The US and Western European nations have been colluding with the terrorist Al-Shabaab group and its allies in Somaliland’s Sool conflict by bullying the president of Somaliland and his administration to accept absurd demands and terms put forward by the terror coalition.

By Michael Rubin

While the US and Western European nations have been fighting dictator Putin of Russia in Ukraine for more than a year in an unprecedented way, in a different part of the world, particularly in Africa, they are colluding with the terrorist Al-Shabaab group and its allies in Somaliland’s Sool conflict by bullying the president of Somaliland and his administration to accept absurd demands and terms put forward by the terror coalition.

In a video conference with Muse Bihi Abdi, the president of Somaliland, they made this absurd demand. Following that virtual discussion, the presidential office of Somaliland issued a press release outlining the Somaliland government’s response to that offer.


Luckily, the so-called international partners who always irritate Somaliland with nonsense and are assisting Somalia in recovering from its self-destruction plan have presented a response that actually serves as an indictment and incriminating evidence of their hypocrisy.

In the article below reproduced in its original, Michael Rubin wrote in-depth on this bullying in Somaliland:

Bullying Somaliland To Host Al-Shabaab Terrorists
Bullying Somaliland To Host Al-Shabaab Terrorists

”Biden’s latest hypocrisy comes courtesy of the State Department. For nearly five months, sporadic fighting has raged in and around Las Anod [Laascaanood] the capital of Somaliland’s Sool district. At issue are demands issued by diaspora clan leaders to carve out their own state. The fighting has not occurred in a vacuum. It is Africa’s first China-Taiwan proxy war. Fighters the United States trained to take on the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab militia now fight alongside Al-Shabaab against the Horn of Africa’s only democracy.

Enter Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Rather than side with Taiwan or democracy, his State Department effectively sides with China and those fighting alongside a terrorist group. On April 17, 2023, the State Department joined a European Union statement that called for a pause in fighting for negotiations and a renewed timeline for elections in Somaliland.

This is hypocritical on two levels. First, when Islamic State terrorists seized both Raqqa to be the capital inside Syria of its would-be caliphate and, subsequently, Iraq’s third largest city Mosul, the United States and its partners—both local and European—spared no effort to free the cities from the terrorists’ grip.

There were no joint letters demanding ceasefires and negotiations with the Islamic State, nor did Washington or Brussels consider seriously allowing the Islamic State to remain in order to spare the casualties inevitable in recapturing the cities. I visited both Raqqa and Mosul in the aftermath of their capture and the destruction was immense. To see Raqqa is to experience a flashback to Dresden at the end of World War II; Mosul was not much better.

Nor does the State Department or European Union give solace to Catalan separatists or their more violence Basque cousins. Would Spain adhere to an African Union demand that they stop arresting Catalan leaders or Basque terrorists?

What is truly over-the-top, however, is the chiding tone on Somaliland elections. It costs Somaliland $17 million to hold elections. These were on track for May until fighting forced diversion of funds. Somaliland has held multiple elections and, unlike in many African states, they are real and result in peaceful transfers of power between rival leaders.

Contrast this with Somalia, which has failed to hold one-man, one-vote elections despite the US and European provision of more than $1 billion. By casting aspersions at Somaliland, it appears less the State Department is interested in democracy and more that it wants to distract from any substantive waste, fraud, and abuse investigation into its recent Somalia funding. Africans deserve to live terror-free, and by the same standards of security that the rest of the world enjoys or aspires to achieve. Increasingly it seems that, for Biden, Black Lives Matter, except in Africa.”

Michael RubinAbout Michael Rubin

Senior Fellow

Research Areas

Arab politics, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Horn of Africa

Bio & Experience

Michael Rubin is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he specializes in Iran, Turkey, and the broader Middle East.

A former Pentagon official, Dr. Rubin has lived in post-revolution Iran, Yemen, and both pre-and postwar Iraq. He also spent time with the Taliban before 9/11. For more than a decade, he taught classes at sea about the Horn of Africa and Middle East conflicts, culture, and terrorism, to deployed US Navy and Marine units.

Dr. Rubin is the author, coauthor, and coeditor of several books exploring diplomacy, Iranian history, Arab culture, Kurdish studies, and Shi’ite politics, including “Seven Pillars: What Really Causes Instability in the Middle East?” (AEI Press, 2019); “Kurdistan Rising” (AEI Press, 2016); “Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes” (Encounter Books, 2014); and “Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos” (Palgrave, 2005).

Dr. Rubin has a Ph.D. and an MA in history from Yale University, where he also obtained a BS in biology.


    • Foreign Military Studies Office: Contract Analyst, 2012–present
    • Naval Postgraduate School: Senior Lecturer, 2007–21
    • Middle East Quarterly: Editor, 2004–09
    • Coalition Provisional Authority (Baghdad): Political Adviser, 2003–04
    • Office of the Secretary of Defense: Staff Adviser, Iran and Iraq, 2002–04
    • Council on Foreign Relations: International Affairs Fellow, 2002–03
    • Hebrew University (Jerusalem): Fellow, The Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations, 2001–02
    • Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs: Fellow, 2000–01
    • Universities of Sulaymani, Salahuddin, and Duhok (Iraqi Kurdistan): Visiting Lecturer, 2000–01
    • Yale University: Lecturer, Department of History, 1999–2000
    • Iranian Studies: Assistant Editor, 1994–97


Ph.D. and MA in history; BS in biology, Yale University


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This article originally appeared in The AEIdeas blog

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