Haatuf Media Network
Editor; Yusuf Abdi Gabobe - Asst. Editor: A. Dubad & Abdifatah M.Aidid - Sub. Editors: Hasan Hosh - Layout and Design: Ahmed Jama
Issue 36, Sep. 28, 2002
In this issue:
Qaraamiyi's Distorted Interpretation Of President Riyaale's Foreign Policy, by Yuusuf Abdullahi
Somalia: Sovereign Disguise for a Mogadishu Mafia, by Andre Le Sage
Yusuf Hiding in London
London (SL Times): A group calling itself “Somali Peace Rally” has urged the British government to arrest Puntland’s warlord Col. Abdillahi Yusuf. The group in a statement released on Sept 25, said it has now become an open secret that Puntland’s dictator, Col. Abdillahi Yusuf, is hiding in London. The clandestine stay of Abdillahi Yusuf in London, reportedly for medical check up, was a top secret for only his supporters, the Somali Peace Rally said in the statement.
Children of Abdulrahman Eideed, who was assassinated by Abdillahi Yusuf’s alleged hitmen in 1984 at Dire-Dawa, Ethiopia, are in London.
More recently on August 17, 2002, Abdillahi Yusuf’s bodyguards shot dead Sultan Ahmed Mohamed Hurre in what was later described by the warlord himself as an accident. The late Sultan’s children also live in London.
Relatives of Eideed and Hurre have both condemned Abdillahi Yusuf’s visit to London.
The SPR has also described the warlord as a man who had committed human rights abuses against his own people that stretch back to 25 years when he led an ill-fated armed insurgency against Siyad Barre’s government.
Hargeisa (SL Times): Mohamed Barud Ali, a human rights activist, was released on bail from prison last Thursday, following his second arrest by the security authorities within seven consecutive days.
Mr. Barud and a friend, identified as Ahmed Farah “Joorje”, were first arrested by Police on Wednesday, September, 18 2002. The two men were in a car when they were suddenly stopped by a Police checkpoint at Jig-Jiga Yar, a residential area west of Hargeisa city.
They spent the night in Police custody and then taken to court the next morning (Thursday, Sept- 19). At Hargeisa District Court, the two detainees were taken to separate rooms where they were later informed by the Police that the Judge assigned to their case failed to report. Barud and his friend, who have recently returned from Norway, were then taken to Hargeisa central prison only to be released the next Friday morning without being made aware about the charges under which they had been arrested in the first place.
However on Monday Sept 23, Barud’s friend, Ahmed F. “Joorje” was picked up by the Police and taken to prison. A squad of central prison guards also arrested Mohamed Barud on Wednesday (Sept, 25).
On Thursday the two were however again set free against bail.
Mohamed Barud is the Chairman of Samo-Talis, an umbrella organization for human rights groups in Somaliland.
Barud, a former Somaliland Minister of Rehabilitation and Resettlement, is also a founding member of UFFO, a group of Somaliland intellectuals whose non-violent resistance to dictatorship in 1981 resulted in their sentencing to life imprisonment. Barud and his colleagues were freed in 1989, after each of them spent about 8 years in solitary confinement.
Somaliland Football Teams Delight Fans
Hargeisa (SL Times): Thousands of soccer fans watched as Erigavo and Buroa drew 2-2 in a match that took place yesterday afternoon at Hargeisa Football Stadium. The game was held as part of the first round of Somaliland Football League matches.
Earlier this week Hargeisa beat Buroa 3-2 and Awdal won 1-0 against Las-Anod.
Berbera will face Las-Anod Today.
Djibouti Says US Has Not Asked To Launch Attack On Iraq
Nairobi, September(IRIN): Djibouti, says the US has never asked for permission to use its territory to launch attacks against Iraq.
According to government spokesman Rifki Abdouldaker Bamakhrama, Djibouti was "opposed to any action of the kind", the Djibouti news agency (ADI) reported.
"The Unites States has never asked the Djibouti government for permission to use its territory as a staging ground for attacks on Iraq or on any other country in the region," he said.
The presence of US and other western forces in Djibouti fell within the framework of the international coalition against terrorism, he added.
He described as "unfounded" reports by certain American newspapers that US forces stationed in Djibouti were preparing for an eventual attack on Iraq.
Recent press reports said hundreds of US troops have been conducting military exercises in Djibouti, which has put its ports and airport at their disposal.
Somali Women In America
In A Place Apart
By Kathryn Skelton
Raised to be modest, demure, they’ve been taught to reserve beauty for husbands, to cover up against the outside world.
Ankle-to-wrist ensembles are just the start.
For many, high heels or footwear that might clack against the pavement is out. So is all but a trace of makeup. Perfume, whose sweet scent might turn heads, is also out.
Modesty doesn’t stop there.
Western-style dating is out too. No holding hands at the movies, no stealing kisses in the halls between class. Most boy-girl dancing is out. It’s too tempting, and could lead to the biggest taboo of all: premarital sex.
“It’s an honor to your family that you don’t do anything stupid before you get married,” says Fatuma Adan, 27, a new Lewiston resident. “You have to abstain from sex, no matter what.”
So the women dress and behave to discourage attention and advances, a somewhat foreign concept on American shores.
Lindkvist, an anthropologist spending time with area Somali for research, says Somali traditions can seem jarring to outsiders.
“While we may see it as stricter regulation, for them it’s very important to create a proper, moral girl, someone who will become a good mom,” she says. “Mothers are revered.”
It’s all about culture, religion and gender roles defined by birth. And today, the Somali community in America is trying to hang onto all of those.
Children’s sex roles are defined at a very young age, says Lindkvist. She’s teaching a class next spring at Bates College on Somali refugees and immigrants.
As soon as they’re able, little girls are taught to help their mothers around the home, to cook and watch other children.
“Boys are pretty much allowed to be little boys – run and play and have fun,” she says.
“The girls – the mother has to know where the daughter is” all the time, Warsame says.
Daughters are kept on a tighter rein than sons. Their time is often spent at school, home or with relatives. Organized sports are OK, Warsame says, because parents know exactly where their girls are and who they’re with.
While boys may visit a local basketball court for informal pickup games or just hang out, “you won’t see girls doing that,” she says.
That gets back to keeping the girls modest, respectful and on the right track for adulthood.
“You’re a girl but you will become a wife, you will become a mom. It’s steps to take care of a home,” says Sabrina Jama, who has one young son. She moved to Lewiston from Georgia five months ago.
A girl tempted to misstep in public knows the eyes of the community on her. If a Somali boy sees her acting improperly, he’ll report back to his parents, who would in turn call her family. “There’s a lot of policing of behavior going on,” Lindkvist says.
After puberty, there’s a small circle of men that can lay eyes on a Somali women when she’s not in full dress. It includes her father, uncles, brothers, nephews, grandfather and, eventually, a husband and father-in-law.
Indoors, around these men, and most women, a Somali woman is free to wear makeup, lipstick and any clothing, no matter how revealing. “For us, at home you dress good,” Adan says.
A story relating to dating and camels
Somalis started moving to Columbus in 1996 – second-wave immigrants like those in Lewiston – and now number 20,000. Though that city has had years longer than Lewiston to adjust to its newest members, there’s still confusion about Muslim courtship and marriage, Warsame says.
Not too long ago, they had what she calls an “incident” when a group of American boys approached a group of Somali girls and tried to flirt. The girls turned them down cold. The boys weren’t happy.
“Americans think, ‘Why? Who do they think they are?’” Warsame says. “Americans don’t know the culture and the religion.”
Decades ago in Somalia, marriages were arranged. They aren’t anymore.
“There is dating, but it’s totally different from your dating,” says Adan.
When a boy is interested in a girl, his family or a community leader will contact her parents. There are introductions, overtures. “He has to come through somebody, he just doesn’t show up,” she says.
Girls can always refuse a mate, Adan says, but are respectful of parents’ opinions. “Our parents would also look for the best for us,” she adds.
The boy will visit the girl at home, eat with her family, watch television. There’s no privacy given to the pair and no touching allowed.
This type of dating can last weeks, months or years.
Lindkvist says she knows of two marriages that have taken place in Lewiston’s Somali community, facilitated through families and kept very quiet.
In Somalia, a suitor’s family provides an engagement gift, called a gabbati, to the girl’s family, according to Lindkvist. Today that gift is usually money and it’s nonreturnable.
There’s also a bride price, or yarad, paid by the groom’s family – a female camel traditionally was considered best, for its breeding potential. Today, she says, that price could be paid in money, gold jewelry or something else.
Traditional images of marriage and birth
Somali culture and religion place incredible social value on virginity. Having sex before marriage indicates “poor moral character” on a woman’s behalf, Lindkvist says. A future groom would likely question how good a mother this woman could be if she’s already making such poor choices.
If a baby were to come out of a pre-wedding tryst, it’s even worse.
“That whole family is destroyed,” Warsame adds.
A double standard exists. The shame isn’t quite so great for the boy’s family.
A woman who sneaks behind her parents’ back runs a high risk of being caught. One reason is the likelihood of becoming pregnant.
Somali men and women don’t traditionally use Western forms of birth control. Women nurse each baby for two years, using that as a natural – though not 100 percent reliable – form of birth control, Adan says.
Couples practice Mosaic Law – passed down by Moses – that forbids sex until seven days after a woman’s menstruation, according to Kit Gardner, an obstetrician/gynecologist at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. In a 28-day cycle, that 14th day is prime for conception.
Another reason relates to the Somali custom of circumcision.
For women who were circumcised as young girls (see related story,) their small vaginal opening stretches after sex, Adan says, evidence of the deed.
Families are frank during courtship, she adds, disclosing if either the man or woman has been married before and how many children they have.
She is aware of marriages that have taken place outside the community in other cities – Somali men marrying American women and Somali women marrying American men that were Muslim. In Islam, men can marry outside the faith as long as the woman converts.
‘Women should not be like men’
As husband and wife, a Somali family in some ways resembles a stereotypical 1940s American family. Men strive to be breadwinners. Women to stay home and raise children, getting jobs only if one income isn’t enough to raise the family.
Wedding bands can be worn, but aren’t always.
In public, men speak for the family, Lindkvist says. “But if he speaks incorrectly for the family, he’s going to hear it later.”
In some ways, Somali women appear to be treated as inferior. “It says in the Koran women should not be like men,” Lindkvist says.
It’s a dynamic many Americans aren’t used to. “I think we’re uncomfortable with any way different than how we interact,” she says.
In Somalia, a husband could terminate a marriage, but if a wife wanted a divorce she worked through the men in her family to get one, Lindkvist says.
Obviously, that’s changed here, with the U.S. legal system.
She’s aware of two local women looking to file divorce. Their husbands have abandoned them, left the state. They’ve been left to raise families, learn English, secure jobs and navigate a new court system.
When Lindkvist worked in Seattle, home of another large Somali population, she spoke with a Somali man convinced the divorce rate was higher in the U.S. than back home because more women here work outside the home – an argument made on these shores decades ago.
She hasn’t seen any numbers to back that up.
Up against a ‘very powerful’ culture
It’s not the divorce rate Somali parents worry about. It’s keeping sons and daughters true to Islam and Somali culture.
“American culture is very powerful,” says Garaad Dees. He moved to Lewiston from Louisiana seven months ago.
He marvels that with other immigrant populations, like Indians and Pakistanis, “If you put them on the moon they would not abandon their culture.” Dees is not so optimistic about Somali youth. About 50 percent will stick to the old, traditional ways and half will stray, he says. They’ll adopt American ways and styles. He associates American style with wearing low-riding, baggy pants.
Life is changing for some Somali boys. Warsame has raised her three sons to cook and clean, even serve her, “which my mom, she never taught my brothers.”
Some Somali girls are also starting to question the old ways. Before moving here, most girls didn’t know any other way. Now they watch American girls hanging out, having fun without so much supervision, and wonder why they can’t have that too, Lindkvist says.
In Seattle, she heard of cases where girls ran away because they were so unhappy at home.
Locally, there have already been stories of Somali teens dating Americans, a potential hint at things to come.
Lindkvist is interested to see if living in America will slowly start to change the way Somali women dress. Maybe they’ll start to wear smaller coverings or abandon henna dye to stain their fingernails and opt for Western nail polish.
Even if outside appearances change, Adan believes core principles will not. “If she dresses Western, she’s still going to pray, she’s still going to fast during the holy month of Ramadan, she’s still going to abstain from alcohol,” she says.
Culture may wear off in the other direction too.
Jama was shopping at Ames department store recently with Somali friends when a 30-something American woman approached.
“Where do you guys get those nice skirts?” she asked.
The women had to disappoint her; their flowing outfits came from back home. But Jama enjoyed the woman’s reply: “I think I need to cover myself like that.”
JEDDAH, 26 September (Arab News) — Interim Somali Prime Minister Hassan Abshir Farah has praised Saudi Arabia’s willingness to support the reconciliation process, a Mogadishu radio station reported Tuesday. After a visit to Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the Gulf, the prime minister said Riyadh had made a commitment to see Somalia out of its troubles. While here, he had very fruitful discussions with Prince Abdullah, the regent, and other senior Saudi officials. Abshir said that the Yemeni government has nominated two officials “who will support us in reconstruction and rehabilitation programs”. They will attend the forthcoming Somali peace talks in Kenya as observers. In addition, the Yemeni government has also promised 40 scholarships to Somali expatriate children.
Somalis Urged To Participate "Constructively" In Reconciliation Talks
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 25, 2002 (Xinhua via COMTEX) –
The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday urged the parties in Somalia to participate "constructively" in an upcoming national reconciliation conference in Kenya.
Council President Stefan Tafrov said in a press statement that the members reaffirmed their "united and firm" support for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) sponsored reconciliation process on Somalia.
"Council members strongly urged the parties, including representatives from different regions, in accordance with the framework established by IGAD, to participate constructively at the conference scheduled to begin on 15 October in Eldoret, Kenya, " the statement said.
The council emphasized the need for humanitarian aid personnel to be allowed safe access so that assistance can be provided to the people in need.
Security Outlook In Sool Plateau
The patchy and short Gu rains this year, lasting from March to May, had attracted a large migration of livestock, FEWS reported. The resulting competition for scarce resources, such as water, had also resulted in an abnormal migration of animals within the plateau, as well as to the Somali region of eastern Ethiopia.
Calving rates, milk reproduction and livestock value had been affected during the third consecutive year of below normal rainfall in the region.
In the short-term, there would be a reduction of milk at the household level, leading to inadequate diets and malnutrition especially among mothers and children. In the long-term, herd sizes would be reduced, which would put more strain on the environment as a whole, as pastoralists who had lost major livestock assets turned to other methods of survival such as charcoal burning.
"One of the consequences will be the intensification of environmental degradation and high poverty levels," FEWS warned.
Disguise For A Mogadishu Mafia
By Andre Le Sage
On 22 August 2000, the Somali National Peace Conference drew to a close in Arta, Djibouti, with the election of the President of a Transitional National Government (TNG). Sceptics had bemoaned the so-called Arta Process as another round of meaningless reconciliation initiatives. Thirteen different peace conferences for Somalia had reached conclusions over the past decade, but none bore fruit. Such dismissal were significantly wide of the mark, as less than two months later President Abdiqasim Salad Hasan and the majority of his 245-member parliament left Djibouti for Mogadishu.
Following nearly a decade of 'state collapse', the TNG became the first Somali political initiative to achieve a significant degree of international recognition. The TNG took Somalia's long-empty seats at the United Nations, Organizations of African Unity, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, and League of Arab States. However, after eighteen months in office, 'warlords' such as Hussein Aideed, Osman Atto and Musa Sudi Yalahow carved out control of different sectors of the capital years ago. These contain Villa Somalia (the Somali state house), key road junctions in the centre of town, as well as access to Mogadishu's main seaport and international airport.
Outside Mogadishu, matters are equally complex. Although the TNG has influence over the weak local administrations in Merka and Kismayo, it controls no territory outside the capital. Baidoa town in Bay Region has become the alternative capital of southern Somalia. This is where Aideed, General Siad Hersi Morgan and the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA), and other faction leaders have established an opposition group called the Somalia Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC). With irregular Ethiopian military support and training, the SRRC has been able to resist international calls for reconciliation.
In the north, two former militia-factions - the Somali National Movement (SNM) and the Southern Somalia Democratic Front (SSDF) - have established the autonomous regional administrations of 'Somaliland' and 'Puntland', respectively. Both have achieved a significant degree of peace, security an public support in the territory under their administrative control. International organisations and donor governments operate with both as de facto governments to negotiate access for humanitarian and development projects, but have never recognised Somaliland's self-declared independence.
The failure of the TNG to establish territorial control and enter into meaningful dialogue with either the southern militia factions or northern administrations has eroded international confidence in the future of the Arta Process. Material support from mulitlateral institutions such as the United Nations and European Union has yet to begin in earnest, while the World Bank and International Monetary Fund remain reluctant observers. Bilateral recognition, through the establishment of ambassadors in Mogadishu, has been forthcoming only from Djibouti, Libya and Eritrea. Interest in supporting the TNG has been set back even further following the terror attacks in the United States on 11 September, due to concern over the links between the TNG, the radical Islamist movement Al Itihad al Islami, and international terrorism (see Le Sage, 2001).
Within diplomatic and donor communities, represented at the IGAD Partners Forum and Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB) respectively, these developments have led to a 'chicken-and-egg' debate about how to support peace-building in Somalia. Should the international community wait for the TNG to succeed in its mission before disbursing assistance, or is such assistance required for the TNG to succeed in the first place? Unfortunately, this debate has proceeded without a detailed ananlysis of how the TNG functions in practice. International peace-building efforts must take into account the realities of non-state power that now prevail in Somalia. Ten years after the collapse of the Siad Barre regime, Somali political leaders and businessment have institutionalised a new dynamic of social support, political control and wealth accumulation that underpin local governance initiatives.
A Dysfunctional Bureaucracy ...
The TNG was ostensibly created through a free and fair election process in Arta, Djibouti. Participation at the conference was drawn from all regions of the country on the basis of representation of Somalia's clan-families (Darod, Dir, Hawiye and Rahanweyn). Women's groups, human rights campaigners and minority communities also joined in the deliberations. However, leaders of the southern militia-factions and northern regional administrations were not invited to Arta in their official capacity. Somaliland naturally demanded recognition of its independence, while Puntland sought acceptance of its existence as a regional 'building block' of a future federal state. Southern militia leaders feared marginalisation at Arta if their official roles as faction representatives were not taken into account. As a result, most notable Somali political actors remained outside the process and voiced their opposition to an initiative that they said would lead to further violence and insecurity.
The TNG has capitalised on the symbolic import of the cross-clan, non-factional process at Arta to mobilise support on both the domestic and international stages. Domestically, the TNG espouses the causes of Somali unity and peace, asserting that it will re-establish public security following the decade of state collapse. This raised public hopes and engineered a cautious wave of Somali nationalism across the country. However, given the continued uncertainty of the TNG's success, even supportive clan groupings (such as the Hawiye and Marehan) continue to hedge their bets by simultaneously participating in the TNG and maintaining support for their clan interests in the SRRC.
Internationally, the TNG initially benefited from renewed hope that Somalia would resume participation in the system of nation-states. In this regard, as mentioned above, the TNG received important support in the form of multilateral recognition from global and regional institutions of the international community. However, this public acclaim has not been met with bilateral recognition by western governments or significant amounts of international aid support. Further, Ethiopia - the regional superpower in the Horn of Africa - continues to reject the TNG as a threat to its national security, while providing their Somali allies, including SRRC members as well as Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf in Puntland, with military supplies and training.
In response, President Abdiqasim has positioned his TNG as a defender of Somalia's ties with Islamic countries and adopted a regional strategy aimed at cultivating material support from Arab states. Without transparent reporting from Arab governments, there is no way of determining exactly what support the TNG has received. However, the most substantial donations are well known, including Saudi Arabia's total contribution of US$15 million in two separate instalments in mid-2001, and Libya's donation of $2.5 million in February 2002 (ION, 2001/2002).
Organisationally, the TNG has established the trappings of a national government, including executive, parliamentary and judicial structures, as well as a standing army and police force. Although they are robust in appearance, these institutions remain extremely weak in practice given the government's lack of territorial control and inability to raise revenue through taxes, not to mention the absence of even basic office equipment within the various TNG ministries. As a result, the Transitional National Assembly and Cabinet have virtually no implementation capacity to provide basic social services. Office-holders are little more than public symbols of the potential for cross-clan, national government. MPs and cabinet ministries acknowledge this weakness in regular complaints to the local media by that they receive limited and irregular pay, while being locked out of the TNG's real decision making processes.
Nonetheless, there is a degree of self-interest that continues to motivate membership in the TNG. If the TNG does succeed, office-holders will have the opportunity to bridge the gap between the TNG's centralised institutions and regional clan-based authority. Cultivating interest for the TNG in the Somali interior is expected to gain MPs patronage from the President and Prime Minister. The same is true for Cabinet posts that promise of gatekeeper earnings when making deals with foreign companies for trade, infrastructure development and mining. That said, TNG members have yet to benefit from this potential. Initial efforts by MPs to return to their home areas and cultivate support for the TNG have been met with violence by some militia factions and incarceration by the regional administrations.
Following regular protests that their legislative and oversight roles are usurped by the President and his inner circle of cabinet members, angry MPs held a vote of no confidence in October 2001 and brought down the first TNG government established under the leadership of Prime Minister Ali Khalif Galeyr. Without the ability to deliver tangible benefits to his parliamentary constituency, the new government of Prime Minister Hassan Abshir is likely to face similar defections. Already, Mohamed Qanyare - an important Mogadishu warlord disposed to reconciliation - quit the TNG as Minister of Fisheries in protest for not receiving part of the Libyan funds (ION, 2002)
The TNG's system is also hardly active. It was originally tasked with administering the penal system and sections of the police force. In this regard, the judiciary has provided a very weak role for former leaders of Mogadishu's various Shari'a Courts, which prospered in the mid- to late-1990s by providing protection services to local businessmen over the past four years. However, relations between the judiciary and the rest of the TNG have been tense since the Shari'a Court leaders refused to cede direct command and control. After refusing to integrate their pious and better-trained militia with the TNG's forces, the judiciary lost its role in local law enforcement. As a result, the role of the judiciary is limited to administering a small number of Mogadishu prisons.
One substantial effort of the TNG has been to gain public confidence by removing uncontrolled militia from the streets of Mogadishu. The initial phase of this exercise (still ongoing) has not been demobilisation per se, but rather the conscription of militia into training camps to form a national army and police force. This has made the streets of Mogadishu only slightly safer, although indiscriminate banditry, rapes and carjacking continue even in areas of supposed TNG control. Given that the conscripted militia maintain their clan-based commanders and elders, the TNG forces cannot be expected to act as unequivocal supporters of the TNG when confronting opposition warlords. In fact, when clashes with militia factions do occur, as happened with Hussein Aideed at the Mogadishu seaport in May 2001, the TNG military is not even called to respond. Rather, the fighting is done by the personal militia of businessmen loyal to the TNG (UN-IRIN, 2001).
To be Continued next week…………..
Qaraamiyi's Distorted Interpretation of President Riyaale's Foreign Policy
I have read Mr. Mohamed Hassan Qaraami’s long article, posted on Somalilandnet.com on Sep 11,2002, on President Riyaale’s foreign policy. This article will probably serve to enlighten a significant number of people, albeit in a distorted way, about the current foreign relations of the country.
I would like to shed some light on several points that I found wanting and that Mr. Qaraami did not think out adequately.
The first point is the notion that Somaliland has the right to be recognized by the international community. Ab initio, no state is obliged to recognize another in international law. In other words, no state enjoys the right to be recognized by the other states in the system. Rather, states themselves reserve the right whether to recognize a new state or not. Furthermore, it is always political considerations, rather than legal justifications, that play a larger role in the decision whether to grant recognition to a given state or not.
Another point, which is directly related to the above and which I found interesting, is the assertion that Somaliland is hiring international lawyers to take the UN into court, for ostensibly not recognizing Somaliland. This is absurd and unrealistic. If Somaliland manages to achieve that, I bet, it will set a unique historical precedent in international law and international relations.
Thirdly, the notion that the republic of Djibouti opposes Somaliland and works towards its destruction because of 'economic rivalry', between the two countries vis-à-vis Ethiopian trade relations, is simplistic at best and misleading at worst. Djibouti is the shortest gateway of Ethiopian goods to the sea, which Somaliland is not, and Djibouti has a long railway link with Ethiopia, which Somaliland has not. Thus in economic terms, Ethiopia's preferences should be as clear as crystal.
Besides, if Ethiopia feels to diversify its access points to the sea, to break away from any possible Djiboutian monopoly on its goods, it could do so by striking agreements with Kenya for the use of Mombassa port, with Sudan for the use of Port Sudan, with Eritrea for the use of Assab and Mussawa ports, all the three states having recognized governments, and all competing with a possible Ethiopian use of Berbera port. Does it follow then that the republic of Djibouti will have to work for the destruction of all these countries because they could compete with Djibouti for servicing Ethiopian goods?
Still, if strong and unified state of Somalia emerges, which incidentally the republic of Djibouti campaigns for, will there be any obstacles preventing the said state from granting Ethiopia the use of Berbera port? Not at all. Therefore, we have to find other explanations other than the deterministic single-factor analysis of 'economic rivalry' between the two countries, for dooming the state of relations between the two countries.
Fourthly, I do not agree with the notion that president Riyaale's trip to Djibouti did not serve the interest of the country.
In international relations, states are neither permanent enemies nor permanent friends. Furthermore, the fact that two states are not in good terms does not preclude them from talking to each other. Look at the current situation between the two Koreas, the Palestinians and Israelis, the Indians and the Pakistanis.... All those sets of states regard each other as enemies, but they keep on interacting diplomatically, to reach mutual common grounds.
Now, how about Somaliland, which is not recognized by a single state in the international community? Can it afford to isolate itself from the countries of the sub-region? How can it expect to secure international recognition while it cannot establish workable relations with its neighbors?
Somaliland should not only go to the Republic of Djibouti, but it should also go to the Sudan, to Eritrea, to Uganda and to Kenya. Let us be realistic. Do we have to confine ourselves to the one-directional security-oriented relations with Ethiopia? What tangible benefits accrued to us from our long love relationship with Ethiopia? Not that much, I suspect.
And finally, in one paragraph of his paper, Mr. Qaraami decried President Riyaale holding a secret meeting with President Ismail Omar Ghelle, with no one else attending the meeting. I wonder if there is anything in the constitution of the country that prevents him from doing so? Since when did we start suspecting about his motives, after all this was his first trip abroad as the President of Somaliland? Whom did he feel to have attended the said meeting with him? The two ministers that he presented in another part of his paper as untrustworthy? Or you and I, perhaps?