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Noteworthy Historical Facts Challenging Blair’s Perception Of So-Called ‘Somali Territorial Integrity’
By Yassin M. Ismail, Kent, UK.
The pretext used by Tony Blair as his reasons for slumming the door to Somaliland quest to gain recognition was the fact that the ‘UK has signed to a common EU position and to many UN Security Council Presidential Statements…made references to the territorial Integrity of Somalia.’
The statement did not specify who and what Presidential statements the prime minister is referring to. The following, however are some noteworthy historical facts that suggest the so-called ‘territorial integrity of Somalia’ is irrelevant to Somaliland because Somaliland has its own territorial integrity too. Rather it is fair to suggest that Britain never believed that Somalia has territorial integrity according to Britain’s past involvement in the history of that country.
In 1886 the British along with French and Italy, encroached the Somali territories in the Horn of Africa, sliced it into pieces and shared among themselves.
The European colonial powers argued the Somalis were ‘International people’ which means they were not a nation and therefore have had no right to object to the partition. Obviously they did not believe ‘Territorial Integrity’ or else they didn’t care that they even gave a large portion of Somali territories to Emperor Melenik when he complained that he would not be ‘a spectator overseeing the scramble of Africa. It was Sir James Rodd, a senior diplomat of the Foreign Office who, in 1897 with the personal blessing of Queen Victoria presented the Ogaden portion of Somalia to the emperor as a token of friendship to ally against the Italian following the latter’s defeat at Adwa war in 1896.
The same is true with France who in that same year annexed a piece of Somali Issa and Danakil territories to Abyssinia as a part of 1897 French-Ethiopia.
After the end of World War II further annexation of Somali territories took place without any consultations with the Somali inhabitants in those territories.
In 1954 the grazing lands known as Hawd and Reserve Area, which had been an integral part of British Somaliland Protectorate and remained under British rule was annexed to Ethiopia. John Drysdale was the last British colonial administrator of that region.
The Northern Frontier region [now part of Kenya] suffered the same fate in 1963 despite majority referendum votes objecting to the annexation.
While the Somali territories were being scrambled and sliced into pieces and often at the hands of British Administration, the so-called ‘territorial Integrity’ was not a thing to worry about.
Instead, during the run up to the Independence of Somaliland, the British Government at the time opposed to plans to reunite all Somali territories into one country and as a precondition to granting independence to Somaliland, Britain succumbed the people inside what is today Somaliland into accepting and honoring all the colonial boundaries they created.
In 1962 Harold McMillan then the British Prime Minster pledged to lump together all Somali territories except French Somaliland. But he too renounced his pledge as a result of pressure from JF. Kennedy and Ethiopia Haile Sallase.
So why is Tony Blair and his other European hypocrites whose countries have been responsible for the partition of Somali territories without any due respect to the inhabitants now pretend as if there is such a thing as ‘territorial integrity of Somalia’ which has no direct relevance to Somaliland.
Somaliland was separate and independent entity with internationally recognized boundaries prior to the precipitate union of 1960. Hence the British Prime Minster’s remarks about Somaliland as a subordinate entity inferior to the former Italiana Somalia is insulting to Somaliland people as much as it is in denial of the historical attributes of the country.
Source: Somaliland Times