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Published On: Wed, Feb 22nd, 2012

The World Must Recognize Somaliland On Its Historical Borders, By. Ibrahim Hassan Gagale

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The Arab World with the leadership of Saudi Arabia must show the courage of recognizing Somaliland Republic on the basis of its own historical, colonial borders as the diplomatic and international recognition of every Arab country is based on its own historical, colonial borders so the West

will follow to recognize Somaliland too.

The United Nations, African Union, African States, or the Arab World did not draw or make the current borders of African States and Arab World. All the borders of Arab World and African  independent states had been drawn by the colonial powers of Europe. The independence, statehood, and diplomatic recognition of each Arab and African State as well as each Asian or South American country today are based on its own colonial demarcations or borders.

Similarly, the statehood, independence, and the expected diplomatic recognition of Somaliland Republic are based on its own colonial borders drawn during British Somaliland Protectorate era.

The borders of Somalia, Somaliland, and Djibouti have the same international status and legitimacy because they were all drawn by European Colonial powers. Anyone who opposes the legitimacy of Somaliland borders, its statehood, its independence, and its diplomatic recognition is challenging the borders and sovereignty of all AfricanS, Arab World, Asian, and South American independent states  whose borders rose from their colonial borders or demarcations.

Some people confuse Somaliland Republic with Puntland Region of Somalia for either not knowing the history of Somalis or for irrational political reasons. Puntland is an integral, inseparable part of Somalia because it is located within Somalia’s historical borders with which Somalia achieved independence on July 1st, 1960 from Italy while Somaliland Republic emerged from British Somaliland Protectorate and achieved separately its independence from Britain on June 26, 1960. Somaliland Republic has undeniable rights to claim independence, statehood, and recognition based on its own unique borders while Puntland can not have such rights because it is part of Somalia and shares borders and nationhood with it.

Somaliland and Somalia are not the first two countries in this world whose union ceased to exist. The Soviet Union that had 15 Socialist Republics created by the Bolshevik Revolution led by Lenin in 1917 broke up after social upheavals and political discontent ended its existence peacefully in 1989 with new countries emerging from it such as Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia etc. They are all recognized by the UN and international community on the basis of their original borders existing before the union. The federation of former Republic of Yugoslavia that had 8 countries broke up too after bloody civil wars between 1991-1995 and new countries such as Serbia, Croatia , Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia, Kosovo etc emerged from its ashes. All are recognized diplomatically too for their original borders existing before the
federation.

Some people  believe that Somaliland can not withdraw from the union with Somalia claiming that Somalis share language, religion, color, and culture. If this claim were true for achieving union, the Arab World which has nearly 17 independent countries such as Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Sudan and that also share language, religion, culture, and color would not have separate independent sates. They do not have any federal or union for disagreeing to share one. Only justice and fair power-sharing are the most important factors for a union to survive and that is what Somalia failed to understand in the years of the union.

Independent Republic of Somaliland was the first to pioneer the unification between Somaliland and Somalia on July 1, 1960 in quest for Greater Somalia in the Horn of Africa. The union was doomed after Somalia hijacked the governments for the thirty years of its existence (1960-1990) and then committed atrocities against Somaliland people when they rebelled against injustices and humiliation perpetrated against them.

The idea of “Greater Somalia” emerged in the middle of the Second World War [1939-1945] and the main objective was to liberate the five Somali Territories and bring them together under the same banner and government in the Horn of Africa. That idea of “Greater Somalia” (Somaliweyn) is as elusive as “Greater Arab” today and no one knows when it will come true.

The Somaliland Congress held in Burao on May 18, 1991 unanimously proclaimed the withdrawal of Somaliland from the union with Somalia and reclaimed its independence of June 26, 1960 naming itself Somaliland Republic. The referendum held in Somaliland on May 31st, 2001 reaffirmed Somaliland independence from Somalia with 97% in favor of Somaliland sovereignty. Somaliland, as any African state, has the right to be diplomatically recognized by the United Nations and international community for its own unique borders that rose from British Somaliland Protectorate borders.

Somaliland Republic will only discuss future relations with a government of Somalia ( Former Italian Territory ) which is democratically elected and which represents and controls the entire people and territory of Somalia. Somaliland will not meet with a government or parliament that includes individuals claiming to represent Somaliland. Any meeting or discussions with Somalia that does not fulfill these two conditions would violate the basics of Somaliland`s sovereignty.

The Arab World and the African Union must lead the diplomatic recognition of Somaliland for sharing same historical borders that all rose from colonial borders. It would be unfair to deny Somaliland of diplomatic recognition based on its own historical, colonial borders while the nationhood and statehood of their countries are based too on their own historical, colonial borders.

Ibrahim Hassan Gagale
Email: Ibrahim_hg@yahoo.com

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