Backroom deals between Farmaajo and Musa Bihi will lead to nowhere and could ignite a major
civil war among all the Somali clans:
By Hamid Masheye
Negotiations between what is called “Somaliland” and “Somalia” is a farce and will lead to
nowhere for the following reasons:
First, before any serious negotiation starts, the terms of reference must be clarified and agreed
on by all stakeholders. Who are the parties of the negotiation? What is Somaliland? What is
Somalia? What are their boundaries? What is the purpose of the negotiations? Who will participate in it? Where will the venue of the meeting be? Etc. Somalis have now reached the moment of truth and nobody will accept backroom deals which will jeopardize the destiny of the people of Awdal, Sool, and Sanaag.
Second, both names refer to fictitious entities that have no realities neither on the ground nor
in the psyche of the Somali people. And after the independence from the colonial powers, all
the vestiges of the colonial rulers disappeared from the Somali territory and the Somali
Republic became an active, sovereign, and a full member of the international community. Now
It is hard to find anyone who remembers the colonial era.
Even in the heydays of the Somali independence, there was no solidarity among the clans in the
north and their agenda was not identical. The people in Awdal, Sanaag, and Sool had their
organization called the USP that opposed vehemently any delay of the unifications of the
Somali people. And in the era before colonialism, each clan was sovereign, independent, and
revered no superior power.
In the south (former Italian Somaliland), the clans living there mirrored the clan cleavages in the
north and were sovereign clans living side by side. The Italian rule had no effect on that political
dispensation and at the present time, the contours of the forgone clan territory is taking shape
in the form of Puntland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, South-West, and Jubaland. Also, these entities
do not see themselves as one block called Somalia (Italian Somaliland).
Third the clans in the north and in the South are not separate people with two different
cultures. On the contrary, the Harti clan inhabits a vast territory that straddles the former
boundary between Italian and British Somaliland and its land mass extends from the outskirts of
Burao, in the middle of the north, to the Indian Ocean. There is no way this proud people will
allow a rival clan to dismember its territory in the name of an illegitimate claim based on
artificial boundaries that once arbitrarily divided the Somali people. As I write, the troops of
Puntand and the “Somaliland” are at a standoff at Tukaraq in the Sool region and in Sanaag.
This could explode at any time into a major conflagration with a disastrous effect. And the
constant skirmishes between these two militias are making the lives of the people in that area
miserable. Also, the people in Awdal have no appetite for an entity created to subjugate them
and that smacks of clannism, pillaging, and domination.
Fourth, there was never a civil war between the people in the north and the south. All the
Somali civil wars were among neighboring clans and none involved a clan in the south and a
clan in the north. In fact, most Somalis have loyalties to their tribe or to their nation and don’t
identify with the colonial names that evaporated into the stratosphere with the departure of
the colonial powers from our region.
Fifth, the Somali Federal government constantly ignores the plight of the people in Awdal, Sool, and Sanaag and does not sympathize with them. This strange situation defies logic. Citizens of every country expect their country to defend them and look after their welfare. To the horror of all concerned Somali citizens, the Somali
government is shirking its responsibility, outsourcing its authority to the secessionist group, and
is trampling on the rights of the unionist Somali citizens who are facing an existential threat.
Sixth, as long as the Federal Somali government is ignoring the true stakeholders -the people of
Awdal, Sool, and Sanaag- there will be no peace and no permanent resolution of this major
crisis that has the potential of wiping out the Somali Republic from the map of the world. March