The conflict between Somalia and Somaliland has simmered since 1991, with the latter demanding independence from the former. Now this can turn out to be one of the biggest tragedies of the 21st century, thanks to Western meddling.
US/EU/NATO meet Somaliland secessionists
As conflict grows in breakaway Somaliland the US/EU/NATO have recently met with Somaliland secessionists. As per a report, a group of 15 international partners Belgium, Canada, Denmark, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the US have issued a statement about their conversation with Somaliland secessionists waging war against Somali nationalists in the Somali city of Laascaanood and the surrounding region of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn.
On one hand, the diplomats called for cessation of hostilities and urged both sides to sit down and talk, however the West’s intentions are also shrouded in mystery, on the other.
The question arises here, has the West ended up encouraging the secessionists and disrespecting the Somalia’s sovereignty by directly engaging in conversations with the secessionists?
If we look at the recent past, the US’ role in such times of crises in African nations have also been suspicious. For example, we have previously explained to our readers how the US backed the TPLF overtly and covertly. During the peace negotiations that began on October 25, 2022, in South Africa, the TPLF delegation arrived on a US military plane along with Mike Hammer, the US special envoy to the Horn of Africa. Later, the Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki had also accused the US of supporting Tigrayan rebels during the civil war in northern Ethiopia.
Read More: It’s official, USA sponsored TPLF
As per the report, the statement issued by the 15 international partners ended with the sentence:
“Partners were disappointed that H.E. [His Excellency] the President did not commit to a withdrawal of Somaliland forces centered around Laascaanood.”
However, in the statement they were not referring to the Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, as one would think, but the “H.E. the President”, they expressed their disappointment in is Muse Bihi Abdi, the “President” of Somaliland, one of Somalia’s seven federated states.
Further the Somali president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, hasn’t objected to being left out of the conversation.
Moreover, Al-Shabaab remains a serious threat to Somalia’s security and peace and it has also served as a perfect excuse for the US drone bombing and military presence in the country.
The West playing with fire in Somalia
Somalia’s strategic importance for the US is huge. The Somali coast is as geostrategic as any in the world, along the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean, and it may have the richest untapped oil reserves in the world. Further, the navies of multiple world powers swarm all over these waters, where roughly 12% of the world’s trade passes through the Suez Canal and roughly 50% of its oil passes through the Suez Canal and the Strait of Hormuz. Thus, US troops presence in Somalia in the name of fighting Al-Shabaab, is more about securing its own geopolitical interests in the face of competing powers.
In the recent times, the US is only increasing its military presence in Somalia. The U.S. has an estimated 450 military personnel in Somalia after President Joe Biden reversed his predecessor Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces.
A strong, sovereign Somalia exercising control over its own vast oil resources and its geostrategic coast is the last thing the US and its NATO allies want to see and thus it looks like now these countries are again playing with fire.
It has been seen how African conflicts have often become arenas for foreign powers with competing interests like Russia, China and the West, particularly the US. Similarly, a chaotic and unstable Somalia might also fall prey to a similar fate if the situation escalates. It won’t be perhaps too much to say that neo-colonialism has existed in various forms and what is happening in Somalia is only a reminder of that. How the things will turn out to be for the country, only time will tell.
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