Investigative Reports

Ministry of Information Spends 600,000 US Dollars to Fix a Decade Old Radio Station

According to a contract signed by the Minister of Information, Culture...

How Somalia is trying to Stifle Somaliland – US ties with an Online Troll and a pseudo-Charitable Organization

In February, June, and  August 2022, Mr. Okeke-Von Batten filed Lobby Disclosure Act...
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Somaliland President Pardons 511 Inmates


The President of Somaliland HE Muse Bihi Abdi has issued a presidential decree to pardon 511 inmates in Somaliland prisons for the Eid Al-Fitr occasion.

The Presidential pardon stated that it does not apply to violent offenders and people convicted of series crimes and is only for what it termed as “light crimes”. The Presidential decree stated that the decree is being implemented effective immediately by the Attorney General’s Office.

In Somaliland, it is customary for the President to issue pardons on Eid occasion as an act of kindness to allow inmates to spend the holly celebration with their loved ones.

Time to Reshuffle Already?


It started as a whisper few weeks ago and as the case with any new administration, there has been mishaps, some ministers in HE President Muse Bihi’s cabinet have found themselves stumbling from one controversy to another almost immediately following their appointments. While others worked quietly to implement the new President’s agenda.

The whisper of cabinet reshuffle has grown to a crescendo in social media the last few days and there is speculation that a major reshuffle might be imminent.

Others point to recent calls by high profile individuals in Somaliland who have been telegraphing to the President from social media or traditional media outlets on how he should redesign his cabinet.

It is not entirely clear if the President is planning to make any changes to his cabinet this early in his tenure,

but his choice of Ministers has been widely discussed where some have pointed to the relative youth and  possible inexperience to head vast government bureaucracies , while others have hailed it a major success as a move that brought educated and qualified youth to leadership positions. Still others, as is the case in Somaliland have immediately complained about the tribal composition of the President’s cabinet.

While the new cabinet consisted of mostly of new entrants into the political arena, The President went the traditional route of not appointing opposition party members to his cabinet.

Speculations aside, the President’s approval rating is split among party lines even though the response of his team to recent events such as cyclone Sagar and the conflict in Tukeraq have been very positive. One area that has been a thorn on the side of the new administration is the unrest in Elafweyn region.

President Bihi has been described as hard to read but there is definitely a growing speculation that there might be some high profile early departures from Mr. Bihi’s administration.

Puntland Minister of Information calls for Jihad Against Somaliland


The Minister of Information of Somali regional administration of Puntland, Abdi Hersi Ali in an unusual press briefing described the Tukeraq conflict between Somaliland and Somalia as a struggle that all people from Puntland should join as they will be considered martyrs if they lost their lives in this war.

During the press briefing, the Minister spoke about the Islamic concept of Jihad and how it relates to the homeland defense and immediately went on describe to how Islam views those that wage Jihad and that it is the duty of every person in Puntland to join in the fight against Somaliland as it is considered to be a Jihad. Mr. Hersi called on the people of Puntland to participate in the war in Tukaraq against Somaliland and it represents a chance for them to go to heaven.

“”Somaliland has managed to keep terrorism at bay and is excellent in securing it is borders”

Earlier this month, Al-Shabaab has overrun a major military base used by Puntland’s Maritime Police Force in Bali-Khadar where multiple casualties have been reported. Puntland regional administration officials have accused Somaliland of complicity in terrorism and support for Al-Shabaab without providing any prove to substantiate their assertion.

Reached for comments, Somaliland Ministry of Information officials have declined to comment on the Minister’s call for Jihad but stated that “Somaliland has managed to keep terrorism at bay and is excellent in securing it is borders”.

Sino-Russia Relations in the Era of Great Power Politics


President Putin made an official state visit to China to attend the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional economic and security organization that includes China and Russia along with other South and Central Asian countries. Its head of states meeting took place in the coastal city of Qingdao. Before the summit, Putin had bilateral meetings with the Chinese leadership in Beijing, including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

Before Putin’s trip to Qingdao, ahigh-ranking Chinese diplomat described the Russian President’s trip to China as an ‘important event for the bilateral relations’, whereas a senior Russian diplomat in charge for Moscow’s policy in the Asia Pacific region noted that the cooperation between the two neighbouring countries are experiencing the ‘best state in their history’. Remarks that emphasizes President Xi’s earlier claim that relations between Moscow and Beijing are in their ‘best time of history’. This was the first meeting between Putin and Xi in 2018.

While the two countries boosted their relations since they signed the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation in 2001, Vladimir Putin developed a personal relationship with the President of China Xi Jinping. They had met more than 20 times since 2012 when Putin started his third term in the Kremlin and Xi assumed the Chinese presidency. Putin recently described President Xi as a ‘reliable partner’. As a sign of the strong bilateral relations between the world’s leading country by population and the world’s largest country by territory, Putin awarded the Order of St Andrew to President Xi last year; while in return, Xi honoured President Putin with the Chinese Order of Friendship during his recent visit to China. The highest friendship medals of both countries.

One of the key issues that make Russia and China closer to each other since the end of the Cold War is the new US policy that prioritizes countering both China and Russia. In the recent National Security and National Defence strategies, Washington called Russia and China ‘strategic competitors’ and ‘revisionist powers’. In the National Defence Strategy, it precisely states ‘interstate competition, not terrorism is the primary security concern of the US’. This means that the US is no longer focusing on the Middle East, but its center of attention is on the Asia Pacific region, where a new power is rising (China).

As the era of Great Power competition is back, the US organized a Quadrilateral strategic dialogue that involves Australia, India, and Japan along with the United States to counter China’s influence in the Asia Pacific region. The Pentagon renamed its Pacific combatant command to Indo-Pacific command in an attempt to create a broad orbit to counter China’s expansion that includes not only Pacific states, but also others in the Indian Ocean, including India. Washington already used the term ‘Indo-Pacific’ in its strategic documents like the US National Security Strategy. Meanwhile, the US Navy is activatingits second fleet in the North of the Atlantic to respond to Russia’s increasing assertiveness.

Cooperation already exists between China and Russia both in a bilateral level as well as a multilateral one. First and foremost, the trade between the two countries expanded, and China is the biggest trade partner for Russia as Moscow is facing economic and trade sanctions from its European neighbours (the European Union) as well as the United States due to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Since the trade between the two developed, China benefited because it increased its presence in the Eurasia region in order to counterbalance the US dominance and it becomes a market for Russia’s oil and gas, which is important for China’s growing economy. For Russia, China is an important customer for its oil and gas.

Second, the security and defence cooperation between the two countries is growing well. The militaries of both countries hold regular joint military exercises that involve dozens of military helicopters and vessels. Russia is an important supplier of weapons to China.

Third, in terms of international security challenges that both countries face. Although Afghanistan is not a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the ongoing security challenges in Afghanistan pose a direct threat to the SCO member states, including Russia and China while Afghanistan borders with three SCO member states (Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan). In response to Afghanistan security problems, the SCO created a security framework that deals with information sharing, counter terrorism and drug trafficking. This also makes Russia to consider a new strategy to resolve the conflicts in Afghanistan without the US involvement, as Russian security officials presented to their SCO counterparts recently.

On the Korean Peninsula, both China and Russia embraces the denuclearization of North Korea as it serves in their security interests. However, as new developments are made on a dialogue with North Korea, it seems to both countries that Washington is sidelining Moscow and Beijing from the talks with North Korea as the multilateral six party talks (China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States) no longer exists. This makes both countries to bilaterally intensify their ties with the North Korean leadership as the United States and South Korea did. In addition, it seems that both countries are willing to ease sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a gesture of goodwill to reward Pyongyang for its decision to negotiate on its nuclear program. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov made that clear to his North Korean counterpart in Pyongyang ‘there is no solution to the Korean Peninsula’s nuclear issues unless sanctions are lifted’. Kim Jong Un is invited to visit Russia later this year while he met with President Xi twice in the spring before the US-DPRK summit that is expected to take place on the 12th of June.

In addition, both Russia and China expressed their commitment to preserving the Iranian nuclear deal, in the wake of the US withdrawal from the agreement. Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif visited Beijing and Moscow before his trip to Brussels and one of Tehran’s options if the deal collapses, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is to follow its previous ‘look east policy’, which will deepen its economic ties with China. Iran is already an observer member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and China is the biggest trading partner of Iran. While the European Union and the European parties of the nuclear accord (Britain, France and Germany) expressed their pledge to keep the deal, yet they have not proposed major initiatives that can keep the European companies that are doing business with Iran away from the resumption of sanctions against Iran from the United States. The US withdrawal from the deal provides a vast opportunity for Beijing to engage closely with Tehran economically as the ambitious Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) play a role in strengthening the trade relations between the two countries. However, Beijing is vigilant with its ties with Tehran and is not willing to confront Washington on the Iranian case. The renewing sanctions from the United States to Iran will somehow reduce its trading partnership with China and will challenge Tehran’s quest to become a full member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) if the United Nations agrees to impose sanctions.

Beijing and Moscow also share the commitment of challenging the current global order that is led by the United States and they both advocate for a world where there are several center of power, instead of one hegemony. Multilaterally, they are both members of the UN Security Council, BRICS the G-20 and SCO. Although both countries have not yet presented a comprehensive alternative to challenge the current system, both countries created new initiatives to engage multilaterally in terms of security, economy and trade with other non-western powers like India, Brazil, Iran and South Africa in a BRICS format or in the SCO format.

To sum up, while both countries have shared interests in many global and regional issues, merging an alliance between the world’s largest population and the world’s leading country by territory is unlikely.

Challenges to the creation of a strategic alliance between China and Russia

But this doesn’t mean that there are serious tensions between China and Russia, but they are smart enough to manage their differences. Both Moscow and Beijing share their own criticism towards the world order where one power (the United States) dominates the global governance, nevertheless both countries do not have a common agreement on how a more fairer world would be. In China’s view, the Sino-American relation is the most important relation in the world in the 21st century. The US is the second largest destiny for China’s trade after the European Union (EU). Thus, Beijing is not willing to confront the US in a number of areas. Also, both countries do not share a will on the future of global governance. Beijing is seeking a bipolar world, where there are two centers of power (Washington and Beijing), while Moscow’s view is not clear. They desire to become a middle power that balances the two global powers.

On the other hand, as the US presence in the Asia Pacific region is expanding in order to counter China’s expansion in the region, Russia, another pacific power sees things differently from the perspectives of both Washington and Beijing. While the strategic thinking in both the US and China is that one power should overlook the pacific region and countering one another is in their interests, in Moscow’s point of view, the pacific region should be a region where there is no dominant power exists.

On a military level, while the Shanghai Cooperation Organization comprises of four nuclear-armed states (China, India, Pakistan and Russia), and the organization provides a platform for all its member states to coordinate and share information with one another, this does not mean that the SCO can eventually develop into a military alliance due to several reasons. First, the rockiness of relations between its member states makes an alliance unlikely in the near future (e.g. China-India relations or India-Pakistan ties). Second, even as Russia and China are the powerful members of the SCO, they have divergent interests in Central Asia. While the US interests in Central Asia are limited to the War in Afghanistan and to some extent its commercial interests in the energy of the Caspian Basin, Moscow and Beijing agree to limit Washington’s presence in the region. Moscow considers Central Asia crucial for its sphere of influence and while Beijing is expanding its presence in the region by investment under the Belt and Road Initiative to have an influence in Eurasia. Russia is opposed to anything that challenges its hegemony in the region; nevertheless, there is some degree of cooperation between Beijing and Moscow in Central Asia under the SCO.

This makes the two countries partners that have some degree of friendly relations, but not allies.

There are also minor issues that can undermine the strategic partnership by creating a degree of distrust with one another. While Russia is expanding its ties with other Asian regional powers like India and Vietnam, China is wary due to its adversarial relations with both New Delhi and Hanoi. These challenges may hinder the relations between the two countries to reach a level of a strategic alliance, but it will not certainly distance Moscow from Beijing in the near future unless unpredictable strategic shifts come from the United States. A reason that China-Russia ties will survive is that Moscow is not willing to compete with Beijing, but they are eager to cooperate and manage their differences.

About the Author:

Yacqub Ismail

Yacqub Ismail is a political analyst. He is a regular contributor to the International Policy Digest. He can be reached out on Twitter @Yacqubismial and email

US Senator Rand Paul says Somali National Army has ties to Al-Qaida


Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and a member of the Senate Freedom Caucus has accused the Somali National Army of using child soldiers, terrorism and called them robbers. Senator Paul is calling for an end to end to US taxpayer money for Somali National Army.

In an interview with the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, Senator Paul who is a fiscal conservative and a proponent of curbing US debt and spending said “There’s 920 instances of child soldiers, forcing children to fight. There’s evidence that some of these soldiers are parts of al-Qaida. There’s also evidence that some of these soldiers are nothing more than highway robbers,”.

“There’s 920 instances of child soldiers, forcing children to fight. There’s evidence that some of these soldiers are parts of al-Qaida. There’s also evidence that some of these soldiers are nothing more than highway robbers,”

Somalia’s government has been propped up by AMISOM troops and a cadre of JSOC special operators. Last Friday, an American Special Operations forces soldier was killed and four others were wounded in an attack near the town of Jamaame, a town in southwestern Somalia against fighters for the Islamic extremist group the Shabab, where the Special Forces where building a forward operating base. The Defense Department released the name and the identity of the deceased soldier as Staff Sergeant Alexander Conrad of the 3rd Special Forces Group based out Fort Bragg North Carolina.

Things are Moving According to Plan – Somaliland Central Bank


The Director General of Somaliland’s Central Mr. Ahmed Arwo held a press briefing today at his Office in Hargeisa and spoke at length about the progress the bank has embarked on to restore the value the Somaliland Shilling and the bank’s efforts to curb inflation.

“As the Central Bank, we are confident that the value of our shilling will raise in a short period and as part of that, we are giving it the requisite time to make sure that people understand it is value and make it their primary monetary instrument” said Mr. Arwo.

The Director General spoke about studies the bank has conducted to come up with its current plan to curb inflation and restore the public confidence and the value of the Shilling. Mr Arwo added that the Central Bank is implementing these steps in a methodical and thoughtful way to avoid shocking the economy.

Mr. Arwo also spoke about the role livestock export in raising the value of the Somaliland Shilling “The resumption of Somaliland’s livestock export is a major victory for the country and is a another source of tax revenue for the government and will bring back hard currency into the country and it will absolutely have an massive impact in raising the value of our currency” Mr. Arwo said.

When asked about the objective the Central Bank hopes to achieve with exchange rate text messages the public has been recently receiving, the Director General stated that the bank collects exchange data from the markets and sets the rate although it is not at a point to enforce exchange rates at the moment, though that time will come, it is simply to give people a good idea of what a fair exchange rate is. He added that the feedback the bank is getting about the exchange rate information has been largely positive.

Mr. Arwo shared with the media one of Central Bank’s plans to strengthen the Somaliland Shilling and increase it is circulation. He stated that the bank will soon require utility, education and health services providers to only accept payment in Somaliland Shillings. The Director General added that the bank has informed these entities and that an official announcement will be coming out soon.  He also asked the public to insist on paying in Somaliland Shillings to help the Central Bank’s effort to stabilize our currency.

FIFA World Cup 2018: Arguably the World’s Best Teams that Failed to Quality



When Egypt qualified for its first World Cup since 1990, it was at the expense of Ghana. Ghana managed just one win during the final round of qualifiers and finished four points behind Egypt in its Confederation of African Football group. Ghana — arguably the USMNT’s biggest international rival outside of its own federation — had been a bugaboo for the United States, which was eliminated in consecutive World Cups by the “Black Stars” before finally prevailing in the opener of the 2014 World Cup on John Brooks’ last-minute goal. Another African nation that had qualified for the previous three World Cups — Ivory Coast — also failed to qualify for this year’s tournament.


Just a year ago, Chile — powered by a collection of star players such as Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal — played Germany in the final of the Confederations Cup. Germany won, of course, but Chile figured to be back in Russia for the World Cup. Following the Confederations Cup, however, Chile three of its last four World Cup qualifying matches to finish sixth in the qualification standings, missing out on the fifth spot (which played in an inter-confederation playoff) on goal differential.


 The Azzurri are soccer royalty. In the hierarchy of the World Cup’s elite, Italy forms a power triumvirate with five-time winner Brazil and four-time winner Germany. Like Germany, Italy also has four World Cup titles. When Italy fell to Sweden in its playoff to get into the 32-team World Cup field, it was a stunning development in international soccer. Italy’s exclusion from this year’s tournament is its first in 60 years. Perhaps this development was coming. After winning the 2006 World Cup, Italy had failed to get out of the group stage of the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

United States

Sports fans of a certain age will remember a time when the World Cup was a complete afterthought in the U.S. In 1986, the last time the USMNT did not play in a World Cup, U.S. sports fans weren’t pondering which team to root for in that summer’s tournament in Mexico after the USMNT failed to qualify for the ninth consecutive World Cup. Instead, sports fans were wondering about the first-place Boston Red Sox’s World Series chances and if the Chicago Bears — one of the most dominant Super Bowl winners ever — could repeat. Soccer was a sport lost in the wilderness in the USA. Fast forward 32 years, and the soccer culture in the U.S. is totally different. The USMNT’s first World Cup failure since the mid-1980s is considered a sporting catastrophe. Once a perennial contender along with Mexico for premier team in the region, the U.S. finished behind the likes of Panama and Honduras in qualifying last year.

Somalia’s Puntland Administration Appoints a Governor for Somaliland’s Sool Region


The leader of the Somalia’s Puntland regional administration has appointed a governor for one of Somaliland’s eastern most region – Sool.

The new governor, Abuubakar Cabdi Geelle, is relatively unknown and has been reported to be a resident of Lasanod city but is apparently well known for his anti-Somaliland views.

Since Sool is in Somaliland and and already has a Governor appointed by HE President Muse Bihi Abdi, it is unclear how the rival appointment from Puntland will be able to govern a territory in a different country.

The Chronicle has reached out to officials from Somaliland government for comment on this development and while most have thought of it as satirical, one who spoke on condition of anonymity stated that “the appointment is not worth the paper it is written on”.

There has been a recent spate of statements coming from the Puntland regional administration including calls for bombing and assassination of Somaliland leaders. Additionally, Puntland has repeated accused Somaliland of being Alshabaab patronage in the recent attack where terrorist group over ran a major military base near the regional capital Bossasso.

A timely appeal to the Government of the UAE


If, I was asked to define the era in which we are living, and the character of the events we are witnessing, I would have said ‘it is the era of the greatest event of the time, the agreement of the two governments, Somaliland and UAE’ with the partnership of Ethiopia.
This event is happening in a new turn in the history of mankind, a turn from unpopular to a Multi-polar world. This historical change on the global level is hugely impacting on us, in the third world, in the way we used to live, behave and reacted to the events that decided our destiny, specifically in the regions of the Middle East, the Gulf, and the Horn of Africa, where for instance, the civil war in Yemen led the UAE and Saudi Arabia to intervene in order to stop the Iranian regime’s expansion. And where, in another level, the contrast between Somalia and Somaliland systems can only be compared with that of Athens in the Greece ancient history, as Athens had been an Oasis of peace and democracy, while Sparta persisted as a terrain of wars and warlords. Unfortunately, the State elite in Somalia remain dictatorial and inhuman, both in ideology as well as in practice, reiterating the same practice of the Siyad Barre regime. The live example in this respect lies in the irrational reaction to the considerable beneficial agreement reached at between the two brotherly countries, which can significantly change the life of four million poor Somalis.

This Irrational hostile stand recalled the Somaliland people the crimes committed by the Siyad Bare army in 1980s. And instead to move, even at the level of lip-serves, towards the remedy of the deep injures in the heart of the people of Somaliland they mobilized the entire world against the livelihood of supposedly a brother people.

Unfortunately, the future prospect of reconciliation of Somalia and Somaliland became further remote with the undemocratic and inhuman orientation of the Somalia’s elite, a matter that raised a fundamental question as to what kind of Somalia they have in mind to build,

Evidently, not a democratic model similar to that of the UAE or the Switzerland based ideals, but retrieving the Fascist Somalia pattern of Siyad Barre which was similar in sectarianism to the one that Houties are trying to create in Yemen.

These rightful and legitimate concerns gave no room for optimism to the people and government of Somaliland rather, the possibility of provoking the deep wounds and emotional bias, fanatical instinct and sectarianism as contras to reconciliation and forgiveness that the Somaliland system teaches everybody, not only in this region but the world at large.

Taking these deep-rooted worries into seriousness, I would like to express my personal appreciation to the deal reached between our two governments, and urge the UAE to take another bold step towards diplomatic recognition of Somaliland, that would halt all attempts to establish Fascism in Mogadishu or sectarianism in Yemen.

By Ambassador Adam Jibril Muse