and provides a roadmap for the aspiring state for what further steps it can take to facilitate this movement.

Below is an extract from an article published by World Defense Review:http://worlddefensereview.com/pham022808.shtml:

In January [2008], the president of the Republic of Somaliland, Dahir Rayale Kahin, accompanied by his foreign minister, Abdillahi Mohamed Duale, and several other members of his cabinet were invited to Washington for a visit that was officially acknowledged by the U.S. Department of State.

Barely two weeks later, on February 3 [2008], Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer, arrived in Somaliland's capital, Hargeisa, with Ambassador John M. Yates, a veteran diplomat based in Nairobi, Kenya, who is America's special envoy for Somalia (the U.S. envoy to Ethiopia, Ambassador Don Yamamoto, preceded the pair by one day). Dr. Frazer, the highest-ranking U.S. official to set foot in the republic since it reasserted its independence in 1991, spent the day holding formal talks with top government officials as well as meeting privately with representatives of Somaliland's three registered political parties – the Union of Democrats (UDUB), the Peace, Unity, and Development Party (KULMIYE), and the Party of Justice (UCID) – and the unregistered "Qaran" political movement.

A few days after Dr. Frazer's visit, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced that it would "expand substantially activities designed to improve the lives of citizens of Somaliland," pledging "resources amounting to twice those spent in 2007 will be spent on projects focusing on the rule of law and security, democratic governance and on recovery and sustainable livelihoods, as well as on additional staff to increase the range of the ambitious programme in different regions of Somaliland" in concert "with the Somaliland government and other UN agencies."

Dr. Frazer was careful to emphasize that the recent flurry of activity did not imply diplomatic recognition was imminent, noting that while "we have said on many occasions that the U.S. will continue to work with Somaliland, in particular, in the strong democratic values which Somaliland has succeeded in implementing," the issue of recognition should be left to the African Union (AU), while America would "work with the AU and will respect whatever decision it makes on Somaliland's status." [The] AU is simply unable to actually address the matter as long as it continues to seat the utterly ineffectual "Transitional Federal Government" (TFG) of Somalia, which asserts sovereignty over the entire territory of the defunct Somali Democratic Republic despite being unable to so much as safely police its putative capital. Since Dr. Frazer is, undoubtedly, well aware of this reality, what is one to make of the recent developments?

In large measure, the recent engagement can be viewed as strategically sound at several levels. In the short term, it is increasingly apparent that the TFG's lease on life is perhaps even more tenuous than that of its "president," Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who, until last week, had not been in Somalia for months and was evacuated to London from Nairobi last month for medical treatment.

Over the longer term, given the apparent futility trying to reconstitute a unitary state

the members of the international community, especially the United States and its allies, have every reason to seek to engage Somaliland, not least of which is its geopolitical significance as a Muslim country with authentic democratic aspirations controlling over 900 kilometers of coastline along sea lanes along the Gulf of Aden, just opposite the Arabian Peninsula.

However, [this] does not mean that the United States will extend formal diplomatic recognition to Somaliland any time soon despite the consonance of the admirable efforts by its people to build a secure and democratic state for themselves to the vision which President George W. Bush outlined in his second inaugural address: "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world... Our goal... is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way." Rather, while the commonality of ideals provides a basis for moving forward, Realpolitik dictates that not just ideals, but concrete national interests must be carefully considered if a great power like the United States is going to break new ground and recognize an aspiring state like Somaliland. In other words, I cannot foresee recognition from Washington unless the government in Hargeisa convinces skeptics that there is substantial "value added" in the relationship. To this end, the following are some steps which President Kahin and his government might take to build upon the recent progress in ties with the United States with a view to eventually securing formal recognition of what their citizens have accomplished in building a nation out of the wreckage of the former Somalia:

First, one cannot understate the importance of the presidential election scheduled for August 2008: it must be a model of free, fair, and transparent balloting. One of the most important claims that Somaliland makes on the attention of the international community is its democratic politics. While the 2005 elections for the House of Representatives marked a significant milestone in that the incumbent president's UDUB won only 33 seats in the 82-member legislature (KULMIYE and UCID won 28 and 21 seats, respectively), following this up with a successful second direct democratic presidential vote (the first took place in 2003), would truly confirm Somaliland's status in the company of emerging democracies.

Second, beyond the voting, Somaliland must continue making progress on democratic governance. The territory is characterized a "partly free," scoring 5 on political rights and 4 on civil liberties in Freedom House's annual report, Freedom in the World 2008 (the scale is 1 to 7, with 1 corresponding to the highest and 7 the lowest levels of freedom). While the scores are impressive in contrast to that of the countries in its neighborhood – Somalia scores an abysmal 7 on both indices, Ethiopia and Djibouti scores a 5 on both political freedom and civil rights, while Eritrea manages to score 7 and 6 respectively – there is still considerable room for improvement. The members of the upper chamber of parliament, the House of Elders (Guurti), for example, have repeatedly extended their own terms of office. Corruption, while not as insidious as elsewhere in Africa, nonetheless needs to be systematically combated; while President Kahin deserves credit for sacking a number of corrupt officials during his tenure, the fact that they were even in place at all and needed to be removed is still disconcerting. While Somaliland is a largely homogenous society, there are nonetheless a few very small minority communities whose concerns could also be better addressed in the overall political process.

Third, while President Kahin expressed the willingness of Somaliland to work with U.S. regional counterterrorism efforts during his meetings with Defense Department officials in Washington last month – and legal avenues for such cooperation need to be found on the American side – Hargeisa must redouble its efforts on the anti-extremism front. And while government agencies on the American side may have unresolved issues with certain types of engagements with their Somaliland counterparts, nothing prevents the latter from more increasing the quantity and quality of intelligence which they share. This would be particularly helpful since American military and intelligence officials have very limited access to reliable information from southern Somalia, an area where Somalilanders not only are better positioned to operate, but in fact already do so extensively. While I realize that this proposal shifts the burden somewhat to Somaliland, it is, after all, Somalilanders who are trying to make a case for partnership with the United States. (For their part, American officials would do well to shift responsibility for matters relating to Somaliland from the U.S. embassy in Kenya to the one in Ethiopia given that while there are no direct connections between Hargeisa and Nairobi, Somaliland officials and civilians routinely pass through Addis Ababa en route to other destinations.)

Fourth, it is no secret that the former Somalia has significant potential natural resources.

[There] are reports of the Swedish-based Lundin Petroleum AB (owned, since 2001, by Canada's Talisman Energy) had approached Somaliland's Ministry of Water and Minerals for rights to oil and natural gas exploration [and] authorities in Hargeisa would do well to consider the long-term strategic implications of their decisions as well as the economic benefits. Even if their foreign policy elites were not generally divorced from the interests of their business classes, neither Sweden nor Canada would likely be much of a strategic ally for anyone, much less a nascent state in a dangerous neighborhood like the one Somaliland finds itself in. In contrast, as Walter Russell Mead and other scholars have pointed out, there is a long tradition of American business and government working in tandem, with the latter often following the former's lead and U.S. political interests adjusting themselves to advance the economic interests of its citizens. Not only should the government in Hargeisa be open to approaches by American firms, but it ought to actively court them, realizing that without significant commercial ties to the United States, any political relations – if they come about at all – will be very tenuous. Conversely, the presence of American business interests, especially in strategic sectors, reinforces the geopolitical case for diplomatic ties between Washington and Hargeisa.

Commenting on Somaliland, I.M. Lewis, the British scholar who for half a century has been the preeminent authority on the Somali peoples, observed: "The overall achievement so far as truly remarkable, and all the more so in that it has been accomplished by the people of Somaliland themselves with very little external help or intervention. The contrast with the fate of southern Somalia hardly needs to be underlined." For these two reasons, among others, it is hoped that Somaliland will take the steps necessary to take advantage of the momentum in favor of advancing ties with its natural strategic partner, the United States, to the next level.

Source UNPO


Somaliland Times, Issue 332 / 31st May 2008

TGS: Savior Or Unholy Partner?

Analysis. By Yusuf Gabobe

It is very hard to understand the position of TGS-NOPEC, the Geophysical Services Company that enjoys the Ministry of Water and Mineral Resources [MW&MR] complete and strictest confidence. TGS is a services company and like all service providers in any industry they simply work if they are fully paid. Facts and research clearly show that there is no exception to this universal rule. Some of the facts regarding TGS that are worth evaluating are summarized below:

1. There is an agreement between TGS and MW&MR that has been subject to much speculation. Does this agreement stipulate that TGS has the monopoly to do any geophysical work in Somaliland, and thus whoever wants to collect geophysical data must deal through TGS? If so, this is unfair, because the investor footing the bill should have the right to choose whoever gives the best services and value, in the most competitive manner and in the most cost effective way. We may also ak: on what ground such a monopoly was granted and to what advantage to Somaliland?

2. According to the Director General (DG] of MW&MR, TGS has spent US$10 Million on the recently concluded 2D offshore seismic and airborne geophysical surveys. This claim by the DG has been made personally on the TV broadcasts/interviews as well as to the media. This is most surprising, as the service provider has suddenly become the investor!!

3. If TGS spent $10M dollars then why within a few days of the DG's TV broadcast and news release, TGS hastily informed the media, globally, that they have worked in Somaliland, as elsewhere, on pre-paid contract basis. Somaliland newspaper "The Republican" published the article. On the internet, TGS clearly states “Both programs [5100kms of 2D seismic and approximately 34,000kms of high resolution aeromagnetic data…] are supported by industry prefunding …".

4. So, what is the truth? Did they spend $10M or did they work because the services were pre-paid? If they spent $10M, then how was it spent, and where did the industry prefunding go? If the industry prefunded, then where did the TGS $10M go? Somebody must account for this, as it cannot be a simple mistake. It is a clear deceit whichever way you look at it.

5. Who did the industry prefunding for TGS? Why is this not made clear by MW&MR? We know that the only group actively pursuing the project and indeed signed a contract with TGS to fund their entire survey [as detailed above] of Somaliland is the consortium of Rova Energy - Ophir Energy, holders of the concessions 35 and M-IOA.

6. We are well aware that owner of Blocks 32 [Mr. V. good] and 26 {Mr. Mohamed Yusef1 have NOT contributed to this survey, neither in cash nor in kind. If they have, then why not disclose it; if they have not, why not? Why the preferential treatment? Both MW&MR and TGS should come clean on the entire issue of the "Industry Prefunding", explaining who paid what, how the money was disbursed, and most importantly, did TGS invest the $10M!

7. TGS claims to assist MW&MR with training the nationals - is this really true or wishful thinking? If they have indeed trained Somalilanders, why not tell us who was trained and in what? Why keep this is a secret? Somalilanders would love to know the facts.

8. TGS assisted MW&MR in dividing Somaliland onshore and offshore oil basins in 24 blocks [previously 11]. On what scientific basis was this done? This must be spelt out, otherwise we have to assume that the division is simply to get more money.

9. MW&MR has announced to the World its intention to auction these blocks by this year [2008] end with TGS assistance. This is curious when we know that the data are still being processed and they MUST be thoroughly interpreted, followed by accurate data package preparation, before such auction can take place. Why MW&MR and TGS are pushing the auction timetable so hard and trying to bring it forward as fast as they can?

10. We all know that the idea behind auctioning these blocks is to raise as much money as possible from Signature Bonus to be paid by the companies, who eventually get the blocks. In today's oil market with price around US$130+ per barrel, it is quite feasible to consider that the Signature Bonus for each block would easily command a US$3M price tag. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to work out that for say 20 blocks [leave aside Rova/Ophir, Mohamed Yusef and V. good] at $3M a throw, that equates to US$60 Million! A LOT OF MONEY!! Well, where will it go? Election funding campaign? The privileged political entity? Funding for the chosen few or both What is TGS’s take on this? Do they happily accept this at the detriment of Somaliland's democracy and the suffering of the ordinary Somalilanders?? Are they naïve, or do not understand, or simply consider it internal politics?

11. TGS will be helping MW&MR with the data package to be sold to many oil companies in the World as this newly collected data from a little known region with excellent oil discovery possibilities, is of great interest to such international oil and gas organizations. Even the academic institutions will buy such information. All this is to be done with TGS assistance setting a very handsome price to be paid by numerous interested parties. Fact is, that this will, again, bring in millions of dollars. Well, where will it go? Election? Special projects? Particular Funding? Why do we not have all of this all spelt out clearly??

12. TGS is a Norwegian Public Company, listed in Oslo Stock Exchange. For one of the Cleanest Countries in the World, Norway, will NEVER tolerate anything but total openness and "Clean Deals'. TGS thus has corporate responsibility both as a listed company as well as being from one of the most transparent countries in the World, to live up to the standard set exemplarily by the great nation of Norway - anything less will be a betrayal to that Country!

13. If TGS was such a clean company, then why did they not insist on ratification of the TGS-MW&MR agreement by the Parliament of Somaliland, for the sake of Clarity and Transparency. Knowing Somaliland and the country politics, surely they should have stressed the issue for the sake of the good name of Norway, at least! Why TGS has condoned this situation for so many years since the signing of the contract with MW&MR? Or is there something that they want to remain secret?

14. Then there is the very curious matter of Ibrahim Hassan with 3 hats: Consultant in Sudan oil exploration, Adviser and Consultant to MW&MR and TGS focal point in Somaliland! Most Somalilanders can't even get one decent salary! Why has TGS accepted this knowing the clear conflicts of interest? Is it not enough to liaise directly with MW&MR rather than having an "Agent" to push your deals in the name of facilitating matters? Are there no other experts in Norway who could do this job without having to wear 3 hats? Once again, one is forced to assume here an unholy association between TGS and MW&MR.

Perhaps the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other responsible bodies in Norway need to look into the TGS Somaliland affair. TGS can play a role here, if they genuinely want to, even if our Government and the Ministries pay "deaf ears" to our plight. Will TGS help Somaliland? Are they "Saviors or Unholy Partner”?

By Yusuf Gabobe, Hargeysa May 31, 2008

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: website www.tgsnopec.com

TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company (OSE: TGS) often branded as TGS is a Norwegian geoscience data, software and service provider. The company has its headquarters in Asker outside Oslo, Norway in addition to offices in Bedford, United Kingdom; West Perth, Australia and Houston, United States. The company is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. TGS offers worldwide licenses to seismic data in both 2D and 3D as well as a database of digital well logs. TGS also owns A2D Technologies with offices in Houston, Oklahoma City and New Orleans in the United States.


Education: Dilla’s Road To Riches or its Road To Rags?

http://www.saylac.com/news/article3may30,08.htm, May 30, 2008

For our family of over 30 persons in the late fifties, Ismail and I were the only two who had a chance to go to school. And since joining school was always our dream, often times we walked to nearby Tog-wajale which had its primary school since the fall of 1957. And because we had always had all the free time as we were hopeless boys when it comes to tending livestock which was the main occupation of our family, we went almost every morning to town to watch school boys sing our favorite song before starting their classes:

”Aqoon la’aani waa iftiin la’aanee; waa aqal iyoo ilays la’aanee, ogaadaa ogaadaa, skuulada ogaadaa; oo aada oo aadaa walaalayaalow aadaa!” …. or having no education, is like having no light (ignorance), it is like being in a dark house with no light…. Please understand the value of education and brothers and sisters, go! Go to schools

Fortunately, in 1958 or fifty years ago this August, the school of Dilla opened its doors to enroll its first ever class. So, a total of 30 boys were enrolled. However, to Mr. Mohamoud Ahmed Ali, the father of education then in British Somaliland Protectorate, 30 boys was a large class that would be a huge burden on the teachers. And even so, after an additional push from mufti Sheikh Omar Goth, chief Aqil Abdi Badde and a whole lot more other city prominent figures, another 5 more boys were added. And even then many boys including me were not enrolled.

Amazingly, despite that huge demand, Dilla community leaders promulgated one thing: that since almost all the kids of the area were from one single clan, enrollment priority should be given to children of other clans… most of them maternal cousins. And then and only then, those from Dilla clan areas would be given the chance to enroll! I bet that was one reason that I could not secure a position in the enrollment and partly because my first cousin was already there in the enrolled list. That was how much accommodating and sacrificing our fathers were! That was how much caring and inclusive of all they were! And that was how much respect they had for other clans! Today, on the contrary, fifty years later many Somalilanders are only truly intoxicated with tribalism regionalism and opportunism!

So, certainly humiliated, I left the queue and within minutes saw myself singing alone: Macbuudka alloow mar uunbaan is idhaa muquuro badoo, mawjadu ha ku gayso meel dheer oo muuqaaga ka qari magaalada eey!. Ow my Lord! occasionally I wish diving deep into the sea waters! And I wish its waves take me miles away! And I wish I could hide my whole face from the city so that people do not see me again because I can hardly accept being left out in the cold!

Fortunately, the next morning, some miracle happened as Dilla’s elders convinced the head master to keep all extra kids… a total of eight including me so that they can study on temporary basis….an idea which the teacher Mr. Abdi Jama, (Arandis), may Allah bless his soul, accepted. However, certainly I hated to be in the temporary list so much so that my first word to know of the English language was “temporary”. To me, temporary meant something of a lesser value. This was because I could attend classes only when there were no government officials coming to town. And sorry, if they did, I had to disappear for the whole day! Fortunately, a year later three boys left school for good and lucky me, here at last I got a permanent spot in that HOLY school!

A year later, in the fall of 1959, Mr. Mohamoud Ahmed Ali again came to Dilla to enroll that year’s class. And as usual, he was welcomed by Dilla elders who really valued education and all those who worked on it including of course the father of education of British Somaliland Protectorate, Mr. Ali. And in fact Mr. Ali had truly always admired how much receptive Dilla elders were toward education!

After a short entertainment and tea punctuated with songs, traditional dances such as the: wilwile and ululation, Mr. Ali teasingly asked Dilla elders and specifically Sheikh Omer Goth: “This year, will Dilla again give me rough treatment?” Upon hearing that everyone laughed and then loudly said: “No; no way Mr. Ali! We will never do that! Your honor, Dilla loves you! But of course, we guarantee you Dilla will never run out of miracles!”.

And it was during that entertainment that the whole crowd: men, women and children all sang: “Ninkii ilmihiisa iskuul ku daraa inuu anfacaayo miyaanu ogayn?” or he who enrolls his/her child in school, doesn’t he/she know that it will uplift his/her whole future life….? Kuwii aqlilee dantooda arkee dalkooda ilaasha allow naga yeel… Ow my Lord, make us those who listen one another, see things the right way and protect their nation!

Then, by 11a.m. the whole city came to school. Mothers with their kids were everywhere; boys as well as girls were everywhere. And of course fathers all of who seemed eager to insure enrolling their kids, were everywhere!

And finally, when all prospective school kids were told to line up for enrollment, five girls queued up with the boys! And confused, Mr. Ali asked “what are those girls doing in that BOYS line?” And Sheikh Omer said: “Mr. Mohamoud, they are here to be enrolled too!” and then Mr. Ali asked: “how can that happen? In all British Somaliland, we cannot convince people to bring their boys to school because they think that is a sin! How can you mix Dilla boys with girls in the same class now?”

Suddenly, all Dilla leaders said: “Mr. Ali, please do it for us! Just enroll all and leave the rest to us! We promise it works and works perfectly well!” And realizing the commitment Dilla leadership had toward that cause, Mr. Ali enrolled a total of 30 kids including five girls and immediately left bewildered!

That is how progressive Dilla of the fifties became the first co-education center in all British Somaliland Protectorate. And surprisingly, within months, the whole nation followed suit! Today, that small town of Dilla which produced hundreds if not thousands of educated boys and girls; many with Bachelor, master or PhD degrees, for the last fifty years, has lost its leadership place in all Somaliland thanks to its indifferent intellectuals! That Dilla has thousands in every country in this global village today is sadly only a ghost town with no social services whatsoever. In fact, it had sadly fell far behind in every sphere when its counterparts are progressing rapidly and with high speed. It is therefore fair to conclude this short story with the following remarks:

If any one thinks that education always brings wealth to its community, then that that some one must think again as Dilla community is a living proof! And if any one thinks that knowledge always makes all caring and considerate, that some one must think and think again! And on the contrarily Dilla intellectuals are a living example! So, sorry Education is not Dilla’s road to riches! It is its road to rags!

Finally, my dear friends, this fall marks the fiftieth anniversary since Dilla opened its door to its first class. So, may I request? Can we come together this fall and celebrate in Dilla for that great anniversary? Can we come there and revive the hopes of our people by dancing with them the wilwile, the dhanto, the buranbur and the xoogweyn? And can say “we are with you all the way, we care and we love you?” Can we say “Dilla is a lot to us” by placing it back on its track?

And brothers and sisters, please remember that is it a high time that we realize that Dilla and its community do not deserve to be abandoned especially at their time of need! It is a high time we give back some of the sacrifices our forefathers did for us so that we are today who we are! And if we fail to do that, we will certainly have left a dark history behind us!

By Noah Arre, Email: noah.arre@gmail.com


The U.S. and Somaliland: A Road Map

by J. Peter Pham, Ph.D.

World Defense Review, http://worlddefensereview.com/pham022808.shtml, Mar 30 2008

A great deal has transpired in the little over two months since I last raised the question of Somaliland in this column, repeating a call I made two years earlier: "Since the disintegration of the Siyad Barre's oppressive Somali regime into Hobbesian anarchy and warlordism, the international community has staunchly defended the phantasmal existence of the fictitious entity known as 'Somalia.' Now, however, is the time for the United States to break ranks and let realism triumph over wishful thinking, not only recognizing, but actively supporting Somaliland, a brave little land whose people's quest for freedom and security mirrors America's values as well as her strategic interests."

In January, the president of the Republic of Somaliland, Dahir Rayale Kahin, accompanied by his foreign minister, Abdillahi Mohamed Duale, and several other members of his cabinet were invited to Washington for a visit that was officially acknowledged by the U.S. Department of State. According to the statement from the department's spokesman, Ambassador Sean McCormack:

A high-level delegation from Somaliland, led by President Dahir Kahin Rayale, departed Washington January 19 after an eight-day visit. While here, the delegation met with senior officials of the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of Defense, and National Security Council staff, among others. This cordial and constructive visit demonstrated U.S. engagement with Somaliland in furtherance of our common interests in the areas of regional peace and security, economic development, and democratic reform.

Barely two weeks later, on February 3, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer, arrived in Somaliland's capital, Hargeisa, with Ambassador John M. Yates, a veteran diplomat based in Nairobi, Kenya, who is America's special envoy for Somalia (the U.S. envoy to Ethiopia, Ambassador Don Yamamoto, preceded the pair by one day). Dr. Frazer, the highest-ranking U.S. official to set foot in the republic since it reasserted its independence in 1991, spent the day holding formal talks with top government officials as well as meeting privately with representatives of Somaliland's three registered political parties – the Union of Democrats (UDUB), the Peace, Unity, and Development Party (KULMIYE), and the Party of Justice (UCID) – and the unregistered "Qaran" political movement. Speaking to the press, Dr. Frazer explained the motivation of her visit:

Our visit to Somaliland is in connection and follow-up to President Dahir Rayale Kahin's recent, visit, to Washington and on top of that to continue to work with the Somaliland authorities in the issues concerning peace, stability and security of the region. Our visit is also an acknowledgement of the democratic progress made by Somaliland... the U.S. assisted Somaliland in past elections and will continue to do so in the coming elections. We are here, today, to show our support for this and to mark the friendship and cooperation existing between the two countries.

A few days after Dr. Frazer's visit, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced that it would "expand substantially activities designed to improve the lives of citizens of Somaliland," pledging "resources amounting to twice those spent in 2007 will be spent on projects focusing on the rule of law and security, democratic governance and on recovery and sustainable livelihoods, as well as on additional staff to increase the range of the ambitious programme in different regions of Somaliland" in concert "with the Somaliland government and other UN agencies."

Dr. Frazer was careful to emphasize that the recent flurry of activity did not imply diplomatic recognition was imminent, noting that while "we have said on many occasions that the U.S. will continue to work with Somaliland, in particular, in the strong democratic values which Somaliland has succeeded in implementing," the issue of recognition should be left to the African Union (AU), while America would "work with the AU and will respect whatever decision it makes on Somaliland's status." However, as I previously observed, while the AU's own report on the matter, presented by then-Deputy Chairperson Patrick Kayumbu Mazimhaka, acknowledged the uniqueness of the case – "The fact that the union between Somaliland and Somalia was never ratified and also malfunctioned when it went into action from 1960 to 1990, makes Somaliland's search for recognition historically unique and self-justified in African political history. Objectively viewed, the case should not be linked to the notion of 'opening a Pandora's Box'. As such, the AU should find a special method of dealing with this outstanding case" – the AU is simply unable to actually address the matter as long as it continues to seat the utterly ineffectual "Transitional Federal Government" (TFG) of Somalia, which asserts sovereignty over the entire territory of the defunct Somali Democratic Republic despite being unable to so much as safely police its putative capital. Since Dr. Frazer is, undoubtedly, well aware of this reality, what is one to make of the recent developments?

In large measure, the recent engagement can be viewed as strategically sound at several levels. In the short term, it is increasingly apparent that the TFG's lease on life is perhaps even more tenuous than that of its "president," Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who, until last week, had not been in Somalia for months and was evacuated to London from Nairobi last month for medical treatment. In fact, just to get him back into Mogadishu last week, TFG forces and their Ethiopian protectors sealed all roads from the airport to the presidential Villa Somalia. In response, Islamist and clan insurgents fighting the regime fired mortars at the bunkered-down peacekeepers of the undermanned African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and, for good measure, lobbed half a dozen shells into the presidential compound. Amid heavy fighting last week, TFG forces sealed off the famed Bakara market, compounding the woes of those residents of Mogadishu who have not fled since most of these people either earn their living at the market or depend on it for basic staples. Typical of the constant hit-and-run attacks by the insurgents, last Saturday at least four Ethiopian soldiers were killed when the water truck they were traveling in drove into an ambush in northern Mogadishu while, in the Wadajir district just south of the capital, gunmen shot and wounded a local government official as he stood in front of his house. On Sunday, heavily-armed insurgents from the radical al-Shabaab ("the Youth") wing of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), reportedly led by Sheikh Muhktar Ali Robow, a.k.a., Abu Mansur, the former deputy defense minister of the ICU who fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan, briefly occupied the southern town of Dinsoor before withdrawing. With daily rounds of artillery duels, bombings, ambushes, assassinations, and incursions, no one seriously believes that even the full deployment of AMISOM – an unlikely occurrence in any event – would do much more than prolong the agony of the passing of the TFG, the fourteenth attempt by outsiders to restore central government to what was once Somalia. Hence it makes perfect sense for U.S. officials to reach out to any effective powers in the region.

Over the longer term, given the apparent futility trying to reconstitute a unitary state – a point I made more than a year ago in this column space – the members of the international community, especially the United States and its allies, have every reason to seek to engage Somaliland, not least of which is its geopolitical significance as a Muslim country with authentic democratic aspirations controlling over 900 kilometers of coastline along sea lanes along the Gulf of Aden, just opposite the Arabian Peninsula. Having such an island of relative security and stability is all the more important when, as veteran Somalia scholar Dr. Ken Menkhaus of Davidson College, who served as a senior advisor to the UN Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) in the 1990s, has noted, "a collapsed state such as Somalia is more likely to serve as niche role as a transit zone, through which men, money, or materiel are quickly moved into the country and then across borders of neighboring states." Moreover, there is the belated recognition in many quarters, of the validity of the warning which South African analyst Kurt Schillinger delivered in a paper for the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI): "Somaliland is a fragile entity in a fragile region with large Islamic populations – all demonstrably susceptible to radicalization."

However, just because a consensus is slowly being built around these two realizations does not mean that the United States will extend formal diplomatic recognition to Somaliland any time soon despite the consonance of the admirable efforts by its people to build a secure and democratic state for themselves to the vision which President George W. Bush outlined in his second inaugural address: "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world... Our goal... is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way." Rather, while the commonality of ideals provides a basis for moving forward, Realpolitik dictates that not just ideals, but concrete national interests must be carefully considered if a great power like the United States is going to break new ground and recognize an aspiring state like Somaliland. In other words, as much as I have been a consistent advocate for Somaliland – just last week I gave an address at the University of Baltimore School of Law entitled "The Case for the Republic of Somaliland: At the Frontiers of International Law, African Politics, and Territorial Order" – I cannot foresee recognition from Washington unless the government in Hargeisa convinces skeptics that there is substantial "value added" in the relationship.

To this end, the following are some steps which President Kahin and his government might take to build upon the recent progress in ties with the United States with a view to eventually securing formal recognition of what their citizens have accomplished in building a nation out of the wreckage of the former Somalia:

First, one cannot understate the importance of the presidential election scheduled for August 2008: it must be a model of free, fair, and transparent balloting. One of the most important claims that Somaliland makes on the attention of the international community is its democratic politics. While the 2005 elections for the House of Representatives marked a significant milestone in that the incumbent president's UDUB won only 33 seats in the 82-member legislature (KULMIYE and UCID won 28 and 21 seats, respectively), following this up with a successful second direct democratic presidential vote (the first took place in 2003), would truly confirm Somaliland's status in the company of emerging democracies. The United States has provided over $1 million to the International Republican Institute (IRI) to support training and other programs in preparation for the elections, while the State Department expects to make an additional $1.5 million available after the voting. The European Union is likewise providing financial assistance for the electoral exercise.

Second, beyond the voting, Somaliland must continue making progress on democratic governance. The territory is characterized a "partly free," scoring 5 on political rights and 4 on civil liberties in Freedom House's annual report, Freedom in the World 2008 (the scale is 1 to 7, with 1 corresponding to the highest and 7 the lowest levels of freedom). While the scores are impressive in contrast to that of the countries in its neighborhood – Somalia scores an abysmal 7 on both indices, Ethiopia and Djibouti scores a 5 on both political freedom and civil rights, while Eritrea manages to score 7 and 6 respectively – there is still considerable room for improvement. The members of the upper chamber of parliament, the House of Elders (Guurti), for example, have repeatedly extended their own terms of office. Corruption, while not as insidious as elsewhere in Africa, nonetheless needs to be systematically combated; while President Kahin deserves credit for sacking a number of corrupt officials during his tenure, the fact that they were even in place at all and needed to be removed is still disconcerting. While Somaliland is a largely homogenous society, there are nonetheless a few very small minority communities whose concerns could also be better addressed in the overall political process.

Third, while President Kahin expressed the willingness of Somaliland to work with U.S. regional counterterrorism efforts during his meetings with Defense Department officials in Washington last month – and legal avenues for such cooperation need to be found on the American side – Hargeisa must redouble its efforts on the anti-extremism front. And while government agencies on the American side may have unresolved issues with certain types of engagements with their Somaliland counterparts, nothing prevents the latter from more increasing the quantity and quality of intelligence which they share. This would be particularly helpful since American military and intelligence officials have very limited access to reliable information from southern Somalia, an area where Somalilanders not only are better positioned to operate, but in fact already do so extensively. While I realize that this proposal shifts the burden somewhat to Somaliland, it is, after all, Somalilanders who are trying to make a case for partnership with the United States. (For their part, American officials would do well to shift responsibility for matters relating to Somaliland from the U.S. embassy in Kenya to the one in Ethiopia given that while there are no direct connections between Hargeisa and Nairobi, Somaliland officials and civilians routinely pass through Addis Ababa en route to other destinations.)

Fourth, it is no secret that the former Somalia has significant potential natural resources. Last summer, I reported on how the People's Republic of China was making a play for the oil in TFG President Abdullahi Yusuf's home turf. There is every reason to believe that similar wealth is to be found not only on Somaliland's territory, but also in its waters. While every state (and aspiring state) has the right to make such commercial arrangements as it deems most advantageous – there are reports of the Swedish-based Lundin Petroleum AB (owned, since 2001, by Canada's Talisman Energy) had approached Somaliland's Ministry of Water and Minerals for rights to oil and natural gas exploration – authorities in Hargeisa would do well to consider the long-term strategic implications of their decisions as well as the economic benefits. Even if their foreign policy elites were not generally divorced from the interests of their business classes, neither Sweden nor Canada would likely be much of a strategic ally for anyone, much less a nascent state in a dangerous neighborhood like the one Somaliland finds itself in. In contrast, as Walter Russell Mead and other scholars have pointed out, there is a long tradition of American business and government working in tandem, with the latter often following the former's lead and U.S. political interests adjusting themselves to advance the economic interests of its citizens. Not only should the government in Hargeisa be open to approaches by American firms, but it ought to actively court them, realizing that without significant commercial ties to the United States, any political relations – if they come about at all – will be very tenuous. Conversely, the presence of American business interests, especially in strategic sectors, reinforces the geopolitical case for diplomatic ties between Washington and Hargeisa.

Commenting on Somaliland, I.M. Lewis, the British scholar who for half a century has been the preeminent authority on the Somali peoples, observed: "The overall achievement so far as truly remarkable, and all the more so in that it has been accomplished by the people of Somaliland themselves with very little external help or intervention. The contrast with the fate of southern Somalia hardly needs to be underlined." For these two reasons, among others, it is hoped that Somaliland will take the steps necessary to take advantage of the momentum in favor of advancing ties with its natural strategic partner, the United States, to the next level.

— J. Peter Pham is Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C., as well as Vice President of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA). In addition to the study of terrorism and political violence, his research interests lie at the intersection of international relations, international law, political theory, and ethics, with particular concentrations on the implications for United States foreign policy and African states as well as religion and global politics.


Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/trust/whatwedo/where/africa/somalia/2008/03/080219-somalia-livestock-project-overview.shtml

Helping Somali livestock farmers to make a better living

Somalia

We are working in partnership with the BBC Somali Service, the Africa Educational Trust, the European Union's Rehabilitation Programme for Somalia and a wide range of stakeholders to increase the knowledge and skills of all those working in the livestock sector.

During the last 30 months, local production staff have been trained to produce 130 educational radio programmes.

Five hundred 'learning groups', where both men and women meet to listen to the programme and discuss the issues raised, have also been established.

Start date: 16 July 2006. End date: June 2008. Media type: radio. Issue: livelihoods

“I am regularly updated about the price of livestock by the programme. I therefore go to the market knowing the price ”-- Abdi Yusuf Farah, Dila, Awdal Region

Barnaamijka Xoolaha ('The Livestock Programme') is a 30-minute weekly magazine-style programme. It aims to empower livestock producers, traders and others with the practical skills, technical knowledge and business awareness necessary to maximize their incomes from livestock.

Barnaamijka Xoolaha covers a range of livestock topics, including:

1. Market prices. 2. Animal health. 3. Detecting fake drugs. 4. Marketing. 5. Business skills, 6. New economic opportunities

"We have learned about very important issues from Barnaamijka Xoolaha - how to improve the quality of our livestock, and about animal husbandry, health and vaccination. I am regularly updated about the price of livestock by the programme. I therefore go to the market knowing the price."-- Abdi Yusuf Farah, Dila, Awdal Region

The programme also includes interviews with farmers, vets and livestock traders.

Panel discussions

Several panel discussion programmes, designed to enable a public debate of key issues relating to development of the livestock industry, have also been broadcast.

Topics covered have included:

1. Drought, 2. Markets, prices and marketing. 3. Animal health services. 4. Product diversification. 5. International support. 6. The degradation of rangeland

Audience feedback has been recorded and broadcast to stimulate the discussion and debate.

The latest information

The producers of the programme source information from:

1. Somali livestock traders, brokers and transporters, 2. The Somali chambers of commerce, 3. Livestock boards, 4. Vet organisations, 5. Slaughterhouses and small business owners (such as milk traders, meat sellers etc).

The producers of the programme also maintain regular contacts with all the main livestock markets in Somalia, as well as markets in Yemen and the United Arab Emirates on a weekly basis.

Community learning groups

Five hundred Somali facilitators have been taught how to use a radio-based curriculum to provide face-to-face training to 500 'community learning groups' across Somaliland, Puntland, and Southern Somalia.

Members of the group listen to the programme and then discuss the issues raised with the facilitator.

Research and impact

Our partner, the African Educational Trust, interviewed 600 people involved in the livestock sector in Somalia to assess the impact of the radio programmes. The vast majority - 97% - were from rural areas.

* 91% of those who answered this question listen to the radio, * The BBC World Service was the most popular station, with 97% of those interviewed listening to the BBC, * 79% of those interviewed had heard about the livestock programme, and 63% of respondents had listened to the programme.

Working in partnership

All the programmes were co-produced and broadcast by the BBC Somali Service.

The African Educational Trust operates in regions of Africa where formal structures for education are absent, or have been broken down by conflict and civil war. It works closely with local communities to provide access to school materials and tuition.

A consultative committee consisting of representatives from international and Somali non-governmental organisations and other key stakeholders was set up to review and feedback on the content of the programme.

Members of the committee included Terra Nuova, SAHSP, Vetaid, FSAU, Penha, Candlelight, Havoyoco, Hargeisa Academy for Peace and Development and Somaliland's National Vet associations.

Barnaamijka Xoolaha was part of a wider European Union initiative to support the livestock sector in Somalia - the European Union's Rehabilitation Programme for Somalia.


Recognition Of Somaliland

Somaliland Times, Issue 332 / 31st May 2008 By T.D. Kenyon

After seventeen years of non-recognition by the international community, the people of Somaliland have a modus vivendi in spite of this huge disadvantage which they continue to suffer. Yet ordinary people worldwide recognize that Somaliland constitutes a very worthy addition to the United Nations as a peace loving and devout Islamic State, which excludes and deplores all fanatics and extremists.

One example of Somaliland's numerous handicaps is the Somali Djibouti owner of a medium sized business in the service industry at Hargeysa. He speaks French as his second language and has no English. He has installed a twenty year old Somalilander as manager, who speaks good English, to run the business. The owner lives in Djibouti, and manages a lucrative livestock export business through that port, which, incidentally, is livestock diverted from Somaliland, which should be exported at the port of Berbera if de jure Recognition were granted. He makes a considerable profit on the Hargeysa business because he pays the manager and staff very small wages; he avoids paying Somaliland tax on that business: the hard cash is removed to Djibouti without any customs control: he is so miserly as to dock the manager's wages when a client defaults on a bill, through no fault of the manager. As an absentee landlord and owner of the property and business in Hargeysa, he is a foreign parasite on Somaliland’s economy. Diplomatic relations between Somaliland and Djibouti are controlled by Djibouti, so Somaliland is powerless to rectify this corruption due to the absence of Recognition. (See Horn of Africa Bulletin 6/2004).

Somaliland - over the past seventeen years - has become inured to such malpractice to her detriment, rather than reunite with South Somalia (Mogadishu). Somaliland is thankful for the great mercy of separation from Mogadishu; therefore she is content to continue waiting until Recognition is achieved when justice will be normal.

The USA assistant secretary for African affairs is popular in Somaliland for her courteous visit to Hargeysa in February 2008 after the visit of Somaliland's President to Washington DC in January. On 11 March she spoke to the USA Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa. At the end of a long speech she stated:-

"….Somaliland has achieved a commendable level of stability, largely without external support or assistance, which the international community must help to sustain regardless of the question of formal recognition".

Formal recognition, to business people in the free world is a sine qua non for business. To the communist world - China - business in Somaliland is now flourishing without formal recognition. The appeal of Ms. Frazer "the international community must help….” will only come about after formal recognition, and not regardless of it.

This comment on Somaliland - albeit high sounding - is sadly worthless (except to China) until after Formal Recognition is approved. Somaliland needs Trade and thus less Aid.

The EU has resolved to withhold Recognition of Somaliland. EU have big and many issues near to home which concern the welfare of their citizens. Hence little time, shallow thought and poor understanding is given to the Recognition of Somaliland, which for them does not "exist". Maps show "Somalia" covering the country of Somaliland as well as South Somalia (Mogadishu) = "Rubbish geography". Many EU countries contribute magnificently to Somaliland's welfare, but their voices are silenced when the trade of Italy with Mogadishu is at stake: Italy wishes that Somalia and Somaliland reunite for the sake of Italian business. To a lesser extent, but equally compelling in EU, the connection of Djibouti and France blocks Somaliland Recognition, also.

Britain - desperately wishing to appear amenable in EU and politica1ly anodyne in UN - throws Somaliland into the Somalia mess. (see letter 4040 of5 Oct 07 Horn of Africa desk FCO) "The UK has signed up to a common EU position..." states the British Foreign and Commonwealth office; so EU is closer than the loyal former Protectorate. (Witness Commonwealth War Graves, Hargeysa). The Commonwealth Conference, in 2007 at Kampala, was visited by the President and a delegation from Somaliland for the request for Recognition, which fell on deaf ears. - Most regrettably.

Egypt - strong voice in AU - has a firm policy that Somaliland and Somalia must reunite - not for the good of either country, but because this crazy policy keeps Ethiopia too busy in Mogadishu troubles to consider her (Ethiopia's) rightful harnessing of the Blue Nile head waters, which would improve Ethiopia's impoverished land. Hence Egyptian policy - impressed on the African Union- is to stop Somaliland Recognition. But - as the Foreign Minister of Ethiopia has stated - stability will come to Somalia when Somaliland is formally recognized. This is because Somalia will then suddenly realize that the chaos and mayhem in that region (in theory ruled by Mogadishu) can no longer be tolerated by the international community, who give credit to Somaliland for its peace and security, and who demand that Mogadishu learn the lesson of sensible government from Somaliland, whom Somalia has treated with contempt and disdain for 48 years, as inferior and insignificant..

The Arab League -like the African Union -has little interest in Somaliland which does not exist on any map, and which does not grab headlines of war lords versus Union of Islamic Courts, like Mogadishu does. Again the voice of Egypt silences any talk in the Arab League, of Somaliland Recognition.

In the UN Security Council, Russia, China and France, all with veto power, have their own problems of applications for sovereignty and recognition, or for trade. The British Foreign Office states: -" The UK has signed up to many UN Security Council Presidential statements, which refer to the territorial integrity and unity of Somalia". (That is the defunct Somali Republic since 18 May 1991).

Unions, Federations and other groupings happened with de-colonization and post-world war modernization. Egypt and Syria joined in 1958; Somaliland and Somalia joined in 1960. In 1961 Egypt and Syria parted; in 1991 Somaliland and Somalia parted. In the West Indies, in South-East Asia, in Central Africa and other regions groupings were made, and some failed. UN accepted those failed groupings (e.g. Singapore, Jamaica, Malawi); so why is there a problem to separate Somalia and Somaliland? The answer is that Mogadishu (Somalia) refuses separation: this stance is backed blindly, selfishly, and corruptly by AU, AL, EU and UN.

So how did, for example, Timor-Leste (2002), Kosovo (2006) and Eire (1921) achieve separation form Jakarta, Belgrade and London? The lessons of those separations (and others) should help us to learn that stagnation and dithering are negative and fatal. Foresight, humility, individuality and courage are needed for a change of policy. The fighting to achieve independence in 1988 to 1991 for Somaliland is almost unknown, but it was, relatively, much more severe than the fighting leading to the disintegration of Yugoslavia, about which Mr. Kofi Annan said, "It will haunt our history for ever". The Balkans in Europe are less remote than the Horn of Africa. UN helped Kosovo: Somaliland has achieved and regained her 26 June 1960 independence and sovereignty ---alone.

Around the world, those who study the Somaliland request for Recognition (and are not corrupted or silenced by extremely dubious or evil policies of strong voices in UN, AU, EU, AL or other groups) know clearly and positively that world peace and stability will be splendidly advanced with Somaliland - a stable, democratic, free press, peaceful, Islamic state -- taking its rightful place in the international community of nations with World Formal Recognition. Failure to recognize Somaliland is a serious and unnecessary risk in this volatile and unstable area, which affects the whole of world peace.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, May 27, 2008/Source: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 24 May 08 BBC Monitoring

SOMALILAND POLITICAL LEADERS AGREE NEW DATES FOR PRESIDENTIAL, CIVIC POLLS

[Unattributed report: "Somaliland Elections To Be Held In December 2008 & March 2009"]

Somaliland's political leaders agreed this week to a proposal submitted to them by the National Electoral Commission calling for holding the country's next presidential and municipal elections on December 15, 2008 and March 15, 2009.

Senior government leaders and representatives of the opposition parties have been holding talks since May 14 with the aim of resolving the country's political crisis which was triggered by the decision of the Guurti on April 10, 2008 to extend president Riyale's term in office which was due to expire by May 15 for one more year.

The opposition rejected the Guurti's unilateral decision as illegal and vowed not to recognize Riyale as president after May 15, 2008.

It is not yet clear whether the opposition will be sticking to this position or will be seeking to reach an agreement with Mr Riyale over the formation of a government of national unity.

The leaders of the KULMIYE [expansion unknown] and UCID [Ururka Caddaalada iyo Daryeelka] opposition parties and the UDUB [Ururka Dimuqraadiga Ummadda Bahawday] ruling party agreed earlier in the week to introduce a motion in parliament requesting the scrubbing of a clause in the voter registration act that demands holding the two elections six months apart.

Opposition leaders have indicated that there were some matters still to be agreed upon such as a guarantee that the Guurti will not interfere with the new time-line for the elections.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/trust/whatwedo/where/africa/somalia/2008/03/080219-somalia-literacy-project-overview.shtml

Learning literacy: 'Now I can read my own letters'

Somalia

We are working in partnership with the Africa Educational Trust and the BBC Somali Service to deliver weekly radio programmes and face-to-face tutorials to improve literacy and numeracy skills in Somalia.

The radio programmes have so far reached 250,000 Somali speakers and almost 30,000 children and adults with no access to formal education have graduated with certificates from the face-to-face tutorials.

Start date: 2004. End date: 2008. Media Types: Radio. Issue: Education. Country: Somalia

“Now when I want to send a letter I can say anything – no-one knows but me” -- Mahamed, age 18, Burao

Educational radio

Fifty, 30-minute educational radio programmes have been produced and broadcast to teach reading, writing and arithmetic to adults in Somalia. Series three of the programme is now in production.

The programme sought to reach people who had been denied a conventional education, including:

1. Women and girls, 2. Disabled people, 3. Children with no access to education in rural areas, 4. People in southern Somalia (where there are few educational opportunities), 5. People who have had to flee their homes because of the conflict

"Now when I get a letter from my friends or family, I can read it. Previously, I had to ask someone to read it for me. Now when I want to send a letter I can say anything - no-one knows but me. Before, the person who wrote the letter would tell everyone and every neighbour would know my private things, but I didn't have any choice..."-- Mahamed, age 18, Burao

Face-to-face tutorials

The radio programmes were supplemented with face-to-face classes run by volunteer teachers.

A team of Somali and European specialists in distance education, radio broadcasting and basic literacy produced the curriculum, courses and teaching materials used in the classes.

Reading and writing is taught through the discussion of key themes including health, human rights and the environment.

Teachers taped radio broadcasts, enabling classes to be run at times that were convenient for the students. This proved particularly important for women and girls, who are often expected to do household chores during conventional school hours.

"The classes are good for older people like me who missed out on education. They're good because there are no younger people in the class to make fun of me. I used to be very shy, thinking 'I can't sit next to a young child in class when I am this old', -- Mahamed, age 25, Berbera

Research and impact

In June 2006, researchers were commissioned to evaluate the impact of series one and two of the programme in Somaliland, Puntland and south Somalia. Focus groups and interviews were held with 125 learners and 39 teachers.

Interviews were also held with local authorities, social workers, community elders and representatives from other education-focused NGOs.

Impact

1. The educational radio programmes reached more than 250,000 Somali speakers, 2. 29,000 students enrolled in face-to-face classes - more than 90% passed the course examination and graduated with a certificate from African Education Trust, 3. 65% of students who enrolled in the tutorials were women and girls

Working in partnership

The African Educational Trust operates in regions of Africa where there are either no formal structures for education, or they have been broken down by conflict and civil war. It works closely with local communities to provide access to school materials and tuition.

Thanks to the BBC World Service, we have unique access to audiences across this divided country and can reach nine out of ten adult Somalis with our radio programmes.

Supplementary reading booklets produced as part of the literacy programme were purchased by international non-governmental organisations including: Care International, Save the Children Fund and the Danish Refugee Council.


Information on Burao

From Burao Online. http://www.buraoonline.tk/

Burao is the second largest city in Somaliland. It has a population between 350,000 and 500,000 people. It is an important commercial centre. It has the largest livestock market in the region, and brings together traders from as far as Bossaso in the North East of Somalia, Luq, on the boundary with Kenya, in the South, and Djibouti in the West.

Like many other cities in the region, it had previously suffered from destruction and internal displacement due to a prolonged civil war in the 1980s. In 1988, almost all its residents were forced to flee for their lives. The majority of its inhabitants ended up in refugee camps in Ethiopia. When they came back home in 1991, they returned to a ghost town striped of every thing of value that could be moved or removed. Almost all the dwellings in the city were either roofless or without windows, or both. Many of them were left in ruins, and the streets were conquered by natural vegetation in the absence of human population for nearly three years.

Public facilities, including schools were not spared destruction. Before the civil war, the town boasted of a well known technical school, and a vocational school for range management. Both of them were national institutions. It had also two secondary schools (Sh. Bashir, and Sh. Osman Nur). All of them were looted, and damaged extensively.

Reconstruction started in earnest as soon as people returned to the city. Restoration of schools also began though slowly. Primary and pre-primary schools were first repaired. Unfortunately, the process of rehabilitation was twice interrupted by local conflict, first in 1992, and then in 1994. The situation was exasperated by the ban on livestock exports to the Middle East in 2000. As the principle livestock market in the country, this had a disproportionate effect on the economy of Burao, and caused its recovery to lag behind that of other main cities.

But things are changing for the better. The city has now enjoyed almost nine years of fairly uninterrupted peace. There is a strong sense of community and a determination to rebuild what has been destroyed. This has already created an environment much more conducive to investment and regeneration. As a result, the city is now going through a fervent period of renewal and rebuilding and is enjoying an unprecedented expansion. The majority of the city’s primary and secondary schools have been already rebuilt, renovated or restored. According to the statistics of the Somaliland Ministry of Education, there were 31 public and private primary schools in Burao, in which 11,627 students were enrolled in the scholastic year 2003/4. The region as whole had 73 primary schools in which nearly 16,000 students were enrolled. The expansion of secondary education has been equally impressive. The city has now six secondary schools, and a seventh secondary school is under construction.

Public and Private Secondary Schools in Burao for the Scholastic Year 2004/2005 Secondary Schools

1 Candle light, 2 Al-Faaruuq, 3 Abdllaa Nori, 4 A/Naser, 5 Sh. Bashir, 6 Sh. Ibrahim, 7 Machad. The first class graduated from Burao secondary schools in 2003, and many more will do so in the coming years.

The question which parents and educators in Burao and the region have faced until now has been, ‘What to do with these young secondary school leavers?’ That question has been finally answered with the establishment of the university of Burao, which has been set up to offer them and others an opportunity for higher education without leaving home. Burao University

About Burao University

The University of Burao is an independent university established in 2004 in Burao, a city with a population of about 350,000-500.000 people. Its aim is to:

- Provide opportunities for further education to secondary school leavers from Burao, the surrounding regions and the country at large;
- Prepare much needed professionals such as doctors, teachers and engineers
- Provide training in order to raise the skill levels of people in the private, public and non profit making sectors
- Carry out research through its colleges, research centres and institutes and
- Play a major role in the development of the city, and the country

The university has two campuses. The main campus is located in the North-Western suburbs (Shab) of Burao, about two Kilometres from the centre of the city. The site has a fenced area of about 3.75 hectares.

The second campus is still in the planning stage. It consists of 25 Hectares acquired for the university located at about 5 Kilometres from the city centre.

It has five colleges and two centres:
- College of Education
- College of Veterinary Medicine,
- College of Business
- College of Islamic Studies
- College of Continuing Education
- Centre for Somali Studies
- Institute of Rural Development and Environmental Studies (IRDES)

The first students were registered in September 2004. There are 167 enrolled in four colleges and 430 in a short term training program designed to upgrade the skills of the primary teachers in the region.

The University has a board of trustees responsible to Togdheer Development Committee (The TDC), and a president who is accountable to the Board of Trustees and in charge of the day to day affairs of the university.

For more information visit Website: http://www.buraouniversity.com/

Mission

The university is a multipurpose institution. In addition to preparing competent professionals, it aims to be a community learning centre, an idea hub, a focal point for practical and theoretical research, and a development engine that makes real difference to lives of the people in the city and beyond.

Its mission is to:
- Provide opportunities for further education to secondary school graduates from Burao, the surrounding regions and the country at large
- Prepare much needed professionals such as doctors, teachers and engineers
- Establish partnerships with the private, public, and voluntary sectors to raise their knowledge and skill
- Carry out research through research centres and institutes
- Organise and host seminars, workshops and conferences
- Provide an intellectual centre for debate and discussion of important issues
- Provide a link with other universities and research institutions and hence become a channel for inward transfer of technology and knowledge
- Make efficient use of the existing pool of knowledge and skill within the city
- Provide opportunities to professionals within the Diaspora who want to make a contribution to the city and the country as volunteers, and donors.
- Play a major role in the development of the city, the region, and the country as a whole through the pursuit, provision, dissemination, and application of knowledge
- Safeguard the environment and the diversity of its fauna and flora through the preservation and the development and promotion of sustainable management practices

Colleges

The College of Veterinary Medicine The College of Education The College of Business and Finance

The College of Islamic Jurisprudence The College of continuing education and community development

1. College of Veterinary Medicine Livestock is the backbone of the nation’s economy. About 50-60% of the population are classified as pastoralists, and another 20% as agro-pastoralists. The 1997 official government statistics estimates total livestock population in the country at around 23.5 million heads. Yet there are only about three dozen qualified veterinarians in the whole country, which means a doctor/stock ratio of about 1: 653,000, and there are no training institutions (apart from a middle level technical institute recently opened in Sheikh), or research facilities to support this vital sector. The aim of this department is to prepare qualified professionals in the field of animal health and husbandry and to carry out much needed research in this very important area.

2. College of Education

Education is the key to any nation’s future. No development can take place without an educated, and skilled workforce. According to the Ministry of Education statistics (see appendix 1) a total of 106,480 students are enrolled in both public and private schools in the current Scholastic Year 2003/4. The number of teachers serving is 2,590, out of which only 241 have university degrees. This means a teacher/student ratio of 1:41, and a graduate teacher/student ratio of only1:442. Both ratios are extremely low and unacceptable. Even if we want to achieve a very modest target of graduate teacher/student ratio of 1:100 (i.e one graduate teacher for every three classes), we would need to train 824 teachers just to meet our immediate need. The reason why there is such a small number of graduate teachers is that the only college, Lafoole (Somali National University) which trained teachers has been closed for the past 13 years due to the civil war. The aim of the department of education is to fill this gap and produce the qualified teachers we need for today and tomorrow.

3. College of Business and Finance

The private business sector is the mainstay of the economy. It has become all the more important in the past fourteen years. It is now the sole or the main provider of vital services such as communication, air transport, electricity, and banking which were dominated by public sector monopolies before. But in spite of its phenomenal success, it faces many challenges including a chronic shortage of skilled people. The Department is set up to assist the sector overcome these difficulties. It aims to:
1. Prepare a new corps of professionals in business and finance 2. Nurture entrepreneurship 3. Play a leading role in the development of financial institutions 4. Carry out business research 5. Provide technical support to the business community 6. Organise business seminars and conferences and exhibitions in collaboration with business associations and chambers of commerce

4. College of Islamic Studies

Islam plays an important role in the Somali society. It is part of its heritage and culture. It provides the basis for social ethos, the code for personal conduct, the tenets of family relations, and the foundation for the nations constitution. Yet the majority of the population have a narrow or superficial understanding of Islam. This often leads to misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the principles and teachings of Islam, and sometimes to the embracement of extreme and mystical views. There are no proper institutions of higher education for training and accreditation for pre-primary Quranic school teachers, nor for Islamic teachers in primary and secondary schools, nor for the imams who provide spiritual guidance to congregations in Mosques, nor for the judges who sit on Islamic Courts, which is part of the judicial system. The aim of the Islamic college is to:


- Further and deepen the knowledge of Islam (Quran, Hadith, law, ethics, thought, history, geography, economics, etc,) with a broad perspective
- Prepare qualified Islamic teachers, preachers and judges
- Re-train and accredit existing teachers, preachers and judges

5. College of Continuing Education and Community Development

The university aims to benefit not only young secondary school graduates who want to pursue professional careers, but also the community at large through the provision of flexible training and technical support to.

a) Private sector entrepreneurs and employees b) Public sector workers c) Voluntary sector staff and volunteers, as well as the d) Unemployed

Centre for Somali Studies

The Somali people have a long history that goes back to the era of the Egyptian Pharaohs, a rich language and a sophisticated culture. Interest in the study of the Somali language, culture, history and politics, though in adequate, has not been lacking altogether. But these studies have been mainly centred in academic institutions outside the country. What has been lacking, until now, are local institutions dedicated to preserving, developing, studying, understanding and interpreting Somali culture and history from a local perspective. The purpose of the centre is to fill this gap. Its aim is to:

- To study and advance the Somali Language and literature

- To safeguard and preserve the Somali culture and heritage

- To document and analyse Somali history and political development

These will be achieved by:

- Undertaking research
- Organising seminars, symposiums and conferences
- Offering courses at the centre and on the internet
- Produce regular publications
- Establish a library and an archive for records in print, microfiche, tape, electronic and film
- Create a museum for photographic records, paintings, memorabilia, artefacts etc.

The Institute of Rural Development and Environmental Studies (IRDES)

The significance of this centre emerges from the fact that approximately two third of the population live in a rural or semi-rural setting. Their livelihood is under threat due to environmental degradation and climate changes. Large tracks of grazing land and forests have been already lost due to:
- Overgrazing
- Deforestation
- Frequent droughts and
- Lack of proper land management

In spite of the importance of the sector and the deteriorating situation, there are no institutions dedicated to monitoring, studying or improving rural environment and economy. The Institute aims to: a) Carry out research into the causes of environmental degradation b) Monitor environmental degradation and the effects of such degradation on the lives of the pastoral community c) Raise national and international awareness of the environmental problems facing the rural population d) Carry out a national survey of the flora and the fauna stock e) Build and maintain a data bank on rural ecosystems f) Publish and promote research results g) Promote good range and forestry management h) Provide training on rural development issues i) Link up with similar institutions world wide

CAMPUS

The university seat is a recently rehabilitated campus located in the North-Western suburbs (Shab) of Burao, about two Kilometres from the centre of the city. The site has a fenced area of about 3.75 hectares, and consists of:

A second site which consists of 25 Hectares, located at about 5 Kilometers from the city centre has been acquired. This will be developed into a major campus. The planning work for it has already started

Partnerships

The University is keen to establish links and work in partnership with other universities, colleges and research institutions. It welcomes exchange of professional staff and students and cooperation in research

Organisational structure

The University has a Charter and statutes that define its organisational structure, policies and procedures. At the top of its organisational pyramid is Togdheer Development Committee (The T D C) which governs the University on behalf of the people of the Togdheer. The TDC elects a Board of trustees, which is the primary decision making body of the University. The Board of trustees consists of 15 prominent members of the community, including businessmen, professionals, ex officials and serving officials. The Board nominates, in turn, an executive committee, which consists of a chairman, a vice-chairman, a treasurer and a secretary.

The executive committee is currently represented by:

1) Mohamud Adan Dheri (former governor) Chairman 2) Farah Yusuf Hadhigele (Businessman) Vice Chairman 3) Mohamed Hussien Adan (former mayor) Treasurer 4) Dr. Issa Nur Liban (veterinary doctor) Secretary

The Board also appoints a President who is responsible for the day-to-day running of the university and for carrying out decisions. Working with the President is the University Council, who is responsible for academic matters in relation to teaching, research and discipline. The University council consists of the deans of the colleges, the president, the vice president for admission and student affairs, the vice president for academic affairs and the vice president for administration and finance.

There are also college and department councils where each college is headed by a dean and each department is headed by head of department. The Deans will be responsible for their respective colleges and will be accountable to the President. In addition the University will have a research and Enterprise unit, charged with the coordination of research carried out by the University’s own colleges and institutes and by international research associates (See Appendix 2.)

Abroad, the university has fundraising and technical support groups in most of the countries in the Middle East, Europe, Canada and USA.


Somaliland House of Representatives approves 2008 budget

Hargeisa (Qarannews, May 29, 2008)- The honourable members of the Somaliland House of Representatives have voted to approve the 2008 budget put before them by the Somaliland Ministry of Finance.

In today's session chaired by the Speaker of the House, Mudane Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi and attended by 57 members of the 82 seat house including the Speaker. 54 members voted to approve the budget whilst 2 members voted against the motion. The Speaker of the House did not cast a vote.

The 2008 Budget approved today by the Somaliland House of Representatives is the largest to date, estimated at 51 million dollars ($51,000,000) an increase of 27% from 2007.

In other business at today's session members of the House of Representatives also voted on two motions concerning the recent appointments of two new ministers, the Minister of Rural Development, Mudane Mohamed Hagar Dirir and the Minister of State for Education, Mudane Mohamed Garad Mohamed.

Both new appointments received approval from the members of the House.

The honourable members of the Somaliland House of Representative have as a result of this today's votes completed the sixth session of the House.

The 2008 budget has been welcomed by the all the government, regional and district workers along with the indepedent agencies and all of Somaliland instiutions of higher learning, who are expected to gain from the budget.


UAE Red Crescent donates to Hargeisa General Hospital

Hargeysa, (Qarannews, May 27, 2008)- The United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Society has made a donation of a new Ambulance, food and other goods to the Hargeisa General Hospital and the central orphange in Somaliland.

The donation consists of one tonne of rice, one tonne of dates and one tonne of cooking oil, along with a new emergency ambulance for Hargeisa General Hospital.

Receiving the goods from the UAE Red Crescent, the Director of Hargeisa General Hospital, Dr. Yasiin thanked the society for the donation and stated that he looked forward to working with the society.

The co-ordinator of the local orphange Mohamed Ismail also stated that the donation from the UAE will go long way to help meet the needs of the orphans at his centre.

Since President Rayaale's recent visit to the United Arab Emirates where he met with senior officers from the UAE Red Crescent society, donations to Somaliland have been steadly arriving from the United Arab Emirates. These donations are targeted at Somaliland hospitals, local orphanages and other social services.


Somaliland: Welfare instead of Warlords

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/63197, May 27, 2008, by Ahmed Kheyre

According to reliable sources, including Qarannews.com a humanitarian donation of equipment including vehicles, machinery and food from the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent society recently arrived at the port of Berbera.

The donations comes after the President of Somaliland, Mudane Dahir Rayale Kahin's visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE) earlier this year. These equipment include water drilling rigs which are designed to drill wells in order to alleviate the water shortage caused by the recent drought in the country.

According those above mentioned reliable sources, these humanitarian donations will be distributed among the areas severely affected by the recent drought in country which has recently abated due to the arrival of the much anticipated rains across Somaliland.

Somaliland has been making some headway in its relationships with Arab nations, and the arrival of these donations in Somaliland, directly, is a sure sign that more and more moderate Arab nations are willing to engage Somaliland. The reality in Somaliland is that of a nation and its people who are willing to help themselves.

Somaliland is a nation based on responsibility and self-help. A mark of a civilised nation is how it looks after its poor and unfortunate citizens, only in Somaliland can you find, for example, a maternity hospital funded by a retired UN worker or a health centre dedicated to those in need of prosthetics, locally manufactured and supported by European charities. Along with these valuable donations from UAE Red Crescent that include water drilling rigs, one gets the impression that Somaliland is serious about the well-being of its citizens, sadly, the same cannot be said of some its neighbours.

Somaliland takes pride in helping those in need from anywhere in the Horn of Africa, and the people of Somaliland would like to see some kind of normal life resume for these blighted people of parts of the Horn of Africa.


Somalia: SBC Journalist Detained for 13 Hours in Buhodle; Bossasso And Garowe Journalists Threatened Over Coverage

National Union of Somali Journalists (Mogadishu) PRESS RELEASE. 27 May 2008. http://allafrica.com/stories/200805280011.html

NUSOJ is profoundly concerned about the ongoing harassment and intimidation of journalists and media executives in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland in north-eastern Somalia.

On 25 May 2008, the governor of Eyn region in Puntland ordered the arrest of journalist Ali Osman of the Bossasso-based Somali Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) in Buhodle District. The journalist, who was detained 13 hours at the Buhodle police station, was taken into custody for a news report that was aired by SBC. The regional administration said that the journalist had reported that Somaliland flags were raised in the Buhodle square. SBC Director Mowlid Haji Abdi confirmed the arrest of Ali Osman but denied the accusations of the Eyn regional administration.

Amid the intensifying political and security crisis in Puntland, a number of journalists and media owners in Bossasso and Garowe have received intimidating telephone calls. For security reasons, these journalists asked NUSOJ not to mention their names. Some journalists were also threatened face-to-face and ordered not to talk about certain topics, such as contention among cabinet members, increasing insecurity and the upcoming Puntland elections. Journalists, particularly radio reporters, faced harassment by the authorities and tribal leaders for their reporting on the private affairs of Puntland officials and on factional politics.

"Political crises make media in Puntland vulnerable to political interference and unjustifiable pressure," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. "We denounce these forms of intimidation that are a major threat to the independent work of media professionals in Puntland."

Journalists who spoke to NUSOJ anonymously said that privately-owned media have become the main target of political intimidation. This situation discourages local journalists from reporting facts, in particular those related to competition between politicians. Puntland officials accuse some journalists of reporting unfounded stories, or try to use journalists to conduct their battles through the media. Reliable sources told NUSOJ that media outlets in Puntland were already exercising self-censorship.

"We demand Puntland leaders end their battle against media professionals and hold their officials responsible for their attacks against the media," Faruk added.


Somaliland: Airport Development Shows International Engagement

http://www.unpo.org/content/view/8194/142/, 28 May 2008 Funding from the British Government and expertise from the International Organization for Migration have come together in an important upgrade to Hargeysa airport.

Below is an article released by Qaran News and published by the Somaliland Times:

The United Kingdom Ambassador to Ethiopia, Norman Ling today [24 May 2008] formally opened two new additions at Egal International airport in Hargeysa. The two new areas consist of a new departure/arrival lounge and a new immigration area.

The two new additions are the first phase in a long term plan to update the immigration services at Somaliland's major international points of travel, the Egal International Airport in Hargeysa and the port of Berbera. The proposed second phase consist of plans to update similar areas at Borama and Buroa airports, as well as, the two major border centres at Togwajale and Lowyo-adde.

These new development projects have been funded by the government of the United Kingdom and are being implemented by the international travel agency, IOM [International Organization for Migration].

The ceremony at the Egal International Airport, the first phase in updating Somaliland's immigration facilities was attended by several members of the Somaliland government, The Commander of the Somaliland Police Force, the Mayor of Hargeysa, diplomats from the British embassy in Addis Ababa, senior officers from the Somaliland immigration service and members from IOM.

The head of the Somaliland Immigration Service, Mr Mohamed Nur Osman gave a brief background to the current developments at Egal International airport and port of Berbera. Mr Mohamed Nur highlighted Somaliland's efforts to update its immigration facilities to meet the needs of the people of Somaliland and visitors to the country.

Mr Mohamed Nur thanked the government of the United Kingdom for providing the necessary funds for these projects to go ahead, as well as, the expertise from IOM which allowed Somaliland immigration officers from across the country to increase their knowledge of modern facilities, including computers and international immigration procedures.

The Somaliland Minister of Civil Aviation, Mr Ali Mohamed Waran-adde also spoke at the ceremony to open the two new additions at Egal International airport. Mr Ali Mohamed also thanked the United Kingdom government for providing the means for these projects to take place. Mr Ali Mohamed also spoke of the strong ties between the two nations.

Responding on behalf of his delegation, Ambassador Ling stated that it's the intention of his government to participate in development projects in Somaliland. Ambassador Ling declared that although this is his first visit to Somaliland since his appointment as Her Majesty's Ambassador to Ethiopia, the traditional links between Somaliland and the United Kingdom have always been acknowledged.

Ambassador Ling continued by stating that his government has been providing over $15 Million dollars in development assistance to Somaliland which will continue and may be increased in the near future.

Other speakers at the ceremony to open the new additions at Egal International airport in Hargeysa included Ms. Adrienne Testa from IOM, who gave a brief presentation of the new facilities and a dateline for the expected completion of the second phase of the development.

Ms.Testa also gave a report on the co-operation between the Somaliland Immigration Services and IOM which is heading into its second year.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Somaliland Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Abdillahi Ismail Ali gave a brief speech to highlight the development of Somaliland's immigration and border services. Mr Abdillahi Ismail stated that Somaliland has achieved many remarkably things in the 17 years since reclaiming its sovereignty and that it is time for the international community to recognise its achievements, and support its position as the most stable country in the region.


Raising funds for SABAR

http://www.jamhuuriya.info/

A project committed to support a family with large disable people. The projects' aim is to deliver rehabilitation and support for extremely vulnerable and marginalised groups, specifically groups of disabled persons. The group is now being formalised with the charity commission. Established and initially sustained and personally funded in London by a volunteer (Mrs. Farah). Initial funding consisted of digging bore holes and wells, building accommodation, identifying carers and establishment of credit facilities with local food. The funds raised during this event will assist in the construction of suitable living accommodation, which will relief the family from the hardship they are facing currently.

Event details: Date = Saturday 24th May 2008, Time = 2pm until 9pm, Venue = York Hall, Old Ford Road, London, E2 9PJ

Nomad dedicated to make a difference:

Background

SABAR Project is promoted by Nomad International, a voluntary organisation based in various parts of the globe including the UK, Holland,Canada and Somaliland. Although the different organisations run independently there is a great sense of togetherness and dialog between the different branches in different parts of the world that mainly share their Diasporic experiences and understand their translational responsibilities. The organisation is made up mainly of young professional members who strive to inspire their youth and wider community in the Diaspora and if necessary act as role models, both inside and outside home. Nomad International concentrates mainly on education and health primarily in Somaliland and to a certain extent in the UK. The organisation also supports other organisation with their project, whether promoting or raising funds or planning and implementing projects.

Since its creation Nomad International has accomplished successful projects and/or achievements. Below are Nomads current and past projects:

Hargeisa University in May 2002, raised $1000,

Hargeisa Hospital in May 2003, raised $ 15000,

Burco Hospital in May 2004, raised $ 20 000,

Erigaabo Hospital and education project in May 2005, raised approx. $ 80 000,

SLAP (Somaliland Long-term Assistance Programme) May 2006,

SLAP remittances project is based on a standing order system and currently has approx. 100 donors that pay £ 5 to 10 a month. The project has so far generated more than $ 24000 and 12 people in the accident and emergency unit of Hargeisa Regional Hospital

Somaliland Orphanage project (launch on 24th May)


Somaliland Elections To Be Held On December 2008 And March 2009

Hargeysa, Somaliland, May 24, 2008 (SL Times) – Somaliland’s political leaders agreed this week to a proposal submitted to them by the National Electoral Commission calling for holding the country’s next presidential and municipal elections on December 15, 2008 and March 15, 2009.

Senior government leaders and representatives of the opposition parties have been holding talks since May 14 with the aim of resolving the country’s political crisis which was triggered by the decision of the Guurti on April 10, 2008 to extend president Riyale’s term in office which was due to expire by May 15 for one more year.

The opposition rejected the Guurti’s unilateral decision as illegal and vowed not to recognize Riyale as president after May 15, 2008.

It is not yet clear whether the opposition will be sticking to this position or will be seeking to reach an agreement with Mr. Riyale over the formation of a government of national unity.

The leaders of the KULMIYE and UCID opposition parties and the UDUB ruling party agreed earlier in the week to introduce a motion in parliament requesting the scrubbing of a clause in the voter registration act that demands holding the two elections six months apart.

Opposition leaders have indicated that there were some matters still to be agreed upon such as a guarantee that the Guurti will not interfere with the new time-line for the elections.


Lack of planning and preparation is a major cause of Somaliland’s ills

Source: Somaliland, May 24, 2008,Issue 331, EDITORIAL

As Somaliland’s election keeps being delayed time after another, one thing is apparent. In addition to all the selfish maneuverings, attempts to establish political advantage and point scoring by the various political players that has led to several postponements of the elections, there is another reason that is not so obvious, but that has, nevertheless, played an important part in the elections not taking place, and that is the prevalence, among Somalilanders, of a culture that does not stress the importance of planning and preparation.

If we look back in history, lack of preparation was behind one of the biggest disasters that befell Somaliland, namely, the precipitous union with Somalia. The whole thing happened so fast it would make your head spin. The British Secretary of State for the Colonies, Alan Lennox-Boyd, announced in December 1958 that his country would grant independence to Somaliland in 1960. As if getting the country ready for independence in a year and half was not problematic enough, once independence was achieved, Somalilanders only took five days to decide to merge with Somalia!

That pattern of not preparing for important events, even when we have had enough advance notice is still with us. Just look at our coming elections. The government had five years to plan for the elections, but it did nothing about the elections during most of that time, and now the elections are behind schedule. Similarly the Upper House extended its own term for four years in 2006, but until now, not a word was heard from the Upper House about preparations for its own elections, and it is very likely that only when the end of their term is very close, in 2010, they would start making some noises about elections.

If Somaliland is to move forward, this pattern of poor or lack of planning and preparation must be broken. The first step is not to reward officials with term extensions when they fail in their duty to make elections take place on time. After all, nothing concentrates the mind of a public official than the fear of losing his position.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, May 21, 2008/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 21 May 08 BBC Monitoring

SOMALIA UK ENVOY VISITS SOMALILAND ON FACT-FINDING MISSION

[Presenter] A delegation led by the UK ambassador to Ethiopia [names indistinct] has visited Somaliland today.

The ambassador stated that this was his first visit to Somaliland, adding that it was a fact-finding one in order to be acquainted with the current general situation in the country.

He said that he was on a working visit [words indistinct]. The ambassador added that he would be in the country for a two-day visit to asses areas that need assistance.

On the other hand, the [Somaliland] state minister of foreign affairs, Si'id Muhammad Nur, who received the envoy's delegation in his office, spoke in detail about Somaliland's political and economic situation, as well as the forthcoming elections.

The minister thanked the UK diplomats for their working visits to Somaliland, especially the ambassador's visit.


SOMALILAND AND PUNTLAND: OUTBIDDING EACH OTHER ON THE MALTREATMENT AND REPATRIATION OF SOMALIS FROM THE OGADEN

http://www.somaliherald.com/artman/uploads/press-release-5-20-08.doc. COMITE DES OGADEN
DROITS DE L’HOMME HUMAN RIGHTS
DE L’OGADEN COMMITTEE (CDHO OHRC
) Date: 21st May 2008 Ref: OHRC/PRM/0308 PRESS RELEASE

Forcible repatriation of civilians from the Ogaden is in full swing despite the concern and apprehension expressed by the Somali elders, Community leaders and Religious Scholars in Somaliland and Puntland.

Recently, the pro-Ethiopian Puntland and Somaliland administrations have stepped up their unlawful and inhumane acts against civilians hailing from the Ogaden. The two Ethiopian satellites are outbidding each other on maltreating and repatriating of the unarmed civilians. (See Puntland: persecutes and repatriates refugees from the Ogaden ref: OHRC/PRM/0108).

Human rights instruments provide protection against refoulement. The UN Convention against Torture, in Sub-article (l and 2) of Article 3 states that:

“1. No State Party shall expel, return (refouler) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.”

Article 14 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that: “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution”

Nevertheless, in different parts of Somalia, in the past 12 years, many Somalis from the Ogaden were detained, tortured, their private properties confiscated and then handed over to the Ethiopian government against their will, in exchange for ammunition and other materials. Most of them were traders, residents and visitors, who were not involved in any illegal activities and have no political affiliation whatsoever.

Many refugees from the Ogaden who were forcibly returned to Ethiopia have since disappeared in the notorious military detention camps throughout Ethiopia and were never seen again by their loved ones while others were tortured to death.

Last week, in Hargeisa, Ethiopian security forces and members of Somaliland militia collected Harir Mohamoud Dool and Abdinassir Aw Muhumed, two businessmen, from their residences. Harir and Abdinassir were living with their families and were long residents of Hargeisa.

Harir and Abdinassir were detained briefly in Hargeisa, and then were handed over to the Ethiopian government against their will. They were transferred to prison in Jigjiga, where they are being held incommunicado without charges or trial.

To the best of the Ogaden Human Rights Committee’s knowledge, they were not involved in any illegal activity. They were businessmen with no political affiliation. The Ogaden Human Rights Committee calls for them to be either charged with recognizable criminal offences and be given fair trials or immediately and unconditionally released. The OHRC is also concerned about their safety and well-being, particularly in view of constant reports about confessions made under torture.

In Puntland, five Somali men from the Ogaden were arrested at Bosaaso airport by members of Puntland militia, on May 13th 2008. They were transferred to Garowe and then returned back to Bosaaso. As this writing their fate and whereabouts are unknown to their families and relatives.

Firebombing of Somali Ogaden refugees’ residences and assaulting them physically and verbally are common practice in Puntland.

Both in Somaliland and Puntland, traditional elders, religious scholars and community leaders have issued press statements condemning the unlawful arrests and forcible repatriation of Somali Ogadenis to Ethiopia.

Scores of civilians from the Ogaden who fled from Ethiopian atrocities are being held in harsh conditions without charges or trial, in prisons, in Puntland and Somaliland.

According to reliable reports received by OHRC, persecution and other acts of aggression against Somalis from the Ogaden are unabated, and are going on in Somaliland and Puntland on daily basis.

The Ogaden Human Rights Committee condemns these acts of killing, torture, arbitrary arrests and forcible repatriation of refugees from the Ogaden from the neighbouring countries and demands the unconditional and immediate release of all detainees from the Ogaden who are being detained currently in Puntland and Somaliland.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND APPEALS

To: the United Nations, International Community, Ethiopia, Puntland and Somaliland:

* United Nations Security Council designates a safe heaven for the civilian population fleeing from Ethiopian armed forces’ onslaught and atrocities.

* United Nations High Commission for Refugees provides necessary shelter protection and maintenance to the Somali refugees from the Ogaden in the neighboring countries.

* The international community publicly censure Ethiopia, Somaliland and Puntland over their human rights record.

* The United Nations appoint a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Ogaden.

* The Ethiopian government should be held responsible for infamous mass killings, disappearances, arbitrary arrests, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

* The international community intervene to stop the forcible repatriation of Somalis to Ethiopia.

* The Ethiopian government, Somaliland and Puntland Administrations give ICRC and UNHCR free access to all detainees in Hargeisa, Bosaaso and elsewhere.

* The international community refrain from aiding and supporting the Ethiopian government, Somaliland and Puntland Administrations as long as they violate human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Somali people in the Ogaden and in their respective regions.

TO: INDIVIDUALS, LOCAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATIONS

* The Ogaden Human Rights Committee requests individuals, local human rights and humanitarian organizations to support its efforts to promote and improve the human rights cause in the Ogaden, and recommends the following steps:

Please write to your Foreign Ministry:

* Asking that your government exerts pressure on Ethiopia, Somaliland and Puntland Administrations to improve their human rights record.

* Urging that all political prisoners be either immediately and unconditionally released or charged with recognized criminal offences, and given fair trials; and be given unrestricted and regular access to their family members and to, representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (name some or all from those in this document or in other OHRC’s reports, which you can get in OHRC’s web site www.ogadenrights.org).

* Expressing concern at the disappearance of a large number of suspected government opponents in the notorious military detention camps throughout the Ogaden and jails in Somaliland and asking their whereabouts (name some or all from those in this document or in other OHRC’s reports, which you can get in OHRC’s web site www.ogadenrights.org).

* Asking your government to support the Ogaden Human Rights Committee's efforts to appoint a UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights as well as sending an independent fact-finding mission to the Ogaden in order to stop and prevent more human rights violations in that country.

Please copy your letter to diplomatic representatives of Ethiopia accredited to your country as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Somalia. The address is:

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Palais des Nations, 1211 Geneva 10

Ogaden Human Rights Committee, Web: www.ogadenrights.org


BBC Monitoring International Reports, May 19, 2008/Source: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 17 May 08/BBC Monitoring

EDITORIAL SAYS RULING, OPPOSITION PARTIES' COOL TALK RELIEVES SOMALILANDERS

As news of talks between the government and the opposition parties became public, Somalilanders both inside and outside the country breathed a sigh of relief that the threat of violence and civil strife that hung over them was finally lifted. Particularly reassuring was the upbeat statement by the Chairman of UCID [Justice and Welfare Party of Somaliland] opposition party, Mr Faysal Ali Warabe, in which he emphasized that the opposition and the government were determined to reach an agreement over the issues in dispute. The vice-president's statement reinforced this positive mood, although his reiteration that the government still views the extension of its term as legitimate raised the question of how a settlement is going to be reached if the government does not budge from its position?

At this point, the good news is that the government and the opposition are talking. They already had met twice and have promised to meet again on May 19. The lingering question in many people's mind is: will the next meetings result in an understanding or did Somalilanders celebrate too early?

If the government and the opposition reach an agreement on the way forward, it would be a demonstration, yet again, that Somalilanders have not lost that quality that makes them unique in Africa, namely, their ability to sit down together and solve their own problems. If, on the other hand, the talks fail, especially after such a promising start, it would be the beginning of a dark and difficult chapter in Somaliland's history. With such momentous and contrasting consequences for themselves and their people, it should be clear to Somaliland's government and the opposition that failure of the talks is not an option.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, May 19, 2008/Source: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 17 May 08 BBC Monitoring

NATIONAL UNION OF SOMALILAND JOURNALISTS CALLS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF PRESS LAW

The National Union of Somaliland Journalists was proclaimed on Tuesday following a 2-day conference held in Hargeysa by over 40 Journalists.

The constituent assembly of the union has elected a 13-member board of directors to govern the new organization.

Abdillahi Muhammad Dahir (Ukuse) was elected as chairman of the board and Khadar Muhammad Akule as vice-chairman. Muhammad Husayn Rambo will be the secretary-general of the union which is mandated to promote and defend the rights of journalists and to seek improvement of their employment conditions as well as professional skills.

The conference debated a number of issues including the state of the freedom of the press in the country and how the local media has been handling the current political crisis in Somaliland.

The conference has called on the government to end its monopoly of radio broadcasting in the country and to start licensed private FM stations.

The participants said that they have noted with deep regret the administration's reluctance to apply the country's press law.

"We urge all the three branches of government to take all the necessary steps towards the implementation of press law number 24/2004 with regard to cases involving the media" a statement issued by the conference said.

The conference which was sponsored by the Somaliland Society for Independent Journalists & Writers (SSJW) declared that the best way in which the media can contribute to diffusing the current tension between the government and the opposition over who should run the country after the expiry of Riyale's term in office on May 15, is to inform the public sufficiently and truthfully so that people are able to understand what is going on and may react accordingly.

Participants called on politicians to reach an agreement as soon as possible in order to pave the way for presidential and municipal elections.

Leaders of the National Union of Somaliland Journalists were asked to establish ties with similar unions in other countries as well as with international organizations for Journalists.

Besides the SSJW, there are two other journalist associations in Somaliland. However the overwhelming majority of Somaliland journalists have already indicated that they will also join the newly-founded national union as members.

The SSJW has been working with legislators to enhance media coverage of the parliament and the introduction of appropriate media laws and policies.

The project is expected to be wrapped up next month.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, May 19, 2008/Source: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 17 May 08

A dangerous confrontation between the opposition and the Somaliland government was averted

on Thursday thanks to a last minute initiative by the leaders of the opposition to invite the government for talks aimed at resolving Somaliland's current political crisis which started unravelling when the Guurti [Upper House of Parliament] unilaterally decided on April 10, 2008 to extend the tenure of the country's president Dahir Riyale for one year.

This controversial decision by the Guurti was meant to forego the expiry of Riyale's 5-year term in office on May 15 (Thursday). However the extension was soon declared illegal by the opposition parties who one day earlier (April 9) signed an agreement with the ruling UDUB [Allied People's Democratic Party] party and the National Electoral Commission rescheduling dates for the presidential and local council elections on October 7 and December 31, 2008.

But only hours before his term in office came to an end on Mid-night Thursday, Riyale accepted a suggestion by the opposition to negotiate a way out of the political impasse with KULMIYE [Has no expansion] party leader Ahmed Silanyo and chairman of UCID [Justice and Welfare] party Faysal Ali Warabe.

The two opposition party leaders met with Riyale in the Presidency on Wednesday evening. The three men met again on Thursday.

The only information that has so far come out of these meetings was that the opposition agreed to a suggestion by Riyale that the talks resume on May 19.

The two issues expected to dominate the discussions will be reaching an agreement on time-line for the elections and who should run the country from now until the next presidential elections and exactly how.

However the Somaliland Times has learnt that Riyale is unwilling to accept that legally he is no longer the president of the country.

Riyale has in the past been accused of trying to delay the presidential election for the sake of enabling him to remain in power as long as possible.

Long-time observers of Riyale say that he is unlikely to comprise on the dispute over the Guurti's extension of his term and with his tendency to betray agreements, analysts believe that Riyale is playing for delaying-tactics and that the political crisis is more unlikely to be resolve anytime soon.


Associated Press, May 16, 2008

From Africa to West Papua, unrecognized nations push for self-determination

BYLINE: By JAN SLIVA

It has a functioning parliament, its own currency and a viable economy boosted by hundreds of millions of euros (dollars) from a diaspora yet international recognition remains a dream for Somaliland.

Representatives from the breakaway, self-declared republic in northern Somalia and some 40 other regions from western Africa to eastern Asia met in the European Parliament Friday to push for their cause. Some are asking to be recognized as independent states, others simply wanting to raise awareness of their nation's or tribe's difficulties under a government which they say oppresses them.

"We hope recognition will come soon. We've done so much in the areas of reconstruction, expanding schools, water supplies. We have a military, a central bank, a coastal guard looking after our 900-kilometer (560-mile) coast," Mohamoud A. Daar, Somaliland's representative to the EU, said during the conference.

Organized by the Dutch-based Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, or UNPO, which lobbies with the U.N., European Union and other institutions on behalf of some 70 unrepresented regions across the world, the conference discussed the practical difficulties of de facto states. They include the inability to get a loan from an international institution, health problems because of denied access to the World Health Organization, or security issues at airports within unrecognized territories.

"UNPO convened this conference not to address whether or not these entities should be independent, which is a very complex and controversial matter, but to deal with the reality that these pockets of the world do exist and function, to varying degrees, as states," the organization said in a declaration.

Nathan Buck, a UNPO official, said some of the peoples' perceived right to independence "is obviously very subjective." But he said the organization represents regions based on transparent criteria such as nonviolence and respect for international human rights standards.

UNPO members have met at least once every 18 months since 1991, and Buck said securing visas and permits for the representatives to travel to Brussels has taken months and dozens of people still have not made it.

Members from the separatist Georgian province of Abkhazia, which is supported by Russia and has been de-facto independent since a 1990s secessionist war, traveled to Moscow to get their visas.

Representatives from Nagaland state on India's eastern border with Myanmar, where the Naga people have been fighting for a half century to create a separate country, had to go to Bangkok, Thailand, rather than New Delhi, India, but did not receive their EU visas anyway, Buck said.

Daar, Somaliland's representative, illustrated some of the practical difficulties of living in a non-recognized state. The economy of the region in the Horn of Africa, which declared independence from war-torn Somalia in 1991, has been entirely homegrown because it cannot get any loans from institutions such as the World Bank. It makes money from livestock exports and has received hundreds of millions of euros (dollars) annually from people from Somaliland who are living abroad, Daar said.

Somaliland has signed an agreement on cooperation with neighboring Ethiopia, but business with other countries is on an ad-hoc basis.

Daar said he remains hopeful that the African Union, which sent a fact-finding team to Somaliland in 2005, would act on the mission's recommendation and recognize Somaliland as an independent country.

"We're more stable than many of the quasi states around us," Daar said.


http://www.somalilandtoday.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1381,15 May 2008

Deadline: The Showdown Between the Good and the Evil in Somaliland

On the onset, let me clearly state here that my primary school teacher, used to angrily warn us whenever, we make trouble that, “Don’t trouble trouble before trouble troubles you” and then, he would use that phrase as an excuse to punish us since we made trouble before there was any trouble in the class. Similarly, I hereby warn the unqualified and arrogant president Riyaale, his inept and corrupt administration, the blind an unpatriotic UDUB party, and his Mafioso henchmen that there is no trouble or breach of peace or breakage of lawless and diorder or political turmoil and chaos or civil war or general insecurity and instability whatsoever in Somaliland, other than, the ones he had been unabatedly fomenting in the country since he came to power in 2003 by way of massive vote rigging.

Therefore, he must desist and refrain immediately from his unscrupulous dictatorial practices, sabotage of democracy, multi-party and free economy systems, general misrule or inept or unjust or unwise rule, retardation of political; economical and social progress, tarnishing the international image and standing of the country thereby undermining the efforts towards the achievement of international recognition of Somaliland, colossal mismanagement of all segments of the public and state affairs, endemic corruption, misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds, injustice, gross violation of human rights, poisonous tribalism, hateful divisive policies, sheer envy, and barbarous animosity that he has, all along, been busy brewing in Somaliland in a manner to callously undermine the just cause and existence of Somaliland. And for heaven’s sake, do not trouble trouble before trouble troubles you,otherwise, it will be to your detriment and that of your lackeys and kin and kith. Mark you, we are not bluffing. And we truly mean what we say.

To return to the topic, the current dangerous stand off in Somaliland is between the good—those nationalistic Somalilanders who stood up to evil and sacrificed their time, wealth, properties, sons, and daughters and bravely shed their precious sweat, tears, and blood to liberate our people and the country in a bitter and long armed struggle and the evil—those unpatriotic Somalilanders who previously served the enemy loyally and fought alongside the tyrannical military regime of Savage Gen. Siyad Bare and his various heavily armed tribal militias like president Riyaale and some of his key Cabinet Ministers such as the Minister of Interior, Minister of Finance, Minister of Transport and Aviation, Minister of Housing and Public Works, and all the other NSS Gestapo, Dhabar Jebinta Isaaq, Hangash, and Faqash who have currently infested his administration who during the period, 1980-1990 waged a scorch earth policy and a take-no-prisoner fascistic and genocidal war against our people specifically the Isaaq Clan in an attempt to wipe them from the phase of the planet and who barbarously annihilated hundreds of thousands of our people piled them, while still tied together in secretive mass graves particularly the innocent women, children, and the frail elderly and who also wounded tens of thousands of others and who internally displaced hundreds of thousands of our citizenry and forced them into an exodus of more than a million into exile in Ethiopia and who entirely looted our centuries old and hard worn properties and who finally, bombarded our major cities to rubble.

On the other hand, we are aware off and well versed with the kind of poisonous tribalism, hatemongering, divisiveness, provocations, and the long standing onslaught on the unity and harmonious coexistence of the citizenry, and the conspiracies, sabotages, and indifferent policies and actions of this rogue president to undermine the Isaaq Clan, which is the dominant ethnic group in the country as well as his unending evil practices and activities to undermine our hard won independence, democracy, freedoms and liberties, peace and security, stability and territorial integrity, and in general the just cause and the existence of Somaliland.

Example # 1: UDUB Party:

· We know that UDUB party is seriously fragmented, disunited, and can no longer be considered as a viable party worthy of a national political party that it once used to be during the reign of it’s late founder, Hon. M.I. Egal, the previous president of Somaliland. Sadly, this party has been hijacked and broken up into four segments, which are commonly known as the Egal UDUB (the original party), the Riyaale UDUB (the new and derailed one-man show party), the Gaboose UDUB (the now alienated old SAHAN party affiliates), and the Suleyman Gaal UDUB (the now alienated old ASAD party affiliates)!

· We know that UDUB party has been generally undermined and derailed from its original cause, vision and purpose, and that its original patriotic members have long been purged. And that it’s ranks have now been filled with secretive and unpatriotic members particularly at the levels of the executive or the Middle and Central Committees of the party. And it is widely believed that those who now, occupy these committees are mainly members who hail from the Gudabiirsi, Harti, and Issa ethnic groups as well as some of Isaaq Clan lackeys since most of the nationalistic and patriotic old members have long abandoned the party and either joined KULMIYE party or UCID party—that is why the president who is also the Chairman of the current hijacked UDUB party is deliberately and illegally stalling or blocking the party to convene its legitimate party convention as required by law for more than two years to the present i.e. he is afraid that if he does so there will be a huge scandal in relation to the exposure of secretive tribal members whom no one knows when and how and under what criteria they happen to be members of this national party.

· We know that since the original UDUB party and its other affiliates have been great undermined, the remaining old members have no say or they are at the edge of being wiped out as their colleagues and that the new and derailed one-man-show UDUB party of president Riyaale and his henchmen or secretive members at both levels of the party’s committees have paved the way for them to completely hijack UDUB party and to turn it into the old USP party—a tribal party of the Gudabiirsi, Dhulbahante, and Issa tribes alliance of the late 50’s and 60’s who were mainly responsible for their adamant position and campaign for the ill-advice and illegal Somaliland-Somalia Unity resulting to the loss of our previous independence and sovereignty in 1960. Is it de ja vu all over again?

Example # 2: The Conspiracy Behind the Visit to Hargeisa by the UN Envoy for Somalia:

· According to the recent visit to Hargeisa, Somaliland by Mr. Ahmed Ould Abdalla, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Somalia, it is widely believed that the conspiracy to undermine the democratic process and the upcoming presidential and local government elections was formulated at the Presidential Palace at Hargeisa following the secretive meeting between the president and the Special UN Envoy. The evil plan agreed upon by these two conspirators was a) That Mr. Ahmed Ould Abdalla to depict the overall peace, security, stability, and progress of Somaliland in bad faith and to include it in his report to the UN Secretary General b) That the UN Secretary General will, in turn, include the unethical, false, unsubstantiated, and unfounded allegations against Somaliland in his report to the UN Security Council, which he did so by shamefully stating that the Somaliland’s peace, security and stability is fragile and no different from that of the failed and anarchic Somalia c) That for president Riyaale and his corrupt administration to fend off any attempt from other Somaliland politicians and leaders to condemn the biased and ridiculous biases by Mr. Ahmed Ould Abdalla in tarnishing the international image and standing of Somaliland in comparing it with the anarchic and failed Somalia that only exists on paper—Remember, how adamantly and vigorously Haji Abdi Waraabe, the Chairman of the Permanent Committee of the Guurti House adamantly opposed and killed the motion brought before the House by the 13 nationalistic and patriotic members to condemn Mr. Ahmed Ould Abdalla, the UN Special Representative for Somalia for depicting the solid peace, security and stability of State of Somaliland as being fragile and as insecure and unstable as Somalia d) That president Riyaale to begin fomenting breaching the overall peace, security, and stability of the country in order to covertly support the reports submitted by both the UN Special Representative for Somalia and the UN Secretary General e) That for president Riyaale’s henchmen or NSS Gestapo to begin a series of bomb blasts in Hargeisa city and elsewhere in the country starting, with the house of Mr. Mr. Buni, the so-called Minister for Parliamentary Affairs in which a hand grenade was harmlessly lobbed at the backyard wall of his house, whereby the rogue UDUB cohorts quickly deemed it as a “breaking news” and broadcasted it on the national and foreign media, which were also published by most of Somaliland websites and, which after a few days were followed by some other hand grenade blast in some other place in the city, and finally, detonated a small bomb planted in an empty office of the Guurti House that was quickly considered as “the straw that broke the camel’s back” thereby seizing on the moment to broadcast to the whole world that Somaliland is in a state of serious breach of peace and insecurity f) That the Guurti House will use that fabrication to base it on their decision and hastily passed a motion to increase president Riyaale’s tenure in office for another one year, an illegal measure that is contrary to the constitution and the laws of the land in order to 1) Covertly support and substantiate the erroneous, biased, and damaging reports of the UN 2) Brazenly postpone the national election for the third time, and 3) Undermine the amicable agreement between the three national parties and the National Election Commission in relation to the timetable set for the upcoming presidential and local government elections. Does that ring a bell?

Example # 3: The Hasty Announcement for Creating Six (6) New Regions:

· We know that this saboteur, divisive and treacherous act by president Riyaale for creating six (6) new regions such as Selel, Gabiley, Oodweyne, Saraar, Buhoodle, and Badhan regions thereby doubling the number of regions in this small and poor country to twelve (12), which it can hardly afford was intended to further divide the people of Somaliland into tribal and regional fiefdoms in order to employ a divide and rule policy on them and to further destroy their unity and amicable coexistence and fabric of the society in general so as to undermine the overall peace, security and stability, and territorial integrity of Somaliland as well as to entirely, undermine the cause and existence of Somaliland in the long run.

· We know that with the exception of Gabiley and Badhan regions, the rest are not viable territorially, politically, economically, and socially and are not worthy to promoted to regional status.

· We know that president Riyaale’s intentions, all along, was to create the regions of Selel, Buhoodle, and Badhan in order to bring the number of regions for the minority and old USP alliances to five (5) i.e. Awdal, Sool, Selel, Buhoodle, and Badhan regions and under the guise of equality created Gabiley, Odweyne, and Saraar regions for the dominant Isaaq Clan thereby bringing the total of the pro-SNM to seven (7) regions.

· We know that the minority and old USP alliance now, have a total of five (5) regions and the majority or pro-SNM communities have seven (7) regions and the difference between the two groups is currently only two (2) regions. And that president Riyaale and his henchmen are counting on to close the gap in the future by recruiting some unpatriotic and corrupt parliamentary members from both Houses of Parliament (House Representative and the Guurti House) who are either pro-federalist or pro-unity with Somalia or pro-Greater Somalia/Somaliweyn lackeys who may allow him to pass in the future, for instance, a motion that may state: Either Somaliland to stand alone as it is or to unite once again with Somalia due to the circumstance or predicaments that may prevail at that planned period. And if it comes to that there is the likelihood that the pro-federalist or Somalia lackey’s side may win the vote or if the vote ends up a tie, a referendum might be called for to resolve the issue. Do you see the short term and long term threats and endangerment to the hard won independence, the cause and existence of Somaliland brought unto you by this arrogant and unqualified president who is truly a wolf in sheep’s coat?

Example # 4: The Deployment of Tribal Militias Under the Guise of Somaliland Armed Forces: · We know that most of the 2000 militias under the uniform and in disguise of the Somaliland Armed Forces, which were transferred from Borame or Awdal region and deployed in Hargeisa, the capital of the country as well as being an Isaaq city were secretly recruited, trained, and armed in order to serve as a special Gudabiirsi tribal militia, which president Riyaale hails from.

· We know that most of these tribal militias are not citizens of Somaliland and that they are believed to be Somali-Ethiopians of Gudabiirsi origin from Zone 5 of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia. And that is a clear criminal act, treachery and colossal treason against the people and the State of Somaliland that must be brought to justice immediately.

· We know that most of these tribal militias previously belonged to the SDA and Horyaal Gudabiirsi guerillas—an anti-Isaaq, anti-SNM, anti-Somaliland war criminals who were long defeated during the long and bitter struggle (1980-1990) to liberate the people and Somaliland. And none of these inhuman criminals have been prosecuted for the war crimes, crimes against humanity, and for waging a genocidal war against the Isaaq clan particularly against the innocent women, children, and the frail elderly residing in Tog Wajaale, Gabiley, Arabsiyo, Kalabaydh cities, etc. and the many adjacent areas. Isn’t it amazing that these war criminals have resurfaced again and are still at their old evil deeds and thirsting for more gory flesh and blood?

· We know that these tribal militias were given the orders by the president and their field commanders to breach our solid peace, foment insecurity and instability in the capital, crush public demonstrations, and to arrest and humiliate some marked key national and opposition leaders particularly the KULMIYE party officials and the veteran SNM Mujahideens. And to besiege the capital city and its residents and impose and mane an unannounced and illegal curfew from dusk to dawn, which is utterly unacceptable. And nowadays, a common and laughable new phrase by these Gudabiirsi militias that has been added in the vocabulary and dictionary of the proud and noble Somalilanders is their constant use of the phrase, “Huno, Seex Seexda” meaning “darling, go to sleep-sleep” in a hash manner with their guns cocked and trigger happy to kill the innocent civilians!! And to show that they meant business, they recently opened a hail of bullets on a civilian car carrying some passengers from a wedding ceremony thereby killing instantly in cold blood a teenage Isaaq girl by the name Hani, may God rest her soul in peace, Amiin. Apparently, the cold blooded militia gun-men who killed her savagely have not been arrested to-date, while the driver of the car who himself narrowly escaped death was immediately arrested and is currently languishing in a jail for no reason. Sounds familiar?

· We know that most of the frontline troops in Adhi Adeeye, Laas Anood, Abesaley, etc. and the adjacent areas who were manning the far eastern frontiers with Puntland or Somalia from the enemy most of whom were from the Dhulbahante tribe were quickly ordered to vacate their defensive position and redeployed in Burao City, the second capital of Somaliland. And we also know that the reasons behind the initial amnesty, recruitment, and integration of these Dhulbante militias most of whom were previously loyal Puntland tribal militias who were purported to have “surrendered” to Somaliland.

· We also now, know that with thousands of Gudabiirsi militias deployed in Hargeisa City, the capital and the most populous city in the country and hundreds of Dhulbahante militias deployed in Burao City, the second capital and the second most populous city in the country, is a clear evidence of sealing the secret evil tribal oath and resuscitation of the old USP political and tribal alliances in Somaliland. Get the point?

Example # 5: The End of the president’s Constitutional Tenure in Office: · We know that the five-year constitutional tenure in office of president Riyaale is due to expire on 15 May 2008.

· We know that the one (1) year increase of the president’s tenure in office by the un elected and rogue Guurti House is uncalled for or unwarranted, illegal, and contrary to the Constitution and the laws of the land.

· We know that all the six (6) region, Districts, Cities, Townships, and villages including rural areas as well as our independent and proud pastoral societies are all safe and sound since the people and the country are generally at peace with themselves. Therefore, the reason of the Guurti House to increase the tenure of the president by one more year on the basis of a “state of insecurity in Somaliland” is false and non-existent, other than, to foment and create one of their own so as to recklessly interfere with the ongoing democratic process, election process in order to hijack the authority and duties of the National Election Commission (NEC) and killing the amicable agreement of the legitimate election stakeholders such as the three national political parties and the NEC and to put in place the illegal imposition of a far stretched new election timetable and ramming through every illegal legal policies and procedures in their arsenal when actually, there isn’t, at all, any insecurity or instability in Somaliland. And their current policies, practices, and actions on this regard is clearly unwarranted and tantamount to high crimes and treason against the people and the State of Somaliland that must be prosecuted accordingly.

· We know that president Riyaale and his henchmen have made a habit of unabatedly disrespecting and trampling on the Constitution and laws of the land.

· We know that president Riyaale has in the past and in the present ignored the outcry or calls by the majority of citizenry within the country and in the Diasporas to respect and adhere to the constitution and the laws of the land, and to desist from his unending of fabrication of constitutional crisis that has poisoned the political discourse of this country in the public and national interest. But to no avail.

· We know that president Riyaale has openly stated that he will not vacate the presidency even after his tenure in office expires on 15 May 2008 meaning that he occupy the office illegally, continue to abuse power, and misrule the people and the county by force!!

· We know that with the deployment of the tribal militias in disguise of Somaliland Armed Forces in the major cities of Somaliland such as Hargeisa, Berbera, Burao, etc. is evidence that he is asking for a war and bloodshed—one that is reminiscent of the injustice, gross violation of human rights, civil war, barbarism, massacres, mass graves, displacement of civilians particularly women, children, and the frail elderly, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and genocidal war of the deposed tyrannical military regime of Savage Siyad Bare, which he served locally to the very bitter end.

· We finally, know that he foolishly considers himself as the defeated and deposed Dictator Siyad Bare and his inept administration as the deposed tyrannical military regime and the hijacked UDUB party as the XHKP party, the socialist one-party State of Somalia and further considers KULMIYE party, the official opposition party as the SNM guerillas, his old rivals triumphed over them and liberated the people and the State of Somaliland and its leaders as the Mahbar or Qurmis guerillas (terrorists). That is the kind of mentally of this small-timer and rogue president harbours, which the root cause for his unabated arrogance, abuse of power, and constant provocations, which must be stopped by all necessary means before it is too late.

As a result of these numerous high crimes most of which are tantamount to treachery and treason against the people and the State of Somaliland, the citizenry within the country and in the Diasporas including foreigners have had enough of it and have loudly and clearly, on numerous occasions, said to this blind, deaf, dumb, and rogue president Riyaale and his henchmen that they have run out of all option to continue tolerating him as president of the Republic of Somaliland therefore on 15 May 2008 he must go—come hell come high water in order to maintain peace, security, and the stability of the country as well as to continue on the democratic process and, most importantly, to save the overall cause and existence of Somaliland. Isn’t that fair enough?

Furthermore, the people of Somaliland can no longer put up with the kind of misrule of this unqualified and arrogant president Riyaale, his inept and corrupt administration, the hijacked and unpatriotic UDUB party, and his mainly NSS Gestapo, Dhabar Jebinta Isaaq, Hangash, Tribal Militias, and Faqash that has infested the government and key national institutions of Somaliland. Consequently, the people of Somaliland detest him greatly and can no longer put up with president Riyaale’s empty arrogance, hollow rhetoric, tribal brouhaha, and the constant fabrication of one constitutional crisis after the other—since he is indeed an unscrupulous president or unprincipled rogue without moral principles or ethical standards in his conduct and actions. Worse still, he posses no scrupulous and conscience or regards or contempt for laws of right or justice with which he is perfectly well acquainted and which should have restrained his widely detested and damaging policies and actions. Moreover, the people of Somaliland from within and in the Diasporas widely oppose and despise president Riyaale’s and his henchmen’s unscrupulous methods of perpetuating an endemic corruption, embezzling public funds, and taking advantage of the unfortunate citizenry particularly the poor, women, children, and the frail elderly of this poor and unrecognized country.

Therefore, the people of Somaliland wherever they may reside are strongly and loudly demanding that president Riyaale to be pushed aside by any means necessary at the end of his tenure in office on 15 May 2008. And there should not be any dithering or back off of the opposition their strong position that is widely supported by the general public and since their ultimatum is already in the public domain—that come hell or high water, the opposition parties will no longer recognize president Riyaale as the legitimate president of the Republic of Somaliland when his tenure officially ends on 15 May 2008. And failure to comply with it or maintain or implement this legitimate position is equally tantamount to treachery and treason on the part of the political parties and politicians on both camps, the House of Representatives, the Guurti House, the Supreme Court, and the Constitutional Court of Somaliland. The only compromise that may be acceptable to the people of Somaliland within the country and in the Diasporas when the president’s terms ends is the immediate creation of an Interim Coalition Government that will fill the vacuum, which will, in return, return the country back to its previously track of democracy and implementation of the ongoing democratic process and to prepare them to holding the now sabotaged presidential and local government elections.

Conclusion:

Overall, the people of Somaliland are not moved one bit by president Riyaale’s attempt to undermine and hijack UDUB party in his bid to resuscitate the long dead tribal alliances and the USP of the late 50s and 60s. And UDUB party must fight back and rejuvenate itself and take its rightful position in the country’s political affairs. Moreover, it is now, clear that president Riyaale is in cahoots with the UN Special Representative for Somalia and other foreign powers such as the TFG of Somalia in their bid to foment political turmoil and chaos, to trigger a civil war, to undermine the democratic process, to sabotage the upcoming presidential and local government elections, to tarnish the international image and standing of the peaceful and democratic Republic of Somaliland, and to undercut the efforts towards the international recognition of Somaliland—an action that is indeed tantamount to treachery, high crimes, and treason that must be brought to justice without any delay and the culprits be prosecuted and punished accordingly. Furthermore, his saboteur and divide and rule policies and actions in hastily announcing six (6) new regions without public consultation or carrying a research or feasibility study as to whether they are necessary, viable, and worthy of promotion to regional status, which is unprecedented anywhere in the world will not stand. Above all, his tribal militias from Awdal and Sool, which have been provocatively deployed mainly in Hargeisa and Burao cities, the two largest and most populous cities in the country will neither scare the residents of these cities nor subjugate them into accepting dictatorship and tyranny in their land or put a single dent on the dominant clan of this country. And they are proud and confident to state here that they have in past prevailed against all odds and been victorious against gigantic Hurricanes and hordes of barbarous tribal militias as well as tyrannical and fascistic military regimes who employed a scorch earth policy and inhumane genocidal wars that by far dwarfs the kind of the little dust cyclone president Riyaale is attempting to brew in Hargeisa and Burao cities or in the country. Therefore, they will certainly prevail and be victorious against their avowed enemies—and enemies of Mankind, as always. And that his petty and inexperience rag-tag tribal militias in disguise of Somaliland Armed Forces and their cohorts from his home region and elsewhere, will be wiped out if they attempt to harass and begin to brutalize the innocent civilians. That is for sure!

On the other hand, we know that president Riyaale have been lied to into believing that his closest and reckless Cabinet Ministers and key UDUB party leaders such as Cawil, Sulub, Ciro, Waran Cade, Ahmed Haji Dahir, Buni, Dhola Yare, Ina Saleeban Weyne, Haji Abdi Waraabe, Habane (the Secretary of the Guurti), Sheikh Fure, Bulale, and others will, incase of trouble, quickly and decisively back him by mounting a formidable tribal militias from their respective tribes in his aid, not knowing that these loud-mouthed demagogues and provocative senior officials are alone in this evil brew of hate and conflicts and that they already fighting a losing battle in their attempts to blindly support dictatorship and the re-incarnation of their previously defeated Faqash era regime.

Consequently, the unqualified and arrogant president Riyaale have also been lied to and been misled to believe that Atto Meles Zinawi will come to his aid and when the jinni goes out of the bottle and that he will send Battalions or Divisions of Ethiopian military personnel and tons of all sorts of heavy weaponry across the silent and peaceful Somaliland-Ethiopian border to back him and to subjugate and defeat the entire people and the State of Somaliland. But neither Atto Meles Zinawi nor the Ethiopian Military are that foolish to open another war front in their eastern border particularly a dangerous and formidable front that is much closer to Jigjiga, Dire Dawa, Addis Ababa, and Makale City. The Ethiopian military are already in a quagmire in Somalia and their priority, at the moment, is either how to prevail over their opponents or how to find ways and means to extricate themselves from the mess they have created, in the first place, in a manner that will not backfire on them or follow them to Addis Ababa. After all, Atto Meles Zinawi and Ethiopia are not that foolish to discard unnecessarily the existing security and trade agreement in between Somaliland and Ethiopia, that is, greatly in their public and national interest. After all, the cordial, warm, and friendly relations between the peoples and states of Somaliland and Ethiopia, can never be done with, for the sake of propping up president Riyaale who hails from a minority ethnic group that has no political, economical, social, and territorial clout in Somaliland or elsewhere in the Horn of Africa region as well as his petty and weak Mafioso henchmen all of whom have long lost the public confidence of Somalilanders from within and without. In addition, there is a serious political and military conflict that is cropping up between Eritrea and Djibouti and for that matter none of them is in a position to fern more hostilities elsewhere since the giant Ethiopia is also watching them closely and waiting as patient as a vulture and ready to devour them alive, given the opportunity. And the TFG of Somalia and War Criminal president Abdullahi Yusuf are both in tatters to a point of disintegration. Most importantly, the Armed Forces of Somaliland will not turn to harm their own brethren. So who will fight and die for the rogue president Riyaale and his henchmen? So why should he be arrogant for no reason?

Recommendations: 1. The UDUB party must prepare immediately and hold it’s party convention without any further delay as required by law in order to flush out the fake and illegal Middle and Central Committees members and to save the party, multi-party system, and the democratization process of the country.

2. Both the Houses of Parliament (the House of Representative and the Guurti) must jointly condemn Mr. Ahmedou Ould Abdalla for his unethical practices, misrepresenting the facts and for twisting the reality on the ground in Somaliland in relation to his recent false and biased report for depicting the peaceful and democratic Republic of Somaliland as fragile, insecure and instable in order not scare foreign donors, foreign humanitarian NGO’s, and foreign investors. Better be late in your condemnation than never.

3. The Guurti must immediately reverse its unjust, illegal, and unwarranted one year increment of president Riyaale’s five-year tenure in office, which is due to expire on 15 May 2008.

4. The unnecessary military siege and unannounced and illegal covert curfews currently imposed on the major cities of Somaliland such as Hargeisa, Burao, Berbera, and others must be lifted immediately.

5. The rag-tag tribal militias from Awdal and Sool regions who are imposed on other ethnic groups and cities must be returned to their camps, integrated fairly to the national troops from other regions or entirely disbanded immediately in order to avoid in the present and in the future the recurrence of tribal conflicts and civil wars on the basis of ethnicity or regionalism, like in Somalia.

6. The citizenry, government, parliament, the three political parties, other key national institutions, civil society organizations, Traditional Elders, and Religious leaders must convene an immediate Grand National Conference in order to quickly fill the vacuum following the president’s departure from office on 15 May 2008 and appoint an inclusive Interim Coalition Government that will prepare the people and the country for fresh presidential and local government elections.

7. The new regions announced recently must either be reversed with the exception of Gabiley and Badhan regions due to their viability and unworthy or for their undeservedly promotion to a regional status or that the entire six new region be reversed and maintain the existing six regions or even the old six regions be reversed and replaced by the pre-independence three regions i.e. Sanaag, Togdheer, and North-West (Maroodi Jeex) regions in order to stem tribalism and maintain the multi ethnicity dimensions and the multicultural components of the fabric of the society in Somaliland, and

8. If these six new regions can not be reversed then, the Bali Gubadle and El Afweyn districts must be promoted to regional status in order to check on the threat of the new USP tribal alliance that is rising behind the scenes so as to save the independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty, and the cause and existence of Somaliland.

Farah Ali Jama, Ottawa, Canada. farah.jama@alumni.uottawa.ca (May 8, 2008).


When Democracy Means A dictatorship In Disguise

http://www.somalilandtoday.net/ May 09 2008

This article was originally posted on Somaliland.Org on 17 March, 2005. This is the prophetic view of the author, Jamal Madar, who is an implacable critic of the Rayale government. Today, Somaliland is slowly but steadily sliding back to dictatorship:

In the world of dictatorship, it is said, there are three sorts of people: tyrants, victims and bystanders. That is the way things have always been in the world of dictatorship. For some obscure reason the roles of these three types of people complement each other. A tyrant cannot be a tyrant without a victim. And bystanders are necessary for the tyranny to continue because a thirst for power invariably accompanies one for publicity. Many of us recall that before 21 October 1969 the former Somali Republic was a democracy that, despite its faults and shortcomings, was the envy of Africa and most of the Third World. We also recall how this thriving democracy was gradually transformed in a few years to the most oppressive dictatorship ruled by a ruthless tyrant, Mohamed Siyad Barre, until the litany of crimes against humanity that he had committed against his own people ultimately brought the final curtain down on his despotic rule.

When Barre came to power in 1969, one of the first acts of his government was to change the country’s name from the Somali Republic to the Somali Democratic Republic in an attempt to hoodwink the Somali people and the international community at large following the example of communist countries around the world. But in former communist states that adopted the name “democratic” the use of the epithet was based on the claim that they provided the basic necessities of life for everyone. Barre knew perfectly well that, unlike the communist countries, he could not provide bread and butter for every citizen of his impoverished country. But, he wanted to use the name as a gimmick intended to soothe the people about the horrors that were to come.

Apart from this seemingly benign but portentous name change, the Barre regime’s road to despotism had a number of landmarks, which identified each turning point. The first of these was the suspension of the constitution and the freedoms it guaranteed such as the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech. This was followed shortly afterwards by the enactment of a law establishing the National Security Court (NSC) and eliminating the few remaining civil liberties while also reserving the death penalty for any political action regarded as sabotage, subversion or “anti-revolutionary”.

The next step was to remove from the Supreme Revolutionary Council those elements that were seen as an obstacle to Barre’s future dictatorial rule. These included the older officers who could see through Barre’s machinations and the more ambitious types. Thus, Generals Ainanshe and Gabayre and Colonel Del were tried by the NSC on trumped up charges and summarily executed. Not only was this intended as a warning to potential trouble makers but also as a means of gauging the extent of public tolerance to such executions.

Because the public was docile or indifferent, more executions followed as time went on and the slightest murmur of discontent led to imprisonment, torture and other forms of abuse. All this was intended to pave the way for the concentration of political power in the hands of Siyad Barre and this is what eventually happened particularly after assuming other roles and responsiblities besides the presidency. Nothing was done without his knowledge and nobody could tell him that a particular policy or action was wrong. We all know what finally became of his regime and the country at all large.

The descent of the Barre regime into a state of absolute tyranny despite the democratic nature of Somali society is quite instructive for predicting the future trend of the Rayale government and its probable end. This is because it has already emabarked on a course similar to that of the Barre Regime in its early days.

Nearly two decades ago, the people of Somaliland had taken up arms to overthrow Siyad Barre because of his repression against the people of Somaliland. Fourteen years after Somaliland restored its independence following the collapse of the Barre regime, the ugly face of repression is raising its head again. That regime’s ghost is haunting us again because the dark forces that used to work for it and prop it up in power are lurking in the corners of every street in Hargeisa. The system and its informers, hirelings, quislings and stooges (which was called Faqash) are in power today in Somaliland or working to prop up the system. There are informers in every household. They are menacingly staring at us from every nook and cranny of the country. Somaliland is no longer the country we have cherished and yearned for, the country that so many heroes had sacrificed their precious blood for to free us from the clutches of Afweyne’s repression. Unfortunately our dreams seem to be in tatters today as the country has fallen into the hands of conscienceless and unashamed clique of usurpers. They are the remnants of Faqash - a deadly breed who have learned and improved all their former master’s tricks.

There are many former Faqash civil servants in Rayale’s government. They are pests in our midst, who are there in that government for an illusory power and glory, for crumbs from Rayale’s table, for satisfaction of their ambition and avarice. They allow themselves to be used as expendable instruments of oppression of their brethren by this despicable regime. Thus, those who are in power in Somaliland today are no different in many respects from the evil regime that we replaced one and a half decades ago.

We were asked to believe that the western style democracy that Somaliland had adopted would protect our rights: the right to express ourselves freely without fear, the right to protest peacefully as enshrined in the constitution, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and so on. But these rights are simply written on a piece of paper called the constitution, which the President uses when it suits him and throws into the dustbin when it doesn’t.

Rayale may not have sentenced anyone to death but his regime, unlike his predecessor’s, has gone to an extraordinary length to suppress the truth. His regime has sanctioned the use of death threats, beatings, torture, rape and detention of innocent people without trial. People can no longer express themselves freely anymore for they are likely to be detained under the law titled “Endangering the Peace and Stability of the Country’. It is an all-encompassing law similar to those enacted by Siyad Barre’s military junta and is calculated to silence the critics of the government. Anyone who expresses views critical of the government is sentenced in a Kangaroo court- a mobile National Security Tribunal chaired by the discredited Internal Minister, Ismail Adan Osman, the notorious former small-time petty Faqash informer who was responsible for the deaths of so many of his own kith and kin during Afweyne’s regime. He was the first man whose house was destroyed by the SNM forces when they captured Hargeisa.

Lately, it has become customary for Rayale’s regime to employ hirelings to intimidate journalists who try, in all their efforts, to report to us the truth about what is going on in the country and to illuminate from time to time the ambiguities surrounding the government’s policies, priorities and programmes.

On 31st August, the Editor-in-Chief of Jamhuriya, Africa’s most arrested journalist, was raided in his office around midnight and taken into custody in a local police station under the direct orders of President Rayale himself after writing in his newspaper a report from Nairobi indicating the government’s leanings towards Somali unity while the opposition was firmly attached to the independence of Somaliland. Hassan was harangued and threatened by the police that he “would be slaughtered in the dry riverbed of Hargeisa”. In a similar manner, the free-lance journalist, Mohammed Arrale, who sent the report to Jamhuriya from Nairobi, and who happens to be of the same clan as Hussein Ali Dualeh (Awil), the Finance Minister, was so savagely beaten up by a Kenyan gang believed to be hired by Awil and paid for from the public funds with the tacit understanding of President Rayale. Awil who was a former Ambassador to Kenya possesses property in that country and maintains extensive contacts with the local people there that enable him to hire local gangs to roughen up or eliminate anyone who exposes the government’s hidden agendas.

The Minister of Interior, Ismail Faqash, as he is famously known, introduced his own measures to impose restrictions on the liberties and personal freedoms of the Somaliland citizens particularly those who live within his reach - i.e. Hargeisa and its environs. Authorised mobile courts try government critics, on the President’s directive, with none of the normal judicial rules and procedures. The tribunals would not have to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt or follow established rules of evidence thus violating the basic principles of judicial procedure. One such individual, who was recently detained without trial, under this sweeping law, is Boqor Raabi Yusuf of Salahley who publicly expressed views, which were seemingly inclined towards Somali unity. He was immediately arrested under the trumped up charges of ‘endangering the peace and stability of the country’. However, when the Chairman of the Somaliland parliament, Ahmed Mohamed Aden (Qaybe), expressed explicit views regarding his long-standing support of Somali unity on Somaliland TV, it was not seen by the Somaliland government as a treasonable offence despite his high position in a state claiming to have reinstated its former independence and sovereignty. This was a clear indication of the government’s political leanings favouring Somali unity rather than the independence of Somaliland.

Earlier, Boqor Osman Aw Mohamoud (Buur Madow) of Erigavo was arrested for expressing his views by saying that Rayale was plotting a strategy to derail Somaliland by rendering the strategic port of Berbera defunct in collaboration with Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti. Boqor Buur Madow who exposed the degree and scale of this conspiracy was branded a ‘liar’ by Rayale’s vengeful regime. The Boqor was held incommunicado in Hargeisa Central Prison for many months without being charged because he apparently had crucial evidence that could have implicated Rayale. The Boqor precisely identified and pinpointed Guelleh’s machinations and conspiracies against Somaliland and he was alerting the public to this danger. Today, Boqor Buur Madow has been vindicated. Guelleh has not only shown his intention to render Berbera port defunct but also to destroy Somaliland itself with the collusion and collaboration of Rayale. In a recent statement, Guelleh said to his people that Djibouti would be the only port in East Africa from where all the livestock of the area would be exported. He added that he had always looked forwarded to the day when Djibouti would monopolise exporting Somali livestock.

On another count, Boqor Buur Madow was justified when he said that the people of Sool were ready to engage in a dialogue with the government of Somaliland but that government officials were repeatedly stalling these efforts. In any event, the public chose to be bystanders and to watch al these criminal acts on the sidelines.

On 18th May 2004, the National Security Committee modelled on Siad Barre’s system sentenced 150 youths to prison terms ranging from 6 months to one year after they were accused of having participated in a demonstration held in Hargeisa. The youths, who were chanting ‘We don’t want Rayale, we don’t want the dollar taker’, demonstrated against the President at Khayriya on the auspicious occasion of 18th May.

The police clubbed, trampled upon and chased the remnants of the angry demonstrators all the way to Xero Jaad (Central Hargeisa Khat Market). Many of these young men were sent to Mandera Central Prison simply because they were chanting ‘we don’t want Rayale, we don’t want the dollar taker’. The public did not react to these brutalities and gross violations of human rights.

In December 2004, Mr. Kayse Yusuf Ali, a former digital engineer, who is now a councillor in Hargeisa accused the Mayor of Hargeisa, Engineer Hussein Mohamed Jiciir and the Interior Minister, Ismail Adan of plundering public resources. In a press conference held at Hadhwanaag Hotel, Councillor Kayse stated that ‘Land is a common resource and should be held in public ownership’. He was arrested by police the next morning while driving his car out of a Garage under the direct order of the Interior Minister, Ismail Adan, whose only qualification is how to arrest, beat and torture innocent people - an art which he had learned from his Faqash mentors and in which he excelled under Rayale’s administration since then. Councillor Kayse was deprived of his liberty for telling the truth. But for the Rayale regime the truth is unpalatable and should not be told. It is now the rule rather than the exception for the Rayale regime to act in a highhanded manner towards traditional leaders. A traditional leader is an institution ‘unto himself’ and should be protected. Even Siyad Barre used to shy away from deataining Sultans. It is now common practice in Somaliland and more so under Rayale’s regime. It is we, the public, who legalised these abuses by being indifferent and complacent about what is going on in our country.

No one has protested, against these flagrant violations of our freedoms and civil liberties. There was not even a whimper. We are simply bystanders. Some of us are not even aware of these invasive and criminal policies already in effect. Only a few local human rights organisations especially African Rights headed by Raqiya Omaar have expressed their detestations of these criminal acts. Raqiya has gone out of her way, time and again, to bring these human rights abuses to the international attention. She, too, was a victim. The verbally incontinent Interior Minister, Ismail Adan, had repeatedly threatened, insulted and accused her of being pro-KULMIYE for simply doing her job. But far from backing-off from any of these abuses, Rayale and Co. greedily grabbed more power to the extent that police powers far exceed the limits of tolerance.

According to African Rights, ‘Somalilanders who endured years of repression under Siyad Barre find it deeply troubling to see the return of some of the most intrusive and offensive practices of that era”. In May 2003, night curfews were common in Hargeisa and police routinely stopped vehicles after 10.00 p.m. when passengers and motorists were forced to leave their cars and ordered to ‘go to bed’- a reminder of the “Maseexanwaa”- the time when Siyad Barre’s military junta subjected the people of the then North West to a hellish nightmare. This infamous curfew was evident in an article, which appeared in The Somaliland Times on 24 May 2003, titled “Hargeisa Under Undeclared Night Curfew”.

On 20th April 2003, a group of KULMIYE supporters, mainly women and children, who tried to protest against the results of the presidential election were brutalised by the police. Among the women who were brutally beaten up with the butt of a gun by the police included Nura Hussein Jama and Fathiya Jama Haid, both Londoners who are related by marriage to the Internal Minister, Ismail Adan Osman. Fathiya came back to London with heavy bruises visible on her body. Kinsi Adleef who was four months pregnant at the time was also beaten up with the butt of a gun. Kinsi had become very ill in the Jail and ‘was foaming at the mouth, her tongue was sticking out and her teeth were stuck together and her eyes had a fixed look’ according Africa Rights. The police wouldn’t even allow her to see a doctor simply because she belonged to KULMIYE.

On 15 August 2004, a 16-year-old girl from Majertinia, Zamzam Ahmed Dualeh, was charged with espionage and conspiracy to assassinate the Vice-President, Ahmed Yusuf Yasin. Zamzam suffered beatings, rape and torture. A man who accompanied her, Omar Jama Warsame, was also beaten up and tortured. At an initial court hearing on 4th October, the pair was brought to trial without legal representation. Amnesty International said that ‘their trial has already fallen foul of international standards of fairness’. At the latest court hearing on 24 November 2004, the judge sentenced the pair’s four defence lawyers to a prison term of three years each for ‘allegedly laughing at the public prosecutor’- a charge which was established later to be unfounded and baseless according to those who attended the court.

A disdain for human rights was what the Rayale regime had shown from the start. This administration tore up, rejected or repeatedly undermined the constitution from day one. This hastened the evaporation of the public good will and the sympathy the Rayale administration enjoyed briefly in the first year of its term. Within a year resentment and hostility, even among some UDUB supporters, reached its highest pitch. The administration’s systematic abuse of the constitution has reached new heights of absurdity and new depths of betrayal of public trust.

On 5th March 2005, KULMIYE supporters gathered at the party’s headquarters in Hargeisa. The headquarters of the party was surrounded by police equipped with automatic machine guns and high calibre guns mounted on four-wheel drive vehicles in an effort to intimidate the people. The Chairman complained about this and wrote to the president and the leaders of the two houses. The written complaint was submitted to the Interior Minister to comment on it.

In his reply to the Chairman of KULMIYE, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo), the Minister said in his proverb-ridden letter containing personal attacks and character assassinations that he ‘…would take cue from no one and anyone who is endangering the peace and stability of the country would be severely dealt with’. The Minister showed an unbridled passion for suppressing the Somaliland people by denying them the right to stage ‘peaceful demonstrations’ - something that is enshrined in the constitution. Ismail’s letter is a clear testimony that this regime is in no mood to obey the constitution and the laws of the land, which is tantamount to tearing them up and throwing them into the dustbin.

The executive shouldn’t have the power to take away the rights and liberties of Somaliland’s citizens. The response of the government to the above instances is that national security must come before the civil liberties of the individual. This is absolutely absurd as liberty is indivisible.

A measure that curtails the liberty of one citizen necessarily curtails the liberty of other citizens. A citizen should only be deprived of liberty only after proper judicial process but not as a result of a political decision as is the common practice of the Rayale regime.

Thus, how people are arrested or deprived of their rights and liberties in Somaliland is no different from how Siyad Barre treated his critics. Nowadays, everyone who is a critic of the government is labelled as a ‘traitor’ in the eyes of Rayale’s regime.

It is true that Somaliland has adopted a pluralistic system of government- a western style democracy. It is equally true that Rayale was democratically-elected, no matter how controversial. But it is also an indisputable fact that today’s Somaliland is not a democracy but a dictatorship in disguise.

The vision laid out by Rayale and his unscrupulous clique is the same vision laid out by Barre for what was then known as ‘Somali Democratic Republic’. There is a name for this kind of regime in which cops rule, answering only to themselves. It’s called a Police State. Nothing more need be said, nothing more need be understood. It is a profoundly pessimistic view. It is a dismal dream and a spectacular self-ruin.

If people had not succumbed to the evils of Siad Barre’s regime, the Somali people wouldn’t have been in the state of affairs in which they find themselves today. We should remember Edmund Burke’s famous words, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. It is high time we took head on this tyrannical regime of Rayale.

JAMAL MADAR, LONDON UNITED KINGDOM, adammadar@yahoo.com


Somaliland must be recognised

5/24/2008.LETTERS.http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/nmgcontententry.asp?category_id=23&newsid=123925

May 18 is a day of great significance to the people of Somaliland. This year, the day was commemorated en masse throughout the country. Why is this day so important? On May 18, 1991, Somaliland officially and democratically revoked its union with Somalia when strongman Siad Barre was overthrown. The two countries were formerly colonised by two distinct European powers.

Somaliland, a British protectorate, became independent in 1960 and five days later, Somalia, an Italian colony, followed suit. The two countries immediately unified for the unholy purpose of bringing all predominantly Somali-peopled regions, including Djibouti, Ogaden province of Ethiopia and northern Kenya, under one geographical administration — Somalia.

It is now clear that the crazy idea of creating a greater Somalia by force has failed. During this year’s celebrations the President of Somaliland, in his wisdom, once again appealed to the UN and the international community to officially recognise his democratic and politically stable country and to treat it just as Somalia’s neighbour. I share his sentiments; Somalia is now a disaster and its chaos ought not to be extended to peaceful, civilised and democratic Somaliland.

HASSAN YUSSUF AHMED, Hargeisa.


Somaliland: A Beacon of Success in Africa

Ahmed Kheyre

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/62536. May 21, 2008

Somaliland recently celebrated its 17th anniversary the reclamation of sovereignty in 1991. Somalilanders both at home and abroad celebrated this anniversary with their customary pageantry and verve.

The people of Somaliland had another reason to celebrate, by once again displaying a level of political maturity sadly lacking in many parts of Africa, and in particular in the Horn, in resolving some perceived "political deadlock",(Somalilanders saw these issues as political debates, whilst enemies hoped it would lead to political instability)through dialogue, discussion and consensus.

The people of Somaliland are fortunate to have a political leadership that believes in a healthy debate followed swiftly by consensus, and vice versa, the political leadership in Somaliland are fortunate to lead citizens who believe that through dialogue, discussion and consensus a nation's ailments can be resolved.

As the recent agreement between all the political parties in Somaliland clearly highlights the people of Somaliland believe that thorough shared aims and history national stability and democracy will be strengthened. Not for them countless mediations, foreign invasions, internal genocide or unkempt promises. Somalilanders have long ago recognised the need to resolve any internal issues through, dialogue, discussion and consensus.

The international community is engaging Somaliland fully aware that it is the key to peace and democracy in the region. The recent agreement between the Somaliland political parties have only furthered strengthened the international community's faith in Somaliland.

It has been extensively discussed that Somaliland, a former British protectorate become independent on June 26th, 1960 before a hasty, un-ratified and un-constitutional union with Somalia on 1st July 1960, all with aim of creating a "Greater Somalia" entity, in hindsight, a devastating illusion.

It has also been recorded by a recent AU Commission to Somaliland in 2005 that "Somaliland presents a unique case for recognition and deserves to have the issue address by the African Union", it is fact that in spite of lack of recognition, Somaliland meets all the criteria for statehood and enjoys many ties with nations across the globe, so the terms "breakaway" or "separatists" that are found in anti-Somaliland articles are merely just words.

Somaliland has always been separate through its believe in democracy, inclusion, collectivism and justice, However, Somaliland does want to breakaway from dictatorship, clannism, genocide and destruction.

The people of Somaliland had many reason to celebrate on the 18th of May, but the main reason for their unbridled celebration was the fact that Somaliland had been delivered from the nightmare of a union with Somalia seventeen years ago, and Somalilanders would like to let the world know that Somaliland's sovereignty is sacrosanct.


British Ambassador formally opens new additions at Egal International Airport

http://www.qarannews.com/ May 24, 2008

The United Kingdom Ambassador to Ethiopia, Norman Ling today formally opened two new additions at Egal International airport in Hargeisa. The two new areas consist of a new departure/arrival lounge and a new immigration area.

The two new additions are the first phase in a long term plan to update the immigration services at Somaliland's major international points of travel, the Egal International Airport in Hargeisa and the port of Berbera. The proposed second phase consist of plans to update similar areas at Borama and Burco airports, as well as, the two major border centres at Togwajale and Lowyo-adde.

These new development projects have been funded by the government of the United Kingdom and are being implemented by the international travel agency, IOM.

The ceremony at the Egal International Airport, the first phase in updating Somaliland's immigration facilities was attended by several members of the Somaliland government, The Commander of the Somaliland Police Force, the Mayor of Hargeisa,diplomats from the British embassy in Addis Ababa, senior officers from the Somaliland immigration service and members from IOM.

The head of the Somaliland Immigration Service, Mudane Mohamed Nur Osman gave a brief background to the current developments at Egal International airport and port of Berbera. Mudane Mohamed Nur highlighted Somaliland's efforts to update its immigration facilities to meet the needs of the people of Somaliland and visitors to the country.

Mudane Mohamed Nur thanked the government of the United Kingdom for providing the necessary funds for these projects to go ahead, as well as, the expertise from IOM which allowed Somaliland immigration officers from across the country to increase their knowledge of modern facilities, including computers and international immigration procedures.

The Somaliland Minister of Civil Aviation, Mudane Ali Mohamed Waran-adde also spoke at the ceremony to open the two new additions at Egal International airport. Mudane Ali Mohamed also thanked the United Kingdom government for providing the means for these projects to take place. Mudane Ali Mohamed also spoke of the strong ties between the two nations.

Responding on behalf of his delegation, Ambassador Ling stated that it's the intention of his government to participate in development projects in Somaliland. Ambassador Ling declared that although this is his first visit to Somaliland since his appointment as Her Majesty's Ambassador to Ethiopia, the traditional links between Somaliland and the United Kingdom have always been acknowledged.

Ambassador Ling continued by stating that his government has been providing over $15 Million dollars in development assistance to Somaliland which will continue and may be increased in the near future.

Other speakers at the ceremony to open the new additions at Egal International airport in Hargeisa included Ms. Adrienne Testa from IOM, who gave a brief presentation of the new facilities and a dateline for the expected completion of the second phase of the development.

Ms.Testa also gave a report on the co-operation between the Somaliland Immigration Services and IOM which is heading into its second year.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Somaliland Minister of Home Affairs, Mudane Abdillahi Ismail Ali gave a brief speech to highlight the development of Somaliland's immigration and border services. Mudane Abdillahi Ismail stated that Somaliland has achieved many remarkably things in the 17 years since reclaiming its sovereignty and that it is time for the international community to recognise its achievements, and support its position as the most stable country in the region.


Las Anod water project completed

LAS ANOD, 21 May 2008 (QARAN)--The Somaliland Ministry of Water and Natural Resources and the Sool Regional administration along with water development agencies have completed the installation of a water filteration complex in Las Anod.

The complex of several water wells have been installed with purification and filtration systems to cleanse and make the water of city drinkable for its residents. This is the first such project to take place in Las Anod and comes after the resumption of Somaliland authority in the region.

The new water purification complex consists of five wells spread across the city which are designed to provide hygenic household water for the residents of Las Anod. Previously, the residents of Las Anod relied upon infrequent water supplies from nearby villages.

These new water development plants have been welcomed by the residents of Las Anod and comes after a pledge made to the them region by the President of Somaliland, Mudane Dahir Rayale Kahin upon the resumption of Somaliland authority in the region last year.


UAE Red Crescent Society donations arrive in Somaliland

http://www.qarannews.com/ May 20, 2008

Hargeisa(QARAN)-A humanitarian donation of equipment including vehicles, machinery and food from the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent society recently arrived at the port of Berbera.

The donations comes after the President of Somaliland, Mudane Dahir Rayale Kahin's visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE) earlier this year. During his visit to the UAE, President Rayale met with senior officers from the Red Crescent society along with members of the Somaliland community in the United Arab Emirates.

The equipment includes water drilling rigs which are designed to drill wells to alleviate the water shortage caused by the recent drought in the country. Speaking at the recent celebration to commemorate the 17th anniversary of Somaliland's reclamation of sovereignty, President Rayale stated that the rigs will be used to drill wells across Somaliland, including a major complex south of Hargeisa, the Somaliland capital.

According to reliable sources, these humanitarian donations will be distributed among the areas severely affected by the recent drought which has only abated due to the arrival of the much anticipated rainy season across Somaliland.


Somalia: Seizure and Shipping of Somali Citizens to Ethiopia Must End

http://www.somalipressreview.com/view.php?articleid=482. Hiiraan Online Editorial

The Puntland regional State of Somalia and the secessionist Somaliland have routinely engaged in the seizure of Somali citizen and their shipment to Ethiopia. Somali citizens from the Somali region of Ethiopia are the latest victims of this copycat extraordinary rendition. Puntland and Somaliland administrations must end their illegal and immoral citizen-snatching activity, whether these citizens live in the Republic or reside in other places. Abducting Somali citizens and turning them over to Ethiopia, will result in the abuse, torture and even worse, the murder of these Somalis. It is against the Somali Constitution as well as the Somali culture and international law to deprive Somali citizens from their inalienable rights to life, liberty and freedom from torture.

Puntland and Somaliland might want to know that snatching innocent citizens and selling them to the highest bidder is what brought down the notorious Mogadishu warlords in 2006.

According to the Somali Constitution of 1960 (and this Constitution supersedes all the makeshift charters "used" in Somalia today), every Somali whose mother and father are Somalis – whether these Somalis reside in the Somali region of Ethiopia, or in Kenya, or in Ethiopia or in Canada or any corner of the world - are automatic citizens of the Somali Republic. These citizens therefore have rights, inalienable rights that no one could take away - including politician and subservient not "security" services personnel in Bosaso and Hargeysa.

The Somali Constitution, which is the same document that proclaims our flag as sky blue with a white star in the middle, states in Article 2 that, "No person may be denied citizenship or deprived thereof for political reasons". Puntland and Somaliland security personnel do not have the right to invalidate the citizenship or the Somali-ness of any Somali, particularly the current victims most of whom are from the Somali region of Ethiopia.

Article 11, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Constitution further spells out the fundamental rights of the Somali citizens and it states that, "Every citizen shall have the right to reside and travel freely in any part of the territory of the State and shall not be subjected to deportation."

The very raison d'être of why governments exists is to protect its citizens. Contrary to this universal role of States, one will find rather astonishing the shameful citizen-smuggling operations in Puntland and Somaliland. Dreadful abuse, torture and death are the expected fate of abducted Somali citizens turned over to the Ethiopian security forces.

Outlining the state of human rights in Ethiopia, the US Department of State reports in its Annual Human Rights Practices in Ethiopia that there are: limitation on citizens' right to change their government during the most recent elections; unlawful killings, and beating, abuse, and mistreatment of detainees and opposition supporters by security forces… arbitrary arrest and detention …detention of thousands without charge and lengthy pretrial detention …. use of excessive force by security services in an internal conflict and counter- insurgency operations; restrictions on freedom of the press; arrest… limitations on freedom of association; … government interference in union activities, including killing and harassment of union leaders. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100481.htm

If the horrific picture painted above by the State Department report is the daily reality faced by Ethiopian citizens, then one can safely assume that abducted Somali citizens will suffer in the hands of Ethiopia security apparatus. Somaliland and Puntland officials must halt this illegal practice shipping Somali citizens to Ethiopian dungeons.

We commend the heroic efforts by the people of Puntland and Somaliland, including the media, for sounding the alarm bells when Puntland and Somaliland officials engage in their un-Somali crimes of seizing and shipping Somali citizens.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights forbids the seizure and shipping of citizens to torture camps. It states, in articles 3 and 5 that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person" and "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

This International principle as well as the Constitution of Somalia will undoubtedly catch up with, politicians and security personnel aiding and abetting human rights abuses against Somali citizens.

Anyone accused of crime in Somalia should be tried in Somalia. Puntalnd and Somalland officials must seize and desist, the illegal seizing and inhumane shipping of Somali citizens to Ethiopia.


Puntland and Somaliland: Maltreatment and repatriation of Somalis from the Ogaden

From: Mathaba, 2008/05/22

The pro-Ethiopian Puntland and Somaliland administrations have stepped up their unlawful and inhumane acts against civilians from the Ogaden - outbidding each other on maltreating and repatriating of the unarmed civilians.

Forcible repatriation of civilians from the Ogaden is in full swing despite the concern and apprehension expressed by the Somali elders, community leaders and religious scholars in Somaliland and Puntland.

Recently, the pro-Ethiopian Puntland and Somaliland administrations have stepped up their unlawful and inhumane acts against civilians hailing from the Ogaden. The two Ethiopian satellites are outbidding each other on maltreating and repatriating of the unarmed civilians. (See Puntland: persecutes and repatriates refugees from the Ogaden ref: OHRC/PRM/0108).

Human rights instruments provide protection against refoulement. The UN Convention against Torture, in Sub article (l and 2) of Article 3 states that:

"1. No State Party shall expel, return (refouler) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.”

Article 14 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that: "Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution"

Nevertheless, in different parts of Somalia, in the past 12 years, many Somalis from the Ogaden were detained, tortured, their private properties confiscated and then handed over to the Ethiopian government against their will, in exchange for ammunition and other materials. Most of them were traders, residents and visitors, who were not involved in any illegal activities and have no political affiliation whatsoever.

Many refugees from the Ogaden who were forcibly returned to Ethiopia have since disappeared in the notorious military detention camps throughout Ethiopia and were never seen again by their loved ones while others were tortured to death.

Last week, in Hargeisa, Ethiopian security forces and members of Somaliland militia collected Harir Mohamoud Dool and Abdinassir Aw Muhumed, two businessmen, from their residences. Harir and Abdinassir were living with their families and were long residents of Hargeisa.

Harir and Abdinassir were detained briefly in Hargeisa, and then were handed over to the Ethiopian government against their will. They were transferred to prison in Jigjiga, where they are being held incommunicado without charges or trial.

To the best of the Ogaden Human Rights Committee’s knowledge, they were not involved in any illegal activity. They were businessmen with no political affiliation. The Ogaden Human Rights Committee calls for them to be either charged with recognizable criminal offences and be given fair trials or immediately and uncon¬ditionally released. The OHRC is also concerned about their safety and well-being, particularly in view of constant reports about confessions made under torture.

In Puntland, five Somali men from the Ogaden were arrested at Bosaaso airport by members of Puntland militia, on May 13th 2008. They were transferred to Garowe and then returned back to Bosaaso. As this writing their fate and whereabouts are unknown to their families and relatives.

Firebombing of Somali Ogaden refugees’ residences and assaulting them physically and verbally are common practice in Puntland.

Both in Somaliland and Puntland, traditional elders, religious scholars and community leaders have issued press statements condemning the unlawful arrests and forcible repatriation of Somali Ogadenis to Ethiopia.

Scores of civilians from the Ogaden who fled from Ethiopian atrocities are being held in harsh conditions without charges or trial, in prisons, in Puntland and Somaliland.

According to reliable reports received by OHRC, persecution and other acts of aggression against Somalis from the Ogaden are unabated, and are going on in Somaliland and Puntland on daily basis. The Ogaden Human Rights Committee condemns these acts of killing, torture, arbitrary arrests and forcible repatriation of refugees from the Ogaden from the neighbouring countries and demands the unconditional and immediate release of all detainees from the Ogaden who are being detained currently in Puntland and Somaliland.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND APPEALS

To: the United Nations, International Community, Ethiopia, Puntland and Somaliland:

--United Nations Security Council designates a safe heaven for the civilian population fleeing from Ethiopian armed forces’ onslaught and atrocities.

--United Nations High Commission for Refugees provides necessary shelter protection and maintenance to the Somali refugees from the Ogaden in the neighboring countries.

--The international community publicly censure Ethiopia, Somaliland and Puntland over their human rights record.

--The United Nations appoint a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Ogaden.

--The Ethiopian government should be held responsible for infamous mass killings, disappearances, arbitrary arrests, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

--The international community intervene to stop the forcible repatriation of Somalis to Ethiopia.

--The Ethiopian government, Somaliland and Puntland Administrations give ICRC and UNHCR free access to all detainees in Hargeisa, Bosaaso and elsewhere.

--The international community refrain from aiding and supporting the Ethiopian government, Somaliland and Puntland Administrations as long as they violate human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Somali people in the Ogaden and in their respective regions.

TO: INDIVIDUALS, LOCAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATIONS

The Ogaden Human Rights Committee requests individuals, local human rights and humanitarian organizations to support its efforts to promote and improve the human rights cause in the Ogaden, and recommends the following:

Please write to your Foreign Ministry: --Asking that your government exerts pressure on Ethiopia, Somaliland and Puntland Administrations to improve their human rights record.

--Urging that all political prisoners be either immediately and unconditionally released or charged with recognized criminal offences, and given fair trials; and be given unrestricted and regular access to their family members and to, representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (name some or all from those in this document or in other OHRC’s reports, which you can get in OHRC’s web site www.ogadenrights.org).

--Expressing concern at the disappearance of a large number of suspected government opponents in the notorious military detention camps throughout the Ogaden and jails in Somaliland and asking their whereabouts (name some or all from those in this document or in other OHRC’s reports, which you can get in OHRC’s web site www.ogadenrights.org).

--Asking your government to support the Ogaden Human Rights Committee's efforts to appoint a UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights as well as sending an independent fact finding mission to the Ogaden in order to stop and prevent more human rights violations in that country.

Please copy your letter to diplomatic representatives of Ethiopia accredited to your country as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Somalia. The address is:

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Palais des Nations, 1211 Geneva 10


Somalia: Elections Timetable Consensus Reached in Somaliland

Garowe Online (Garowe) 20 May 2008.http://allafrica.com/stories/200805210012.html

Three political parties in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland have reached a consensus on the dates of local and presidential elections, potentially breaking weeks of political deadlock caused by President Dahir Riyale's one-year term extension.

Representatives from the three political parties - the ruling UDUB party, and the opposition Kulmiye and UCID - held private discussions Tuesday mediated by a four-member committee from the Somaliland Election Commission.

The local council elections will be held on December 15, 2008, with Somaliland's presidential elections scheduled for March 15, 2008, according to a high-ranking opposition official who participated in the talks.

Muse Bihi, deputy chairman of the Kulmiye party, told local media that the Election Commission and delegates from the three political parties had signed the preliminary accord.

But the opposition official indicated that several factors have to first be ironed out with Riyale's government, including a guarantee that the elections be held on time as approved by the Election Commission.

The three parties and the Commission formally agreed to introduce a motion for debate in Somaliland's two houses of parliament, requesting the removal of a key elections law clause demanding that the local council and presidential elections be held six months apart.

The opposition parties are still opposed to Mr. Riyale's one-year term extension, which was approved in April by the House of Guurti, the upper house of parliament, Mr. Bihi said.

But he stated that it is "illogical" to have a "vacant seat" at the presidential seat of power in Hargeisa, the separatist region's capital city.

Somaliland, in northwestern Somalia, has functioned as an independent government since the 1990s as the southern regions were devastated by conflict among armed clans and foreign military interventions. The region has not been recognized internationally to date.


Somaliland authorities in Las Anod detain ‘cleaners’

Las Anod (Somali Press Review, May, 18)—Somaliland authorities in Las Anod detained at least seventeen people who have embarked on a cleaning campaign which Puntland administration used to conduct on 18 of May to coincide with celebrations for Somaliland secession day. “The detained persons were told off by Las Anod district adminstration officials but they proceeded with cleaning streets. It is a not day for cleaning. It is a day of celebration” said a spokesman for Las Anod municipality.

The cleaning day was introduced by a former Las Anod mayor who was an ally of Mr. Ahmed Habsade, former Puntland Minister of Home Affairs, and now a Hargeisa based turn-coat politician who is lobbying hard to replace Suleiman Mahmud Adam, chairman of Somaliland House of Elders (Guurti). Meanwhile May 18 day was celebrated in Las Anod. Young men wearing t-shorts emblazoned with Somaliland ruling party’s logo have walked in Las Anod main road. They were carrying slogans and were in festive mood.

http://www.somalipressreview.com/view.php?articleid=463


Peace in Somaliland is at the fork of ephemerality and endurance

May,16,2008 (http://www.saylac.com/news/article3may16,08.htm)by/ Nur Hersi Bahal

We stand today at a crossroads: One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other leads to total extinction. Let us hope we have the wisdom to make the right choice – Woody Allen

It was 17 years ago this coming 18 May that Somaliland announced secession from Somalia. Since that date, as the fate of the South sank deeper into the abyss of chaos filled with the blood and bones of forlorn citizens, Somaliland has been emphatically marketed as an “Oasis of Peace in the Horn of Africa”, and rightfully so! Of late, however, around the oasis, the conspicuous sprout of a thorny and poisonous acacia is spreading intense apprehension. For the few endowed with the requisite extra-sensory sleight and well-disposed socialite plugger inclined to symbiosis, the thorny oasis presents an unprecedented opportunity to plump out. The overwhelming majority is fortifying their emotions against the possible eventual mishap or tends to derive a hollow satisfaction from an occasional gaze from a distance or a dizzying sniff that helps them sleep at night on an empty stomach.

The blame for the political malaise falls squarely on the shoulders of politicians; who to begin with, had nothing to do with the birth of the Oasis. It was the product of the foresight, determination and conscientious effort of elders acting upon their natural leadership mandate to craft peace in their tiny part of the world – a magnanimous feat that has yet to be duplicated anywhere else in the Somali peninsula. Unfortunately today, these same elders are under the spotlight for one of Somaliland’s most damaging political confrontations. The role of the average citizen in the downward spiral cannot be overlooked. Somaliland is a catch 22: she craves international recognition yet; she is blocking the roads that lead to recognition and those that lead to prosperity and nation building.

The Government

"Three groups spend other people's money: children, thieves, politicians. All three need supervision" – Dick Armey

Exculpations and self-justifications aside, 17 years is a long time! It is enough time for a boy to become a man and a girl to become a woman. It should be enough time, despite the restrictions in resources, for institutions to become entrenched in serving the public with the meager finances they can get. Institutions serving the people they were set up for are the cornerstone of governments, and in turn, translate to public satisfaction and endorsement of their government. Somalilanders are always passionate about defending the sovereignty of Somaliland but when it comes to scrutinizing the quality of governance and its role in fulfilling its obligations to the citizens, the notion of a functioning, democratic Somaliland becomes stillborn. Tribalism, corruption and the cherished desires of individuals and groups conspire to shake the foundations of this self-proclaimed nation.

The quality of leadership is a reflection of a society’s state of maturity and ability in understanding the limits and boundaries of their inviolable pillars which, if broken, will bring down the house and those which are malleable and less sacrosanct. An informed and conscientious government comes from a mature, informed society. The average Somalilander is contented with being a recognized state forcing the successive governments to pursue it to the exclusion of more pressing social needs. Recognition became the muleta (cape) of the Spanish matador that conceals a sword. Like the bull, they only follow the movements of the mulata unaware of the immense social needs and problems.

As is always the case for governments of most tribal societies, the Somaliland government has wasted resource juggling tribal interest; courting the world for recognition, trying hard to put a façade of good governance and other minuscule tasks that do not affect the livelihood of the society. The successive Somaliland governments were obsessed with stretching their tenure and inflating their power. It is logical that the more adverse dealings a government has to juggle, the more desirable and attractive it becomes to stay in power and the more it stays in power, the more autocratic it becomes. It will not have time to accomplish any of the elementary responsibilities charged with governments but will simply become consumed by the politics of survival. Maintaining order, upholding justice, attending to the welfare of the society, regulating the economy and establishing basic educational systems become the sacrificial lambs of the desire to prolong its term in office. It creates more national dramas, gives out more immaterial rewards or powers to tribes to court them for votes. The recent regions in Somaliland reek of folly and votes. Not counting the most obvious other disadvantages, too many regions in a small underdeveloped country like Somaliland will create too many levels of administrations, each connected only to the central government, thus, creating small centers of isolated, overstaffed offices and rigid administrations. In other words, it is equivalent to the formation of mini-dictatorships in the country.

The Guurti

Old men declare war because they have failed to solve complex political and economic problems ~Arthur Hoppe

In Article 83(5), the Somaliland Constitution specifies that: If on the expiry of the term of office of the President and the Vice-President, it is not possible, because of security considerations, to hold the election of the President and the Vice-President, the House of Elders shall extend their term of office whilst taking into consideration the period in which the problems can be overcome and the election can be held. (italics are mine).

The sole reason, according to this article, for extending the President and Vice- Presidents’ terms of office is if there is a security consideration. The article fails to explain the kind of security consideration, how serious it has to be, who determines the magnitude or seriousness and source of the security threat, what is the role of the parliament and other institutions. It is too general and too broad that, in my opinion, it is badly written to begin with and presents a gaping loophole in the constitution. As the House of Elders is the caretaker of stability in Somaliland their concern should be amending the loopholes in the constitution and not using them as a quid pro quo for the extension of their term that they received from the President not long ago. This is not the first time that the Guurti lies in the bed of the Executive Branch.

On 27 April 2002, the House of Elders (Guurti) extended the term of office of the House of Representatives by one year just before it was to expire in May 2002. Again they extended it by two years in February 2003 and by six months in October 2005. The Guurti, then, claimed that according to Article 42(3) of the Constitution, the country was in “Dire Circumstance” (quotations/italics are mine) which warranted this extensions. According to this article, dire circumstances are: a wide war, internal instability, serious natural disasters, such as earthquakes, epidemic diseases, (and) serious famines. As these circumstances did not exist at the time, it may be accurate to say that they covering up for the governments inefficiencies. It is interesting to note the lack of depth in this article but it is also more interesting to note that Guurti never take upon themselves to openly acknowledge the existence of these “dire circumstances” when they exist and campaign the government to take immediate action.

Ideally, a GUURTI is a group of people selected for impartiality and acuity from a broad-based representation. The Somaliland guurti seems, on the one hand, to possess personal independence, but as a group their role as guardians of inter/intra-tribal peace and harmony, cultures and traditions subtly mutated to guardians of the Executive Branch. They became an adjunct or an extension of the government. As recipients of government remuneration, in a nation were poverty is the norm rather than the exception, they have opted out of the role their noble role.

I believe that Somaliland’s Guurti should be concerned with developing, promoting and maintaining the peace and stability. They were the pioneers and the exponents of the peace enjoyed in Somaliland today. Their persistent indemnification of the gores which the politicians inflict on the society is a crucial requisite for the continued blossoming of the Oasis. As individuals steeped in the cultures and customs of the society, they have a unique opportunity to solidify a culture absent of corruption by rejecting to become a mouthpiece for either the government or the opposition. This is simply an extension of the peace they began. They need to understand that if they become implicated in more and more controversies; peace becomes less and less significant in the eyes of the average person.

The opposition

"Opposition is not necessarily enmity; it is merely misused and made an occasion for enmity." –Sigmund Freud

As tribal outfits with no structures, no coherent and consistent ideology and no vision of national values, Somaliland’s opposition parties are obsessed with wrestling power from the government which is determined to keep it at any cost. Apart from undermining the national objectives of Somaliland, this political tug of war is also the root cause of the current apprehension. Politics gone array blind leaders to the national and social conditions of degeneracy rife in their backyards.

Opposition parties play an important role in any nation. The first thing that they provide is choice. Having different choices in how to run the affairs of the nation is critical to a society’s development. Political parties choose to follow a defined strategy to economic development, social development, education, labour, etc in response to the specific conditions of a nation. Both the incumbent government and the opposition in Somaliland have missed the opportunity to elaborate to the public their vision of development. In the absence of an ideological path to judge the political parties, the only thing left for the public is to judge them on tribalism. This is the reason why tribal announcements on supporting party so or so have lately been a prominent feature of Somaliland. There is no difference between the governing party and the opposition and therefore, there is no choice. Thus, leaving Somaliland with no solutions to the current political malaise and apprehension.

Opposition parties help to stabilize the democratic process of a society by educating the public on the process of democratization. Instead of challenging the government on the choices it makes for the nation, or pointing out the lack thereof, the Somaliland political parties actually take the leadership in Africa’s game of political mediocrity. They do not take responsibility for the lack of national vision and least of all they do not indicate any policy or agenda that separates them from the government.


Can Ethiopia’s democratic opposition use Somaliland as a base?

http://nazret.com/ May 18/08

The Meles Zenawi minority regime has closed almost every direction that can be used by the Ethiopian democratic opposition. Because of that, the Ethiopian people continue to suffer under Zenawi’s dictatorship with no relief in sight, as the dictator continues to stage rigged election after rigged election after rigged election. In Kenya, Meles Zenawi already made a deal with the Nairobi government to eradicate the Ethiopian opposition forces like the OLF and others. In Sudan, the Meles Zenawi regime is handing out territories of western Ethiopia (Gondar) to get favors from the Sudanese government. In the southeast, Meles Zenawi has invaded Somalia and also made alliance with the Somali region of Puntland to block the Ethiopian opposition forces. In the east, Meles Zenawi is controlling Djibouti and Somaliland economically using their Ports and forcing them to accept his orders, including Somaliland blocking ONLF rebel movement. In the north, Meles Zenawi does not have any relationship with Eritrea but he uses his 150,000 soldiers near Eritrea, so he does not care.

So the big question is: what options do Ethiopian democratic forces have to change the Meles Zenawi tyrannical regime? Certainly, the most respectable and democratic force in Ethiopia is Birtukan Mideksa’s Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party and co. But without a pro-UDJ armed group in the horn of Africa, there will never be real progress toward democracy in Ethiopia. Without real pressure on Meles Zenawi, he will never open up space and allow free and fair elections or any transition to democracy. Birtukan’s group needs the support of an armed pro-Ethiopia independent organization. OLF and ONLF separatists are separatists and they don’t share the pro-Ethiopia and democratic principles of Birtukan Mideksa. EPPF is also a useless tool of the Eritrean undemocratic government. Today, Ms. Birtukan Mideksa needs help from a pro-Ethiopia and democratic organization that provides an armed force to support her. SinceBerhanu Nega’s new organization is considering an armed organization to challenge the Meles Zenawi tyranny, Ethiopians needs to guarantee that the struggle for democracy does not lead to anti-Ethiopia decisions by the opposition.

What Ethiopian democratic forces need to do is never repeat the same mistakes of the past. In the past Ethiopian opposition movements sacrifice Ethiopia’s national interests and territorial integrity. In the 1980s, the Ethiopian democratic forces made reckless decisions and big mistakes by allowing their anti-Mengistu movement to get hijacked by Meles Zenawi’s TPLF and by Isayas Afewerki’s EPLF rebels who introduced more dictatorship just like Mengistu the last 15 years. In addition to a new era of dictatorship, Ethiopians in Eritrea were brainwashed by Meles Zenawi’s former friend, Isayas Afewerki, and this led to the illegal separation of Eritrea after the rigged referendum engineered by the rig-masters Zenawi and Afeworki. After Meles Zenawi and Isayas Afewerki destroyed Ethiopia’s northern territory, Isayas Afewerki laughed at all Ethiopians by saying he gave “100 years of homework” by ethnically dividing and destroying Ethiopia. Since that time, Isayas Afewerki preaches ethnic liberation for Oromos and Ogadenis while his Eritrean government practices tyranny against ethnic Afars and Kunamas inside Eritrea. Today, all of this is why the anti-Ethiopia Isayas Afewerki pays millions of dollars for his Eritrean propaganda television program (EriTV), for his EastAfro propaganda website and other propaganda media outlets to support tribalism & separatists/ONLF to destroy Ethiopia. Isayas pays atleast 2 million dollars yearly for his EriTV and EASTAFRO video and website propaganda outlets and other sources to confuse the pro-unity Ethiopian opposition while supporting the tribalist anti-Ethiopia groups like ONLF. But it is not just separatists and Eritrea. Just like anti-Mengistu Ethiopians made big mistakes by working with TPLF and EPLF, Ethiopian democratic forces also made mistakes by using support from the anti-Ethiopia 1980s governments in Somalia and Sudan. So we need to wake up and bring change in the method we use to bring democracy in Ethiopia!

Ethiopian democratic forces need to learn from past mistakes, make corrections and a new ERA of the struggle for democracy should make 2 important requirements for our alliance with foreign governments and forces. The foreign governments or forces MUST:

1. be pro-Ethiopia unity and/or MUST respect Ethiopia’s territorial integrity

2. share our values or Must share our principles of democracy, justice and equality.

So when Birtukan Mideksa’s UDJ or when Berhanu Nega’s new organizations select their outside alliances, it is important to remember the above 2 important requirements. If they don’t learn from their mistakes, they will make the same mistakes again and again by working together with anti-Ethiopia, separatist and undemocratic forces to bring democratic change in Ethiopia. It does NOT make sense to try to bring unity in Ethiopia by working together with anti-Ethiopia, anti-unity and separatist forces like ONLF. It does not make sense to try to bring democracy in Ethiopia by working together with the Sudanese undemocratic and genocidal regimes who have been trying to destroy Ethiopia the last 80 years. The same way, it does not make sense to try to bring democracy in Ethiopia by working together with the undemocratic and anti-Ethiopia Isayas government. In the horn of Africa, there are many separatist anti-Ethiopia groups, many undemocratic forces and anti-Ethiopia governments, except Kenya and Somaliland. So getting assistance from Kenya and Somaliland is the only credible way to bring democracy in Ethiopia. But at this time, there is no favor the Ethiopian democratic opposition forces can give to Kenya.

In contrast, there are many favors Ethiopians can give to the democratic government of Somaliland. The most important favor Ethiopians can give to Somaliland is to help UN's recognition of Somaliland independence. Today, the Meles Zenawi dictatorship government has made alliance with anti-Somaliland groups and with the failed organization of TFG in Mogadishu. Analysts say that the TFG has opposed Somaliland’s independence and even hired General Mohamed Omar Hirsi Morgan, the famous 1980s “Butcher of Somaliland” who killed thousands of Somalilanders, while the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) in Mogadishu has also opposed Somaliland’s independence and threatened Somalilanders just like the genocidal Siyad Barre Mogadishu leader who massacred thousands of Somalilanders. So the Ethiopian opposition forces must know all of this and persuade Somaliland to put its relationship with the pro-TFG Zenawi regime conditional. The Ethiopian democratic forces should ask Somaliland to create leverage on Meles Zenawi by allowing Ethiopia’s democratic forces to use Somaliland as a base. After Kenya, Somaliland is the only pro-Ethiopia unity and the only democratic government in the horn of Africa. It makes sense to use a pro-Ethiopia unity force like Somaliland to establish a pro-Ethiopia government in Addis Ababa. And it makes sense to use a democratic neighbor like Somaliland to help us establish democracy in Addis Ababa.

In exchange of this favor, Birtukan Mideksa’s and Berhanu Nega’s democratic organizations can use diplomacy at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa to help the recognition of Somaliland’s independence. This approach is the only credible way to put pressure on the tyrannical Meles Zenawi regime and to bring democracy in Ethiopia by removing the anti-Ethiopia undemocratic TPLF force out of Addis Ababa.


Somaliland’s government clinging to power after May 15th won’t work

http://www.somalipressreview.com/view.php?articleid=451/Source: Somaliland Times.

As the government’s term draws to end and the two opposition parties reject the extension period given to the government by the Upper House (Guurti), Somaliland is taking a plunge into the unknown with unpredictable consequences. Instead of working with the opposition on finding an acceptable solution, the government decided that it would just insist that it is still a legitimate government and points the fingers at the opposition and paint them as troublemakers who want to endanger Somaliland’s security. The opposition, on the other hand, invited the government to reach an understanding with them before the deadline passes, and have been reassuring the citizens that although they would not recognize the government after May 15 th, they would not do anything that puts the people or their properties at risk.

The government has clearly overplayed its hand. It has failed to recognize that its position after May 15th would be much weaker than before that date. After all, this is a government that does not have de Jure international recognition, and when the two opposition parties who between them represent a clear majority of the population also say they do not recognize it, then, in effect, what you have is a government that is neither recognized internally nor externally.

This being the reality on the ground, it is in everybody’s interest that the government sits down with the opposition and that, together, they should figure out a formula for managing the affairs of the country until elections. Simply ignoring the internal and external realities and insisting that they are a lawful government after May 15 th just won’t work.


EMU, Somaliland University Hope Exchange Program Fosters Peace

By Tom Mitchell, Eastern Mennonite University Daily News-Record.http://www.emu.edu/news/index.php/1552/cjp

EMU is a small Christian liberal arts college dedicated to Anabaptist and Mennonite values of peacebuilding and service.

Somaliland lies within the physical borders of Somalia, but declared its independence from the nation in 1991 due to broad civil unrest in the rest of the country.EMU and a university in the African nation of Somalia are collaborating on an exchange program as part of a plan to boost peace efforts in the troubled nation.

EMU and the University of Hargeisa in Somaliland, a region of Somalia, have agreed to a cultural exchange of faculty.

Somaliland lies within the physical borders of Somalia, but declared its independence from the nation in 1991 due to broad civil unrest in the rest of the country.

Though it held elections and has a democratically elected government, the international community still considers the region a part of Somalia.

Experience Helped Win Grant

The partnership between the two schools will involve visits by instructors from both universities to each other's campus over the next three years, said Amy Potter, associate director for the Practice Institute, a branch of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at EMU. At both sites, staff from each school will teach classes in conflict resolution to faculty and students, said Potter.

The project will use funds from a $400,000 grant from Higher Education for Development (HED), a program sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development, said Potter. EMU received the grant after responding to a notice by HED earlier this year seeking a university willing to participate in the exchange program.

EMU's past involvement in similar projects made the Harrisonburg school an ideal choice for the exchange program with Somaliland.

"We had some good experience in helping other programs get started in other countries," said Potter.

Somaliland 'Quite Peaceful'

Initially, the project will not involve the rest of Somalia, according to Janice M. Jenner, director of the Practice Institute.

Jenner spent a week at Hargeisa in August discussing the feasibility of an alliance between EMU and the Somaliland school, and left impressed with the region's political climate.

Photo: Janice Jenner, right, with Hargeisa dean Mohamed Aw-Dahir Abdi

"Somaliland is quite peaceful," said Jenner. "The people there are very proud of their elected democratic government. I felt completely safe there."

The vast majority of the 3.5 million people of Somaliland are Sunni Muslims. A little more than half of the population is nomadic or semi-nomadic, with the rest living in urban centers, like the city of Hargeysa, and small towns.

Cultural Bonds

Barry Hart, associate professor of trauma and conflict studies at EMU, and an instructor at EMU in conflict transformation, is one of three instructors from EMU who will go to Hargeisa next spring to teach and work with faculty from the latter university.

Staff from EMU, said Hart, will help officials at Hargeisa create a curriculum that, they hope, eventually will teach Somalians how to resolve their differences.

Hart and others from EMU involved in the exchange program hope that their initiative in Hargeisa will enable the university there to help pave the way for peace throughout the rest of Somalia.

Citizens of Somalia have enough in common culturally to make peace possible, said Hart, adding that he and other EMU officials hope that the people of Somaliland "can, over time, become a catalyst for change."


Somaliland: A Nation on the move

Ahmed Kheyre

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/61865. May 14, 2008

Somaliland has nothing to fear from the pen. A nation based on democracy welcomes free speech and thought. However, the ramblings of a person who has never been there, without a relationship to Somaliland cannot damage its reputation as "Africa's best kept secret" with lies and fabrication. I strongly believe that if one is to make a sound criticism of an ideal or a position, it is imperative to remain objective. A mark of a good journalism is objectivity not fabrication.

Somalilanders appreciate and defend the right of each to their opinion, however incorrect and misguided they seem. But, there are those whose writings and comments are riddled with lies and fabrications. Somaliland is not perfect, no nation on earth is perfect, but I don't think anyone believes that we have a "Red Sea Hitler" as its leader, not only is it incorrect, but it is an insult to all those who fought against and suffered at the hands of the real Hitler. Personally, I have no idea how anyone in their right mind can compare anyone to Hitler.

Somaliland: A brief background

Somaliland is a nation which had spent 31 years in futile union with Somalia. Its infrastructure, talent and assets stripped and finally its land mined, towns bombed to smithereens and its people murdered by the Barre regime, whose remnants appear to now control Somalia. Yet, some people would like to overlook all the success Somaliland and its people have achieved. The rebuilding of the country which has given work to skilled Somalilanders. The thriving economic and education sectors. The nascent progress of a society built again from the rubbles. The organisation of our armed forces and finally, the potential of Somaliland and its future generations. All these things and more are overlooked by those who continue to remain ignorant of Somaliland.

Somaliland is a bastion of peace in which all differences are resolved with consultations, give-and-take negotiations, and respect for the other side, good neighbourly relations, and peaceful co-existence. Somaliland has held a referendum on a national constitution based on democratic institutions like political parties, a parliament, municipal councils, a national election commission that enables qualified citizens to run for the highest position in a democratic fashion. Currently, it is preparing for the second phase of the elections. The international community is ready to help Somaliland to conduct a smooth and successful election.

Friend and foe alike are puzzled by the secrets of our successes. They ask themselves the reasons behind the ability of this poor country to escape from the conflicts afflicting the other parts of Somalia, and at its ability to manage achieving all these good deeds with such meagre resources. The answer is the ability of Somalilanders to achieve all this through dialogue, discussion and consensus. The ability of this poor country to escape from other conflicts in the region is due to its citizens, their faith and lessons learnt from years of neglect and prosecution.

Somaliland and Somalia are two separate nations, divided by ideology and political tradition. Granted we all speak Somali and are Muslim, but politically and ideological Somaliland and Somalia have always been going different ways, democracy vs. dictatorship, inclusion vs. exclusion, collectivism vs. clannism.

Somaliland has never attempted to foster hate or resentment, its national premise is one of inclusion to safeguard the stability and peace required by the democratic process taking shape in the country.

The people of Somaliland are committed to the peace and progress of the nation. There are those who like to see the nation fail, but that will not happen. It is obvious that if the cause is just, and Somaliland's cause is just, then nothing can stand on its way.

The late civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King stated "that he had seen the promised land", and although he was addressing the civil rights struggle in the United States of America, I believe that his words apply to Somaliland.


Somalia: Somaliland's Election Commission to Mediate Among Party Leaders

Garowe Online (Garowe) 14 May 2008.http://allafrica.com/stories/200805140035.html

After weeks of political wrangling, a key decision has been reached among major political parties in negotiations organized by the election commission in Somaliland, a separatist region in northern Somalia, an elections official said.

Mohamed Ismail Mohamed, chairman of the Somaliland Election Commission, issued a press communiqué Tuesday in the breakaway region's capital city of Hargeisa, saying that the three parties have signed a three-point deal.

According to the elections official, all three Somaliland political parities - UDUB, UCID and Kulmiye - have agreed to hold a second meeting; to immediately stop the exchange of inflammatory language through the local media; and for the media to uphold the tri-partite decision, which the election commission will monitor.

The opposition parties, Kulmiye and UCID, have threatened not to recognize the presidency of Mr. Dahir Riyale following May 15, when the Somaliland leader's five-year-term ends.

In April, Somaliland's upper house of parliament, the Guurti, voted to extend Riyale's term in office by another year and rescheduled the presidential elections to April 2009.

The political impasse was dealt a blow earlier this week when the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of parliament, resigned from his mediation role after Riyale and opposition party chiefs refused to meet.

The Somaliland regions, in northwestern Somalia, unilaterally declared independence in 1991 after warlords took control of Mogadishu.


Somalia: Key Mediator Quits Talks to Resolve Somaliland Election Dispute

Garowe Online (Garowe) 12 May 2008.http://allafrica.com/stories/200805130025.html

A key official in the government of Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland announced Monday that he has quit mediation efforts to help resolve an election dispute between the Somaliland president and opposition party leaders.

Abdirahman "Irro" Mohamed, Speaker of the House of Representatives, told parliament in the capital Hargeisa that both sides are "unwilling to compromise" to help end the election crisis.

The separatist republic's two official opposition parties, Kulmiye and UCID, have publicly announced that they will not recognize the presidency of Mr. Dahir Riyale following May 15, when his constitutional term in office ends.

But President Riyale has maintained that he is the President of Somaliland for another year, following a decision last month by the Guurti, parliament's upper house, extending his term until April 2009.

According to Speaker Abdirahman Irro, the Somaliland leader has refused to meet face-to-face with opposition leaders until Kulmiye and UCID publicly recognize his presidency.

Describing the damage the election dispute has caused, Mr. Irro told parliament: "The countries intending to donate US$8 million to help finance voter registration have decided to withhold [the donation] until the election crisis is resolved."

Somaliland's leader has justified the one-year term extension on grounds that the House of Guurti has the constitutional authority to grant him such an extension, and secondly, that the local government and the presidential elections be held six months apart.

The local elections, originally scheduled to be held in December 2007, were rescheduled for October this year by the Guurti decision.

Somaliland, composed of northwestern regions in Somalia, unilaterally declared independence from the rest of the country in 1991.

The breakaway region has a government and has enjoyed relative peace since, but one insider pointed out to Garowe Online that the ongoing election crisis is one of the most serious political disputes in Somaliland in the past decade.


http://www.somalipressreview.com/view.php?articleid=438/ Source: Somaliland Times

Somaliland crisis deepens

Two sets of distinct but interconnected problems are posing a serious threat to Somaliland. The first set of problems have to do with the economy and living conditions, and they include the rising food and gas prices and until recently the drought that affected large swathes of the country. Admittedly Somaliland’s economic problems are not unique to it but are part of the worldwide phenomenon, however, whereas other governments have taken measures to lessen the impact of the increase in food and fuel prices, Somaliland’s government did the opposite and chose precisely this moment to increase fuel and import prices.

The other set of problems are political in nature, and here, too, instead of making things better, Somaliland’s government has definitely made matters worse. The list of wrong moves by the government is long, but we will cite just a few:

-The jailing of twenty citizens in Gabiley and Wajale, including Muhammad Antaynle, for having expressed their disagreement with the extension of the president’s term.

-The arrest of Abshir Hasan, the former private chauffeur of President Rayale’s wife and current member of Kulmiye opposition party. This arrest is clearly a case of President Rayale taking revenge on Mr Abshir Hasan for corroborating the reports of Haatuf newspaper about corruption and embezzlement of public funds by the president’s family.

-The murder of Hani Hasan Jama, on April 26, by Somaliland’s armed forces who were pulled out of the frontlines and assigned security duty in Somaliland’s capital city, Hargeisa, a job for which they are not trained.

- The killing, in Hargeisa, of two demonstrators and the wounding of several others by Somaliland’s police. The demonstrators were protesting the city council’s changing of the names of some neighborhoods. Although both President Rayale and the minister of interior tried to distance themselves from the name changing decision, there is no doubt that the government discussed and agreed with the decision as pointed out by Hargeisa’s mayor Jiir.

All of these unfortunate episodes indicate that far from seeking solutions to the serious crises plaguing the country, the only thing that Somaliland’s government is interested in is hanging on to power at any cost. This was most evident in President Rayale’s long, boring and at times insolent speech to the joint parliament, where he lambasted parliament for indulging in disputes, berated the election commission for insufficient knowledge of the constitution, rebuked the international community for interfering in Somaliland’s affairs, and grossly exaggerated the performance of his administration.

With that speech, and with less than two weeks left for the end of the president’s term, the country is set to enter a very dangerous period, thanks to Rayale.


Why has the American view on Somaliland changed

Dr. Mohamed A. Omar

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/60693/ May 04, 2008

For the first time, since it withdrew from the voluntary union with Somalia in 1991, The Bush administration shows positive signs towards Somaliland case for international recognition. American also indicates that its worldview is changing too.

The United States defence chiefs at the Pentagon argued recently that Somaliland should be independent to maintain its progress on peace and democracy, and they suggested that the anarchy Somalia slipped into, since the fall of the former regime in 1991, has to be contained to avoid its spreading.

Giving rise to this debate are the increasing insecurities in Somalia, the revival of the radical insurgents in Mogadishu and the disintegration of the shaky Transitional Federal Government. Yet, the roots of this debate can be traced elsewhere.

This view has borne out of the Bush administration´s current intellectual mindset that guides American national security strategy. The neo-cons in the Bush administration initially applied a worldview that preaches that the primary agents of the international politics are states, particularly major states, and that the only way to secure their national interest is to possess advanced and offensive military capabilities, and to deter unfriendly and rogue states from developing that capacity.

In the war against terrorism, Washington used this narrow and unilateralist view, which has led the US into conflicts with states that allegedly sponsor terrorism. The result was a staggering increase in the number of international terrorist operations.

Clearly, this vision failed to offer adequate provisions for dealing effectively with the challenges of 21 century to the American interest and world security. These challenges, in reality, do not arise from states, but from non-state agents and groups within failed states.

In response to this shortcoming, we now witness an American shift to a new worldview, which recognises that international politics is not only limited to state-agents, but also involves non-state agents such as political and social groups. This view embraces the use of multilateralism, diplomacy, international law and pragmatism alongside the military option in dealing with global political and security issues.

In Somalia, the US has already applied this revised vision. It has dealt directly with the former Somali warlords in Mogadishu and funded their operations against the Union of Islamic Courts. In fact, the United States financially supported these warlords more than it did the process that led to the formation of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

In Somaliland, the US engages with the government of Somaliland on a range of issues including providing technical support to its democratisation and economic development programmes. And now, the Pentagon wants to bring Somaliland on board as a partner in the fight against terrorism, and suggests that Somaliland should be politically recognised. This may be seen as an indication of a new US direction in respect of the Somaliland issue.

America´s major aim in the Horn is to prevent the region from becoming a potential breeding ground for international terrorism. Somaliland offers a useful means for achieving this objective. Its strategic location on the red sea, overlooking the gulf countries, as well as the country´s peace and security provide Americans with a unique opportunity to achieve their security goals in the region.

However, unlike the Pentagon, the American State Department is reluctant to soften its rhetoric towards Somaliland´s recognition. It maintains its previous position which leaves the recognition of Somaliland for the African Union to lead on, due to what it describes as being sensitivity over changes in colonial-era-borders, and opening Pandora´s Box in Africa.

But the State Department´s view is neither historically evidenced nor represents the African Union´s position. In a fact-finding mission report in 2005, the AU said that Somaliland is "historically unique and self-justified in African political history" and that the AU "should find special method of dealing with this outstanding case".

Therefore, recognising Somaliland does not open Pandora´s Box, but brings Somaliland and Somalia to their respective original status at the time of the colonial departure, after the union they voluntarily formed in 1960 ceased to exist.

The debate highlights that the United States favours Somaliland´s recognition and supports its efforts in state- building. However, The American administration is now looking closely at how Somaliland deals with its upcoming presidential election, which will have a significant impact on Somaliland´s political future.


Becoming Somaliland: Reconstructing a Failed State

A New Book by Mark Bradbury

http://www.progressio.co.uk/progressio/s/basket/95996/becoming_somaliland/ May 02, 2008

The emergence of a new African republic

"The most detailed treatment of the self-proclaimed Somaliland state and its emergence from collapsed Somalia." —Peter D. Little, author of Somalia: Economy without State Becoming Somaliland is a new book by Mark Bradbury. This new book was subject of a discussion by a panel of experts recently held at the School of African and Oriental Studies in London.


Mark Bradbury, Somaliland analyst.

Becoming Somaliland addresses the following topics:-

When does a country become a state?

On 18 May 1991 the leaders of the Somali National Movement and the elders of northern Somali clans proclaimed that they were setting up the new Republic of Somaliland. It is based on the territory of the former British protectorate which had merged with the Italian colony in 1960 to form the Republic of Somalia.

Why has Somaliland not followed Somalia into 'state collapse'? Over the past fifteen years Somaliland has successfully managed a process of reconciliation, demobilisation and the restoration of law and order. The capital Hargeysa has become an international trading centre.

Why is Somaliland yet to be recognised by the international community? The international community purports to promote 'good governance'. Somaliland has held one of the freest series of elections in the region and has one of the most democratic governments of any Muslim country. Yet this new republic still has no international legal status, while Somalia, which has had no effective government since 1990, is still accorded de jure sovereignty.

Should a unitary government be re-established for all of Somalia? Since the collapse of the Somali state international diplomacy has supported fourteen peace conferences, each focusing on re-establishing Somalia as a whole. Somalia has recently seen new international military intervention by Ethiopia and the USA. Yet it is Somaliland which challenges the typical image of war, disaster and social regression associated with this part of Africa.

Mark Bradbury has worked extensively in North East Africa and elsewhere.

Contents: Introduction - The Somali people and culture - The rise and fall of the state of Somalia - The political foundations of Somaliland - A new Somaliland - State-building and the long transition - Rising from the ashes: economic rebuilding and development - Social developments - Democratic transitions - The practice of government - Conclusions: rethinking the future -

This book is co-published by James Currey.ISBN 978-1-84701-310-1. Price: £12.95.availabe online at www.progressio.org.uk


Source: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Date: 30 Apr 2008

Renewing hope for fistula survivors in Somalia

Nairobi, Kenya, 30 April 2008 – "We are renewing hope for fistula survivors in Somalia", says Ali Ugur Tuncer, UNFPA Representative a.i. after having reviewed the results of the fistula campaigns undertaken in Somalia.

An estimated 2 million women in Africa, Asia and the Arab region are living with fistula, and some 50,000 to 100,000 new cases develop each year. Like maternal mortality, fistula is almost entirely preventable.

"Besides being a major public health concern, obstetric fistula is an issue of rights and equity," says Salada Robleh, UNFPA Senior Adviser in Hargeisa. "But politicians and health providers often fail to recognize the scope and severity of this disability."

Often referred to simply as "the urine problem," obstetric fistula is a preventable injury of childbearing which leaves women with chronic incontinence and, in most cases, a stillborn baby. It leaves sufferers ashamed and alone. Leaking urine, faeces, or both, they are often abandoned by their husbands and relatives. Fistula survivors are often barred from preparing food and may be excluded from prayer or other religious observances. The injury leaves women with few opportunities to earn a living, and some may turn to begging.

Reconstructive surgery can usually mend the injury with success rates of 90% for uncomplicated cases, but most women cannot access or afford the medical treatment, estimated at $300. It occurs disproportionately among impoverished girls and women, especially those living far from medical services.

Through a recent campaign in Galkayo, organized by the Galkayo Medical Centre and UNFPA, 35 women were operated by a Somali medical doctor with a success rate of 85%. "We have been able to mobilize local human resources, bringing sustainability to the fistula campaign in the long term" says Dr. Rogaia Abuelgasim, head of UNFPA sub-office in Garowe.

Another campaign was recently completed in Hargeisa and surrounding areas which raised awareness on fistula and treated 42 patients at the Hargeisa Group Hospital, with the surgical operations being performed by a fistula expert hired by UNFPA. "This experience was extremely cost-effective" says Salada Robleh. Fistula operations were combined with in-service training to local professionals for them to manage fistula cases in the work place. Results from the campaign in Hargeisa show that the major causes of fistula are prolonged labour (50%), forceps delivery (29%), trauma (17%, often as a result of rape), and congenital abnormality (4%).

But fistula treatment goes far beyond repairing tissue. Many patients will need emotional, economic and social support after surgery. "If you want to cure a women, you must treat her psychologically", asserts Salada Robleh, "because she needs to socialize with other women especially if she has been isolated."

The most effective way to prevent fistula is to ensure access to quality maternal health care services, including family planning, skilled birth attendance and emergency obstetric care. There is thus a need to develop long-term strategies to build capacity through training and the expansion of health facilities.

UNFPA is addressing fistula in Somalia as part of an effort to stem the number of fistula cases and the rate of maternal mortality in the country, among the highest in the world. For every 100,000 live births, 1,044 women die. UNFPA supports the training of doctors, nurses, and other health workers in life-saving obstetric care. It also provides the medications and equipment necessary to save lives.

Action to end obstetric fistula moves forwards the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), directly advances the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 (newborn and maternal health targets) and also contributes to MDG1 (eradicate extreme poverty) and MDG3 (promoting gender equality and empowerment of women). This action also goes in line with the goals of the 2008-2009 United Nations Transition Plan for Somalia.

About the Campaign to End Fistula – The world’s first global campaign launched by UNFPA in 2003 is helping to prevent fistula, treat affected women, and support women after surgery. The Campaign is now working in more than 40 countries across Africa, Asia and the Arab region, and involves a wide range of partners.

On Resolution "Supporting efforts to end obstetric fistula" (A/62/435) – Sponsored in November 2007 by 137 countries at the UN General Assembly. This resolution recognizes the links between poverty, malnutrition, poor health services, early childbearing and gender discrimination as the root causes of obstetric fistula.

About UNFPA – The United Nations Population Fund is an international development agency working in more than 150 countries and territories that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

For more information, please contact us: Albert Padros, padros@unfpa.org. Tel: (+254) 20 425 5351, Mobile: (+254) 725 98 22 59. Or visit us: www.unfpa.org / www.EndFistula.org


www.geeskaafrika.com. April 30, 2008

Somaliland: Electricity power supply company accused UNHCR

Nairobi (HAN) April 30, 2008- A local electricity power supply company in Hargeysa has accused UNHCR and Havoyoco, a vocational training institute based at Bada-As, Hargeysa of diverting funds and resources intended for youth training projects for private enterprise and commercial trade activities.

National Fuel Stations and Electricity Supply Company, based in Hargeysa provides electric power supply to homes and businesses in Jijiga-Yar area in Koodbuur district of Hargeysa informed S/land Times that Havoyoco aided with funds and equipment from UNHCR have established under the pretence of a vocational training project for unemployed youth in Hargeysa cheap source of electricity power supply for homes and businesses in Jijiga-Yar. National Fuel company said 'Havoyoco have erected a power grid covering all of Jijiga-Yar and have distributed leaflets to homes and business in Jijiga-Yar stating that they (Havoyoco) have embarked on providing cheap electricity to homes and businesses in Jijiga-Yar for the price $0.40 per kwh unit.

National Fuel said, Havoyoco received power generators and equipment from UNHCR and have gone into partnership with a local electricity power supply company in Jijiga-Yar and have installed the power generators donated by UNHCR at this local power supply company's compound in Jijiga-Yar and today Havoyoco produces and provides electricity to many homes and businesses in the area. National Fuel said 'We as a legitimate private commercial company cannot compete with a non-governmental organization funded by a UN agency because we have to extract our running costs and the procurement of capital assets from the little profit we make from our business operations.'

National Fuel said ' We wrote on 6th April 2006 to UNHCR (carbon copies sent Office of the Presidency, Attorney General, ministry of Planning and Havoyoco), and asked UNHCR the purpose and intention for the vocational training program initiated by Havoyoco, whether this program was initially intended for commercial enterprise or for training the youth to gain vocational skills because we see it as unfair to fund and equip a non-governmental organization to trade and take part in the private sector with funds and resources donated by your agency, UNHCR.

National Fuel said that they received a letter dated 12 April 2006 from the head of UNHCR Office in Hargeysa, Mr. Bucumi Martin and said 'Mr. Martin in his letter approved of Havoyoco operation and said (quote) 'As UNHCR support to the running costs of the Institute may cease any date, Havoyoco established Income Generation section to ensure autonomy/sustainability and create jobs for some of the graduates from the institute; in line of this, UNHCR provided them all necessary machines and tools to produce marketable goods. Therefore all training sections (craft making, dress making, etc.) produce and sell goods in the market regularly, except very few of them including Electrical section that has no items to produce and sell.

To enhance the electrical section in Havoyoco, UNHCR has procured and donated to Havoyoco a big generator which is not in use yet. However, in case there is a need for Havoyoco to use the generators donated by UNHCR for supply of power to some homes, for job creation for the section graduates and generate income to cover the running costs of the Havoyoco electrical training project section, it will be done upon UNHCR agreement and authorization from the relevant government authorities agreement. The electricity currently produced and provided to the population from a private generator owned by Havoyoco and located in Jijiga-Yar has nothing to do with the current UNHCR assistance to the training institute'. (End of quote).

National Fuel Jijiga-Yar branch manager, Mr. Ahmed Hussein Ahmed told S/land Times that 'When they received this reply from UNHCR they were taken back and surprised and did not expect UNHCR to advocate for Havoyoco and approve of their commercial venture into the private sector. Mr. Ahmed said 'Havoyoco will eventually squeeze us out of the market if something is not done, also, the likely hood in there being confrontation with Havoyoco is very possible when customers who owe us money are disconnected from our power supply due to arrears then go to Havoyoco to get their homes reconnected.' The national Fuel manager of Jijiga-Yar said ' We estimate a cost of $80,000 has gone into wiring Jijiga-Yar by Havoyoco, if UNHCR claims that they have nothing to do with this project and that it being a private initiative of Havoyoco I would like to know where Havoyoco got this funding from.

Ahmed Hussein Ahmed, manager of National Fuel Jijijga-Yar branch expressed concern regarding Havoyoco operating in the private sector as power supply provider and said 'To my knowledge, I thought NGO's were excluded from earning profit for profit sake and who will regulate such an NGO in not pocketing profits made from such business ventures, I believe we are about to see a Pandora box with local NGO's taking part in commercial activities instead of activities in the voluntary sector to which they were original incorperated for.'


http://www.irinnews.org, Date: 30 Apr 2008

Somalia: Starvation fears in north

NAIROBI, 30 April 2008 (IRIN) - Extensive drought and high inflation in the northern Togdheer region of the republic of Somaliland have pushed many families, both nomadic and urban, to the brink of starvation, local officials told IRIN.

"People are suffering not only from the drought but also from a very high level of inflation, putting food out of the reach of many people," Jama Abdillahi, governor of Togdheer region, told IRIN on 30 April.

About 350,000 people live in the Togdheer area.

Abdillahi said its residents have "a foot in the rural areas and a foot in the urban areas. In the past, if the situation in the rural areas was bad, urban dwellers would help, but the problem now is both are suffering and cannot help each other," he said.

He added that those living in the drought-affected areas had lost most, if not all, of their livestock and had now moved to towns.

"Every town in Togdheer is hosting hundreds of families who have left after losing all their animals," said Abdillahi.

He said even camels were dying, "a sure sign that things have reached their worst".

He said reports of people dying were reaching his office. "Two people are reported to have died in Duruqsi [90km northwest of Burao] and a small girl died in Sharaar [60km northeast]," he said.

The governor said Somaliland authorities and the local population had done all they could to help "but we have exhausted our capacity and are no longer able to do much more".

He said the situation was desperate, with inadequate pasture and water for remaining livestock and the consequent destitution of many families.

He said the remaining livestock was so weak "that the rains may kill what is left".

A local journalist in Burao, the regional capital, told IRIN that even if the rains came as expected, it would not do much good to those who had lost everything. "If the rains come now they may do more harm than good," said Sidiq Yusuf.

Inflation worries

Yusuf said the high inflation in the country was making matters worse.

He said there were families who could not eat more than once a day due to the high cost of commodities.

Keysi Mahamud, a businessman in Burao, said the price of 50kg of rice had risen to US$40 against $17 a year ago, while a 50kg bag of flour was $39 from $21 in April 2007. He said the price of a 200-litre drum of diesel fuel was $215 from $132 a year ago.

He said prices were forcing many people to buy sometimes 50 to 70 percent less than what they would normally buy while inflation was pushing many families close to starvation, he said.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the high rates of inflation along with an extremely harsh dry season and increasing insecurity in the south were responsible for the rapid deterioration in Somalia's humanitarian situation.

"It is imperative that aid agencies increase their efforts to urgently address the acute suffering of those in need," said governor Abdillahi.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it was extremely concerned about the humanitarian situation.

"Conditions in Somalia have worsened to their lowest point in many years, and the prospects for Somalis are among the very bleakest in the world," it said in a statement on 30 April.

"People are being pushed to the very limits of their endurance," Pascal Hundt, the head of the ICRC's delegation for Somalia, said.


Source: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) 25 Apr 2008

Proper diagnosis and treatment key to malaria control in Somalia, says UNICEF

Nairobi, Kenya, 25 April 2008 - Accessing effective diagnosis and treatment is key to control of malaria in Somalia, UNICEF Representative in the country Christian Balslev-Olesen said today on the occasion of World Malaria Day.

With an estimated 700,000 cases annually, malaria is a major public health problem in Somalia that requires a concerted approach for effective control. The burden is highest along rivers and settlements with artificial water reservoirs where there is all-year-round transmission. Children below five years and pregnant women account for majority of the reported cases and deaths.

'People who suspect they have malaria should get tested before treatment since not every fever is malaria,' says Balslev-Olesen. 'Rapid diagnostic tests and effective drugs have been introduced with support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and UNICEF has been able to guarantee that communities access them.'

In most African countries where malaria is common, treatment is normally based on assumptions that symptoms of fever are indicative of malaria without testing. More often individuals start taking action either by self medication through drugs bought over the counter or other local remedies like consulting a local herbalist.

However, through the simple rapid diagnostic test available in all health facilities in Somalia, individuals can get a blood test and within 15 minutes detect if they have malaria parasites. The Global Fund programme has also ensured that positive malaria cases are effectively treated by introducing the WHO approved Artemisinin-based combination therapy (popularly known as ACT).

ACT is made up of two drugs: Artesunate and Sulfadoxine- Pyramethamine. Since 2006, UNICEF has been training health workers in the country on malaria treatment using ACT to replace drugs to which there is high resistance. As severely malnourished children are particularly vulnerable to malaria, ACT is also being provided through therapeutic feeding centres.

'In some instances the true cause of fever may not be malaria and by not getting tested for malaria, individuals can miss the opportunity to treat the real cause of fever,' says Abdinor Mohammed, Malaria Coordinator for the Global Fund programme in Central/Southern Somalia. 'Generally we see that 20 to 30% of persons tested actually have malaria while the others are suffering from other illnesses that require different treatment.'

UNICEF Somalia is using this year's World Malaria Day as an opportunity to address this growing challenge that every fever is malaria and is launching a campaign to encourage individuals to demand for a test before malaria treatment.

About the Global Fund Malaria Programme – UNICEF is the Principal Recipient of the Global Fund Malaria Grant for Somalia. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has committed $26 million over five years for the malaria control program covering activities such as malaria case management; malaria prevention through education and distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets; and capacity building of local authorities.

About the World Malaria Day – Today 25th April 2005, marks the inaugural World Malaria Day previously known as the Africa Malaria Day, in Somalia some partners observed the day on 24th while others on the 26th April to allow Muslim faithful to participate in the commemoration event since today falls on Friday a day set for prayers by the predominate Muslim community. Events will be held in 10 locations spearheaded by the Health Authorities and Global Fund sub recipients.

For interviews, please call: - Christian Balslev-Olesen, UNICEF Representative, +254 722 514 569 or +254 733 629 933


The new US Strategy Behind Somaliland AFRICOM Base

Geeska Afrika Online, April 23, 2008

Photo: U.S. Army Gen. William E. Ward, center, U.S. European Command deputy, and U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Pamela Bridgewater, rear, inspect Ghanaian military members at Burma Camp in Accra, Ghana. Ward visited the nation in an effort to bolster relations with African nations.

Nairobi (HAN) April 23, 2008- We know now that The current US policy in Somalia failed, particularly at a time the Islamist insurgency are battling with U.S. backed shaky transitional government and Ethiopian Forces.

The US Strategy and Somaliland port of barbara: The new U.S. military command devoted to Africa is now operational. It's called AFRICOM and its launch completes a three-year quest by the Pentagon. The Pentagon divides the world up into six regions known as "combatant commands." The most prominent is CENTCOM — the area that encompasses the Middle East and central Asia. Each command is led by a four-star general who, in turn, is responsible for all the U.S. forces operating in the area.

According to the Pentagon, AFRICOM will be different. The U.S. Africa command will focus on the humanitarian needs of Africa. Most African leaders are skeptical — or flatly opposed — to the development, which the Pentagon says is a matter of public relations. Army Gen. William Ward, the new AFRICOM commander, says most Africans don't yet understand what the command is about.

Contributing to the confusion is a debate raging between the Army and the Navy over what AFRICOM should be. According to a well-placed Pentagon source involved in the issue, the Army wants to build an AFRICOM headquarters somewhere on the continent. The Navy wants AFRICOM to be a sea-based command — operating out of carriers and large vessels moored off the coast of Africa.

That is why, the last trip of Assistant Undersecretary of State for African Affairs, Dr. Frasier to Hargiesa was excellent signal or reply to U.S commitment to build relation with Somaliland.

Because: US clearly knew that if Somaliland – recognized indirectly like Kosovo – can play vital role in easing the violence that flared in Mogadishu as result of inter-fighting between the Ethiopian Forces and the Al-shabab Islamist fighters.

The main Strategic Reason: AFRICOM, the U.S. Administration one year ago formed forces to help easing the conflicts in Africa and to eliminate the terrorism in African. AFRICOM stationed temporarily in U.S. Military Base in Germany, as well as, it has unit in Djibouti. Resources close to Whitehouse say that Washington is looking for permanent location for AFRICOM in Africa.

As analyzer, I believe the two US War Ships that had docked to Berbera Port is the first step of relocating AFRICOM from Germany to Somaliland. In other hand, U.S has forces in Djibouti, but the country is too small to host two superpower countries. Also, it will be difficult to France to welcome U.S Forces in Djibouti permanently; we can say it like "Cat and Rat". In these circumstances, U.S should look for another base that can enable them to monitor Red Sea and hunt down the Al-Qaeda fugitives from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The current Somaliland Security & the lost opportunity: The deputy speaker Said Jama Ali, was ordered to tell the local media that the term extension decision was approved by the so-called 'deputies' of Somaliland, because "there must be a six-month period between presidential and local government elections". Somalis in the breakaway pseudo-state are truly fed up with this impossible situation, and the provocative lies of the vicious thug who impersonates 'their' – unsolicited – 'president'.

The pseudo-parliament 'voted' to hold local elections in October, thus giving Mr. Riyale an additional six months in office. After some months, another comical and illegitimate vote will certainly postpone Riyale's bogus-elections for whenever it may suit the clownish president and his unashamed thugs and gangsters who terrorize the local population.

One should not forget that in 2007, Riyale supported a motion, extending the term for his pseudo-parliament's 'deputies' by an additional four years; next time he may add another forty! At this point, one should be reminiscent of the fact that Riyale was 'elected' in an infamous episode of elections in 2003, when trees, donkeys, and stones participated in the voting procedure in support of the loathed Somali thug – the servant of the Abyssinian dictator.

Following the aforementioned indescribable procedures and unacceptable developments, the marginalized opposition parties Kulmiye and UCID issued a Joint Statement condemning the term extension as "illegal", and warned that Mr. Riyale "will not be recognized as President after May 15".


http://www.progressio.co.uk/ 29 Oct 2007

Beyond the kitchen: advancing women’s political decision-making in Somaliland and Timor-Leste

Somaliland women queue to vote

Although there are differences between Somaliland and Timor-Leste - Somalilanders are Muslims, whereas most of us Timorese are Catholics - there are also many similarities, writes Ivete de Oliveira. Both our countries are poor and have seen conflict in recent years. In both, grass roots organisations supported by Progressio have been playing a strong role in helping to rebuild our countries from scratch. And for me, a crucial similarity is that Somaliland's culture, like that of Timor-Leste, has historically been deeply patriarchal and resistant to letting women's voices be heard anywhere but in the kitchen.

In 1998 I became a founding member of a new women's network in Timor-Leste called REDE FETO. At this time our country was in transition to independence from illegal occupation by Indonesia, and we wanted to organise ourselves to make sure that women were involved in our new nation's political life. REDE FETO was incredibly active in promoting women's participation in decision-making during Timor Leste's first years as an independent nation and by 2001, 27 per cent of the members of our first independent parliament were women. I continued to support REDE FETO and Progressio's development worker with the organisation when I went on to work in Progressio's Timor-Leste office to promote women's rights and participation.

I have now left Progressio, but this July I met women working with Nagaad, a similar network of women's organisations supported by Progressio in Somaliland. Like REDE FETO, the Somaliland women's organisation promotes women's rights and participation.

Nagaad was founded in 1997 in the wake of a national peace conference in Hargeisa to end the 1994 civil conflict and elect a president and parliament. Women were excluded from the conference: their lobbying to be included was rejected because they did not represent clans, or ethnic groups. Eventually, after increased lobbying, six women were allowed to participate, followed by a further seven, as observers in the peace-making meetings.

On my visit I met two inspiring and feisty women, the executive director of Nagaad and the minister for family affairs, and discovered that Somaliland women's experience of post-conflict reconstruction was similar to ours in Timor-Leste. In both, some women stayed and promoted women's rights from within, often in very difficult and repressive circumstances, while others left and benefited from education, particularly on gender justice issues, and then returned to found new organisations, movements and NGOs. In both countries, women had to grapple with the resulting tensions, common in grass-roots movements during reconstruction after war, when the approach of those who have lived abroad during the conflict clash with the strategies of those who stayed.

I was frequently asked by the women in Somaliland about the role of religion. There were a lot of misconceptions about why we Catholic East Timorese rejected Indonesian rule. I was asked whether it was because Indonesia is a majority Muslim country. It was clear to me that the people of Somaliland are more suspicious of Christians following world events since 9/11. While I'm aware of the Christian-Muslim tensions which sometimes arose in Timor-Leste, we know our conflicts were at root never about religion. Timorese people rejected Indonesian rule because of the brutality and illegality of their occupation and because of our desire to rule ourselves - that's all. But the influx of Indonesian Muslims into Timor, and indeed the conversion of some Timorese to Islam, are things which we now are learning to respect and to learn from in Timor-Leste. Progressio and its partner, the East Timorese Muslim organisation Unicet, helped organise an interfaith conference last year, as part of Progressio's interfaith peace-building programme. This examined how the different faiths practised in Timor-Leste can co-exist peacefully and relate constructively to the state.

I was asked many questions about how my country's women organised themselves to participate and influence the decision-making process. I explained how the Timor-Leste women's movement organised a national women's congress to lobby for a 30 per cent quota of women candidates in the 2001 parliamentary elections and the empowerment of women. We discussed how get involved in political parties and become elected, and how to use a women's caucus to influence women MPs to push for women's issues to be addressed.

It was an intensive week, but an amazing opportunity to meet with a group of truly strong and inspiring women. I will be reporting my visit to REDE FETO on my return, and we'll be looking at how we can deepen our mutual knowledge, distilled from two continents, to further women's fight for justice and representation.

Ivete de Oliveira is a former Progressio women's advocacy officer in Timor-Leste and founding board member of REDE FETO. Progressio is an international organisation working for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty


Evaluating U.S. Policy Objectives and Options on the Horn of Africa

Jendayi E. Frazer, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008

Released on April 28, 2008 African Affairs

Good Morning, and thank you Chairman Feingold and members of the Committee for calling a hearing on this timely and important issue. I am especially pleased to have this opportunity to meet with you shortly after the President's tremendously successful visit to Africa, and in the wake of the critical peace agreement in Kenya.

The President's trip saw an extraordinary outpouring of support for the United States and the American people. We are working closely with our African partners in a way that brings credit to our country. Our objectives in the countries the President visited -- Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, and Liberia -- are similar to those currently dominating our agenda in the Horn: helping Africans resolve conflict and rebuild societies torn asunder by war; promoting ethnic tolerance and reconciliation; encouraging economic growth and job creation; improving health conditions; and ensuring democratic institutions and values prosper, including nations with significant Muslim populations, for Islam is clearly compatible with democracy.

The Horn of Africa today is the crucible in which many of our most important priorities for Africa are being addressed in their rawest forms. The issues are not conceptually different in the Horn than in the countries the President visited, but in some cases they present starker challenges in societies confronting ongoing conflict, where delivering state services and entrenching democratic values and institutions remain major challenges.

Somalia's challenges have frustrated its citizens, neighbors and friends for decades. Following the appointment of Prime Minister Nur "Adde" Hassan Hussein, we are now seeing greater and more effective outreach to elements of the Somali political opposition, isolation of terrorist and extremist elements, efforts to repair and strengthen relationships with the humanitarian organizations, and concrete plans and timetables to accomplish the required transitional tasks under the Transitional Federal Charter. In Somaliland, we are witnessing the patient, methodical emergence of representative institutions.

While Ethiopia and Eritrea have been as yet unable to resolve their many differences, the parties have controlled their militaries and largely refrained from reckless behavior on the border. Ethiopia has a unique history and is making the transition from two millennia of autocracy to a modern state. Djibouti is stable and preparing to be an important regional hub centered on its strategically located port. Eritrea remains the tragic exception to this picture. We have strong relations and mutual interest with the countries of the Horn of Africa, except Eritrea. President Isaias sponsors instability in Ethiopia, Darfur, and Somalia and is undermining the integrity of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations. His contempt for his neighbors and the UN is not new but it is particularly egregious at this sensitive time and sets a dangerous precedent.

We will continue to work in the Horn, as elsewhere in Africa, to promote regional stability and representative government; facilitate economic growth, increased prosperity and jobs; eliminate any platform for al-Qaida or other terrorist operations; provide humanitarian assistance in the wake of drought, flooding, and 17 years of near-constant conflict in southern and central Somalia; and work with governments in the regions to transform the countries through investing in people and good governance.

SOMALIA

The situation in Somalia remains a key challenge to regional stability and security in the Horn of Africa. Somalia has been characterized as a complex emergency, both in humanitarian and political terms, since the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in January 1991. For the last 17 years, Somalis have struggled to return lasting governance and stability to their country, enduring fourteen reconciliation conferences and numerous civil conflicts during the intervening years.

U.S. strategy for Somalia remains centered around four key policy priorities. First, encourage inclusive political dialogue with the goal of resuming the transitional political process outlined by the Transitional Federal Charter and leading the national elections in 2009. Isolating terrorist and extremist elements is a key component of this priority. Second, provide development and humanitarian assistance for the Somali people and help build the governance capacity of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). Third, facilitate the full and timely deployment of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to stabilize the country and create the conditions for Ethiopia's withdrawal. And four, deny terrorists the opportunity to find a safe haven in Somali territory.

Over the past year, and particularly since President Ysuf appointed Prime Minister Hussein in November 2007 and Hussein's subsequent appointment of a new TFG Cabinet in January 2008, we have worked closely with the TFG leadership and the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) to continue this dialogue process and encourage additional outreach to key Somali stakeholders, including clan leaders, business and civil society, women's groups, and religious leaders, among others. It is also important to continue the efforts begun during the National Reconciliation Congress in Mogadishu held in July-August 2007 in moving towards national elections in 2009.

As a result of the efforts of the President, Prime Minister and SRSG, we have seen the emergence of a new, positive, yet fragile, momentum in recent months. The Prime Minister has promoted reconciliation by engaging in extensive outreach to elements of the Somali opposition, working closely with humanitarian agencies, and preparing the ground for the key tasks that remain to be completed before elections in 2009. Similarly, and as a consequence of its own extremist tendencies, the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Shabaab is more isolated than ever. However, time is short for the 2009 transition and significant tasks remain ahead, among them building effective and inclusive security and justice mechanisms that will allow Somalis to live in peace and security.

The United States remains the leading donor of humanitarian assistance in Somalia, with approximately $140 million provided to date over FY 2007--FY 2008. Working with our international and regional partners in the International Contact Group on Somalia, we continue to call on all parties, including the TFG, to ensure unfettered delivery of humanitarian aid to affected populations, and encourage all Somalis to protect civilians and prevent further deaths and displacement of innocent people. We continue to work closely with our international partners and the donor community to improve humanitarian access and respond to the humanitarian needs of the Somali people.

Similarly, additional deployments under AMISOM will help create a more secure environment in which this political process can move forward and the TFG can create viable and responsive security forces. Since I last appeared before this Subcommittee to discuss Somalia, Uganda has deployed more than 1800 soldiers as part of AMISOM, and was joined by a battalion, or approximately 850 soldiers, from Burundi in January 2008. Uganda plans to deploy an additional 1600 and Burundi and additional battalion. Nigeria has pledged a battalion as well. Once deployed this would bring the total number of troops in AMISOM to almost 6000, closer to the authorized strength of 8000.

To date, the United States has allocated $49.1 million over FY 2007--FY 2008 in Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) funds to support this critical mission. We have also contributed $10 million in deployment equipment and transportation as part of the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) to help Burundi and Uganda deploy to AMISOM. We continue to work closely with the African Union (AU) and troop contributing countries to encourage additional troop deployments under AMISOM.

At the same time, we remain deeply troubled that foreign terrorists associated with al-Qaida have received safe haven in Somalia. The United States remains committed to neutralizing the threat that al-Qaida poses to all Americans, Somalis, and others in the Horn of Africa. We have been clear that we will therefore take strong measures to deny terrorists safe haven in Somalia, as well as the ability to plan and operate from Somalia.

Fighting terrorism in Somalia is not our sole priority, but rather is part of a comprehensive strategy to reverse radicalization, improve governance, rule of law, democracy and human rights, and improve economic growth and job creation. This is a difficult and long-term effort in Somalia. As we encourage political dialogue, we will continue to seek to isolate those who, out of extremism, refuse that dialogue and insist on violence. Unchecked, terrorists will continue to undermine and threaten stability and the lives of civilians inside Somalia and throughout the region. Therefore, we will remain engaged in working with our regional partners, Somali stakeholders, to ensure a success full political process leading to the return of effective governance and lasting peace and stability.

ETHIOPIA-ERITREA

The dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea regarding demarcation of their common border poses an additional threat to regional stability. Unfortunately, recent efforts to resolve the boundary impasse are stalled and the situation has deteriorated. Eritrea's refusal to allow the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) to obtain fuel and continued restrictions on UNMEE operations have caused the UN to begin to withdraw UNMEE personnel.

Eritrea's restrictions on UNMEE have been nearly universally perceived as an assault on the integrity of the UN with dangerous consequences for other UN missions and activities. The UN Security Council and other interested governments have strongly condemned Eritrea's actions. We are now supporting the UN to ensure the safe withdrawal of UNMEE and avoid a further escalation in tensions.

The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission's (EEBC) demarcation decision by map coordinates has not brought the parties closer to resolution of the impasse. Eritrea accepts the decision, while Ethiopia rejects it as inconsistent with international law. The result has been a hardening of positions on both sides and increased tension between them. Eritrea and Ethiopia will have to work together in good faith to implement the delimitation decision of the EEBC, a decision that both parties have accepted.

It is essential is for both parties to engage in talks on issues that prevent normalized relations. We strongly support the UN's efforts to achieve such talks and expect that these efforts will resume after the situation involving UNMEE has been resolved. At the same time, we continue to press both parties to respect the Algiers Agreement and implement concrete steps on the border to reduce tension and avoid renewed conflict. We will continue to seek opportunities for progress, but do not expect this impasse to be resolved in the near future.

ERITREA

While publicly claiming to seek peace and stability for the region, the Government of the State of Eritrea has pursued a widespread strategy of fomenting instability throughout the Horn of Africa and privately undermined nearly all efforts for broad-based, inclusive dialogue and reconciliation in the region -- most notably in Somalia and Sudan. Its activities include supporting and hosting Hassan Dahir Aweys, a U.S. and UN-designated terrorist; supporting Somali extremist elements associated with the now-defunct Council of Islamic Courts; and supporting and training the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) in Ethiopia. Last year, Eritrea also suspended its membership in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and did not support the region's strategy for achieving a long-term solution in Somalia.

In addition to the Government of Eritrea's increasingly destabilizing activities in the region, its domestic human rights record remains deplorable and is steadily declining. Last year and this year it was listed in the Human Rights Report among the "world's most systematic human rights violators." This is no surprise as several thousand prisoners of conscience are detained indefinitely without charge and without the ability to communicate with friends and relatives. There is no freedom of press, religion, speech, or assembly. Tight government controls on the financial system and private sector have destroyed the economy.

The United States has repeatedly pressed the Eritrean Government on these issues, but Eritrea remains unresponsive and the Eritrean people continue to suffer. Fifteen years after independence, national elections have yet to be held, and the constitution has never been implemented. The Eritrean people deserve better.

ETHIOPIA

In Ethiopia, the United States was deeply involved in the persistent diplomacy that ensured humanitarian conditions in the Ogaden did not deteriorate into famine. I visited the region personally, as did USAID Administrator Henrietta Fore, and our Ambassador in Addis Ababa coordinated the humanitarian response from the international community. It was not easy to ensure access for humanitarian workers, for parts of the Ogaden at the time remained mired in conflict, with Ogaden National Liberation Front attacks and counterinsurgency measures by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF). We have made clear to the Government of Ethiopia its responsibilities toward non-combatants during its operations and have expressed our concerns about the impact of the insurgency and counterinsurgency on the civilian population.

While the humanitarian situation in the Ogaden is not deteriorating, access remains a key challenge. Commercial trade in and out of the region has improved in the past several months, although poor rains, drought, and security restrictions provide a continued risk of famine. Our embassy in Addis Ababa is leading the international effort to work with the government to get food distributed throughout the region by March and April before the rainy season in an effort to prevent a famine from emerging.

The United States has committed approximately $53 million in emergency assistance to the Ogaden since August 2007, accounting for 98 percent of all international emergency assistance. Since January 2008, a USAID-sponsored Humanitarian Assistance Team has been in place in Ethiopia, traveling through much of the Ogaden, assessing needs and working closely with Ethiopian and international organizations to coordinate relief efforts.

In promoting improved governance, we were encouraged by the Government of Ethiopia's release of political detainees in July and August 2007. Again, this achievement was a result of persistent diplomacy, unheralded in public at the time but without which the detainees might not have been released. Although Ethiopia has a long and proud history, its democratic governance institutions are still young. It is frequently forgotten that Ethiopia is a country emerging from almost two millennia of autocracy. We have conveyed directly our expectations for improvement on human rights and democracy issues, but also recognize significant progress made over the past 15 years.

Ethiopia is still working through the aftermath of the 2005 elections, which saw a vibrant political culture emerge. This is a talented people, destined by dint of population, location, and energy to play a prominent leadership role on the continent for a long time to come. We are confident Ethiopia will work through its challenges and we will work with the government and opposition to help them find common ground as they move towards elections in 2010.

DJIBOUTI

In a region fraught with instability, Djibouti is a peaceful, tolerant, democratic, Muslim country, serving as a valuable partner for both its neighbors and the United States. Djibouti plays a key role in supporting regional efforts to reach a lasting solution in Somalia. I visited Djibouti in early February, just prior to its parliamentary elections. Despite a boycott call from a rival coalition, the elections were peaceful and voter turnout was over 72 percent.

Though Djibouti is challenged by poverty and chronic food insecurity, it is rapidly becoming a vital hub for economic growth in the region. Current significant foreign investment in Djibouti's port and infrastructure will likely allow Djibouti to serve as a regional transshipment hub. Djibouti's expanding port capacity speeds regional trade, and its livestock quarantine and export facility (launched by USAID) permits legitimate exports from the Horn to key Middle East markets for the first time in decades.

President Ismail Omar Guelleh is committed not only to expanding Djibouti's role in the global economy and increasing foreign and private investment, but has also emphasized education and healthcare, so the Djiboutian people can realize the benefits of the country's economic growth. Djibouti knows that its future success depends on regional stability and economic integration, and it serves as a model for several of its neighbors.

SOMALILAND

In early February, I also had an opportunity to visit the city of Hargeisa in the Republic of Somaliland. Somaliland has achieved a commendable level of stability, largely without external support or assistance, which the international community must help to sustain regardless of the question of formal recognition. My visit in February provided a chance to witness Somaliland's progress regarding economic development, but also to hear about the challenges that Somaliland faces in its democratic process.

During my visit, I met with members of the Somaliland administration, as well as representatives from Somaliland's three political parties to discuss the municipal and presidential elections expected to take place in July and August of this year. The United States has provided $1 million dollars through the International Republican Institute (IRI) to support training for members of Parliament elected in Somaliland's September 2005 parliamentary elections, as well as capacity-building programs for Somaliland's three political parties. We also plan to contribute an additional $1 million dollars in support of the upcoming municipal and presidential elections.

Despite some recent delays in beginning a voter registration process, we are hopeful that the recent decision by President Dahir Rayale Kahin to authorize the voter registration process proposed by the National Electoral Commission will enable the elections to take place on schedule. At the same time, Somaliland's democracy remains fragile and it is important to maintain the success of the past. We will continue to urge Somaliland's political parties to demonstrate the same level of political will that ensured the previous presidential elections in 2003 were credible and transparent, and to work together to ensure a peaceful result regardless of which candidate wins the election.

CONCLUSION

Despite continued instability in Somalia and persistent tensions along the Ethiopia-Eritrea border, the Horn of Africa as a whole is making progress towards improved regional stability and governance. Our policy objectives remain consistent with our international and regional partners, but as always we are constrained by a lack of resources. Despite these constraints, we will continue to work with our partners to bring lasting stability to areas of conflict in the Horn of Africa, and to maintain stability and good governance where these goals have been achieved.

Thank you, and now I would be happy to take your questions.


GOBAL CAMPAIGN FOR EDUCATION NORTH WEST ZONE

"It is my passion that every child in Africa goes to school.” Nelson Mandela. “Education is the doorway to freedom, democracy and development".

2008-04-26 (Hadhwanaagnews) This year’s Global Campaign for Education theme is “Quality Education to End Exclusion”. The Global Action Week begun on 21stApril and will end on 27th April.

In NWZ, week long advocacy activities are ongoing in five centres in Hargeisa, all advocating against exclusion and the right to education for every child. Political leaders, religious leaders, teachers, pupils, youth organizations, international agencies and local NGOs are participating in the activities.

The bases for advocacy in NWZ are:
1. Education for children with disability
2. Education for girls
3. Education for the internally displaced, the refugees and returnees
4. Education for orphans and vulnerable children

In NWZ, a coalition of organizations focusing on education is supporting the campaign. This coalition is made up of the Ministry of Education, UNICEF, World Vision, NRC, Swiss Group, Action Aid, Handicap International, Save the Children Alliance, Education Development Centre, CARE, AET, IAS, Horn of Africa Voluntary Youth Committee (HAVOYOCO), Somaliland Students Assembly (SOLSA) and Candle Light. World Vision is the coordinating organization while SOLSA is the local implementing partner.

Participants in the activities include children, parents, MOE officials, religious leaders, CECs, political leaders, and coalition members.

The main activities so far have been drama, speeches by parents, political leaders, MOE officials and children themselves. Children have called on parents to send their children especially girls to school. In the role plays, girls blamed mothers for keeping them at home to perform household chores. Boys on the other hand pointed out peer influence leading to khat and dropping out of school as one of the reasons for low enrolment.

On the 21st, the first day of the campaign’ stakeholders gathered at Hargeisa Special School to advocate for education for children with disability. In NWZ, children with disability are few in schools; some parents keep them at home. Through drama and speeches, religious leaders, CECs and children urged parents with children with disabilities to enroll them in school. They also called on the MOE to take over the responsibility of education of children with disability. The Hargeisa Special School CEC informed the gathering that IAS, which was funding the school, had handed over the school to the community. The community has not been able to raise funds and there is fear that operation of the institution might halt due to lack of funding.

On 22nd the campaign was held in 18th May primary school. CTC club members facilitated the event. They called on local leaders, CECs and religious leaders to involve children in decision making. Give a voice to the youth

Today 23rd April, was the World’s Biggest Lesson day. The lesson did not take part in Somaliland. The campaign focused on advocacy for education for the Internally Displaced children, the poor and the orphaned. Two events were organized. One at State house Primary School which caters for children from the IDP community. The school has 480 children, 240 girls and 240 boys. This is according to NRC criteria. The boys and girls were present. Also present were GWA coalition members, the Director of planning in the MOE, Mr. Abdullahi Yassin, one Member of Parliament, religious leaders, CEC members and parents

The second event was held at HAVOYOCO training centre which focuses on skills training for girls and boys from the IDP community, the urban poor, orphans and children living in the streets. Here, both boys and girls took the stage, highlighting issues that keep girls and boys out of school such as domestic labour, uneducated parents who do not attach value to education, school fees, peer influence, effects of khat and Indian movies. Boys and girls observed that “Education is Light” and that without education, they have no future.

Commitments by MOE
- MOE will continue advocating for all children to go to school, with the aim of increasing enrolment to 75 % by 2011
- MOE will establish new learning spaces and expand existing ones to accommodate more children
- MOE will double the number of teachers in its payroll by 2011.

Currently MOE pays 2500 teachers in primary schools.
- By 2015, all school age children in Somaliland should be in school, and be able to read and write.


BBC Online, 25 April 2008/By Paul Reynolds

Somaliland's 'path to recognition'

Amid the chaos that has afflicted the Horn of Africa over recent decades, there is an oasis of relative calm that is ignored by the rest of the world.

The Republic of Somaliland announced its independence from the rest of Somalia in May 1991 and has been searching for recognition in vain since then.

Now, it has received support from a think-tank active in development and security issues, the Senlis Council.

"A fast-track to recognition is urgently needed for Somaliland," a report from the council states.

'State-in-waiting'

It supports Somaliland's claim that it is not another enclave seeking separation. Such a separation would be against the principles of the African Union.

The Senlis Council argues that since Somaliland is basically the old British Somaliland, which was independent for five days in 1960 before uniting with Italian Somaliland, it should be regarded again as a state-in-waiting.

The report calls for a "path to recognition" - including a referendum on independence, full transition to multi-party democracy and the rule of law, resolution of its territorial dispute with another region of Somalia, Puntland, and aid from the United States.

"Given the turmoil that characterises the bulk of Somalia, the international community needs to be reawakened from its torpor on Somaliland while relative calm exists," the report says.

Norine MacDonald, the Canadian lawyer who is the Senlis Council's president, said: "This is an untold story of remarkable endeavour.

"Somalia is not a functioning state. Somaliland is a functioning state. It is asking for recognition and we call on President George Bush to lead that recognition."

She remarked that while she could not move around Mogadishu on a recent visit, which she stressed was worse than Afghanistan and desperate for international aid, she was able to walk freely around the capital of Somaliland, Hargeisa.

The report places Somaliland in the context of what it calls the "chronic failures of the US-led war on terror" in Afghanistan, where Ms MacDonald is based, and Somalia.

This war, it claims, is "bolstering the legitimacy of Somali and Afghan extremists. The recognition of Somaliland is a political necessity in the fight against extremism."

Long struggle

Despite these calls, it is unlikely that the United States will move quickly towards formal recognition.

The position of the Bush administration was spelled out in a statement by the State Department on 17 January this year: "While the United States does not recognize Somaliland as an independent state, and we continue to believe that the question of Somaliland's independence should be resolved by the African Union, we continue regularly to engage with Somaliland as a regional administration."

The US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer met Somaliland's foreign minister last year.

So there is a kind of de facto acceptance of the split, but the US probably cannot afford to upset Somali President Abdullah Yusuf Ahmed, who opposes independence for Somaliland. Recognition for Somaliland would in effect be an admission that Somalia as a state had failed.

The president is an ally in the US fight against Islamic militants in the region, notably the Council of Islamic Courts and the al-Shabab movement.

The US is also seeking four suspects in Somalia it says were part of the al-Qaeda attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

The African Union itself does not favour rearranging the borders of African countries, especially where there is no agreement. It feels that, rightly or wrongly, the colonial borders were fixed and that changing them would open up too much uncertainty.

There have been calls (from, among others, the International Crisis Group, another think-tank devoted to offering proposals on world problems) for the AU to take a more positive view of Somaliland independence but this has not led very far.


Somaliland: New Report Shows Successes & Trials

http://www.unpo.org/content/view/8066/142/ 24 April 2008

The Senlis Council have published a report urging greater international recognition of the republic if the state-building of the last decade is not to be undone.

Below is an excerpt from the (http://www.unpo.org/images/senliscouncilchronicfailureswaronterror.pdf)‘Chronic Failures in the War on Terror: From Afghanistan to Somalia’ report published by the Senlis Council:

[…] In contrast to the foreign programmes in the south-central region, Somaliland has been characterised by a lack of external intervention. The region has also been conspicuous for its stability and security in an otherwise violent and lawless locality. After some initial problems with banditry and a serious intra-SNM factional conflict in 1992, a National Charter was formed in 1993 and the SNM handed power to Mohammed Egal. Egal was appointed President of an administration combining modern and traditional forms of governance. The region's business and clan groups lent legitimacy by providing vital support to the new government, which could draw on local social and economic ties formed under the corrupt Barre state.

Unlike Somalia, an internationally recognised state without a functioning government, Somaliland has a fully functioning central administration but no recognition. The Somaliland authorities have concentrated on achieving the milestones of an independent state, establishing security within a territory and forming a functioning administration capable of entering into relations with other states. It carried out a successful demobilisation campaign and established police forces and judicial systems in the towns. When security had been stabilised, basic service delivery and a taxation infrastructure were established, and economic growth and trade increased steadily. Somaliland has a Constitution – ratified in a referendum in 2001 – which institutionalises the separation of central authority's power, active opposition parties, an independent press, and in 2003, held multi-party competitive Presidential elections. The next presidential elections are due to take place in August 2008, with tight controls against vote tampering.

In return for economic and political support, Hargeisa has provided security for the business community, as well as the general population. To ensure that Somaliland remains a peaceful region while wars rage on its borders, it has spent heavily on military defence and policing at the expense of health and education programmes, for which it has been criticised by some human rights organisations. However, sustained economic growth and personal security represent an enormous achievement in the region, and are highly valued by the general population. The military and police also provide targeted employment for young males, many of whom own personal arms and have military experience, and could otherwise be a cause of insecurity.

In 2003 and 2004, a number of attacks were carried out on foreign aid workers in Somaliland, prompting fears that radical Islamist groups were operating in the region. Almost all Somalis are Sunni Muslims of the Shafi'i school and Islam is one of the few movements that can cut across clan divides and historical tensions. However, radical Islam is opposed by many, and in Somaliland, religious authorities and the general population have shown intolerance for such movements.

The government of Somaliland has been consistently hostile to radical Islamist influences, but considers its struggle against terrorists to be a domestic issue, not part of the United States' global War on Terror. However, Somaliland also cooperates with US counter-terrorism efforts, and this cooperation has resulted in some arrests.

Despite minimal local support for extremism in Somaliland, there is some concern that radical Islamism could be gaining ground. The limited budget of the government means that there is a gap in educational provision. In some areas this gap is being filled by Arab-funded madrassas teaching radical Islamist ideology. There are concerns that radical Islamism is also being imported by Somalilanders radicalised in other countries. Positive diplomatic relations with the international community and greater funding for local educational systems could counter this influence.

In 2004, former Puntland President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed was appointed President of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government. He has loudly opposed Somaliland independence, calling for a unified Somalia. Although Somalia's Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein has recently talked about reconciliation with political opposition within south-central Somalia, he has made no similar comments about Somaliland. With Somalia's Transitional Federal Government focused on the extreme problems in Mogadishu and south-central Somalia, there are currently no indications that it is willing to negotiate a peaceful settlement recognising Somaliland's independence.

To date, no states have recognised Somaliland's independence. Despite this, Somaliland's government has adopted a pragmatic relationship with its neighbours. Economic ties and diplomatic relations with Djibouti have improved since 2003, partly due to strong clan ties (the current President of Somaliland is from the Dir clan, predominant in Djibouti).

Political engagement with Ethiopia is necessary due to the nomadic Somali populations that move across the border, bringing local land and clan conflicts with them. Ethiopia is a stronger and more powerful state, however it is landlocked; Somaliland's Berbera port is an important trade point to which Somaliland granted Ethiopia formal access in 2000. Ethiopia has a Trade Liaison Office in Hargeisa, headed by a diplomat with the rank of Ambassador, and Somaliland also has a Liaison office in Addis Ababa.

A number of issues could derail Somaliland's progression towards official recognition. Some of the territory's clans remain politically marginalised, and allegations of political corruption have been raised. In addition, fears that political positioning prior to the upcoming Presidential elections could spill over into violence appear to be realised, as evidenced by the series of explosions in April 2008 in Hargeisa. However, despite these issues of concern, it is clear that Somaliland has achieved a significant level of progress and stability, particularly when measured against Somalia.

Although the African Union (AU) has made some positive noises about the possibility of recognising Somaliland's independence, it has done little to convert these sentiments into action, and AU member states have not taken a collective position regarding recognition. An AU fact-finding mission to Somaliland in April-May 2005 generated some apparently positive findings:

“Going by the clear presentation and articulate demands of the authorities and people of Somaliland concerning their political, social and economic history, Somaliland has been made a “pariah region” by default. The Union established in 1960 brought enormous injustice and suffering to the people of the region. The fact that the “union between Somaliland and Somalia was never ratified” and also malfunctioned when it went into action from 1960 to 1990, makes Somaliland’s search for recognition historically unique and self-justified in African political history. Objectively viewed, the case should not be linked to the notion of “opening a Pandora’s box.” As such, the AU should find a special method of dealing with this outstanding case.”

Attempts by the government of Somaliland to have the AU re-visit the region with a mission including member state representatives were rebuffed at the AU Summits in January and July 2007. As well as Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed's opposition to recognising Somaliland, other member states such as Egypt have expressed interest in keeping Somalia unified as a regional counterweight to Ethiopia.

Other AU states oppose Somaliland recognition on the grounds that it could set a precedent for separatist movements elsewhere on the continent. However, following the January 2008 AU meeting in Addis Ababa, the United States' Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Dr Jendayi Frazer, called for the AU to send another senior delegation to Somaliland.

The UN Security Council insists on using quotation marks when referring to Somaliland or terming it “northern Somalia”. In assessing the region's dynamics, the March 2008 Secretary-General's report on Somalia did not encompass a visit Somaliland. Despite this, the report determined that security in Somaliland is “fragile” and only “relatively better” than in south-central Somalia.

However aside from the border with Puntland, almost every other study on Somaliland contradicts this assertion, including reports by the United States' Government Accountability Office, the International Crisis Group and The Senlis Council's field research in Somaliland. The Security Council report does recognise the need for “careful consideration” of the state identity of both Somaliland and Puntland, but assumes this will occur in the context of a Somali federation.

The European Union pays scant attention to Somali or Somaliland affairs. Italy is a strong advocate of unification, and few European countries have sought to make an issue out of the remote country. Nonetheless, Denmark, Sweden and particularly the UK have been supportive. In a demonstration of international contradictions regarding Somaliland, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso recently pledged European Commission support of free and fair Presidential elections there, despite the fact no formal EU recognition of the Somaliland government exists.

The United States Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi E. Frazer's recent testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa praised Somaliland's achievement of “a commendable level of stability, largely without external support or assistance, which the international community must help to sustain regardless of the question of formal recognition.”

Of Somaliland's democratic processes, Assistant Secretary Frazer commented that “we are witnessing the patient, methodical emergence of representative institutions.” Despite the lack of formal recognition, the United States government has channelled limited amounts of aid for capacity-building in Somaliland's parliament and to support elections.85 Following Assistant Secretary Frazer's meeting with Somaliland President Riyale, a US State Department spokesman stressed that the US was not planning to recognise Somaliland. However, he did state that, “there is a process underway that the AU is engaged in and we are going to be watching very closely that situation” […]


Tiraspol Times.http://www.tiraspoltimes.com/node/1751. By Jason Cooper, 24/Apr/2008

Let Somaliland be an independent country, int'l think tanks say

Two influential international think tanks are recommending independence and diplomatic recognition of Somaliland "sooner rather than later". In its latest report, the Senlis Council underlines the need for quick and official recognition of Somaliland. This is echoed by the International Crisis Group, which also supports international recognition of Somaliland's right to statehood.

Located in northern Africa, Somaliland has been 'de facto' independent since 1991... almost as long as Europe's TransdniestriaHARGEISA (Tiraspol Times) - The Republic of Somaliland needs to be officially recognized as an independent country says a prominent global think-tank in its latest report on security and development. The Senlis Council, which was established in 2002 as a European-based organization, reveals its policy recommendations in a report entitled Chronic Failures of the War on Terror: From Afghanistan to Somalia which was published in London on Wednesday.

In its report, the think-tank emphasises the need for official recognition of Somaliland.

" - Official recognition for Somaliland would send a clear message to all Somalis that peaceful transitions from stability are possible without the need to use overpowering military force, and will be rewarded," said Norine MacDonald, a Canadian lawyer who is president and lead field researcher of The Senlis Council.

" - Up to now, Somaliland has toiled in relative anonymity without any recognition of its extraordinary success in creating the conditions for a viable, stand-alone state, and resisting the spread of extremism found in Somalia."

The Senlis Council is an international policy think-tank with offices in Brussels, Kabul, Kandahar, Lashkar Gah, London, Ottawa, Paris and Rio de Janeiro. It works in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), as co-organizer of an international conference held in February with the attendance of General David J. Richards, until last year the overall commander of NATO-ISAF.

ICG recommends independence

The International Crisis Group also recommends independence as the best way to build a future for the people of Somaliland. The ICG advocates that the African Union leads the way on international recognition of Somaliland's right to statehood.

In a special report, the research and advocacy group makes a clear political and legal case for recognition. ICG's research suggests that an independent Somaliland would add to regional stability, rather than representing a further cause of instability in the Horn of Africa. The International Crisis Group argues that Somaliland's case is unique, and would not - as some AU members fear - set a precedent for African secessionist movement.

The current internationally recognized state of Somalia is a state in name only. Aside from the briefest of intervals, the last 17 years has been characterised by varying degrees of chaos.

In Somalia, elections have not been held since 1969. Whereas in Somaliland, the 2005 Parliamentary elections were regarded as free and fair, and a test of independence.

But if Somalia is a state in name only, Somaliland is a state-in-waiting without formal recognition.

Of all of the states in the Horn of Africa, it is the yet internationally unrecognised aspirant state of Somaliland that offers President Bush with his most viable opportunity to claim an African success story. By all rational indicators of a state’s post-conflict development, Somaliland represents impressive progress, and consolidating an area of stability and governance in the Horn of Africa will reduce the vacant space for instability, conflict and extremism to fill.

Somaliland case not creating new precedent

Somaliland has achieved an extraordinary level of political and physical stability after being raised during the bitter civil war of the early 1990s. An embattled population found the resolve to reconstitute itself, establishing functioning organs of government without little upheaval – a rarity in post-conflict reconstruction. Its drive to create multi-party democracy upon a backdrop of relative peace and security has been impressive, if not without flaw.

Somaliland’s considerable achievements must not continue to go unheralded, and the only substantial way to reward it is through full statehood, argues the Senlis Council in its report.

Somaliland’s claim for full state independence is distinct from the majority of similar requests of other separatist enclaves/exclaves. Rather than seeking to secede from Somalia, Somaliland is looking to be re-constituted as an independent state. It held this status for five days between 26 June and 1 July 1960 - being recognized by 35 states in the process - before voluntarily uniting with Italian Somalia within the Somali Republic.

For most of its time inside Somalia, the territory was ruled by dictator Siad Barre’s regime. Barre fell in 1991, along with the country’s political, economic and administrative institutions and any semblance of central government. On 18 May 1991, Somaliland revoked the 1960 Act of Union, and declared Somaliland independent. No country has officially recognised its statehood yet.

According to the report from the Senlis Council, the current policy vacuum needs to be filled by constructive engagement on the issue of Somaliland’s status at every diplomatic level, most notably within the African Union and United Nations. While this dialogue should necessarily be framed by the need for regional stability, the aim of some parties to establish a Somali Federation need not be an immediate focus of such discussions.

Somaliland declared independence in 1991, one year after the independence declaration of Pridnestrovie (Transdniestria). Both have been 'de facto' independent states for the better part of the past two decades, but neither one of them has yet obtained international diplomatic recognition. A first step towards broader international recognition will be for the two countries' Foreign Ministries to establish bilateral ties and recognize each other on a mutual basis.


The new US Strategy Behind Somaliland AFRICOM Base

http://www.geeskaafrika.com/somaliland_20apr08.htm. April 23, 2008

U.S. Army Gen. William E. Ward, center, U.S. European Command deputy, and U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Pamela Bridgewater, rear, inspect Ghanaian military members at Burma Camp in Accra, Ghana. Ward visited the nation in an effort to bolster relations with African nations.

The new US Strategy Behind Somaliland AFRICOM Base

Nairobi (HAN) April 23, 2008- We know now that The current US policy in Somalia failed, particularly at a time the Islamist insurgency are battling with U.S. backed shaky transitional government and Ethiopian Forces.

The US Strategy and Somaliland port of barbara: The new U.S. military command devoted to Africa is now operational. It's called AFRICOM and its launch completes a three-year quest by the Pentagon. The Pentagon divides the world up into six regions known as "combatant commands." The most prominent is CENTCOM — the area that encompasses the Middle East and central Asia. Each command is led by a four-star general who, in turn, is responsible for all the U.S. forces operating in the area.

According to the Pentagon, AFRICOM will be different. The U.S. Africa command will focus on the humanitarian needs of Africa. Most African leaders are skeptical — or flatly opposed — to the development, which the Pentagon says is a matter of public relations. Army Gen. William Ward, the new AFRICOM commander, says most Africans don't yet understand what the command is about.

Contributing to the confusion is a debate raging between the Army and the Navy over what AFRICOM should be. According to a well-placed Pentagon source involved in the issue, the Army wants to build an AFRICOM headquarters somewhere on the continent. The Navy wants AFRICOM to be a sea-based command — operating out of carriers and large vessels moored off the coast of Africa.

That is why, the last trip of Assistant Undersecretary of State for African Affairs, Dr. Frasier to Hargiesa was excellent signal or reply to U.S commitment to build relation with Somaliland.

Because: US clearly knew that if Somaliland – recognized indirectly like Kosovo – can play vital role in easing the violence that flared in Mogadishu as result of inter-fighting between the Ethiopian Forces and the Al-shabab Islamist fighters.

The main Strategic Reason: AFRICOM, the U.S. Administration one year ago formed forces to help easing the conflicts in Africa and to eliminate the terrorism in African. AFRICOM stationed temporarily in U.S. Military Base in Germany, as well as, it has unit in Djibouti. Resources close to Whitehouse say that Washington is looking for permanent location for AFRICOM in Africa.

As analyzer, I believe the two US War Ships that had docked to Berbera Port is the first step of relocating AFRICOM from Germany to Somaliland. In other hand, U.S has forces in Djibouti, but the country is too small to host two superpower countries. Also, it will be difficult to France to welcome U.S Forces in Djibouti permanently; we can say it like "Cat and Rat". In these circumstances, U.S should look for another base that can enable them to monitor Red Sea and hunt down the Al-Qaeda fugitives from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The current Somaliland Security & the lost opportunity: The deputy speaker Said Jama Ali, was ordered to tell the local media that the term extension decision was approved by the so-called 'deputies' of Somaliland, because "there must be a six-month period between presidential and local government elections". Somalis in the breakaway pseudo-state are truly fed up with this impossible situation, and the provocative lies of the vicious thug who impersonates 'their' – unsolicited – 'president'.

The pseudo-parliament 'voted' to hold local elections in October, thus giving Mr. Riyale an additional six months in office. After some months, another comical and illegitimate vote will certainly postpone Riyale's bogus-elections for whenever it may suit the clownish president and his unashamed thugs and gangsters who terrorize the local population.

One should not forget that in 2007, Riyale supported a motion, extending the term for his pseudo-parliament's 'deputies' by an additional four years; next time he may add another forty! At this point, one should be reminiscent of the fact that Riyale was 'elected' in an infamous episode of elections in 2003, when trees, donkeys, and stones participated in the voting procedure in support of the loathed Somali thug – the servant of the Abyssinian dictator.

Following the aforementioned indescribable procedures and unacceptable developments, the marginalized opposition parties Kulmiye and UCID issued a Joint Statement condemning the term extension as "illegal", and warned that Mr. Riyale "will not be recognized as President after May 15".


If America has Recognized Kosovo, The AU Should Recognize Somaliland

Written by KUHENGA, Apr 22, 2008. http://www.qarannews.com

There has been some quite interesting reaction arising from the piece in this column last week on Somaliland titled: SOMALILAND: A VIABLE STATE BUT UNRECOGNIZED.

In an SMS text message to me one reader wrote: “Rarely do I agree with what you write but today I do. The African Union as well as the United Nations must recognize Somaliland to prove that they are not rubber stamps of George W Bush. If America has recognized Kosovo, the AU should recognize Somaliland. Otherwise Somaliland should seek Iran and Russian support!” I did allow myself a little grin having read the unsigned telephone text message from a reader of this column.

I have since been consulting the super information highway, the Internet and have come to discover that among frequent visitors to Somaliland of recently has been Gendayi Fraser, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. I really do not know what this African American lady has been up to in Somaliland. But if these visits to the little country in the Horn of Africa has been aimed at striking a quid pro quo - “become our small outpost here - and we will prop you up to gain international recognition” - fine. What matters for me as a bottom line is how leaders of Somaliland will want to play their cards with the Americans. The Americans have their interests as a nation and Somaliland leaders must know their interests as a small country! And frankly, it is not true that practically everything the Americans do is wrong: No. I was among the first who applauded the American led NATO initiative to reverse ethnic cleansing in the Balkans during the presidency of President Bill Clinton. The recognition of Kosovo is therefore a logical and appropriate response to that initiative. But what is of remarkable misnomer here is when the international community looks away at a toddler nation born out of impossible circumstances - the disappearance of an erstwhile unitary state of Somalia into anarchy and chaos.

As we saw last week, Somaliland was a British Protectorate for over 80 years while Somalia was Italian ruled. At Somaliland independence in 1960, it went into a hasty Union with Italian ruled Somalia in the south to create a unified Somali Republic. But the eras of coups in the mid-sixties brought catastrophe to this unified Somali Republic when Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre pulled his coup. As a result of Siad Barre’s undemocratic move, there was resistance in Somaliland aimed at reasserting itself as in the days at independence in 1960. But the overthrow of Siad Barre himself in 1991 plunged Somalia deeper into further chaos, which is yet to recover. But Somaliland has since mid-nineties reasserted itself as a separate country from the erstwhile military government of Gen. Siad Barre.

The other day, I allowed myself a little research on what Somaliland government looks like. I have since discovered Somaliland is a constitutional multi-party state, comprising the President, Vice-President, and the legislature - parliament. Legislative power is vested into the House of Representatives and House of Elders (senate). With a population of 3.5 million people, Somaliland runs competitive politics with three major political parties. The last vote was taken in 2003 and the next vote is due April this year. In the last vote, Mr. Dahir Riyale Kahin of the Unity, Democracy and Independence Party won the presidential vote over two competitors. He presides over a 27-man cabinet. What is most instructive about Somaliland’s form of democracy is its capability to fuse western-style institutions of government with its own traditional forms of social and political organization. Its bicameral parliament reflects this fusion of traditional and modern, with the senate consisting of traditional elders and the House of Representatives consisting of elected representatives. But how has Somaliland survived without international recognition and therefore without “international donor support” most African countries enjoy?

Hard information coming my way reveals that Somaliland, an essentially livestock economy is doing very well in its bilateral trade with countries such as Saudi Arabia. It has managed to make its capital Hargeisa function normally like any other city of a modern country, with working traffic lights and has put up even two universities of international standards. Today, according to hard information, Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland is among the safest towns in Africa. But the irony here is that while there is no government worth its name in Mogadishu (Somalia) but it is the “government” of the Ethiopian occupied capital that is recognized by the United Nations, keeping a blind eye on a Somaliland government that is democratically elected and doing wonders without donor support except the efforts of the people themselves. So Somaliland is soldiering on with virtually no external help. Whilst Somalilanders in the Diaspora have heavily supported economic development, lack of international recognition has meant that Somaliland does not qualify for bilateral aid or support from international financial institutions.

But according to observers, this isolation has not however resulted in isolationism. Lack of access to external aid has forced this country of 3.5 million people to become more self-reliant than many African states. Along with self-reliance, Somaliland is succeeding to unite its people above clannish divides, which have seen its southern flanks in the name of the former Italy-ruled Somalia disintegrate and disappear as a cohesive state. As I argued in the last perspective, the very reason that Somaliland has managed to evolve as a sustainable state is an adequate reason to reward it with immediate international recognition to serve as a spur and catalysts to its southern brethren now at each other’s throats. The same reasons that may have spurred the United States and its western allies to offer recognition to the newly born state of Kosovo cannot be contradictory to what Somaliland deserves today.


http://www.qarannews.com/ Apr 21, 2008

Speech of Somaliland Representative in Brussels (UNPO,Berlin-April 21st 2008)

Written by Mohamoud Abdi Daar

Seminar on the Concept of Self-Determination in International Law Organized by UNPO, Berlin, Germany, April 20-24, 2008

The case of Somaliland:Opportunities and Challenges

Historical Background

Historically, Somaliland existed as a seperate country. She obtained her independence from Great Britain on June 26, 1960 and was recognized as an independent and sovereign state by many member states of the United Nations, including the five permanent members of the Security Council. On July 1st 1960, Somaliland voluntarily merged with Somalia, after Somalia's independence from Italy in July 1960. Afterwards two seperate states entered into a Union and founded the now defunct Republic of Somalia.

In the aftermath of the collapse of the Somali Republic at the beginning of 1991 and the subsequent spread of civil war across the country, Somaliland's, political and traditional community leaders decided, with popular support, to abrogate the Union with Somalia and declared to restore Somaliland's political independence within its old and pre-existing boundaries.

The government based in Hargeisa, the capital, and the people of Somaliland started to reconstruct the country, laid the foundations for reconciliation, peace and stability and the setting-up of modern good governance institutions in the country. Since the declaration of her independence in 1991, she has existed as a de facto independent country during which time, the government and the people made extraordinary achievements in the areas of social, economic and political development.

Somaliland Fulfils Conditions for Statehood

Under the traditional definition of a state in international law, international law specifies four qualifications that a state must have, as follows:
- a permanent population
- a defined territory
- a stable government
- capacity to enter into relations with other states in the international community

Somaliland fulfils all these conditions. She has a permanent population estimated at 3.5 million people, more than half a million of whom reside in Hargeisa, the capital. The government enjoys support of the people.

The country covers an area of almost 138,000 square kilometres with a coastline of almost 900 kilometres across the Aden Gulf, a strategically important location. Her borders are demarcated by the former British Somaliland Protectorate and are defined by the following international agreements:
-The Anglo-French Treaty of 1888
-The Anglo-Italian Protocol of 1894
-The Anglo-Ethiopian Treaty of 1897 ( * Briefing Paper,Ministry of Foreign Affairs,Hargeisa,2002 ).

1 Somaliland has also a functioning government which is firmly in control of the entire territory of the state. Its constitution was approved in a referendum organized in 2001 by the government in cooperation with the Initiative and Referendum Institute based in Washington, D.C.

The government has independent external relations with other states. It has agreements of cooperation with some of the EU and the AU countries as well as multilateral agreements with UN agencies and other organizations. Over the last few years many, many UN agencies and international NGOs have set up their offices in Hargeisa. The government has also business agreements and investment contracts with foreign corporations that operate in the country. It maintains representation in a number of foreign countries to liaise with other governments and organizations.

Development of State Institutions

The constitution provides for a multiparty democracy, a bicameral legislature and independent judiciary. Periodic elections are held every five years to select a president, parliamentarians for the House of Representatives and local governments for each region. Other government institutions including civil service, customs, telecommunications and postal services, banks, security system operate efficiently in the country. She has also its currency and passports.

Since 1991, the country has had peaceful change of governments; in 1993, 1997, 2002 and 2003. Now preparations are being made to hold presidential and local government elections at the end of this year and the beginning of next year.

As mentioned earlier, a great deal of work has been done by the government and people in the areas of peace, stability, good governance and human rights. Democratic structures are firmly established in the country's constitution. The constitution supports democratic principles of participation in the decision making process of the country, active competition among political parties and protection of civil and political liberties. The development of modern and democratic practices such as the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as Somaliland's acceptance of existing international boundaries constitute additional conditions in her search for recognition. Scholars including Monica Bermudez underline that the above qualities are important in Somaliland's claim for recognition. considering the growing "relevance of these principles in international law and of the particular situation of Somaliland."* (* Bermudez, Monica S. Thesis for European Masters Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation; Somaliland:Time for Recognition, July 2004,p.49, Irish Centre for Human Rights ).

Economic Viability

In addition to above requirements for statehood, Somaliland is economically viable. The backbone of the economy is livestock on which more than 60 % of the population depend for their livelihood. As the most important export commodity, livestock is the main foreign exchang earner. The country earns generally about US$ 200 million a year from exports to Saudi Arabia and to other Gulf countries. Livestock exports exceeded three million heads in 1997 ( UNDP:1998 ). Fish, quality frakincense, gemstones, minerals, natural gas and oil are other products for exploitation. The country does not depend on foreign aid like many other African countries. Its social and economic development has largely been achieved on self- reliance and local initiative and investments made by Somaliland diaspora.(* Briefing Paper, Ministry of Foteign Affairs, Hargeisa, 2002).

In the last few years, hundreds of thousands of Somaliland refugees and displaced persons voluntarily returned to the country on account of her stability and improving economic conditions. Somaliland hosts also migrant workers from the region.

The Right of Self-Determination

Self-determination is an important principle in international affairs and is regarded as strongly established in international law. Self-determination allows peoples and nations to have a role in international affairs and calls for respect for their choices and aspirations, contrary to the out of date state-sovereignty approach in international dealings, (Cassese, Antonio, International Law, Oxford University Press, second edition, 2005, p.60 ).

The legal basis for the right to self-determination is expressed in Charter Article 1(2) of the Charter of the United Nations that states that one of the most important aims of the Organization is to ‘ develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples...'* (* L.M. Goodrich, E.Hambro,A.P.Simons,eds. Charter of the United Nations,Commentary and Documents, Columbia Universty Press,New York, 1969 ). This principle has been restated again and again in different international conventions including; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter of Human, the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966. Article 1.of both Convenants confirm that:

-All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and cultural development.

These principles of self-determination were successfully carried out recently in many countries including; Bangladesh, Eritrea, East Timore and in the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.. These precedents of international law must be applied to Somaliland in her legitimate claim to independence from Somalia which is in a state of anarchy.

The country's entitlement to exercise its right of self-determination is all the more enhanced by the democratic choice of its people as expressed in the 2001 referendum in which 97% of Somalilanders approved the new constitution which affirm the country's independence and sovereignty* (* Briefing Paper). Somalilanders' right to self-determination were eloquently expressed also in peace conferences held all in the towns of Burao from April to May 1991 and in Borama from January to May 1993 in which all Somaliland communities participated and approved the country's independence.

Furthermore, Somaliland's claim to self-determination and independence is strengthened by the application of the principle of Uti Possedetis which is a general principle in international law that requires the maintenance of colonially inherited boundaries. Somaliland accepts this principle and the sanctity of the boundaries in Africa. In African experience, this principle was applied in the abrogation and dissolution of a number of voluntary post-independence Unions including, among others, Senegal-Gambia (1982-1989), Mali Federation ( Mali -Senegal, 1960), United Arab Republic (Egyt-Syria, 1958-1961). 3

Somaliland declaration of independence is based on the country's earlier existence as a recognized state with demarcated borders and is in conformity with the Constitutive Act of the African Union ( Article 4.b. ), that affirms the Union's ‘ respect of borders existing on the achievement of independence.' Hence "Somaliland's independent status represents the dissolution of a voluntary Union between sovereign states, not an act of secession." ( Briefing paper ).

Increasing International Support for Somaliland's Independence

There is increasing international support for Somaliland's recognition as an independent state. In 2005, the African Union sent a Fact-Finding Mission to Somaliland which held a wide-ranging consultations with the government, the political parties and institutions of the society. In its report, the Mission made favourable recommendations and concluded that "Somaliland's search for recognition is historically unique and self-justified in African political history." ( * Report of the AU Fact-Finding Mission to Somaliland,Apri-May, 2005). At the end of 2007, the Congress of the European Liberal Democrat Reform Party, the third largest party in the European Parliament, adopted a resolution in which it called on the EU member states as well as other states to accord recognition to Somaliland. In addition a number of international non-governmental organizations including the Brussels-based Crisis Group, scholars and other prominent persons support Somaliland's case for diplomatic recognition.

Challenges Facing Somaliland as a De Facto independent country

- Security needs are basic needs of Somaliland.. Defence against terrorism and destabilization are priorities. Somaliland, an oasis of peace, is situated in one of the most beleagured regions in the world. Diplomatic recognition of Somaliland will strengthen her security, independence, peace and stability in the Horn of Africa.
- Economic and development needs are very important to alleviate poverty.
-Recognition would strengthen rights and obligations of Somaliland and bring about benefits of membership of the international community and access to bilateral and mutilateral development assistance.

Conclusion:

For more than a decade now, Somaliland has re-established peace, acquired stability and has put in place democratic and good governance institutions. It is a model of democracy in Africa. As the country fulfils all the objective criteria under international law for the recognition of states, including her ability to fulfil international obligations, the hardworking people of Somaliland look forward that the international community will give recognition to their country to restore her earlier independent status. This will support the democratic choice of the people and will promote peace, development and stability in the Horn of Africa.

Submitted to the UNPO Secretariat in the Hague.
By Mohamoud Abdi Daar, Somaliland Representative in Brussels 4


Through http://www.hadhwanaagnews.com/

Birth in a nation: African hospital founder describes

Source The Athens Messenger RH, April 22, 2008, John Halley Edna Adan Ismail of Somaliland describes for O?Bleness Memorial Hospital staff members the hospital she operates in her homeland. Looking on is Dr. Jane Broecker.

Moving her hand in front of an automatic faucet at O'Bleness Memorial Hospital, Edna Adan Ismail remarked about her own hospital in Somaliland. "Sometimes we have no water. Adequate water would mean digging a well, which would cost $60,000, so we make due. Water is our heaviest cross to bear because it is so basic."

A former midwife for the World Health Organization and UNICEF, Ismail was also the wife of the president of Somaliland in eastern Africa. Following her husband's death, Ismail took her retirement savings and invested it into a dream she has had since the age of 11. Seeing the devastation in her country following a bloody civil war in late 1980s and 1990s, Ismail used her retirement to fund the building of the Edna Adam Maternity Hospital six years ago. The area's former hospital was destroyed during the war.

Ismail was in Athens this week for the African Health Summit at Ohio University, of which she was the keynote speaker. Ismail toured O'Bleness Memorial Hospital on Thursday, getting a detailed view of the maternity ward, meeting with doctors and nurses and discussing the world of medicine.

"This is a seven-star hotel," Ismail told the hospital personnel. "You have been very blessed. I want your hospital to fit in my suitcase so I can take it home.

"We all have a river to cross," Ismail continued. "With this hospital, you have a yacht. We have a rowboat. But there are some people who have no boat at all."

While opening her own hospital has been a lifelong dream, there are times it gets to be a nightmare. In Somaliland, one out of eight babies dies before the age of 12 months. Every year, more than 4,000 women die in childbirth. One of five children dies before the age of 5. The average life expectancy in Somaliland is only 48 years.

"It has been difficult, but I wouldn't have it any other way," Ismail said. "For all the joy I get, there's no bank big enough in the world to house it. I've been blessed. We all have a responsibility to each other. Those who have more, who have been blessed, have a responsibility to share it, even if all there is to share is a little encouragement."

But her country is full of tragedy. The civil war which demolished the country's infrastructure of hospitals also left behind mass graves, many with the bones of small children. Ismail carries pictures of unearthed mass graves in her purse to show others the horror that has taken place through the war.

"If there are human beings who can put children in mass graves, there must also be people who can build hospitals," Ismail said. "Ask yourself, what kind of world do you want to live in?"

Her hospital needs better x-rays, better laboratories and a well for water. The hospital particularly needs a mammogram machine, as there is not a single one in the entire country.

"If I could wave a magic wand, these are the things I would ask for," Ismail said.

There was magic in the air Thursday. Dr. Michael Clark informed her that a mammogram machine could be arranged at no cost to her hospital, as well as x-ray machines, ultrasound machines and other equipment. Clark explained that he has contacts through General Electric, which donates used hospital equipment to write-off as a tax credit.

"I'd expect to get it for nothing," Clark told Ismail. "You could have an ultrasound machine right now. We'll just have to figure out how to ship it to you."

It's equipment she can definitely use. Her hospital's birthing room contains three beds, each separated by a curtain. The hospital assists in the births of more than 100 babies a month, usually involving pregnancies that have shown complications. That amounts to about 1,200 babies a year. O'Bleness, by comparison, handles an average of 600 births a year. Since her hospital opened six years ago, it has assisted in the births of 7,500 babies.

"It's got to be done," Ismail said. "Any woman who dies during childbirth is a woman who should never have died."


Somaliland No recognition yet

Farhiya Ali Ahmed. New African. London: Apr 2008.,Iss. 472; pg. 40, 1 pgs

Abstract (Summary)

After 17 years of relentlessly pursuing international recognition, the Republic of Somaliland does not seem to be in much luck as it prepares for presidential elections in August this year. As Farhiya Ali Ahmed reports, recent bids for recognition have brought no hope either.

The Republic of Somaliland, which lies to the northwestern comet of Somalia, broke away from the rest of the country in 1991 when the country descended into a civil war after the fall of the then president Mohammed Siad Barre. Since then, Somaliland has been pursuing international recognition but so far, no government worldwide has officially supported this bid.

In an interview with New African, Somaliland's president, Dahir Kahin, said that "Somaliland has fulfilled the criteria to be recognised", but the failure to attain recognition was not on the part of Somaliland but rather the international community.

Referring to me two former Somalilands - the Italian Somaliland (which is today's Somalia) and the British Somaliland (Somaliland which is seeking recognition), President Kahin said the international community "negates the historical background of Somalia and Somaliland as two entities from the very beginning...We are not secessionists from Somalia," he emphasises.

It was, therefore, a significant development when in February this year, the US State Department hosted Kahin in Washington where he met senior officials, including Jendayi Fraser, the US assistant secretary of state for African affairs. Although the US consistently maintains that Somaliland's recognition is a matter for the African Union, Fraser quickly reciprocated Kahin's visit by coming to Somaliland soon after. Following both visits, speculation grew of a possible change in US policy, but it soon became apparent that the US was not ready with recognition. On his return from Washington, President Kahin's message was not upbeat. "We have delivered the message" was all he could tell eager journalists.

Fraser's message was not of hope either: "I am not here for the recognition of an independent Somaliland, which is a decision for the African Union," she bluntly told waiting reporters on arrival in Hargeisa - the Somaliland capital.

Sean McCormack, the State Department's spokesman, echoed Fraser's response, saying "there's no change in [US] policy vis-à-vis recognition of Somaliland... The US was not on the verge of recognising Somaliland".

With the American door apparently shut, Kahin has been looking elsewhere - the Arab world where he visited for the first time in February, starting with the United Arab Emirate. The Arab countries have unanimously opposed Somaliland's recognition, advocating instead for a unified Somalia.

Kahin and his predecessor, the late President Muhammad Egal, have relentlessly pursued international recognition of Somaliland to no avail. In addition to citing Somaliland's prior existence as a recognised independent state before unification with Somalia, the Somaliland government points to its political achievements in the call for support for international recognition. It has highlighted, for example, the stability in Somaliland since its unilateral declaration of independence in 1991.

Somaliland has a working political system, government institutions, a police force and its own currency.

It has also cited other accomplishments such as the two peaceful changes of government in 1993 and 1996, the adoption of a democratic constitution in 2001, and successful local elections held in 2002. A presidential election is scheduled for 31 August 2008.

Kahin himself came to power after a peaceful transfer of power when President Egal died in May 2002. He was subsequently elected into office in 2003. As commendable as these political feats are, international recognition has been elusive.

Even the strongest efforts to secure recognition from neighbouring Ethiopia have not been fruitful, with Ethiopia choosing to ally itself with President Abdillahi Yusuf and his Transitional Federal Government in Somalia.

Western countries on their part have passed the buck, saying unequivocally that Somaliland's recognition is a matter for the African Union. The AU, in turn, is sticking by its pan-African practice and commitment to respecting the territorial integrity of Somalia, a position rooted in the 1963 OAU Charter.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 19, 2008/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 19 Apr 08

SOMALILAND MEDIA HOUSES AGREE TO UPHOLD ETHICS OF JOURNALISM

[Presenter] Some heads of Somaliland media houses today agreed to uphold media ethics. The agreement follows a long debate and deliberations held at Imperial Hotel in Hargeysa. The meeting, organized by Somaliland Journalists Association [SOLJA], was aimed to ensure that various Somaliland media houses adhere to the good ethics of journalism. Media ethics prevents setbacks that includes insults and personal attacks in the media. Some media houses heads gave speeches during the meeting.
BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 19, 2008/Source: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 gmt 19 Apr 08

UNDP DONATES COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT TO SOMALILAND POLICE

[Presenter] The minister of interior, Abdullahi Ismail Ali, aka Iro, today received a donation of communication equipment, meant for Somaliland police from UNDP. The hand over ceremony of the donation, which was held at the interior ministry headquarters, was attended by the director general of the Ministry of Interior, the deputy police commissioner and officials of UNDP.

The head of UNDP, Mr Bruno [phonetic], who spoke at the venue, while explaining the type of equipment, said that the equipment includes 200 walkie-talkies with their accessories used by the police. He stated that the equipment would help police in communicating better across the country. The head of UNDP pledged to help in uplifting the quality of police and its buildings.

The minister of interior, Iro, thanked UNDP officials for donating the communication equipment to police. He said that the equipment would play an important role in maintaining and strengthening security in the country, adding that it would ease police activities.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 17, 2008/Source: UN Integrated Regional Information Network, Nairobi, in English 17 Apr 08

ELEVEN DEAD AS DIARRHOEA HITS NORTHERN SOMALI REGION

Nairobi, 17 April 2008: At least 11 people have died in Dhahar district in the Sanaag region of northern Somalia, after an outbreak of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD), medical sources said. "I can confirm 11 have died in Dhahar hospital since the outbreak," Abdulkadir Isse, a doctor at the hospital, said. At least 750 cases have been recorded since 10 March.

"Today [17 April], we have 400 patients in the hospital," he said. "We had 42 cases on 13 April, which was the highest for one day." Most affected, apart from Dahar itself, were the villages of Barkadaha Qol, Bali Busle, Buran and Boda all in the same district. However, Bashir Mohamed, country director for the NGO Horn Relief, said the situation had stabilised in the past few days. "We have been collecting people from the outlying areas for treatment," he added.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA-Somalia) in a report last week said AWD was spreading to rural and pastoral settlements in the district.

Health staff, it added, were not able to deal with increasing cases due to a limited capacity of only one doctor and two nurses.

Isse said the Somaliland administration and Horn Relief had sent medicines and fuel. Eastern Sanaag is claimed by both the republic of Somaliland and the autonomous region of Puntland.

The outbreak, according to Isse, started after people used water that had been standing a long time and was probably contaminated. The only borehole in the town had broken down earlier.

"The movement of pastoralists looking for water and pasture for their livestock during the current drought may also have contributed to the spread of the AWD," he added.

Meanwhile, the UN Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, said he was encouraged by the latest positive political developments taking place regarding Somalia.

"I am particularly encouraged that President [Abdullahi] Yusuf emphasised that he is willing to do whatever it takes to promote peace and stability and former Speaker Sharif Hasan Shaykh Adan declared that the Somali problem cannot be solved militarily," Ould-Abdallah said in a statement on 16 April.


Somalia: Unease in Somaliland Following President's Term Extension

Garowe Online (Garowe) 14 April 2008

Residents in Somalia's second-largest city have reportedly been surprised at government troops amassing along major city streets in recent days.

Local media reports indicate that troops loyal to the government of Somaliland, a breakaway republic in northern Somalia, have been redeployed from frontier regions to Hargeisa, the separatist government's capital city.

Hundreds of Somaliland soldiers backed by armored vehicles poured into Hargeisa from both the east and the west, according to Hargeisa-based daily Jamhuuriya.

Some of the Somaliland troops were redeployed from garrison towns in Sool, a disputed region etched between Somaliland and the rival Somali sub-state of Puntland.

According to the paper, other government troops were dispatched from bases in Awdal, a region west of Hargeisa that is the native home of Somaliland President Dahir Riyale.

It is not clear why the government of President Riyale has deployed soldiers on the streets of Hargeisa, a city renowned for its relative peace and order.

But locals have increasingly linked the troop deployment to growing anxiety in Hargeisa, where opposition party leaders have taken a strong stand against a parliament decision last week extending the term for President Riyale.

Somaliland opposition leaders contend that Riyale's legal term in office ends on May 15, after which point the opposition has threatened not to recognize his presidency.

But lawmakers in Somaliland's upper house of parliament, the Guurti, have defended President Riyale's term extension as legal under the Somaliland constitution.

These developments led to increasing unease in Hargeisa where political plays have recently taken a sinister turn.

On Wednesday, an explosion rocked the Somaliland parliament house, a day before the House of Guurti voted in favor of Mr. Riyale's one-year term extension.

Somaliland security forces have since arrested a senior member of the opposition Kulmiye party in connection with the bombing, according to police officials.

Mohamed Kahin, spokesman for the Kulmiye party, publicly accused President Riyale of being against the international recognition of Somaliland.

"The only thing stopping [international] recognition is Riyale and his government," Mr. Kahin told a crowd gathered inside a Hargeisa hotel last week.

Somaliland, composed of Somalia's northwestern regions, unilaterally declared independence from the rest of country in 1991 after warlords violently ousted military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

The breakaway region has enjoyed relative stability and is administered by an elected government with a constitution.


The Paradox of the Sool Region: A weird case of Buridan's ass?

From http://www.somaliuk.com/Indepth1/Fullarticle.php?IndepthID=448, April 14, 2008

Buridan's ass is a figurative description of a man of indecision. It refers to a paradoxical situation wherein an ass, placed exactly in the middle between two stacks of hay of equal size and quality, will starve to death since it cannot make any rational decision to start eating one rather than the other. (From an entry in Wikipedia)

Due to their geographical strategic location, since long before the Darawiish movement and everything else since then, the inhabitants of the Sool region have always played a major role in the political history of the lands of the Somali.

However up to now they have consistently played their hand as a follower to the political and tribal interests of another leader and his tribe, every one of those times playing the role of the soldier or that of the henchman, when in reality they had all the resources they needed to play the role of leadership.

At the present instead of trying to simultaneously ride the two horses of the Puntland and Somaliland administrations, and expecting to fully participate in the politics of those "lands", concentrating on one side would have served the interests of the people of Sool much better.

So far the results from the Sool region's participation in Puntland is already known, now let me talk about the uncharted territory of the Somaliland option, an option that’s fully open to the people of Sool.

Somaliland is not perfect, not even close, but it is a hard work in progress which has been steadily improving, and speaking about the clans in Somaliland, the population there is more diverse, more democratic and politically less corrupt than Puntland, and this due largely because in Somaliland things had to start from a clean slate, where in comparison, in Puntland the political situation has been merely the continuation of a more nakedly corrupt and much greedier version of the Barre regime, only this time, to borrow a phrase from Mr. Togane, by a gang of "Men of Disaster" (Niman Belaayo ah).

By concentrating their efforts in working with Somaliland, the Sool politicians can play a more constructive and honourable role this time and participate in a genuine effort of nation building, rather than wasting their talents haggling for short-sighted personal gains, and in appearance at least, conspiring with the corrupt and scandal ridden administration of Puntland to plunder the resources of that region.

If Sool region becomes part of the Hargeysa administration, for the Somalilander population this will mean even more diversity, for Somaliland cannot simply take the land and expel its population, in that scenario the only way forward for Somaliland is to become more democratic in order to accommodate the growing combination of Somalilander clans.

The other unintended consequence of that event can be manifold, one being the moderation of the separatist aspirations held at the moment by a large segment of the Somalianders, an aspiration I consider to be righteous and justifiable, another one being at the minimum for the likes of Faisal Ali Waraabe to express their grievances or points of view in a more civilized manner since the people they used to call "The "F#$%sh" word are now citizens of the republic, and the most far fetched one being the people of the Sool region becoming the ones to have ultimately facilitated the return of the union, because of their special strategic relationships across both sides of the political/tribal chasm that has divided the Somali people, an opportunity so far neglected by the Sool region (and a reunion I hope and believe to one day return).

The trick for the Sool politicians is to take such move so extreme without losing their soul at the first sight of a tempting short term gain, but to always keep their eyes unwaveringly on the bigger picture and ignore the siren calls of the self serving convenient tribal appeals that will surely come emanating from Puntland.

By: Dayib Ahmed Atto Posted: 14th/April/2008


Source: International Aid Services (IAS) 13 Apr 2008

Improved acceptance and understanding of children with disabilities in Somaliland

Children in Somaliland with handicaps' are a very marginalised and stigmatised group in the society because of poverty, ignorance and cultural factors.

The projects objective is to create greater understanding and improve the education-possibilities for these children through involvement, information, advocacy activities and capacity-building. Furthermore the project seeks to strengthen Somali Association for Special Education's (SASE) popular foundation and capacity, as well as to establish and support 2 regional branches of the organisation.

Through this SASE will improve their possibilities to perform involving and advocate work and herby increase information and awareness on children's rights and prospects at a local as well as a national level. Furthermore to teach, support and create networks for families in Somaliland with handicapped children.

By developing Hargeisa School for Special Needs to a national resource centre, SASE will be able to support the children in the area and give them the possibility to receive an education.

A new project stage has recently been approved and has received 1,448,000 DDK from Danidas Mini Projects Fund.


Somalia: Eleven Dead As Diarrhoea Hits Sanaag Region

UN IRIN, 17 April 2008

At least 11 people have died in Dhahar district in the Sanaag region of northern Somalia, after an outbreak of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD), medical sources said.

"I can confirm 11 have died in Dhahar hospital since the outbreak," Abdulkadir Isse, a doctor at the hospital, said. At least 750 cases have been recorded since 10 March.

"Today [17 April], we have 400 patients in the hospital," he said. "We had 42 cases on 13 April, which was the highest for one day."

Most affected, apart from Dahar itself, were the villages of Barkadaha Qol, Bali Busle, Buran and Boda all in the same district.

However, Bashir Mohamed, country director for the NGO Horn Relief, said the situation had stabilised in the past few days. "We have been collecting people from the outlying areas for treatment," he added.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA-Somalia) in a report last week said AWD was spreading to rural and pastoral settlements in the district.

Health staff, it added, were not able to deal with increasing cases due to a limited capacity of only one doctor and two nurses.

Isse said the Somaliland administration and Horn Relief had sent medicines and fuel. Eastern Sanaag is claimed by both the republic of Somaliland and the autonomous region of Puntland.

The outbreak, according to Isse, started after people used water that had been standing a long time and was probably contaminated. The only borehole in the town had broken down earlier.

"The movement of pastoralists looking for water and pasture for their livestock during the current drought may also have contributed to the spread of the AWD," he added.

Meanwhile, the UN Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, said he was encouraged by the latest positive political developments taking place regarding Somalia.

"I am particularly encouraged that President [Abdullahi] Yusuf emphasised that he is willing to do whatever it takes to promote peace and stability and former Speaker Sharif Hasan Shaykh Adan declared that the Somali problem cannot be solved militarily," Ould-Abdallah said in a statement on 16 April.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 16, 2008/Source: Halgan.net website, in Somali 15 Apr 08

USA REPORTEDLY SETS UP A MILITARY BASE IN SOMALILAND

Text of report entitled "US fighter aircraft land in Berbera briefly, then leave" by pro-Islamist Somali website Halgan.net on 15 April

This afternoon, American fighter jets landed at Berbera airport [in Saaxil Region, Somaliland]. The fighter jets had flown in from US warships stationed on the Indian Ocean.

It is not known why the aircraft flew there, but there are reports that Somaliland authorities have allowed the USA to set up a base in Berbera, although the decision has not been officially announced. Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin recently stressed that he would welcome the USA if it was willing to set up a base in Berbera. No government officials have commented on the arrival of the US aircraft in Berbera.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 16, 2008

SOMALILAND FORCES SEIZE WEAPONS REPORTEDLY BELONGING TO ETHIOPIAN REBEL GROUP

Somaliland security forces seized a large number of weapons hidden in a house in Burco [HQ of Togdheer Region] in joint operation conducted by police and army yesterday afternoon [14 April].

There is no official statement from police or the army concerning the operation. However, reliable sources told Haatuf that the operation was directed from Hargeysa by seniors officers of Somaliland security forces.

No one was arrested in connection with the weapons during the operation. Reports say that the weapons were being ferried to ONLF [Ogaden National Liberation Front] which is fighting against the Ethiopian government.

A police officer contacted by Haatuf in relation with the matter, declined to give details.

Eyewitnesses told Haatuf that weapons seized comprised of ammunition, light weapons that include AK 47s, G3s, RPGs and different anti-tank mines, among them those manufactured in USA.

Eyewitnesses stated that the cache of weapons was unlikely to have been planned to be used in Somaliland, since it was large, and was possibly being ferried to a place outside Somaliland. [Passage omitted]


http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/58737, April 16, 2008

The Somaliland President trip Washington: "The Most successful one"

Abdulazez Al-Motairi

Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi, MA in Journalism and Mass Communication, Columnist, Freelance Journalist and Weekly article writer about Middle East and African politics and human rights. He is member of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

The visit of Somaliland President to London and Washington was successful and productive for three main reasons. First, the trip was the president´s maiden official visit to U.S. and dwelt upon many issues including immigration, security, and development of democracy in Somaliland.

Second, the president traveled with aid agencies and businessmen from Somaliland, who signed many projects with their US counterparts including USAID that handles many projects in Somaliland. Defiantly, this will attract US investment in the country including aid supplies and Washington administration will not mind of such projects in the stable and democratic Somaliland. The Pentagon was another target for Somaliland delegation as high-ranking military officials exhibited interest in dealing with Somaliland during US Defense Secretary Robert Gates visit to U.S Forces in Djibouti. The president met with U.S. President Advisor for African Affairs during his visit.

Third, the United States is home to an overseas Somaliland Community of over 100,000 or close to half of Somaliland Diaspora. The president met the community and demanded their support to the country and he discourse the current situation home back. Also, Somaliland Minister of Health met with his U.S. counterpart. He discussed several projects to enhance the health services in Somaliland, which is free for all citizens equally.

During the visit that took the president from Hargiesa to London and Washington via Addis Ababa, he dwelt upon health, security and aid issues. The outcome and gains of the visit has allayed the fears and misgivings of the skeptics of Anti-Somaliland figures, who voiced up against the trip and later described as useless.

In 2005, the president visited London and he made the historical speech at House of Commons. During his current visit, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown personally welcomed and he praised the Somaliland democracy and described it "The unique model of democracy in Africa", during Prime Minister´s Question Time at House of Commons. This was the second president´s visit to UK and to the building of the House of Commons.

MP Mr. Allan Michael, A friend of Somaliland, brought Somaliland issue in the discussions during Prime Minister´s Question Time. The Prime Minister Brown agreed the idea of Michael and entire house welcomed the answer of the Mr. Brown with "Yeah"…. Mr. Brown also offered his government support to Somaliland and promised to support Somaliland cause internationally.

Mr. Brown clearly highlighted his government´s eagerness to support Somaliland in many ways including financial aid and to encourage the democratic progress in Somaliland. The Somaliland delegation was received with red carpet and full Presidential Protocol Reception at Heathrow International Airport.

Reliable Source highlighted that UK government promised to sponsor the financial needs of next Somaliland Elections. Today, we can say, every English statesman knows about Somaliland development and democracy as Somaliland.

The visit and UK government´s warm welcome demonstrated the strong traditional ties between the two countries. The delegates met with UK Minister for African Affairs and Commonwealth Mr. Malloch Brown at House of Lords, UK Minister for Foreign Affairs and other high-ranking officials in the government. The visit was one of the most successful visits by Somaliland Head of State in our history.

The UK Foreign Office issued statement at end of the visit, and highlighted the importance of establishing strong ties with Somaliland. UK Government described Somaliland as an important ally in horn of Africa in war on terror.

In Washington, the US policymakers realized that their failure in Horn of African would not undermine Somaliland only, but all Somalis who have shown goodwill toward the United States and the democracy.

Washington administration received the Somaliland delegation with full diplomatic reception of State head level. Everyone could see the diplomatic security and bulletproof cars accompanying the president and the delegate always.

United States of America clearly understood that Somaliland – if recognized – can play vital role in easing the violence that flared in Mogadishu as result of inter-fighting between the Ethiopian Forces and Islamist fighters.

About AFRICOM, the U.S. Administration one year ago formed forces to help easing the conflicts in Africa and to eliminate the terrorism in African. AFRICOM stationed temporarily in U.S. Military Base in Germany, as well as, it has unit in Djibouti. Resources close to Whitehouse say that Washington is looking for permanent location for AFRICOM in Africa.

As analyzer, I believe the two US War Ships that had docked to Berbera Port is the first step of relocating AFRICOM from Germany to Somaliland.

In other hand, U.S has forces in Djibouti, but the country is too small to host two superpower countries. Also, it will be difficult to France to welcome U.S Forces in Djibouti permanently; we can say it like "Cat and Rat". In these circumstances, U.S should look for another base that can enable them to monitor Red Sea and hunt down the Al-Qaeda fugitives from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Recently, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Djibouti to meet U.S. Forces in this tiny country. The high-ranking military officials supported Somaliland and advised Washington to recognize Somaliland that can offer a permanent base for AFRICOM. The Somaliland has strategic geographic location that will enable U.S Forces to control the Red Sea and stop Al-Qaeda fugitives from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Washington policy in Somalia failed, particularly at a time the Islamist insurgency are battling with U.S. backed shaky transitional government and Ethiopian Forces.

During the President´s visit, the delegation had lunch with Assistant Undersecretary for African Affairs Ms. Frazer who is engaged in Somali politics. The delegation explained their eager to disintegrate from Somalia. She expressed support to Somaliland democracy and development and promised more U.S. aid and support to new democracy in Somaliland. She insisted that U.S. Policy towards recognizing Somaliland remains unchanged. However, Washington administration look divided over Somaliland issue, where Pentagon is calling for Somaliland recognition and State Department remains unchanged.

Today, War on terror is on top priority of the agenda of U.S. President George W. Bush and his government. This gives Somaliland fair chance to win the support of Bush Administration after failure to stabilize Somaliland. Knowingly, that current transitional government in Somalia cannot provide Military Base for U.S. in Somalis – as it doesn´t control 90% of the country – and even doen´t has military ability to stop Al-Qaeda fugitives. In other hand Somaliland controls its territory and has strong army that killed and jailed tens of Al-Qaeda wanted fugitives in last years.

Somaliland Minister of Health during the visit met with his U.S. counterpart and they discussed on how the Washington will support Somaliland in improving health services in Somaliland. The health services are free for all citizens equally in Somaliland.

The trip of Assistant Undersecretary of State for African Affairs, Dr. Frasier to Hargiesa was excellent signal or reply to U.S commitment to build relation with Somaliland

Finally: I strongly believe that the gains and outcome of the visit will be a success and will normalize the relation between Somaliland and Washington Administration. The trip will usher of cooperation between the two countries and lead joint operation against terrorism in horn of Africa.


http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/58524, Apr 15, 2008

Overdue recognition of Somaliland border: A silent witness to its fate

Abdulazez Al-Motairi

U.S. Policy shift

Recently, Somaliland diplomacy regulators attracted Bush Administration. Washington Post newspaper published US Policy shift from what they called "Shaky Transitional Government in Baydhabo" to democratic and stable Somaliland. This official approach is to congeal ties with Somaliland, and US Military Personnel stationed neighboring Djibouti expressed interest on security coordination with Somaliland government who can offer greater potential for U.S. military assistance to bolster security and counterterrorism operations in horn of Africa during the fresh U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visit in Djibouti. Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the U.S. initiatives.

"Somaliland should be independent," said defense official. "We should build up the parts that are functional and box in" Somalia´s unstable regions, particularly around Mogadishu. These are expressions of U.S. Military officials during Gates visit to Djibouti, obviously shows signs of change in U.S. diplomacy towards Somaliland. Gate met with President of Djibouti and reliable sources ensured that recognition of Somaliland was on discussion table.

Remarkably, Washington decision makers look divided over Somaliland case. Assistant Secretary of State Department Jendayi E. Frazer highlighted that U.S. will leave the file of Somaliland Recognition to the Africans to decide, as the file may open chain of disintegration in the black continent. As African Union (AU) accepts only colonial-era political border, but the fact is that AU and Frazer should know current Somaliland border was demarcated during colonial-era even before Somalia border was drawn. Somaliland had clear and well marked border before many Africans had. British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland joined without agreement to delimit colonial border, which gives Somaliland full rights to reclaim its pre-independence border.

Current border of Somaliland was marked more then a century ago and recognized by UN and AU. Somaliland was the fourth African state to gain independence in 1960 and more than 34 countries around the world recognized and welcomed as independent country with current defined border with Somalia, Ethiopia, Yemen and Djibouti but unfortunately Somalilanders merged with Italian Somaliland in a last ditch attempt to save the failed hypothesis of Greater Somalia, which destabilized the region and did not last long due its forged origin.

If recognized, Somaliland will lead new revolution of democracy in the region and be an example of many East African people who are under dictator or King. Somaliland support will end the blazing conflict in Somalia, besides knowing the instability in Somalia may spread like wild fire in entire region. What happen to Former Somalia is like cancer disease that need to cut off the save parts of the body, this clearly mentions that Somaliland is health part today and I deem it should be saved before it get the infection.

AU and Somaliland border

It is important to note that AU sent a fact finding mission to Somaliland in 2005 led by His Excellency Patrick Mazimhaka, Deputy Chairman of AU, in order to respond to the concern that Somaliland recognition would create a fragmentation of Somalia, or other AU member states, the African Union fact finding mission in 2005 concluded "the case should not be linked to the notion of "opening a Pandora box", and the report recommended that AU "should find a special method of dealing with this outstanding case" as soon as possible and even approached for Somaliland diplomatic recognition. Unfortunately, AU actions stopped there! They stalled their mission deliberately in order to preempt a decision in favor of creation of Somaliland.

Why we Africans can not decide for ourselves, while Europeans are doing so and EU leading the way for Kosovo recognition. I hope I can one day be proud of our African leaders through the African Union leadership when I see that they are taking a far sighted approach like the EU doing on Kosovo in saving the free and democratic societies like Somaliland.

Sadly, the UN and the African Unity (AU) were silent witnesses to Somaliland and without proper reason. Former Organization of African Union – OAU´s Cairo resolution of 1964 in Cairo supported Eritrea´s claim to its colonial borders why not Somaliland´s case. Eritrea won its independence back from Ethiopia based on terms of Cairo resolution at same manner, Somaliland is ready to implement the same resolution and win back its lost border from fledging Somalia. Somaliland approached AU many times on maintaining the colonial-era borderline. The question again is! If AU and UN implemented Cairo resolution to Eretria, why not Somaliland? Recently Prof Konare correctly raised the matter of Somaliland at the last 2007 AU Executive Council Meeting of Foreign Ministers in Accra, Ghana but Africans remained response-less to the case.

Today, after half a century AU is not willing to support Somaliland based on Cairo resolution. Perceptive, Somaliland received recognition during independence in 26th June 1960 from many Africans.

Assistant Secretary, Frazer should know that Somaliland is not new in the colonial border limitations but existed even before Somalia. She should understand that Somalilanders joined Somalia without any third party involvement but to save the unity of Somalis and retained their lost sovereignty in 18th May 1991. Somaliland is not new government in the AU but a country that joined with another country for certain goal just like union of Egypt and Syria or Gambia and Senegal. Somalilanders discovered that they were deceived only after three months of the failed unity with Somalia, power sharing was not done equally, and entire important cabinet posts went to southerners who had no proper education and qualification unlike Somalilanders.

Former U.S. Ambassador and Special Envoy to Somalia Dan Simpson during 1995 in his article "The ghost of Somalia" July 12, 2006 called U.S. and International Community to support Somaliland to depart the chaotic country in transition "Somalia". Simpson highlighted that if Somaliland stable as its now during his era, he could have influence the Washington administration to recognize Somaliland but unfortunately there was fighting and civil war inside Somaliland. As per my view, this is old U.S. Politicians style who says the fact after power instead of doing at right time. Example, Former US President Jimmy Charter supports Palestine cause now and backed the Jewish fanatics during his presidency. Even today, he got his own book about Palestine that angered the Israelis.

While Somaliland was a separate colony with internationally recognized borderlines, the AU member states should consider Somaliland as independent government based on 1964 OAU Cairo Resolution. AU leader block Somaliland because they concerned about their own borders, does not want a separate nation state to be founded out of Somalia. Such unstudied and selfish theory contradicts freedom and lets the African leaders to save guard their kingdom at the expenses of Somaliland – Somaliland will not be black sheep of such failed theories – because we – as people of Somaliland – are committed to achieve our objectives regardless of obstacles and time it takes. Somaliland Foreign Minister made this point clear that Somaliland will remain independent with or without international community.

The quicker the African Union come up with solution to the Somaliland case, the more it makes the situation in East Africa better, and reduces risk of war, and even equally important the faster the AU recognizes the border line.

As Analyzer of African Affairs, I can say Somaliland file is a timed bomb for the African Union and International Community and they cannot really afford to ignore. On other hand, Somaliland Multiparty democracy is rarity in Africa, and the Muslim World, and AU needs to seriously consider Somaliland´s formal application of AU membership to reward such rare democracy shined at first time in east Africa. Somaliland is nation that power goes to the people.

In December 2005, President Dahir Rayale Kahin officially submitted Somaliland's application for membership in the AU. The claim to statehood hinges on the territory's separate status during the colonial era from the rest of what became Somalia and its existence as a sovereign state for a brief period following independence from Britain in June 1960. Having voluntarily entered a union with Somalia in pursuit of the irredentist dream of Greater Somalia - including parts of Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti - Somaliland now seeks recognition within the borders received at that moment of independence.

My final word

Democracy teaches that hard worker should be awarded, and international community should look into Somaliland case very carefully if they want free and healthy region in horn of Africa. People can stay together if and only if they wish to do so…… Ladies and gentlemen, "You can not force a chicken to drink water even if hold its neck". What about Somaliland? What about the brave citizens "The terminators" who blow up the most powerful military in Horn of Africa? Recognition of Somaliland is the only solution for health east Africa.


http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/58523, April 15, 2008

Somaliland: Litmus test for African democracy

Abdulazez Al-Motairi

"If Somaliland fails, Democracy dies in Somalia & Africa"

Africa needs to learn from Somaliland. Free, peace-loving, liberal minded and democratic – these traits were of the denizens of the country were acquired without the assistance of Crisis Defusers and Democracy Mentors.

Somaliland possesses the most advanced democratic system in the modern history of Africa, which is dominated by dictators, kings and Sheikhs. Somaliland brought about total democracy in less then two decades without any international support. This is momentous achievement and should be recorded in annals of history.

Recently, Turkish columnist called Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis hyphenated the unity amoung different communities with homogeneity vis-à-vis religion, color and language. Mr. Megalommatis should delve deep into history (both current and past) before penning his thoughts. Just to expose the hollowness of his claims – the Arabs spread over 10 countries share language, color and even religion plus culture are not exactly in total harmony. Another example is Kenya and Tanzania where both countries in general share color, religion and language but were at loggerheads on many occasions.

Mr. Megalommatis appears to have a blinkered world view. These factors do not unite communities – it is actually about understanding and trusting each other. Today, In Somalia, the tribes are killing each other. Why the culture, religion and language that Mr. Megalommatis is talking about don´t stop them and unite them? Everybody, can understand that Somalis lost trust between them particularly Somaliland lost in Italian Somalia.

In his earlier articles, Mr. Megalommatis had misled the readers which might be due to his erroneous sources. I, personally, support the freedom of expression and all people should have equal rights of expressing their point of view. However, this liberty of pen should not be used to portray a partisan account of history.

Somaliland, as a result of a public uprising to gain freedom and democracy, is a unique model of governance in the Horn of Africa. The entire Somaliland community supported the armed struggle against the most hideous and violent regime in African history. Mohammed Siyad Barre ruled by authorizing air bombings against his own people, and committed the worst genocide in East African history. Somalilanders left painful memories of Barre´s regime behind and continued building their country from scratch without any aid or help from anyone.

Somaliland ended the traditional African way of doing business, begging for aid, and relying on their own resources to achieve self-sufficiency. The rise of Somaliland took many Europeans by surprise because they continued developing without international aid and implemented new techniques of conflict and crisis solving.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Somaliland imparted crisis solving techniques to Ethiopia and ended conflicts of Ethiopian tribes in Somali region. Somaliland´s remarkable traits will be put to test to other conflict zones in Africa like Darfur, if and only if the international community pleads for it.

Somaliland has embellished its democratic political system with latest parliamentary election, which was a milestone for Somaliland´s path towards healthy democracy. International Election Observers monitored Somaliland elections and described as a free and fair election. Somaliland was nicknamed as "Africa´s best kept Secret" and "Peace Paradise in Africa".

Somaliland has a multiparty system, a constitution and a completely functional body of a modern state. Somaliland government provides all social services including electricity, water, education and health to citizens equally with symbolic charges.

The Somaliland way of solving its problems and addressing any crisis are based on traditional ways where the Upper House of the Parliament, House of Elders, play a leading role in solving conflicts between Somaliland tribes and communities. The Upper House disarmed thousands of SNM militia in the beginning of 1990´s.

In other hand, the economy is steady in Somaliland; the currency exchange rate is very stable; Somaliland Central Bank (SCB) monitors the economy and exchange rate fluctuations very closely. Although, the National Audit Department (NAD) reported corruption in the customs department but still the country continue growing day after day. Remittance by Somaliland daispora and revenue from livestock exports are the backbone of Somaliland economy.

It is very difficult to encapsulate the success story of Somaliland in one article, but the fact is that Somaliland established the necessary infrastructure for statehood and the international community should be acknowledged without any reservations.


US warships in Somaliland for naval base

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=51844§ionid=351020501, 16 Apr 2008

Two US warships have arrived at Somaliland after the ruler of the self-proclaimed republic offered to host a US naval base there.

During US Defense Secretary Robert Gates' visit to Djibouti late last year, the US military expressed interest in security coordination with Somaliland government that can offer greater potential for US military presence in the Horn of Africa nation.

Somaliland welcomed the US initiative.

Dahir Rayale Kahin, president of the former British protectorate that broke away from war-torn Somalia in 1991, said he wanted the US to put a military base at the northeastern port of Berbera as part of efforts to win international recognition, Press TV correspondent in Somalia reports.

Kahin, who visited Washington and hosted the top US diplomat for Africa early this year, also expressed high hopes for finding oil in his land.

A planned auction of oil licenses will give priority to US oil companies holding concessions from the 1980s, he said.

Somaliland's president, Kahin, took office when Somaliland founder Mohamed Ibrahim Egal died in 2002. Kahin, from the minority Gadabursi clan, was elected the following year with a margin of just 80 votes out of 490,000.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 15, 2008/Source: Hargeysa Cable TV, Hargeysa, in Somali 1830 gmt 12 Apr 08

SOMALILAND POLLS BODY SAYS ELECTIONS TO BE HELD AS PLANNED

The national electoral commission has criticized the one year extension of the president's and the vice-president's term of office by the Upper House of Somaliland.

During a press conference at their office, the electoral commission said the presidential and civic elections will be held as planned, saying they insist the presidential and civic elections be held according to an agreement they reached with the national political parties.

The electoral commission said the civic elections will be held on 6 October 2008, whereas the presidential polls will be conducted on 31 December 2008, and registration of voters will end on 5 October 2008. The electoral body added that they recognize the agreement reached between them and the national political parties and that they will execute their duties according to the agreement. [Passage omitted]


BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 15, 2008/Source: Hargeysa Cable TV, Hargeysa, in Somali 1830 gmt 14 Apr 08

SOMALILAND DEMO AGAINST EXTENSION OF PRESIDENT'S TERM HELD IN BURCO TOWN

[Presenter] A well-organized mass demonstration attended by hundreds of people against the extension of President Kahin's term by Somaliland's Upper House was held in Burco, Togdheer Region. For more details, here is our reporter in Togdheer, Mahad, who also works with Ogaal Newspaper.

[Mahad] A mass demonstration against the extension of President Kahin's term of office was today held in Burco. Many civilians who converged at Burco Stadium participated in the demonstration, and security forces were monitoring the protest from far. The demonstrators were carrying placards written "we do not want extension of term".

The demonstrators were addressed by officials from the two opposition parties, Kulmiye and UCID, and heads of Burco University who all agreed to oppose the extension of the president's term.


BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 15, 2008

SOMALILAND LEADER SACKS REGIONAL GOVERNOR

A press statement issued by the office of the president's spokesman, Si'id Adani Moge, stated that the president of the Republic of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, today sacked Togdheer regional governor, Abdi Husayn Si'id. The statement said that the president appointed Jama Abdullahi Warsame Bil [as heard] to replace him. The president, elaborating the issue further in his decree, stating that while thanking the governor for work done during his tenure as a governor, and his cooperation with the government, he had decided to appoint the post to whoever he deemed more suitable to handle the national responsibility. The president stated that the new governor should assume responsibilities immediately from his predecessor. He directed the Ministry of Interior to send official to attend the handing over ceremony. [The sacking of the governor comes after a demo against the extension of the president's term was held today in Burco, the regional headquarters of Togdheer Region]
BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 14, 2008/Source: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 12 Apr 08

SOMALIA SOMALILAND OPPOSITION PARTIES NOT TO RECOGNIZE PRESIDENT AFTER 15 MAY

Somaliland's two main opposition political parties have reiterated that they will not recognize Dahir Riyale Kahin as the country's president after his official term in office expires on May 15, 2008.

President Riyale was elected on April 14, 2003 for a term of 5 years with effect from the day of his inauguration on May 16, 2003.

On Thursday however, Riyale was given a controversial extension of his tenure for one year by the Guurti (upper house of parliament).

The Guurti's decision came in less than 24 hours after the three political parties UCID [Ururka Caddaalada iyo Daryeelka], KULMIYE and UDUB [Ururka Dimuqraadiga Ummadda Bahawday] agreed on a new time frame for holding the municipal and presidential elections. The agreement which was reached in the presence of the country's National Electoral Commission, had set October 6, 2008 for local council elections and December 31, 2008 for the presidential election.

Originally the elections were supposed to be held on July 1, 2008 and August 31, 2008 but then had to be postponed to allow time for the completion of a mandatory voter registration process by the NEC [National Electoral Commission].

While some senior UDUB officials were negotiating with party chiefs of UCID and KULMIYE, president Riyale has been conspiracing with the Guurti to get an extension.

In 2006 Riyale gave Guurti leaders the green light to extend their own term of office for a further 4 years.

On Thursday it was the turn of the Guurti or rather its 25 dinosaurs to return the favour to Riyale. They approved to extend his term in office to May 6, 2009, saying that they had to do so for security reasons.

Actually article 83(5) of the Somaliland constitution would have allowed for the extension of the president's tenure in office only if the security situation in the country was so severe to the extent of making it impossible to hold the presidential election before May 15, 2008.

By invoking security considerations as a justification for its decision, the Guurti didn't convince anybody.

In a joint statement Thursday the opposition parties of KULMIYE and UCID described the extension as illegal and called for the formation of a caretaker government to take the country to elections within months.

A day earlier a time-bomb exploded in one of the offices at the Guurti headquarters.

It was the third explosion to hit Hargeysa in the last 2 weeks.

Interior minister Abdillahi Isma'il Irro accused the KULMIYE opposition party of being behind the explosion atthe Guurti.

The minister failed to substantiate the charges with evidence. KULMIYE denied the accusation.

Nobody was hurt in the explosion but 6 people were arrested in connection with the incident.

A woman called Kalthum Mohamed Farah who worked as cleaner at the Parliament headquarters was among thosedetained.

Kalthum M. Farah claimed that she was beaten by police men after her arrest on Thursday.

The extension of Riyale's term in office until May 2009, puts Wednesday's agreement between the 3 politicalin total disarray. The decision has violated the integrity and independence of the NEC, usurping its role as the onlybody mandated to fix time frame for elections.

In the meantime Somaliland has entered a new period of political uncertainty that if left to drag on for long mayultimately lead to the emergence of factionalism and disintegration of Somaliland as a polity.


Datamonitor NewsWire, April 14, 2008

TGS-NOPEC acquires two new multi-client programs in Somaliland

HIGHLIGHT: TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company, a provider of seismic data, products and services to the oil and gas industry, has acquired two new multi-client programs in Somaliland.

Offshore, TGS has acquired approximately 5,100km of 2D seismic, gravity and magnetic data covering both shallow and deep water areas. Processing and interpretation of the data should be available to clients by the third quarter of 2008. Onshore, TGS has acquired approximately 34,000km of high resolution aeromagnetic data covering all known Somaliland petroleum basins. The aeromagnetic data is currently in processing stage and should be available to clients by mid-2008. Both programs have been acquired in co-operation with the Ministry of Water and Natural Resources and are marketed exclusively by TGS. The Somaliland government has announced its intent to conduct an open bid round later in 2008 after the data become available. The seismic and aeromagnetic programs being acquired by TGS will provide data needed to define the principle structural elements of the area and allow for the development of leads, plays and structural highs for further investigation. The area is geologically analogous to Yemen where several oil fields have been discovered to date. Both programs are supported by industry prefunding.


Somaliland: Open for Business

http://www.unpo.org/content/view/8010/142/, 12 April 2008

After completing preliminary seismic tests, Somaliland announces it is accepting bids for oil exploration rights, attracting the eyes of foreign investors. Below is an article published by Awdal News:

Somaliland announced the completion of the geophysical surveys of oil prospects in its onshore and offshore areas, raising hopes for significant foreign investment to Somaliland.

A press statement issued today [11 April 2008] and a copy of which was sent to Awdalnews Network, the Somaliland Ministry of Water and Mineral Resources, led by the minister Qasim Sh. Yussuf Ibrahim announced that TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company (“TGS”) recently completed an on-shore program of 34,600 kilometers of aeromagnetic data and a 2D seismic survey of offshore Somaliland, consisting of 5,100 KM of modern seismic data. Both data programs are currently being processed for an international bid round planned for late 2008. In March 2007, TGS acquired 1000 KM of offshore seismic as well.

“TGS is the first seismic company to gather new geophysical data in the Republic of Somaliland in almost thirty years. TGS is well qualified to conduct the Somaliland geophysical program. TGS is a Norwegian public company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (Oslo Børs). TGS specializes in the design, acquisition and processing of 2D and 3D multi-client seismic surveys worldwide. Since its founding in 1984, TGS has embraced the multi-client model, acquiring over 2,000,000 line kilometers of 2D data and 88,000 square kilometers of 3D seismic data in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia,” the statement said.

“For the record, the facts about TGS’ dealings with the Somaliland government are as follows. TGS has been authorized under an Agreement with our Ministry of Water and Mineral Resources (“Ministry”) to undertake seismic and aeromagnetic surveys on behalf of the Republic of Somaliland. In return, TGS is creating a geophysical database at no cost to the Government, which it will market on behalf of Somaliland. To be clear, TGS has not made any payments to the Ministry or the Minister for the authorization to conduct the geophysical program. The seismic and aeromagnetic data is the national property of Somaliland under the multi-client data acquisition agreement. TGS has no ownership interest in the Somaliland data. TGS has also undertaken, at no cost to the Government, to carry out training of Ministry personnel in seismic processing and interpretation under a technology transfer project.

“The multi-client model of data acquisition is well established in the international oil and gas exploration market. Multi-client agreements are not subject to bidding or bid rounds since the multi-client data company is risking its own money to conduct the data surveys. Under the TGS multi-client model, TGS will not recover on its investment until the data is successfully sold multiple times. The multi-client model is of mutual benefit to both Somaliland and TGS. Through multi-client sales, TGS spreads the costs of a survey to multiple parties, lowering the cost and barrier to entry for exploration by numerous oil companies, small and large. Somaliland through the multi-client model receives a modern database at no cost, a revenue share in future data sales and more potential bidders for the valuable resources of Somaliland. As a result, Somaliland should have more high-quality oil companies willing to invest in Somaliland’s future.

“In order to promote Somaliland’s natural resources and our new modern geophysical database, the Ministry shall send representatives to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (“AAPG”) convention in San Antonio Texas at the end of April. The Minister and representative shall meet and promote Somaliland working closely with TGS. It is estimated that close 7000 delegates will attend this year’s conference. Part of the promotion shall highlight the Ministry’s efforts to hold a bid round for all open blocks in Somaliland by the end of 2008. As part of our preparation for the bid round, the Ministry has sought independent legal advice to revise our Petroleum Law to meet international standards. Any such changes shall be submitted to the legislative process for revision and approval.

“The Ministry is excited about completion of the TGS geophysical surveys and looks forward to bringing substantial foreign investment to Somaliland,” the statement concluded.


http://www.somalipressreview.com/view.php?articleid=364, Apr 11

Somalia: Kulmiye party is behind the blast, says Somaliland Interior Minister

The Somaliland Minister of Interior, Abdullahi Ismail Irro, has blamed the main opposition party in Somaliland, Kulmiye, for the explosion at one of the offices used by the members of the Somaliland Council of Elders (Guurti) today.

“The devise used for the explosion was a time bomb. The main suspects are men from the opposition party who ignored the security staff and gate-crashed the office. We think Kulmiye party is behind the blast” the minister told a BBC Somali Service interviewer

A man was arrested for saying a blast would take place before midday, the minister said. The actual blast took place at noon. “Continuous intimidation from the opposition party preceded the blast. A house belonging to the National Electoral Commission member was targeted few nights ago,” said the minister who denied reports that the government is keen to have its mandate extended. It is not known how the minister’s remarks will affect investigations to be carried by the Somaliland police. No one was injured at the scene of the blast. Kulmiye party leader, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, has dismissed minister’s remarks as baseless. “It is sad that the Minister of Interior did not think about what he had said to link a national party and its leaders to a blast. We challenge him to provide evidence for the allegations. ”


Somalia: Pre-election worries in Somaliland

(http://www.somalipressreview.com/view.php?articleid=366)Hargeisa (Somali Press Review, April 10)

Somaliland opposition parties are preparing for impending local and presidential elections amid reports about opposition mistrust in the ruling Udub party’s ability to agree to holding elections in Somaliland when Somaliland president’s five year term expires in May. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, the leader of main opposition party, Kulmiye, questioned the utility of voter registration in his speech to the second convention for the party faithful held in Hargiesa two weeks ago. “Kulmiye understands that voter-registration is necessary for fair and free elections but... the voter–registration process might take longer than expected which would in turn impact and delay the election itself, then it is necessary to give priority to the timely election and scrap the voter-registration,” Silanyo said.

How Somaliland government will find a way round this objection is still an enigma to many people. Opinions differ on Somaliland president’s decree to establish new regions and districts. Awdalnews.com a pro-government website has put a damper on the decision to create new regions and districts. “Instead of building a united, integrated and cohesive society that puts the higher national interests at its focus, Riyale opted to heighten tribal polarization and hostility among the people of Somaliland,” editorialised Awdalnews.

Somaliland law expert Ibrahim Hashi Jama argues that while the Somaliland constitution pragmatically considers districts’ and regions’ statuses based on economy and demography to upgrade or downgrade a given status, “no such assessments … have taken place and certainly there have been no presidential decrees announcing downgrading (from A or B to C or D) or loss of district status.”

Some observers of Somaliland political scene believe that elections may be postponed indefinitely, a move that will anger the two main opposition parties in Somaliland, Kulmiye and UCID. Engineer Faisal Ali Warabe, the leader of UCID party, urged the Council of Elders ( Guurti) not to give in to pressure to extend the presidential term. "Somaliland has a constitution. The Somaliland president was elected to lead us for five years. The Council of Elders will serve five years. If the Council of Elders does not honour the constitution, let them tamper with the constitution,” Hadhwanaag news website quoted the Faisal Ali Warabe as saying.

Political temperature in Somaliland is rising. Yesterday a blast rocked a Council of Elders' adminstrative office in Hargiesa. The Somaliland Minister for Interior, Abdullahi Ismail Irro, blamed Kulmiye party for the explosion. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, the chairman of Kulmiye party denied the allegation and challenged the minister to back up his remarks with evidence.

In the coming months Somaliland will be facing a major political test. Will the time honoured tradition based deal-making approaches to political stalemates prove useful again? Somalilanders have succesfully managed power transfer following the death of president Mohamed Hagi Ibrahim Egal in 2002, and the subsequent election results in 2003. The multi-party system was in its infancy. It is still fragile but 2008 is the year that has thrown up many political challenges for Somaliland politicians and Somalilanders.


Somaliland parliament bombed

http://www.afrol.com/articles/28561, afrol News, 10 April - Six suspects have been detained in connection with Wednesday's bomb explosion on the parliament building in Hargeisa.

This is the third bomb explosion to hit Hargeisa in two weeks. A Somalilan minister has recently become a target of grenade attack.

Despite reducing one of the parliament's offices to rubbles, no single person was reported killed or injured by the blast.

The country's Interior Minister, Abdullahi Ismail accused the militants of Kulmiye opposition party. But the party denied the allegations, describing them as "baseless and groundless."

The blast reportedly exploded soon after lawmakers concluded a stormy debate on a bill that sought to extend the president Dahir Riyale's term of office when it expires in May this year.

President intended to push Somaliland's presidential polls to October to allow the completion of the voter registration process.


Somalia: Explosion Rocks Somaliland Parliament Building

Garowe Online (Garowe) 9 April 2008

A bomb exploded through a part of the parliament building in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland on a day of intense political negotiations to settle an enduring dispute about the upcoming elections.

No one was wounded when the explosion happened at noon on Wednesday in Hargeisa, the breakaway region's capital city. But there was extensive damage to an office inside the parliament building, which is home to the House of Guurti (elders).

Gen. Mohamed Dubad, Somaliland 's chief of police, told local media that six suspects have been apprehended in connection with today's explosion.

Of the six suspects, four are reported to be employees who work at the parliament building, according to local sources.

Somaliland Interior Minister Abdullahi "Irro" Ismail later told the BBC Somali Service that members loyal to the opposition Kulmiye party were behind the attack.

He said two Kulmiye party members are in police custody for questioning.

But Kulmiye party chairman Ahmed Silanyo dismissed the Interior Minister's allegations as "baseless."

Prior to the explosion, the House of Guurti ended a heated discussion on a bill introduced by the government of President Dahir Riyale, sources said.

According to the sources in Hargeisa, Riyale's bill is a request for a term extension for the incumbent president whose official term expires next month.

The Somaliland leader wants the presidential elections postponed until October 2008, to complete an ongoing voter registration process.

But Mr. Silanyo, the opposition leader, has been critical of the term extension proposal.

On Wednesday, the House of Guurti failed to hold an official session because there were not enough lawmakers to complete the quorum.

The explosion at the parliament building becomes the third bomb blast in Hargeisa over the past two weeks, including a grenade attack on the home of a Somaliland Cabinet minister last week.


Somalia: Somaliland Leader Gets Controversial Term Extension

Garowe Online (Garowe) 10 April 2008

The president of Somalia's separatist region of Somaliland was awarded a controversial one-year term extension by the House of Guurti, the upper chamber of the Somaliland parliament, officials said.

Lawmakers met in the capital city of Somaliland, Hargeisa, on Thursday to debate and ratify a motion introduced by the government of President Dahir Riyale.

At today's session, 65 MPs were present with an overwhelming 61 lawmakers voting to extend the term for Mr. Riyale and his government.

Riyale's term in office officially expires next month, but the Somaliland leader has been planning to extend his term after declaring that presidential elections scheduled for May had been postponed.

Parliament hall was under tight security today, with armed police and soldiers standing guard in and around the building. A day earlier, a bomb explosion destroyed an office inside the parliament but no one was hurt.

Said Jama Ali, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Guurti, told local media that the term extension decision was approved by lawmakers because there must be a six-month period between presidential and local government elections.

He said that the House of Guurti had voted to hold local elections in October, which gives Mr. Riyale an additional six months to be in office.

Somaliland opposition parties Kulmiye and UCID issued a joint statement condemning the term extension as "illegal" and warned that Mr. Riyale "will not be recognized as President after May 15."

Riyale won the Somaliland presidential elections in 2003, after beating runner-up and Kulmiye party candidate Ahmed Silanyo by a small margin of votes.

In 2007, Mr. Riyale supported a motion extending the term for House of Guurti lawmakers by an additional four years.


PR Newswire UK, April 9, 2008. Range Resources Ltd.

Range Resources Clarifies Inaccurate Web Article

("Range" or "the Company") the oil and gas explorer with assets in Puntland, Somalia, have been made aware of a recent misleading and defamatory "news" posting on the website called Garoweonline,under the heading "Somaliland Minerals Minister Accused of Receiving Kick Backs". This article was attributed to the Somaliland Times. Puntland and neighbouring Somaliland are currently in a dispute over an area of land relating to short-term colonial borders as opposed to historic tribal areas.

In response to the various incorrect statements and claims made in this article, the Company would like to make the following specific comments: * No Directors of the Company nor any Company representatives or employees have ever met the Somaliland minister referred to in the article (Qassim Yusuf) and no payments have ever been made to this person by the Company.

Range's oil and gas and minerals exploration interests and activities are solely in Puntland and, at this stage, the Company has no intention of commencing any activities in Somaliland. The Company further notes that the Minister in question and another businessman referred to in the article have also denied the allegations and have stated an intention to commence defamation proceedings against the publisher;

* The article also make an incorrect reference to $2.5m and a further 17 monthly payments of $200,000 paid by the Company to the President of Puntland. The Company assumed the payment obligations to the Puntland Government under the original Contract of Work that was agreed to, and ratified by, the Puntland Parliament. The Puntland government has confirmed by written confirmation that all funds have been received under the Contract of Work.


Somalia: Somaliland's Ruling Party, Opposition Disagree On Election Schedule

Garowe Online (Garowe) 8 April 2008

The ruling party in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland has dismissed the opposition leader's comments about the upcoming presidential elections as "insults."

Ahmed Silanyo, the chairman of leading opposition party Kulmiye, recently told a crowd in the regional capital Hargeisa that President Dahir Riyale "must vacate" the office by mid-May.

An official statement from the office of President Riyale responded to Mr. Silanyo's allegations, accusing the Somaliland opposition leader of "fomenting fear" among the population.

"The President [of Somaliland] has stated that he is ready to hold free elections...but the decision of when belongs to the Election Commission," the statement read.

The statement accused Mr. Silanyo of "ignoring" a decision reached by the three legitimate political parties in Somaliland - namely, the ruling UDUB party, Kulmiye and UCID.

According to the presidential statement, the three official parties agreed to hold local government and presidential elections in July and August this year.

However, the presidential statement made no mention of the original election schedule, which slated presidential elections for May 2008.

The elections were postponed to complete the voter registration process, a factor being pressured upon the Riyale administration by foreign donor countries, inside sources said.

Somaliland, in northwest Somalia, unilaterally declared independence from the rest of the country in 1991, when clan warlords overthrew a military dictator in Mogadishu.

Hargeisa, Somalia's second-largest city, became the breakaway region's capital city and has been renowned for its relative peace.


INTERVIEW-Somaliland keen to host US base, hopeful on oil

Apr 9, 2008 By Jack Reerink

HARGEISA, Somalia, April 9 (Reuters) - The ruler of the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland said on Wednesday he wanted the United States to put a military base there and had high hopes for finding oil.

Dahir Rayale Kahin, president of the former British protectorate that broke away from war-torn Somalia in 1991, told Reuters he would seek a second -- and last -- term in presidential elections scheduled sometime after October.

Kahin, whose main goal is to win international recognition, said priorities this year were smooth elections, fighting Islamic militants and an auction for oil exploration licenses.

"The major thing is the election. We're also trying our best to fight the terror -- We're the only Muslim country that has that in the constitution," Kahin said in the city of 800,000 where goats roam the centre and trees are decorated with discarded plastic bags swept up by desert winds.

Kahin said he had offered to host a U.S. naval base at the port of Berbera as part of efforts to win recognition. Kahin, who visited Washington and hosted the top U.S. diplomat for Africa early this year, did not say how his offer was received.

A planned auction of oil licenses will give priority to U.S. oil companies holding concessions from the 1980s, he said.

Somaliland, a region the size of England and Wales in northern Somalia, has been doing all the right things to please the West with democratic elections, a free press and passing on scraps of information on Islamic militants, said Peter Pham of James Madison University, ahead of the Kahin interview.

"If the elections are held and are perceived as legitimate and fair, that will be a major step toward recognition," he said.

Somaliland's accidental president, Kahin took office when Somaliland founder Mohamed Ibrahim Egal died in 2002. Kahin, from the minority Gadabursi clan, was elected the following year with a margin of just 80 votes out of 490,000.

Clean 2008 elections are key, especially as Kahin faced criticism last year after three journalists were thrown in jail for defamation, as were three politicians who tried to set up a new party in violation of the constitution.

Kahin, 56, arguing that the politicians and journalists were convicted by the courts, said he had since pardoned them.

His 4 million people have had peace for almost two decades but are poor, and the economy is mostly powered by $450 million a year in remittances from diaspora. His government's annual budget is $40 million -- an amount the U.S. government spends every six minutes.

OIL HOPES

One answer is oil. Kahin, who says he's paid $3,000 a year, said he was "very hopeful" a survey being wrapped up by oil consultants TGS Nopec would show oil and gas deposits -- an extension of Yemen's oil basins across the Gulf of Aden.

Oil majors such as ConocoPhillips (COP.N: Quote, Profile, Research), BP Plc (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and Chevron (CVX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) staked out claims in the 1980s but suspended operations when Somalia imploded.

"We'll invite them and they'll have priority, but we'll give the concessions to whoever is ready to invest," Kahin said.

Small producers such as Ophir -- an outfit backed by South African businessman and veteran ANC politician Tokyo Sexwale -- have staked out new claims.

Resource-hungry China has taken an interest, too, with oil exploration firm CNOOC (0883.HK: Quote, Profile, Research) signing a production deal with Somalia's interim government in 2006.

"It's a false agreement," Kahin said of the CNOOC deal. "People who do not govern an area cannot sign an agreement."

If anybody does strike oil, lawyers will be dusting off old agreements. For now, the majors stay put, said Monica Enfield of industry consultants PFC Energy ahead of the Kahin interview.

"Being in a place that doesn't have sovereignty will be the biggest concern. The second is violence," Enfield said.

Kahin's overtures to attract petrodollars such as Dubai World's $800 million investment in neighbouring Djibouti have failed so far. "Somaliland is facing a problem because of the lack of recognition" he said.

Somaliland already looks like an independent state. It has its own currency, army, flag, national anthem and tourist visa.

Recognition, though, would give it access to capital markets and investments. And it would solve its biggest gripe: That the world recognizes the failed state of Somalia.

"Somalia doesn't exist. The reality is that there is a functioning state in the North and a non-functioning one in the South," said Kahin.

The West wants the African Union (AU) to take the lead on Somaliland, but many African leaders are reluctant to open a Pandora's box of ethnic groups redrawing the continent's colonial borders.

Kahin doesn't buy that. Somaliland is not redrawing but reinforcing the historic British Somaliland border with Italian-ruled Somalia, he said.

"Countries tell us: `We won't be the first but we'll recognise you second," Kahin said. "But we're not interested in your being second."


BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 5, 2008/Source: Jamhuuriya, Hargeysa, in Somali 4 Apr 08/Source: Jamhuuriya, Hargeysa, in Somali 4 Apr 08

SOMALILAND MINISTER ORDERS AVIATION COMPANIES TO PAY FEES TO MINISTRY

Somaliland government has taken over the collection of fees from aircraft flying in its airspace from ICAO which is based in Nairobi.The Ministry of Aviation and Airspace of Somaliland evicted ICAO from the country earlier this year. It consequently informed all aviation companies and UN agencies that operate in Somaliland on 20 March that they should pay the fees that they used to pay to ICAO to the ministry with effect from 1 April 2008 since Somaliland workers now provide them with the services that they used to get from ICAO.The deputy minister of aviation, Ahmad Umar Muhammad Agadable, and some officials of aviation companies in Hargeysa confirmed to Jamhuuriya that the two sides had reachedagreement on the issue. The amount of fees payable will remain the same.

Agadable said that the fees that used to be paid to CACAS, a branch of ICAO, for flight services and for overflying Somaliland airspace would now go to the ministry of aviation which took over the provision of services to aircraft from CACAS in February.[Passage omitted].


6 gunmen arrested in Somaliland

From http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=50604§ionid=351020501, 07 Apr 2008

Somaliland coastal guards have arrested six armed men in a small boat from Yemen, suspected of throwing 140 people into the sea.

A woman and her two children, who were in the same boat captured off Somali coast, claimed the gunmen had dropped more than 140 people into the Gulf of Aden, with no survivors.

Colonel Muse Haruun Farah told Press TV correspondent in Somalia that the armed men will be brought to justice imminently.


Somalia: Somaliland Vice President Gets Mixed Welcome in Las Anod

Garowe Online (Garowe) 3 April 2008

The Vice President of Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland arrived in the disputed town of Las Anod on Wednesday, where he received a mixed welcome from local residents.

Ahmed Yusuf Yasin, Somaliland's vice president, was welcomed in Las Anod by Somaliland-appointed regional officials, including Sool Governor Ali Sandule.

Mr. Yasin's delegation, backed by several armored vehicles, included Ahmed Abdi Habsade, a controversial Las Anod politician who was instrumental in Somaliland's takeover of Sool region in October 2007.

Mr. Habsade is a former Puntland government minister, but defected over to Somaliland after Puntland President Adde Muse sacked him and ordered his arrest.

Somaliland VP Yasin's speech to Las Anod residents, which was broadcast live on Radio Garowe, centered around security, humanitarian assistance and clan relations.

"We are here to help and to establish an administration that is better than the one before it [Puntland]," VP Yasin told the crowd.

Locals said hundreds of people demonstrated in a different part of Las Anod to show their displeasure with the presence of Somaliland government officials.

The protests were peaceful and the location where Vice President Yasin gave his speech was under heavy security, sources said.

It was Mr. Yasin's first visit to Las Anod in his capacity as the Vice President of Somaliland.

In 2002, Somaliland President Dahir Riyale was chased out of Las Anod by local militias loyal to Habsade, who was then pro-Puntland.

A Las Anod politician who did not wish to be named said neither Puntland nor Somaliland is able to establish an effective administration for the region of Sool.

"There are divisions within the [Sool] community," the politician said, adding: "Both sides [Somaliland and Puntland] only bring troops and rule Las Anod like a military front."


BBC Monitoring International Reports, April 3, 2008/Source: Halgan.net website, in Somali 3 Apr 08

SOMALILAND PRESIDENT REPORTEDLY SACKS MINISTER

Reports from Hargeysa say the minister for rural development Fuad Aden Adde has been sacked from the cabinet. His dismissal is related to a political dispute between him and President Dahir Riyale Kahin over Sool Region [from which the minister hails] and humanitarian aid being delivered to the region.

The dispute erupted when Minister Fuad Aden Adde opposed ways of managing money collected through taxes intended to deal with drought in Sool Region and the issue of troops who will serve in Sool.

Fuad Aden Adde is originally from Sool Region and he was one of the people who campaigned to make Laas Caanood, the provincial town of Sool, part of Somaliland's administration [Sool Region is under dispute between Somaliland andPuntland].

President Dahir Riyale Kahin said that he sacked the minister following remarks the minister made through the local media which he termed as irresponsible remarks and not suitable to be made by a person of his standing who is a ministerin the government.

Fuad Aden Adde has also rejected the deployment of government soldiers who are not originally from Sool region inLaas Caanood, but Somaliland officials told him that government troops should be deployed anywhere under their administration.

Many people predict that Minister Adde will behave like politicians from Sool who always shift to the rival side ofthe administration they used to serve [especially shifting from Puntland to Somaliland or vice versa].


http://www.garoweonline.com/ 29 Mar 29, 2008

Somaliland Minerals Minister Accused of Receiving Kick Backs

Hargeysa, Somaliland, March 22, 2008 (SL Times) – The Somaliland minister of Water and Minerals Qassim Sheikh Yusuf has been accused of receiving at least hundreds of thousands of US dollars in kick-backs from foreign companies and middlemen seeking concessions for exploration of oil resources and minerals in Somaliland.

According to an article published by the Somali language daily Haatuf on March 16, 2008, both the Somaliland minister and the ruler of Somalia’s Puntland regional state Adde Muse, have in the past 4 years been involved in deals that granted exploration and production sharing rights to dubious oil and minerals companies.

Mr. Qassim Yusuf is known to have signed a dozen of exploration and production sharing agreements with foreigners on the assumption that they represented genuine oil companies. However these foreign signatories often turned out to be brokers seeking to make quick and handsome profits from reselling their concessions to interested market speculators and occasionally to real oil companies.

According to the Somaliland law an agreement concluded with a foreign company by the government becomes valid and legally binding only after it has been approved by the parliament. However none of the exploration and production agreements that the Somaliland ministry of Water and Minerals signed with the purported oil companies has so far been submitted to parliament.

Although it is illegal to start implementing the terms of these type of agreements unless ratified by Parliament first, the minister of Water and Mineral resources has allowed some of the companies to deploy surveying teams on Somaliland territory.

One of the companies whose presence in the region has been the subject of much controversy is the Australia-based Range Resources Ltd which in 2005 acquired exclusive exploration rights to oil and minerals in Puntland in exchange of $2.5 million in cash and 17 monthly payments of $200,000 to Adde Mussa.

Then on October 2006 the Puntland leader agreed that Range grant an 80% interest in the Nugal and Dharoor blocks to a new company called Canmex Minerals. The deal was contingent on Canmex paying a signature bonus of $5 million to Range. Canmex was also to commit itself to a financial investment of $50 million in exploration and expenditure over the next 4 years. Later in the year Canmex changed its name to Africa Oil.

In a recent financial statement to its shareholder in Australia, Range Resources has claimed that it paid out close to $16.7 million to Puntland authorities for mineral and hydrocarbon rights. But according to source close to Adde Mussa, the money was never paid into Puntland’s treasury.

Senior financial officials contacted by the Somaliland Times have also confirmed that no such a transaction appears to have been recorded.

According to sources in Garowe who preferred to stay anonymous due to the sensivity of the subject, Adde Mussa and one of his cousins who lives in Canada, have split the money with a number of Range executives and then deposited their share in foreign banks.

Range tried to expand its Puntland operation into Somaliland’s eastern Sanag region. But the Warsangeli inhabitants of eastern Sanag fought off Adde Mussa’s Majerteen militia at least four times in 2006. About 40 people were reportedly killed in the skirmishes that took place.

Interestingly enough Range officers visited Somaliland in 2006 and 2007 to hold negotiations with the Somaliland minister of Water & Minerals, Qassim Shekh Yusuf. Fearing a backlash if the public came to know about the visits, the discussions were held secretly. Range wanted to persuade Mr. Qassim to allow Lundin Petroleum of Sweden to begin oil exploration operations in Somaliland. Both Lundin Petroleum and Africa Oil were among the Lundin Group of companies.

By early February 2008, Lundin Petroleum was negotiating an oil exploration deal with the Somaliland ministry of Water & Minerals.

Qassim whose palms were already greased with over $200,000 by Range has agreed in principle to sign a deal with Lundin Petroleum in the near future.

In response to a question posed to him by a Haatuf reporter back in February 2008, the Director General of the Ministry of Water & Minerals Ahmed Suldan denied that Lundin Petroleum was associated with Range through Africa Oil which operates in Puntland.

Pressed for a further comment on the subject, Mr. Suldan disclosed that Lundin had assured the ministry in writing of having no relations with Africa Oil or Range.

In early 2006 Mr. Qassim granted an oil exploration and drilling concession to an Indian businessman called Sood.

A production sharing agreement signed with Sood gave the latter rights to drill for oil in a highly promising block which previously belonged to Cheveron. Mr. Sood who until then ran his own construction firm – Motherland Homes – has had no experience in oil drilling.

Sood disclosed at the time that he gave one million dollars to Qassim as a signature bonus. But there was no evidence in ministry files that a signature bonus has actually been paid or what were the reasons why it wasn’t paid out.

The minister of Water & Minerals usually consults closely with president Dahir Riyale during any negotiations regarding oil and mineral concessions.

No deal goes through without the recommendation of Qassim and the consent of Mr. Riyale. Details of agreements are often kept secret from other cabinet ministers.

Minister Qassim is expected to go next month on a trip to Houston, Texas, USA. The trip is being sponsored by TGS, a Norwegian company that was granted without a bid a several million dollar contract for surveying minerals and off-shore oil in Somaliland.

According to the ministry, TGS surveying began earlier this year in the western parts of the country. However there was little information available to the public with regard to the operation.

There is also a growing concern among local oil experts over the patronizing role played by TGS in setting the country’s oil and minerals policies. Source: Somaliland Times


http://www.somalipressreview.com/view.php?articleid=351, Apr 2, 2008

Somalia: Speech of Kulmiye Chairman at the Second Convention

Editor's Note: Ahmed Mohamed (aka Silanyo) is the chairman of Somaliland main opposition party. Following is a speech he gave at the convention held in Hargeisa from 29 to 31 March, 2008

It is a pleasure and joy to welcome you at the 2nd anniversary of KULMIYE convention. At the same time, I am disheartened that many KULMIYE members, activists and distinguished statesmen and women, some overseas and some within the country were unable to attend and participate in the convention for various reasons. Rest assured that you are in our hearts and minds even though you are out of sight.

As you are aware, this convention was supposed to be held at an earlier date but due to prolonged negotiations about many issues that confront us as a political party and as a country, we were unable to hold it earlier but while some might have been displeased by the delay, one should take note that the delay has accorded the party an opportunity to welcome many communities who joined the party in droves but if it has caused inconvenience to anyone I say sorry and I take responsibility for the delay.

KULMIYE Vision

It is important to delineate what KULMIYE stands for and its vision. The cornerstone of KULMIYE’s vision is the development and the institutionalizing of a lasting organization that embodies the aspirations of the people: Peace and security, economic and social development, democracy, unity, justice underpinned by accountability and transparency and a relentless campaign towards political recognition that leads to UN membership

KULMIYE History

Of all the three national political parties KULMIYE was the last one to be established. KULMIYE Party was registered as a political association (temporary) on May 20, 2002. It was later, specifically on September 7, 2002 that KULMIYE was recognized and registered as a political party that met all the requirements and was given the go-ahead to participate the Local Government elections. As a result of its status on the local elections KULMIYE was recognized as a national political party on December 24, 2002

Immediately after the local elections, the party held its 1st convention whereby the party adopted its constitution, political platform and elected the political leadership of the party

You recall that many of the leaders of the ill-fated political parties that failed to meet the criteria of National parties particularly “Hormood”, “Asad” and “Sahan” have joined and strengthened the party. It was at his juncture that KULMIYE blossomed as a formidable contender

The Elections

If we reflect and look back on the elections that were held particularly the presidential (2003) and the parliamentarian (2005) elections, KULMIYE got the most votes 4 out of the 6 regions( Hargeysa, Togdheer, Sanaag and Sool) while it got the second spot on