US State Department Shouldn’t Shy Away From Supporting Somaliland
Misaligned Statements Could Inadvertently Weaken Somaliland-Taiwan Relations
The United States has long been a major player in the Horn of Africa, and its engagement with the region has had significant impacts on the lives of millions. Recently, the U.S. State Department issued a statement regarding the conflict in Las Anod, which has raised concerns among the people of Somaliland. Many feel that this statement not only undermines our democratic efforts but also unfairly criticizes our commitment to fighting extremism and maintaining stability in the region.
Somaliland, a democratic, pro-Western nation that has chosen to establish ties with Taiwan, has proven its loyalty to the United States time and again. Its decision to resist external pressure to avoid relations with Taiwan and offering Taiwan a share in a major oil exploration project in Somaliland demonstrates the nation's commitment to its alliances. As the situation in neighbouring Somalia continues to deteriorate, it is essential that the United States re-examine its support for the troubled nation and focus on strengthening ties with a stable, democratic, and reliable partner in the Horn of Africa - Somaliland.
The recent death of Mohamed Aden Suleiman, a U.S.-trained battalion commander from Somalia's elite Danab Brigade, fighting against the democratic, Western-oriented Somaliland, raises serious questions about the effectiveness and objectives of U.S. aid and military assistance to Somalia. This incident exemplifies how Somalia is misusing American aid by deploying a U.S.-trained commando to fight against U.S. interests in Somaliland and the Horn of Africa.
In contrast, Somaliland has achieved impressive democratic milestones with far less external support, overcoming the challenges of lacking international recognition and assistance. The nation has successfully maintained a functioning democracy, developed its economy, and upheld the rule of law. Its commitment to fighting extremism and maintaining stability in the region has been unwavering, despite the complexities of the situation in Las Anod and the challenges posed by external forces.
The volatile situation in Las Anod has also allowed extremists to infiltrate the area, posing a significant threat to the stability and security of Somaliland and the wider Horn of Africa region. This dangerous turn of events directly challenges U.S. and Taiwanese interests in Somaliland, underlining the need for the U.S. to reconsider its support for Somalia and reevaluate its engagement in the region.
In light of these facts, the State Department's statement calling on Somaliland to pull back its security forces and criticizing its democratic processes seems misaligned with the reality on the ground. The U.S. should recognize Somaliland's efforts in maintaining democracy, security, and stability in the region and work to strengthen its ties with this steadfast ally.
Should the United States persist in issuing statements that do not fully acknowledge Somaliland's dedication to its democratic values and pro-Western stance, it may inadvertently impact the strategic partnership between Somaliland and Taiwan. In a functioning democracy like Somaliland, public pressure could lead to the rise of politicians pledging to sever ties with Taiwan, as people may feel betrayed by the lack of appreciation and value shown by the United States. This sentiment could manifest at the polls, causing a shift in the political landscape that could end the relationship between Somaliland and Taiwan.
A notable example of this occurred in Honduras, where President Xiomara Castro, who campaigned on an anti-Taiwan platform, gained the support of Hondurans who felt that it was time to cut ties with Taiwan. Honduras severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan just last week, highlighting the potential for public sentiment to affect international relations.
It is essential for the U.S. State Department and US diplomats in the region to be aware of the implications of their statements and actions on this important relationship and to take suitable measures to ensure that a valued ally in the region remains confident in their partnership.
Somaliland has consistently demonstrated its loyalty and reliability as an ally to the United States, despite the challenges of lacking international recognition. The nation seeks strong relations with the U.S., and it is crucial for the U.S. State Department and US diplomats in the region to be mindful of their actions and statements, as they can inadvertently undermine the valuable Somaliland-US partnership.
Somaliland, a peaceful African nation, is committed to defending its democracy, mirroring the struggles faced by countries like Ukraine in Europe. Somalilanders do not wish to be treated differently by the US, particularly after publicly displaying loyalty to such great lengths.
By embracing a bold approach and refraining from publicly denouncing Somaliland, the United States can work to prevent the unintentional weakening of diplomatic gains and foster a stronger bond with a vital partner in the Horn of Africa.