I have been reading some reports on changes in the Horn of Africa by one commentator and I found myself confronted by what US President Trump has now famously branded as “fake news.”
Rather than taking the time to consult deeply with those whose expertise would allow for these changes to be understood in depth, some commentators, instead have dwelt on rumors, speculations and the proffering of biased political agendas. It has been insinuated that the Horn of Africa’s regional economic integration pact bringing together Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia will leave Somaliland as the biggest losers.
One report titled “Winners and Losers in Horn of Africa’s regional economic pact” created a totally misplaced opinion on Somaliland.
Misplaced argument being fronted is that, the warming of relations and a trilateral pact between the leaders of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia harkens the isolation of Somaliland from the geopolitics and economic relations of the region
As a Somaliland citizen working for a respected civil society umbrella organization that deals with regional foreign policy in depth, I feel compelled to respond directly to the Somaliland aspect of the report
This judgment, which to my eyes seems like it was produced behind the comfort of a desk, by a writer with little practical experience or exposure to Somaliland or its relations with its neighbors, presents a misreckoning and misunderstanding of the dynamics at work. This would not be a problem except for the fact that the conclusions only serve to feed the chauvinism of Somaliland’s most unsophisticated and cynical detractors, while painting a false and shortsighted view of the Horn’s regional geopolitical history, in ways that miss the productive potential
Somaliland’s Importance to the Region
Some commentators have overlooked the strategic importance of Somaliland’s territorial positioning, situated as it is at the cusp of the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, with a coastline that straddles the Red Sea and the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, crossing between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean close to the Gulf Aden. This territory is under the full control of the Government of Somaliland, with the government in Mogadishu having no ability or jurisdiction to decide what happens there, and this concrete material reality cannot be easily wished away or ignored when it comes to regional politics.