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The Great Promise of Closer US – Somaliland Ties & AFRICOM recent Visit.

The visit goes by this name and it has started with President Muse Bihi official tour to Washington DC.

His visit – the first by a sitting president of Somaliland but it’s not the first for the man in person.

The tour is mainly to get US attention towards Somaliland and to establish an engagement with Somaliland and to conduct a feasibility study, one reason to do that was that US didn’t want to limit itself anymore with Somalia policy and this is what exactly senator US Senate Statement

Van Hollen and  Senator Jim Risch of US Senate Foreign relations committee had emphasized the necessity to work with like-minded Somaliland who is committed to peace, democracy and prosperity

Historically – these remarks are not unique and something new to the ears of Somaliland because Similarly Dr. Jendayi  Frazer – former U.S assistant secretary of state for African Affairs said something similar and praised Somaliland achievement to restore peace and stability in a volatile region that could explode in any minute.  She had even claimed that Somaliland unique story should be acknowledged and pushed for recognition – yes recognition in which she regretted not moving Somaliland legal case in her tenure and time. After all it was a mission impossible for her just like she failed to convince Khartoum about Sudan’s Darfur crisis.

Dr. Jendayi Frazer not only knew about Africa but she led US policy towards the continent after Berry Newman left the office, Frazer Said she is willing Africa on Bush term to be nothing but characterized by continuity – it was US strategy too to develop relations and engage deep with Africans but today many US policy makers and foreign relations do know little about Africa let alone Somaliland.

Accountability also matters.  While Somalia is among world’s most corrupt states – a place many saw as irredeemable disaster if not worse and while US Africa Command (AFRICOM) proved working and restoring stability for so many African countries, surely that is different and beyond reach in Somalia.

Again there was another surge of interest in Biden administration for Somaliland’s case that has regained the traction it lost during Hillary Clinton’s as Secretary of State and her US dual-track policy towards Somaliland. This time was from an official US congressional staff who had paid visit to Hargeysa and who marked a turning point in the U.S government engagement to Somaliland that was a response to the Somaliland Foreigner Minister – Dr. Essa Kayd along with Dr. Edna Aden – their visit was nothing but to engage with Washington once again to develop on diplomatic relations and security defense partnership with Somaliland.

But suddenly a recent visit of US Africa Command has lashed all these efforts – even changed the narrative of this relations, one that jeopardize and undermined the sovereignty and statehood of Somaliland

This has started from a mere Readout of US AFRICOM stating that they will deal with Somaliland similar as a federal member of Somalia – something that has upset many Somalilanders in the social media and elsewhere and saw it nothing but as an insult to their legal status as a free and independent country – is  shockingly untrue too , simply because Somaliland has its own statehood and sovereignty and US foreign policy do want little to be briefed about, in fact US were dealing with Somaliland always differently as a separate country since they reclaimed their independence in 1991.

The visit of AFRICOM has come after huge attraction on Berbera facilities including airfield and rapidly developing of its port, this also advances shared interest by both countries to protect regional stability and protecting vital trade routes.

Unlike Somalia which has no control over piracy, terrorism and trafficking, Somaliland coast guard founded in 1995 did this alone over the past 30 years almost and with policing almost 530-mile coastline of Somaliland without any help or support from EU, UK or USA. This is if any single out the role of the coast guards as an example of successful policing which barely nowhere except Somaliland.

Piracy, or its absence, like the relative peace in Somaliland, was portrayed as symptomatic of an essential difference between Somaliland and Somalia – Something AFRICOM didn’t grasp yet.

Additionally and with China increasing presence in Africa and its giant base in Djibouti, one that is not going to end very soon and one that put Djibout in its debt trap, on the other hand US are very careful about any out leverage of China could risk their presence and that’s why is so important for United States to have reconsider its geopolitical move. Berbera port was always important and geopolitical battlefield between Russia,China and now US .

Russia because they wanted to change their troubled Sudan Naval plans, China because for seeking mining concessions in Somaliland and to give China huge advantage of control near the suez canal for the cargo in-out from Gulf of Aden to the Mediterranean – China as well don’t have any of US or Russia qualms.

With AFRICOM reaching to Somaliland – we could only think of the Win-Win deal that has been on the move and being discussed extensively within the US Congress members on how they would engage with Somaliland – that proved to be better than even the UK treatment ( de facto recognition) specially when Somaliland had enjoyed this with other nations like UK,UAE and Taiwan Win-Win or No Deal

Conclusion

Surely Somaliland – US partnership act should reinforce strongly the recognition part of Somaliland that was missing so that the country could be an important member that can be acknowledged for the tremendous and huge role played by more than half a century.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Faisel Ahmed is a Somalilander based in Qatar. Works as Contract specialist in QIB, Doha – Qatar

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, or viewpoints of Somaliland Chronicle, and its staff. 

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Notice: This article by Somaliland Chronicle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International License. Under this license, all reprints and non-commercial distribution of this work are permitted.

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