The Cracked Soil Of Somaliland (legally northwest of Somalia) – OpEd

The Cracked Soil Of Somaliland (legally northwest of Somalia) – OpEd

In the last three decades, the one thing that no unionist, cynic, or a foe could deny is that Somaliland (legally northwest of Somalia) has been a haven of peace in relation to the rest of Somalia.

Though over the years a small number of analysts—this one included—have questioned the viability of the Somaliland secession aspirations and its legal merit under the international law, most of them never questioned the moral argument.

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However, all of that has changed in recent weeks, as it is now certain that Somaliland did not live up to the ideals of being East Africa’s exemplary democracy.    

Bankruptcy of a Moral Argument

Somaliland’s argument for secession was based on the claim that they were betrayed by the Somali government that they entrusted with the North-South union charter – unification of British Somaliland with the Italian Somaliland. And that they were denied even-handed power sharing, and when they protested against that transgression, they became targets of ruthless military oppression. As a result, they had no choice but to part ways with the Somali government and reclaim their old independent British-Somaliland status.

Granted, their declaration had certain aspect of moral merit, but the erroneous aspect of unilaterally reclaiming the old colonial demarcation had zero legal value.

However, when people of Las Anod located in the highly contested region of Sool—the epicenter of the anti-colonial movement—tried to use that same argument against the secessionist system led by a former military colonel, Muse Bihi Abdi, who is accused of committing genocide in Borama of Awdal region in 1991, the goal-posts were removed.

The Somaliland government accused them of doing Somalia’s bidding- a treasonous act (grievance) that must be dealt with extrajudicial killings, imprisonments, and torture. This Orwellian logic is mind-numbing, to say the least. Moral causes cannot be justified with fundamentally flawed arguments. Sooner or later there will be a time of reckoning.

However, all of that has changed in recent weeks, as it is now certain that Somaliland did not live up to the ideals of being East Africa’s exemplary democracy.    

Bankruptcy of a Moral Argument

Somaliland’s argument for secession was based on the claim that they were betrayed by the Somali government that they entrusted with the North-South union charter – unification of British Somaliland with the Italian Somaliland. And that they were denied even-handed power sharing, and when they protested against that transgression, they became targets of ruthless military oppression. As a result, they had no choice but to part ways with the Somali government and reclaim their old independent British-Somaliland status.

Granted, their declaration had certain aspect of moral merit, but the erroneous aspect of unilaterally reclaiming the old colonial demarcation had zero legal value.

However, when people of Las Anod located in the highly contested region of Sool—the epicenter of the anti-colonial movement—tried to use that same argument against the secessionist system led by a former military colonel, Muse Bihi Abdi, who is accused of committing genocide in Borama of Awdal region in 1991, the goal-posts were removed.

The Somaliland government accused them of doing Somalia’s bidding- a treasonous act (grievance) that must be dealt with extrajudicial killings, imprisonments, and torture. This Orwellian logic is mind-numbing, to say the least. Moral causes cannot be justified with fundamentally flawed arguments. Sooner or later there will be a time of reckoning.

Abukar Arman

Abukar Arman is a foreign policy analyst and a former diplomat. On Twitter: @4DialogSK

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