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Sunday, 5 February 2012

Clouds of War in Somalia’s Northern Region – “Somaliland”

Clouds of War in Somalia’s Northern Region – “Somaliland
By Faisal A. Roble
Feb 05, 2012


For Some time now, “Somaliland” has been showered with praises both by the international community and Somalis alike.  Not because it had implemented grandiose ideals, but because it observed one dear illusive phenomenon in the Horn of Africa - peace and security in the region.  In the last twenty years, when Southern Somalia was mired in self-inflicted blaze, “Somaliland” clans enjoyed relative peace and a modicum of good governance.  Some called it “an Oasis of peace.”
Why peace survived so far in Somaliland?  The answer lies not in Hargaisa, but in the outlying regions of Sool, Sanag, Cayn (SCC) and Awdel. There has always been a détente between SSC and Awdel communities in the eastern and western edges of the regions, respectively. That is to say peace came from the peripheries down to the center in a collective effort to avert conflict in Somaliland, lest peace is more important to the peoples of the peripheries, who often happen to have less guns and more good will, than those who boast to hail from the center of the power.
Nonetheless, the communities in these regions breathed and enjoyed the scent of peace, blowing unbridled from Saaxil to Sanaag and from Burco to Buhoodle; the peaceful mind-soothing winds blowing from Nugal and Haud (in Somalia, “saxan saxo nabadeed oo Nugaal iyo Hawd ka waarta”) were provided to the clans of Somaliland by the deliberate observance of conflict aversion and coexistence.
Commentators invariably hailed the elders and guurti of the region as the anchor for maintaining a condition some called the “absence of war.” This author, in a visit to Addis Ababa under the sponsorship of the Uppsala- based “Live and Peace Institute” worked with strengthening the guurti system, along with colonel and former member of the Somali National Movement (SNM), Cisse Guracte, Jafar Gaadawayne, Mohamoud Bayre, etc. as early as 1992. 
People in the North often got overenthusiastic, arrogant and became self-assured about how the north or "Somaliland" is more cultured than its southern half where the guurti institution is not as strong.
Little did they know, what has been enjoyed since the unilateral declaration of secession by Hargaisa from the rest of the Republic of Somalia was nothing more than “the calm before the storm.” It now seems we mistook a temporary mirage for a permanent peace that soon would evaporate at the eruption of an open conflict in the Buuhoodle region.  Alas, we knew it was coming.  But when, no wanted to wanted to guess lest the consequences were bleak and painful.

In the aftermath of the ongoing bloodletting of nephews against uncles, in-laws and distant relatives, we now know that the calm was only possible because clans in SSC and Awdel regions deferred their political dreams.  To their credit, communities in SSC and Awdel towed this line of nurturing peace for a good 20-years period in an era of 4.5 political cultures. 
But, when they can no longer differ their wishes, the détente that so far sustained peace is about to be replaced with conflict and war.  The beginning of the end is commenced when groups from SSC and Awdel announced their existential goals in order to be counted in the 4.5 formula, in which Somali clans supposedly get their representation in the nation’s political space, Hargaisa unfortunately goes crazy with its massive guns. 
Beginning from the closing days of the year 2011, both SSC and Awdel regions officially had joined the mushrooming local administrations formed in all parts of Somalia?  Markus V. Hoehne, who is writing a book on the conflict in the SSC region, has recently shared with this author what the new map of Somalia looks like.  Reflective of all the local "lands,” the non-official map of Somalia would soon register no less than 30 lands (Somaliland, Puntland, Jubaland, Galmugland, Khatumo, Awdel, Xeeb iyo Ximin, Azania, and many more than one cares to count them here).  Continued

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