Taming The Somali Warlords: Somaliland Forum Media Release

Somaliland Forum Media Release July 17, 2004/5 (Ref: S/F/EC 7/2004/5)


Indicting the warlords, recognizing Somaliland and returning Somalia to its pre-independence status – UN Trusteeship- would sober the Somali warlords and would lead to lasting peace. States that fail should pay a price like failed enterprises. Enron and Somali Republic have both failed but while Enron is willing to restructure itself as a leaner entity, the Somali warlords insist to remain in power and keep the territory in tact and that bodes ill for an expedient solution. The consequences of a failed State such as Somali Republic are more tragic than that of a failed enterprise in terms of human suffering and global stability. Yet, reorganizing failed States is a taboo while that of a failed enterprise like Enron is adjudicated for the benefit of the shareholders. And it shouldn’t be that way. Reorganizing a failed enterprise requires drastic actions such as selling off assets, sacking management, and deploying a strategy that includes but not limited to changing the name, the logo and the company spirit. To punish irresponsible political leaders, failed States should be drastically restructured as failed enterprises. Somalia MINUS Somaliland should be the minimum outcome from Embagethi.

The Republic once known as Somalia has collapsed on January 1991, when the military dictator that governed the country with an iron hand for over twenty years was suddenly deposed by popular uprising without clear plan or consensus of who and how to replace him. The power vacuum prompted by the sudden exit of the dictator has encouraged many to claim leadership over the years. However, after fourteen internationally espoused reconciliation conferences in thirteen years, Somalia still remains without a central government. Additionally, it has become dangerously a heaven for warlords, a sanctuary for terrorist and Islamic fundamentalist, a route for drug trafficking, and a pit for humanitarian disaster. While there is no quick fix, the bureaucracy of the international community to appease the warlords and respect the sovereignty of a country that is no longer functioning as a State is further complicating and diminishing any hope of peaceful settlement.

The intensity and the tempo of the tragedy that hit Somalia is as deadly as that of a tornado and restoring it to its pre-tornado landscape is defying nature and would be as hard as putting back genie into the bottle. The priority should be to minimize the agony and the human suffering and to patch the pieces as they fit without being obsessed with sovereignty, a concept no longer applicable to the reality on the ground and the new World Order. Sovereignty is conditional to enforcing laws and the chaos in Somalia negates any claim of sovereignty. Reorganizing Somali Republic into two states has historical significance and hence is not far fetched. Briefly, the Somali Republic was a product of two independent countries, which came into existence on July 1st, 1960 as a result of the merger between the Somali Italian-trustee, commonly known as Somalia and the former British Somaliland, now Somaliland. This unification was the first step of a broader vision to unite all ethnic Somalis scattered throughout the Horn of Africa under one banner, which eventually lead to the “Shifta” skirmishes on the Kenyan Northern District and the tragic border conflict between Somali Republic and Ethiopia.

Such effort to restructure the former Somali Republic into its pre-unification parts, Somalia and Somaliland has been initiated by Somaliland and requires only the international blessing and endorsement. The departure of Somaliland was precipitated by the atrocities committed against its people and the collapse of the government but was based on pent-up grievances related to economic and political disparity and systematic marginalization. That vacuum presented the people of Somaliland an opportunity to convene a conference on May 18, 1991 to withdraw and restore the relinquished sovereignty. Today, Somaliland has a functioning effective government: elected President, two houses of parliament, independent judiciary, thriving free press, constitution, elected local government councils, currency, flag, passport and more. Practically, the government of Somaliland provides all the necessary services most governments provide and that fulfills the accepted requirements of a sovereign State. Moreover, Somaliland’s territory is confined to the territory she inherited at independence from the British on June 26, 1960 and that is in conformity with the African Union (AU) charter, which stipulates the preservation of colonial borders. Furthermore, historically going separate ways after disenchantment with unification has many precedents including but not limited to Egypt and Syria.

Despite its stability, the historical claim and the functioning government, Somaliland is being held hostage by the warlords who engineered, executed and participated the atrocities occurred in Somaliland, which Africa Watch and the U.N. experts who excavated some of the mass graveyards described as crimes against humanity. On the other hand, Somalia is anarchy and Somali Republic is no longer legally a state; the one-time militarily strongest country in Sub-Saharan Africa has no government at all and that is enough reason to return Somalia to the UN trusteeship.

Restructuring the failed former Somali Republic like a failed enterprise is a necessary step in the process of reconciliation. But unfortunately, rather than reconfiguring the map of the former Somali Republic, the international community is lending credence to the warlords’ wish of preserving the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the former Somali Republic at the cost of palatable solution. Restructuring is painful whatever form it takes but in order to safe the Somali people from on-going civil war and anarchy, the United Nations Security Council should take drastic actions including but not limited to recognizing Somaliland, indicting the warlords and assigning Somalia as UN trusteeship. These measures would tame the warlords and no one should sympathize with them.



The Somaliland Forum is an independent, non-profit organization, which defends and promotes the restoration of Somaliland sovereignty, and advocates for the political recognition of Somaliland.

For Further Information, please contact:

Ali Gulaid (408) 225-9572 USA

Lulu Farah 44-208-930-1485 UK

Dega Farah (416) 534-7629 Canada