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|Somaliland Should Stay The Course In The East, Reach Out To Abdillahi Yusuf's opponents|
Initial reports coming from Somaliland's eastern front indicate that Somaliland's eastern policy is working. These days, Col. Abdillahi Yusuf seems like a man under siege. The opposition to him has increased. Many people in Puntland who never accepted his violent rule now want to take advantage of the colonel's conflict with Somaliland to get rid of him. Somaliland should reach out to those people. In the past, both Ethiopia and Somaliland had ignored the opposition to the tyrant of Garowe because in the wake of the creation of al-Ittihad infested TNG, headed by Abdiqasim Salad Hasan, the Somaliland and Ethiopian governments had understandably shown a preference for having Abdillahi Yusuf around instead of seeing him removed and then risk the specter of a takeover by religious extremists. But this policy has tended to backfire on the long-term interests of both Somaliland and Ethiopia, as Abdillahi Yusuf never desisted from exploiting it in his favor. By portraying himself as having the unequivocal support of Ethiopia, Abdillahi Yusuf managed to intimidate many of his opponents which resulted in the tarnishing of Ethiopia’s image among large segments of Puntland's population. Since Ethiopia's long-term interests lie with the majority of the people and not with one individual, Ethiopia should make it clear that it is against Abdillahi Yusuf's repression and is on the side of the people of Puntland.
The warlord has also used Somaliland's seeming acquiescence to his power grab in Puntland as an indication of Somaliland's acceptance of his rule over there. Now he has gone even further and ventured into Las Anod in order to impress the other Somali warlords meeting in Kenya and to project himself as the leader of the Darod clan. The ageing colonel was betting that Somaliland would do nothing because of its fear of being labeled as just another Somali faction. Somaliland has now realized that its previous policy of tolerating Abdillahi Yusuf's rule was a mistake, and that he must be removed from power.
Somaliland has already taken some appropriate steps toward dismantling the warlord's killing machine. Those steps should be supplemented with the following ones:
1- Reach out to the warlord's opposition such as SSDF veterans and civil society groups.
2- Isolate the warlord both regionally and internationally.
3- Solidify Somaliland's domestic front by consulting with elders, political and military leaders, but also making it clear that the government is in the driving seat.
4- Be on the alert for Abdillahi Yusuf's agents.
By putting and end to Abdillahi Yusuf's reign of terror, Somaliland would expand the arc of peace and stability in Somali-inhabited territories which now includes Somaliland, Djibouti, and Ethiopia's region 5. In addition to securing its borders, this policy has the advantage of being the best service Somaliland can do for the long-suffering people of Puntland as well as the region.