Apr 10, 2008

Somaliland: TFG Woes Contrast With Hargeisa’s Success Story

Sample ImageAs Somalia lurches between crises and Somaliland prepares for presidential elections, why is it still Mogadishu to whom the international community looks for leadership?

Below is an article written by Rachelle Kliger and published by the Media LIne:

The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia is practically non-existent, as it is unstable and has failed to stem the violence washing over Somalia, a Somaliland official said.

Dr. Saad Noor, representative of Somaliland to the United States, said the TFG was the “darling of the international community,” which calls it a government for the lack of anything else resembling that name.

Somaliland is a self-proclaimed republic in northern Somalia, which does not have the recognition of the international community.

Britain withdrew from British Somaliland in 1960, allowing its protectorate to join the Italian Somaliland and form the new state of Somalia.

“That government is a mirage; it does not exist and thus we have no relationship,” Noor said of the TFG. “In addition, it has been claiming sovereignty over Somaliland, which is unbelievable.”

Unlike the rest of Somalia, Somaliland has enjoyed relative quiet and stable existence, while Mogadishu, the Somali capital, has not had a stable government in 17 years.

Noor attributed this to the nature of the colonial rule that prevailed in the area before each region was liberated from colonial power. During the British rule of the area that became Somaliland, they called it a protectorate and not a colony, he said.

“They stayed away from the day-to-day operations, so there was a functioning local community administration from the beginning. When we got independence we got what came with it, and continued from that point.”

However, the Italian colonial administration in Somalia crushed the local chieftains, he said.

“There was no local grassroots administration and that has something to do with what has been happening in Somalia to a certain extent. There are two big clans which have been fighting against each other in Somalia for the allocation of power and they have not come to a solution today.”

Mogadishu and other parts of southern Somalia are witnessing violence on practically a daily basis since Islamists, who briefly took power and were defeated in January 2007, have regrouped and are fighting the local army and their allies.

According to human-rights organizations, more than 6,000 Somalis were killed in violence last year.

Despite the relative calm in Somaliland, and its possession of national symbols such as a legislature, a president, a flag, a currency and a national anthem, Noor lamented that the international community had so far failed to recognize this area as a sovereign state.

“Somaliland, unfortunately, is in Africa and not in Europe,” he said.

The Europeans did not want to leave an issue like Kosovo festering, but in Africa, he said, “it’s a whole different ball game.”

“Our situation was relegated to the African Union and the AU has thus far failed in the real sense to deal with the issues.”

Also, he said, neither the U.S. nor any particular power in Europe was interested in treating this as an issue that must be solved.