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  • Somaliland: A Reliable Partner in Combating Piracy

    Piracy off the Horn of Africa increases every year due to constant instability in the region. In 2008, 111 vessels were attacked. Since the beginning of 2011, there have already been 188 attacks. Every year worldwide piracy costs the shipping industry billions of dollars in rerouting, ransoms, and many other related expenses. These costs are then passed on to the consumer.

    To curb piracy, the international community is working with regional partners to stabilize the region. Somalia’s U.N.-appointed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has proven largely incapable of establishing law and order outside of parts of the capital city of Mogadishu. Constraining piracy is well beyond the limited capabilities of the TFG. By contrast, the government of Somaliland, the autonomous state in northern Somalia, is a more promising partner even though it is not recognized by the U.N.

    Somaliland is a unique region of stability in Somalia. The state re-declared its independence in 1991 (it was briefly independent in 1960) and formed a government based on representative democracy. In 2001, Somaliland reaffirmed its independence through a constitutional referendum. For the most part, the region has been spared the conflict and instability that has afflicted the rest of Somalia and contributed to the lawlessness that allows piracy to prosper.

    Piracy and terrorism threaten Somaliland’s relatively peaceful society. Somaliland has taken an active role in working with the international community not only to protect its citizens but also to increase its presence on the world stage. Earlier this month, Somaliland’s anti-piracy committee met for the first time to assess appropriate measures for government action. The purpose of the committee is to examine the ways in which Somaliland can work at an international level to counter piracy.

    In the past few years, Somaliland has increased its cooperation with regional neighbors including Puntland (another semi-autonomous region in Somalia) and the TFG. Somaliland’s adherence to the Djibouti Code of Conduct led to the creation of the Kampala Process under which anti-piracy laws (including those related to prisoner transfers) were drafted. In November 2010, Somaliland built a maximum-security prison (with the help of the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime) to relieve the burden of regional partners lacking the capacity and/or will to incarcerate pirates. As of last March, there are approximately 350 suspected and convicted pirates being held in Somaliland and Puntland.

    Somaliland’s lack of international recognition poses major challenges to its involvement in combating piracy. International recognition could help increase foreign direct investment and improve economic development. As piracy becomes more frequent, more ransoms are paid and pirates become wealthier. Pirates then invest this money into sophisticated fortification for operating bases, out-resourcing local authorities. With a stable economy, Somaliland would be able to devote more resources to combating piracy.

    At a public event last week at the International Republican Institute, Dr. Mohamed Abdullahi Omar, Somaliland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated that the U.N. arms embargo on the region has severely affected Somaliland’s ability to modernize its counter-piracy operations and combat terrorism.

    Somaliland has the potential to be a major asset to the international community in combating piracy. In seeking international recognition, the government wants to be included in the U.N. Security Council’s reports on Somalia and is working towards more involvement in international forums. With so few willing and able governments in the region, Somaliland should be encouraged in these efforts.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Somaliland: A Reliable Partner in Combating Piracy

    1. Omer Osman says:

      This article is to the piont in regard to curbing the piracy in the that region.The recognition of Somaliland could also have helped the world to slow down the expanding terrorism of the Horn of frica, as well as, to build a better TFG government in the south. But does the world want this?

    2. Ali M. says:

      Since 1992, the UN sponsored more than 14 peace talks for the warring Somali clans, to form a functioning government for Somalia, the current Somalia’s nominal government led by US backed Sheikh Sharif, is too corrupt and ineffective, offers no security, governance, or even reconciliation, was the last agreement for such talks.

      Right now,, President Obama is expanding US counter terrorism efforts in Somalia such as deadly drone attacks and expending vast resources–approximately $150 millions a year for equipment and training for the 9,000 African Union peace keeping forces, composed mainly Ugandan and Burundian Soldiers, mercenaries, and arms to prop up a fictional Somali government, which has no popular support and legitimacy among ordinary Somali population.

      While, for political reasons, the Obama administration has refused to support and recognize, a source of strength in the area– stable functioning, and democratic nation of Somaliland .This is an example how American foreign policy is in such a mess under Obama presidency.

      Somaliland, the northerly part of Somalia, which was part of Somalia from 1960 until 1991, when Somaliland declared independence , has shown itself to be a lawful and productive nation, its people live in peace .Somaliland succeeded because its development has been Built on a bottom-up reconciliation process, and a pluralistic political institutions that are organic-having built by the local native clans,rather imposed on by the UN or donor nations.

      The recurring disasters and the chronic instability in Somalia underscore that America and EU must find a new pragmatic approach, which reflects the reality in Somalia. That reality includes understanding that Somalia is a place in which home grown, grass-roots and bottom-up reconciliation solution for its problems offers more chance of success than do quick UN imposed political fixes, costly foreign military intervention, and urgent massive aid of donor nations. As old Somali proverb says, “you could quench a thirst with your own hands.”

      Somaliland’s success story is a proven example that Somalis are able to manage their own affairs–reconcile rival clans, compromise and govern themselves, with little or no outside help.

      Ali M.

      Lewis Center,Ohio

    3. msmii says:

      Been there. Not to be trusted as far as the region can be lifted and thrown!

      Obama has offered a hand to Iran. What Obama got back was laughter, derision, and the undaunted intention of Iran to have nuclear power. How much oil do we depend on these sanctimonious psychopaths for? How much of the worlds trade travels through their regions? How much are we going to have to pay in our own ransom before there is another knife at our global throat?

      My suggestion is to stand strong and respond to a bloody nose with a bloody nose and breaking of the knee.

      • Somaliland says:

        What are you rambling on about? Iran is a recognized nation with foreign policy challenges. Somaliland, on the other hand, is a fledgling new nation trying to make its way in the world. Iran's has a decent economy. Somaliland has a small yet thriving pirate sector. Iran's population is enormous. Somaliland has a population size of about 3.5 to 4 million. You should also know that Somaliland's has also been affected by the drought and has an unemployment rate of approximately 80% if not more.

        They hardly have enough money in their budget to sustain their 30,000 active military personnel who they pay a meager monthly salary of $100 dollars.

        Don't quit your day job genius!

    4. jweb says:

      Good article…but who started the piracy? They had to get organized and funded? Who put up the initial money? Who are the primary beneficiaries of the piracy? I strongly suspect the piracy to be simply a by-product of something more serious. The international community not being effective? History has shown that. We need to take a non-interventional approach. Let the private sector step up, and let trade/supply/demand/market play it's part. Nonetheless, we should not allow this "crisis" cause us to develop deeper connections and respsonsiblity in the global arena. We need to step back, and I propse a complete withdraw from the failed UN system. We don not need one world governance.

    5. Bobbie says:

      Way to go Somaliland!

      never been there but have met people from Somalia and I'd like to say they are very nice and down to earth and grateful in America! Not speaking for all but the ones personally met. The trouble is controlled influence! Why I feel sorry for the pirates themselves, but that doesn't mean not to punish their inhumane behavior. That's how people learn to understand and respect and hopefully deter their ways!

      America is where people of the world had an opportunity to discover themselves, not have government discover them! Look what America has turned into…

      Our apologies to all immigrants who came from 3rd world countries to refuge in America to learn to live free. Seems America is going down the road you came from, the unintelligent elite call "progress"…

    6. jon says:

      I lived in Chisamyo Somalia in 1969, working for Oversea's African Construction Co., building dock facilities and running 30 miles of water line to thirteen fountains around the town, fresh water for the people's.
      As in all cases, one of 88,000 warlords takes control of the fountain and if people don't pay , no water plus get beat with a club by the guard. In the whole of Africa there are 900,000, 000 mil.people, speaking 88,000 dialects of Swahili meaning there are that many warlords, in all of Africa, clans, tribes, are the rule, not Gov'ts.
      Another fact, all major countries in the world 40-50% of the country live within 50 miles of a coast/port.
      This means 60% of the continent of Africa is trapped nothing gets in, nothing gets out.
      The answer is what we in America did in 1869, built a railroad, now it is time to build one from Chisamyo-to Libreville, Gabon The Transcontinental African Independent or TARI
      There were 14 American's held hostage, when the coup happened in 1969 all this was while Woodstock, man walked on the moon, Teddy Kennedy hurt his neck, oh also Bill Clinton slid out of town to avoid the draft.
      I believe that Al Queda started after the 1993 (Blackhawk Down) when Clinton left our troops, and the Somalian people down by pulling out of this poor country, now look at Somalia!
      Somalia,and Al Queda to stay a terrorist state, always needs an enabling state to support them, that state is Kenya, at Port @ Mombasa!

    7. JEdward says:

      Recognizing and supporting Somaliland is the answer to deal with this menace, lawless coastline of Somalia (including Puntland which hosts most of pirates in Somalia).

    8. Yusuf says:

      Recognizing Somaliland is the solution of many crisis in the horn let alone pirates, for those of you who commented up there comparing Somaliland and Iran you both need to go back where the facts are, Somaliland has more than 30,000 Army and there salary is more than what you mention there.

      Thanks Morgan for sharing the world the facts about Somaliland

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