Somaliland and Djibouti, aligned for the future
Abdulazez Al-Motairi
December 16, 2010


The relationship between Somaliland and Djibouti is the cornerstone of having peaceful and  pros perous region, with booming economy. The two brother countries can have common policy  towar ds the regional policies and against Eretria. It is very clear that neither Djibouti nor Somaliland can confront the challenges of our time without the other, including security challenges. With last visit of Somaliland President and the warm welcome of Djibouti authorities was sign of changes in the policy of Djibouti.

The question lingering in minds is, why sudden change of Djibouti towards Somaliland? Earlier, the government of Djibouti led by President Omer Gelle left no stone unturned to oppose Somaliland cause of independence. Starting from 1991, Djibouti regime convinced the African and Arab  lead ers to neglect the freedom voice from Somaliland, and overlook the homemade democracy. Every Somalilander knows Djibouti's tireless efforts to downgrade Somaliland cause. However, the curr ent sudden change to its policy needs explanation!

Djibouti supported the shaky and fragile transitional governments in Mogadishu and hosted many peace conferences, hoping that stability will return to Somalia. Djibouti suppressed Somaliland  un til Somalia recovers from violence, but the corruption, tribalism and religious extremism reduced Djibouti´s hope.

This tiny country wanted to force Somaliland into another gunshot marriage with doomed Somalia. Djibouti tried to destroy Somaliland in different ways including economical, particularly after Gelle regime convinced the Gulf countries to ban Somaliland livestock instead the gulf receive the  livest ock, only, through Djibouti. This was clear attempt to destroy Somaliland´s economy backbone.

Suddenly, Djibouti changed its attitude towards Somaliland and invited the newly elected  Preside nt of Somaliland officially, and received him with full head of state diplomatic reception, and even the Somaliland flag was flying in the guest room. This comes after Somaliland hosted one of the most successful democratic elections in the history of horn of Africa; Djibouti realized Somaliland independence is public decision and that it is not one-man regime.

Somalilanders ask does Gelle anesthetizing Somaliland efforts in order to delay possible  recogniti on, after recent excellent Somaliland diplomatic activities? answers will be discussed in the coming paragraphs.

It is relevant to say that Eritrean security menace obligated Gelle regime to look for alliance. Asmara government is training and arming the oppositions in both Djibouti and Somalia. Recently Eritrea sent ONLF fresh graduates from training camps in Asmara into Ethiopia via Somaliland-Djib outi border. The Somaliland forces destroyed the trainees and are in Somaliland jails. ONLF is  terr orist group fighting Ethiopia. It is significant that Asmara may harbor Djibouti opposition armed activities.

Moreover, the growing influence of Somalia's Al-Shabab (Al-Qaeda´s wing in Africa) in the region puts Djibouti at the center of a dangerous triangle and badly need friends.

In other hand, the recent democratic elections in Somaliland reshaped the Djibouti policy after  So maliland demonstrated mature and world-class democracy. They realized that Somaliland leaders come and go by voting, and final decision belongs to people.

Somaliland authorities should not trust Gelle administration even if he shows serious desire to  est ablish good relation because of its Anti-Somaliland history. We all know that Djibouti campaigned against Somaliland cause inside African Union (AU), which led rejection of Somaliland membership application based on Djibouti recommendation.

Finally, we should know that we cannot change neighbor. The people of Somaliland will always be the next-door to Djibouti even if Somaliland reunites with Somalia – which is impossible. GOOD NEIGHBOR IS ALWAYS BETTER THEN NEIGHBOR WITH OLD INJURIES.



Abdulaziz Al-Mutair