Northern Somalia/SSC Khatuumo: An Alternate Perspective on the Northern Somalia Government
By Mohamed Ibrahim
Monday August 28, 2023
After closely observing Somali politics for several years, it was inevitable that the Northern Somalia forces in Goojcade would be defeated. The war lacked political legitimacy, was unjust, and destined to fail from the start. The uprising in Lascaanod was a result of the long-standing conditions of violence and insecurity experienced by the local residents. Northern Somalia’s historical approach was flawed in many ways. Firstly, they assumed that everyone in the region would embrace their pursuit of an independent state, disregarding the fact that there were people with their own political beliefs who wanted to join Greater Somalia.
This initial political mistake was made by the Northern Somalia government and continued by subsequent administrations. For years, I have warned against the political imprisonment and harassment of those in the region who did not support Northern Somalia’s independence. However, the government ignored these warnings and increased their threats and imprisonment, going as far as imprisoning individuals for simply raising a small blue flag.
This lack of confidence and capacity to implement their political vision without subjugating and imprisoning dissenting voices showcased the authority’s shortcomings. The Northern Somalia government failed to recognize the silent majority in the Sool region who desire peace and security but do not support Northern Somalia’s vision of independence. They neglected to create a political space for Somali unionism, which has proven to be a colossal mistake. When security was lost due to political assassinations and the authorities failed to protect innocent people, the population rose up to defend themselves. As they never believed in Northern Somalia’s vision of independence in the first place, there was no loyalty to the entity.
Secondly, the Northern Somalia authorities misread the situation and made their second disastrous decision by using military force against the people of Lascaanood and its political entities. The challenge confronting Northern Somalia required a political solution, not a military one. Chief Muse Bihi Abdi and his political associates in the SNM failed to learn from their own past lessons and struggles. When the dignity and safety of others are threatened, the pursuit of justice and dignity will always outweigh any military intervention. This was evident in the SNM movements, and the current situation is no different. I urge against further escalation of violence and call for rational thinking in Northern Somalia to guide future actions. A military solution was never the answer, and it is no longer viable.
This issue can only be resolved through a comprehensive political roadmap involving both Somalia and Northern Somalia. The conflict is a symptom of broader political failures, lack of reconciliation, and distrust between Somalia and Northern Somalia. These factors have resulted in fragmented societies and political divisions on the brink of disintegration. The bomb has already detonated in Lascanood over the past eight months, and only a political solution can prevent further bloodshed, insecurity, and a bleak future for all.
Mohamed Ibrahim BA/MSc, London School of Economics and Political Science, is an avid writer and advocate for social justice based in London. He can be reached via @Mi_shiine