For many years until the terrorist attacks on Somaliland two weeks ago, Somaliland's security services worked under the assumption that the most likely scenario for terrorist attacks would come in the form of attacks on: government officials, government offices;
vital installations such as radio, television, fuel and water supply; and foreign expatriates. It was also assumed that the method of attack would be the same as the ones employed in past operations by terrorists in Somaliland , namely, armed assault, assassination and kidnappings. The Oct.29 terrorist attacks in Hargeysa, has shown that Somaliland 's security forces were working under the wrong assumption. They clearly did not anticipate suicide bombings, let alone multiple, coordinated suicide bombings in the heart of the capital, Hargeysa. And that is a big failure on the part of Somaliland 's security apparatus. Transferring or demoting one or two security officers, which is the government's reaction so far, is not enough to correct such momentous failure.
Claiming that terrorism happens all over the world is not an excuse either. Yes, terrorism is a worldwide problem, but that does not absolve Somaliland 's officials from their duty of protecting the country. By saying this, we are not by any means, belittling the huge challenges and unique problems facing Somaliland . First Somaliland is an impoverished unrecognized country that does not have the financial and economic resources it will need to defeat terrorists on its own. Therefore, it needs the support of the international community. But the international community has refused for two decades now to give Somaliland diplomatic recognition that would make it eligible to receive the sort of economic and security assistance that would enable it to effectively fight terrorism.
But not all of Somaliland 's security problems have something to do with lack of resources. Some of it is cultural, in that the terrorists hide behind the most sacred beliefs of the people, i.e. the Islamic religion, and are often able to deceive some people to think that only they are true Muslims and that everyone who is opposed to their sick agenda is an apostate, a mercenary, a stooge of the west. Exposing the destructive views, aims and methods of terrorists and educating the people on how terrorism is anathema to Islam is something Somaliland can, and should do on its own, and would contribute toward preventing Somaliland from falling prey to terrorism. But it is not only ordinary citizens who must change their attitude. Security officials, too, must change their attitude, so that they would not lull themselves into thinking that terrorists would use tomorrow the same methods and tactics they had used today. Sociologists call such fundamental change in outlook a paradigm shift. Somaliland needs a paradigm shift in its security outlook in order to defeat terrorism.