Before highlighting the interests of the United States in a fully recognised Somaliland, there are benefits that Somaliland will continue to guarantee even without any recognition. These include the fight against piracy, anti-terrorism and being a progressive democracy. Often criticised for being a “peacocracy”, Somaliland people and government will protect their interior and external peace. Their homegrown democracy stems from their pastoral roots, and that is unlike to change with or without recognition because democracy enables the competing parties to transfer power fairly and peacefully. This ensures that, unlike Somalia, Somaliland will continue to be a reliable partner in the region without causing headaches in keeping the security and peace in the volatile region of the horn of Africa.
There are, however, equally important interests that are conditional on being fully recognised by the United States. To fully understand these, one needs to look at the situation of the Solomon Islands: Once a Taiwan ally, now its police force is being trained by China. This current example shows China’s aggressive foreign policy, targeting democracies that support the US and Taiwan. China’s influence in the Horn of Africa has continued to penetrate the political establishment. As such, one opposition party in Somaliland has toyed with the idea of seeking greater ties with China in the next upcoming presidential elections. We believe China’s capture of Somaliland will be inevitable if the United States continues with its one-Somalia policy. Like the Solomon Islands, the US might need to pay more to regain Somaliland in such a scenario. It is also feasible for enemies of the United States such as Iran and Russia gradually take interest and control of the Red Sea and Bab al-Mendab.
Learning from current and past experiences and proactively recognising Somaliland will ensure that all Somaliland political parties are pro-western. Recognising Somaliland as a fully democratic and Islamic nation will prove advantageous to US efforts to quash Islamic extremism affecting the region and the Arab world. In addition, Somaliland’s most recent partnership with Taiwan will enable it to be accepted within its own defined international dominance. This is important for Africa where only a fully recognized Somaliland can show the way to economic prosperity without being indebted to China.
On 4 April 2022, Somaliland and Somalia will be separated for a period longer than their union. Notwithstanding the colonial history, the last three decades have been long enough to make these two countries different, and Somaliland’s recognition mainly accepts the reality dictated by time. While recognising a new country is a headache, Somaliland is an exceptional case that will not repeat in Africa as per the African union fact-finding mission report of 2005. This report has been ignored by Africa similar to how most African countries did not vote for UN resolution against Russia. That’s why if the US Senate is not ready to recognise Somaliland directly, it should suggest a process by the African Union to act on the 2005 report.
In the past 30 years, Somaliland has acted as a de facto peacekeeper in the region, and for that, the geopolitical interest of the United States remains unchallenged. Somaliland shares and upholds the democratic values and the security interest of the United States and its allies. Without formal recognition or a roadmap from key stakeholders within the United States political establishment, exogenous factors can undermine the security state of the region.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Abdirahman Mohamed Abdi Daud is an Australian Somalilander and Software Engineer. Works as a principal developer in a fintech company. Melbourne, Australia. Mr. Daud is also a Non-Resident Scholar at Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, Hargeysa Somaliland
Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints of the Somaliland Chronicle, and its staff.
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