A delegation of United States Congressional Staff is scheduled to arrive in Somaliland Today, [Monday, December 13, 2021], in what will be the highest-level American delegation to visit the Horn of Africa nation in well over a decade.
The expected arrival closely follows on the heels of a visit a high-level delegation led by Dr. Essa Kayd, the Somaliland Foreign Minister, made to the United States stopping at Washington and New York where he met with a number of high-powered statesmen and organizations.
Members of the delegation comprised of staff representing the Senate Foreign Relations, House Foreign Affairs, and House Appropriations and Conservation Committees, along with various senior policy advisors from Washington.
The delegation is scheduled to meet with members of Somaliland’s government, along with a bevy of Somaliland’s civil societies, education, health, and conservation institutions. The planned itinerary for the trip includes a visit to Berbera’s port and recently renovated airport, amongst other strategic locations not disclosed.
Chairman of the Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI), an American non-profit organization that organizes and implements visits by Members of the United States Congress and their staffs to countries around the world, Dr. Omar Sadik Al Khalafala who is the prelude to the Congressional Staff Delegation had arrived in Hargeisa on Saturday and met with Somaliland president Muse Bihi Abdi at Presidential Palace.
“I landed at 100s airports in my lifetime but I had overwhelmingly warm and emotional feelings landing at this humble beautiful Somaliland airport,” writes his Twitter account.
Dr. Al Khalafalla is a public policy expert with special expertise in the Middle East and Africa. He is the President of American Global Consulting and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI), an American non-profit organization with close ties to the U.S. Congress. Since 2012, HDI has organized more than 30 delegations to every region of the world. These trips give Congressional decision-makers the opportunity to learn firsthand about vital issues which impact the United States and to discuss important issues with governmental, academic, business, and cultural leaders and the international community in the country.
I landed at 100s airports in my lifetime but I had an overwhelming warm and emotional feelings landing at this humble beautiful Somaliland Airport.. pic.twitter.com/p1O7CaQKZH
— Dr. Al Khalafalla -د. الصادق خلف الله (@AlKhalafalla) December 12, 2021
Congressional staffers, generally responsibl#Congressional staffers’ visit to #Somaliland may mark another turning point in the #UnitedStates government’s #engagement with Somaliland, and signal #American interest in reassessing their #interests in the #HornofAfrica region. @congressdotgov @LawLibCongress @SenatorRische for working with the individual members of Congress or committees they are assigned to, are also charged with formulating major policy positions at the technical level. Their reports and due diligence are used as the evidence which informs and drives the U.S. government’s posture and policies on global issues. Their visit to Somaliland may mark another turning point in the U.S. government’s engagement with Somaliland, and signal American interest in reassessing their interests in the Horn region.
There’s been a surge of interest in Washington for Somaliland’s case, which has regained the traction it lost to Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. Secretary Clinton, who was responsible for the reversal of U.S. policy towards supporting and fostering democracy in the Horn, dismantled America’s dual-track policy towards Somaliland.
Despite the minimal direct diplomatic relations, former State Department diplomats such as Jendayi Frazer, Tibor Nagy, Stephen M. Schwartz, and Peter Pham have all alerted the US to the differences between Somalia and Somaliland and how the United States’ continued policy ineptitude will irreversibly harm western interests in the whole region.
Jendayi Frazer, in office from 2005 to 2009, particularly, regretted not to have ‘pushed for Somaliland recognition while she was in office as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.
Tibor Naby, former US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, US Ambassador to Guinea and Ethiopia, accentuating the impending peril of a Somalia without the protection of AMISOM and other international peacekeepers due to make an exit next year, believes this Somaliland arch-rival is better off as a trusteeship.
Stephen M. Schwartz who served as the first US envoy to Somalia (since 1991) between 2016-2017 stated that Somaliland stands to offer the United States a strategic base for its operations in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea. He said the time has come for the US to work with the African Union and others to resolve Somaliland’s status by persuading Somalia’s next president to undertake immediate and serious negotiations.
These calls have only increased in frequency since Somaliland established diplomatic relations with Taiwan in July of 2020.
Turmoil in the Horn of Africa region, along with increased Chinese influence on the African continent coupled with Somaliland’s strategic location in the Bab al-Mandab Strait, is attracting global attention including from the United States.
The Ethiopian conflict which pits the federal government with the Tigray regional state forces and the tide and ebb of the devastating war has unearthed influences and interests far beyond regional cares spheres.
The fact that the West, led by the United States, has been found wanting and ineffectual in these influences has become only too clear. Pressures the United States and its friends exerted on Addis Ababa to stop atrocities the Ethiopian army meted on Tigrayan civilians and to allow international aid reaching victims both fell on deaf ears. Ethiopia, encouraged by more robust, more forthcoming friends, chiefly, China, Turkey, and the UAE, called the West’s bluff, revealing it as a paper tiger.
Bolstered by newly gained drones, weaponry, and financial support, Abiy Ahmed managed to turn the tables on the advancing TPLF – at least for the moment.
On the other hand, the Tigrayan liberation forces caught in a pincer-grip and so troubled by its suffering population looked and hoped but could not find their paper friends – the West – anywhere in sight.
China, particularly, has not only captured the hearts and loyalty of Ethiopia in its Belt and Road Initiative but it, as a motivated partner, succeeded to paint the West into a sorry corner.
China, using a number of tacks in its Initiative and speedily processed loans, appears to have firmly established itself in Africa through intelligently planned debt snared on hapless, development-starved, myopic African governments.
The West failed to capitalize on openings presented as China’s burdensome debts ominously surfaced in China take-overs of key revenue generators in those countries and that its inputs, especially in the construction of office blocs, have been revealed to embed spyware tapping into every facet of those nations’ politics and economies.
China waltzed from the East to the South, to the West of the continent where it has now a powerful command of the Atlantic undeterred.
Closer to home, China has one of the best-equipped spy and naval bases in Somaliland’s tiny neighbor to the northwest – Djibouti. To the south, it has long settled on a firm grip on Villa Somalia presenting itself to Mogadishu as a firm believer of a fictitious ‘Somalia territorial integrity.
China, fearful of the power of democracies defeating its One-China ambitions, found a gullible ally in Somalia that claimed untenable jurisdiction over a Somaliland that went into an ill-advised union with it in 1960.
It was also only recently that Uganda lost its famed Entebbe Airport to China’s debt-trap diplomacy, and Taiwan lost yet another ally in Nicaragua to Chinese influence despite Congress’ Taipei Act.
In stark contrast, Somaliland has been an unwavering ally to Taiwan in the face of Chinese overtures and has offered its real estate to the global fight against terrorism. It is yet to be determined if Somaliland’s positions on these issues have garnered them goodwill in Washington.
This delegation is not only the highest and but the most timely, given the fluid, fast-changing political and economic kaleidoscope of the region, but – it is hoped – the most impactful on Somaliland future for these past 30-plus years the country has been fending for itself without international recognition or significant external support – and that of the United States and its Western allies in the region.
The delegation’s report would – even in its most generous terms – would only corroborating a 2005 AU report that weak Somalia pushed under the mat.
- The UNIQUE Case For The International Recognition Of Somaliland
- Somaliland: The Little Country That Could By David Shinn
- The World Can Learn From How Somaliland Overcame Militias
- Masuuliyiinta Xidh-Xidhan Iyo Dareemada Dhagarta Xambaarsan Ee Laga Soo Werinayo Dhinaca Madaxtooyada
- KOIGI: Acknowledge Somaliland To Cure Festering Wound On Africa
- Somaliland Declaration On The Origin Of African Borders