By Tibebe Samuel Ferenji
“Resistance is a sign that shows you’re going the right way”
Since Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s leadership, Ethiopia has made enormous progress. However, the progress made is not without controversy or sabotage. For obvious reasons, the international community, with its ill-contrived intention, seems to gang up on Ethiopia when Ethiopia makes vital decisions to protect its national interest. When the TPLF attacked the Ethiopian Defense Force Northern Command, it would have been expected that peace-loving nations support Ethiopia and condemn the acts of aggression and betrayal of the TPLF. No country in the world would accept such belligerent behavior. Instead of defending Ethiopia’s right to defend itself, from brainless YouTubers to Western government and international organizations, high officials were busy condemning Ethiopia, drafting sanctions, engaging in false propaganda, and other mischievous ways to damage Ethiopia’s economy and reputation.
The so-called Human rights organizations and Mainstream Media were too busy fabricating false narrations and covering up TPLF’s brutal massacre of innocent citizens and infrastructure destruction. In the halls of the US Congress and EU, Ethiopia was treated as a pariah without any justifications. In comparison, the same people who condemn Ethiopia for defending itself are now standing with Israel, a country that has caused enormous suffering and destruction that the world has not seen since the Second World War. These same people claim Hamas is responsible for such destruction in Gaza but did not say the TPLF was responsible for the deaths and destruction in Ethiopia. The same people who are tirelessly working to arm Israel to its teeth were losing sleep to impose sanctions on Ethiopia and its allies.
The “actors” like Linda Thomas Greenfield, Samantha Power, Gayle E Smith, Bob Menendez, Chris Coons, Tom Malinowski, Brad Sherman, Joseph Borell, and others who relentlessly campaigned against Ethiopia are not anywhere to be found when Israel’s Army intentionally killed innocent children, bombed refugee camp, hospitals, and even UN facilities in Gaza. Where are these voices when the Israeli military killed more than 100 UN employees and several journalists? Ethiopia was condemned mercilessly for expelling 7 UN employees who violated Ethiopia’s sovereignty. These hypocrites who are telling us that Israel has the right to defend itself did not say Ethiopia has the right to defend itself when its military was attacked by rogue elements. Instead, they stood on the side of the aggressors and the brutes who caused enormous suffering and pain in Ethiopia for more than 40 years. Even then, their “House Ng*s” defended the Westerners who waged a propaganda war against Ethiopia. There is an evil purpose in all the hoopla we see today in the agreement made between Ethiopia and Somaliland when in fact the agreement made is not any different from the agreement between other de facto States with other sovereign nations.
The world never made such noise when the UAE made a similar agreement with Somaliland, and when the USA was treating Taiwan like any other sovereign country. These beg the question why does the world make unnecessary noises when it comes to Ethiopia? The simple answer is Ethiopia’s progress means, progress in Africa, progress in Africa means a loss of raw materials to the Western world. Western governments, which are still in their colonialist mindset, don’t want any progress in Africa. Therefore, they use everything they have to keep Africa down. Just like an abusive husband who tells his abused wife she is worthless, the Westerners, using their propaganda machine have told Africans we are a “Hopeless” Continent (read the economists
January 3, 2000 Headline where The Economist magazine referred to Africa as the “Hopeless Continent.”) Africa has been described as the “Dark Continent” and other derogatory terms by the Western World and their paid agents. Africa is treated with enormous contempt and disrespect by International Organizations with malicious intentions to keep Africa in crisis mode. Africa’s progress and its efforts are also eroded by Western-educated “intellectuals” who are unable to free themselves from a “slave mentality”. Malcolm X calls such intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals “a House Ngs*”. This is precisely what we are witnessing in Ethiopian politics today. A house Ngs* who asks “how High” when they are ordered to jump by their Western Masters. Ethiopia’s internal enemies are extremist elements who are well-funded by external forces. Fortunately for Ethiopia, these extremists are disorganized, visionless, and incapable of thinking ahead. Some are people who made their names by making noise on their YouTube channels. These demagogues suffer from a superiority complex and delusional state of mind. They don’t even realize how ignorant they sound in their lack of knowledge of politics in general, and geopolitics, economics, and military strategy in particular.
Their deafening false narratives are easily disprovable and they are incapable of making any real negative impact on Ethiopia’s progress. It is in such a noisy and hectic environment, Prime Minister Abiy changed Ethiopia’s trajectory and set a new paradigm to make Ethiopia one of Africa’s power houses. Prime Minister Abiy came to power with a new vision to change Ethiopia, intending to establish a strong and prosperous middle-class society. Despite all the challenges, the progress made in Ethiopia is beyond expectations. Ethiopia’s progress has angered some extremist elements in and out of Ethiopia because the leader of the nation is from the Oromia region and a follower of the evangelist religion. There are a few extremists who suffer from nostalgia for the Amahara-Orthodox Christian dynasty and wholeheartedly believe they are the only one destined to rule Ethiopia. Such laughable statements have been made repeatedly by the likes of Major Dawit Woldegiorgis, Dr. Assefa Negash and others. These extremists have even enlisted priests to do their dirty work.
Unfortunately, some of our Eritrean brothers and sisters, including some Eritrean officials, see Ethiopia’s progress as a threat. Some old-guard Eritrean officials believe Eritrea can only shine if Ethiopia fails. Thus, they measure their progress in the hope of witnessing a failed State in Ethiopia. It is with that in mind Ethiopia’s desire to have access to the Red Sea faced unprecedented resistance by some Eritrean officials who keep scratching old wounds instead of moving on towards a better relationship. Sadly, it is with this in mind they celebrated when Ethiopia’s neighbors refused to deal with Ethiopia in its proposal to find access to the Red Sea Port. Some are beating the war drums and their Western allies in the journalism profession are writing headlines like “Another war looming in the Horn of Africa”. The Western Media is always quick to condemn Ethiopia because it is a tool used by the Western governments that have an enormous desire to destabilize Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a beacon of hope and a symbol of freedom to the Black Race. These parasites view the failure of Ethiopia as a failure of the Black race. Therefore, they will continue to paint a dark picture of Ethiopia despite the fact the light in Ethiopia is shining from the corner of Borena to the Corner of Erob, and from the desert of Afar to the farmland of Gonder.
The notion that Ethiopia wants war in the Horn of Africa is a fabricated narrative designed by the internal and external enemies of Ethiopia and echoed by their masters hoping to pull Ethiopia to a destructive path. Ethiopia has no interest in engaging in war with anyone. Our defense forces are ready as a deterrent for anyone who dares and has the desire to attack Ethiopia. Mogadishu’s bravado and empty threats are nothing more than a cry for help from Ethiopia’s enemies. The Mogadishu government needs to be reminded that it is breathing with the “lungs“ of the brave Ethiopian defense forces. Ethiopia’s children are sacrificing their lives to protect the regime in Mogadishu. If Ethiopia has a desire to harm Somalia’s government or the Somalia people, all Ethiopia has to do is pull out its peacekeeping force from Somalia. Somalia’s current noise neither helps Somalia nor will stop Ethiopia’s effort to complete the deal made with Somaliland. Somalia and the rest of the world must be reminded that we are the children of Adwa; we will not violate anyone’s country’s sovereignty and will defend our sovereignty until the last drop of our blood.
Instead of engaging in unnecessary and unproductive propaganda, It would be wise, particularly for Ethiopia’s neighbors, to think about working together to bring about serious economic and political progress in East Africa. Such cooperation will benefit all countries in East Africa. Ethiopia’s agreement with Somaliland does not hurt anyone, rather, it benefits both Ethiopia and Somaliland. Ethiopia’s economic development also means more purchasing power to its citizens that can benefit other African nations. This writer argues Ethiopia’s agreement with Somaliland is legal, beneficial, and normal in our world.
What is Somaliland’s status in the world?
First, we must understand how Somaliland is established as a separate territory from the rest of Somalia to understand the agreement made between Ethiopia and Somaliland. Mollie Zapata in his article published on January 31, 2012, titled “Somalia: Colonialism to Independence to Dictatorship,1840-1976” states “Between 1840 and 1886, the British East India Company established a series of trade treaties with various Somali chiefs. Italy also had a hand in the early establishment of Somalia and marked out the boundaries of Italian Somaliland in the south between 1897 and 1908”. Zapata further states “During WWII Great Britain also took over these areas and ruled them as military protectorates until 1949, at which time the newly formed United Nations granted Italy a trusteeship over most of present-day Somalia. The British maintained a trusteeship over what is today the self-declared state of Somaliland”. We learn from Zapata’s article and the history of Somaliland, that during the colonial era, Somaliland was under the British while the rest of Somalia was under the Italians. In 1960, when Somaliland declared independence, it established its own government and administrative system. It was five days later that Somaliland voluntarily joined the rest of Somalia that merged the State of Somaliland with Italian Somaliland to form the Republic of Somalia on July 1, 1960. Even when the Republic of Somalia was formed, Somaliland enjoyed a different system of government and administrative apparatus than the rest of Somalia. It is when Mohamed Siad Barre took power over Somalia, he constituted a “Socialist system” that changed the Somaliland governance and made it similar with the rest of Somalia.
In January 1991, when the Siad Barre regime collapsed, the citizens of Somalia could not come up with a practical solution to build a government that could control and administer Somalia. The World Peace Organization in its report titled “Somali Civil War” stated “The fall of Said Barre’s regime and the Somali Civil War created a power vacuum in which nationalist and Islamic groups, warlords, clan and sub-clan militias and other actors aimed to carve out swathes of territory for their own governance. Subsequently, regional and international institutions initiated various peace and reconciliation processes in an attempt to create a stable and robust federal government, with various degrees of success. The inter-clan rivalries have fueled the tension between the Federal government and the regional states, making the consensus and state-building, as well as peacebuilding, process strenuous. The chaos resulted in the declaration of independence by Somaliland in 1991, though still not recognized by any nation in the world, and Somalia maintains its authority over the northern territory”.
It is such chaos that created the path for the rebirth of Somaliland. Since 1991, the territory has been governed by democratically elected governments that seek international recognition as the government of the Republic of Somaliland. So far, Taiwan, known as the Republic of China (not to be confused with the People’s Republic of China) has recognized Somaliland. Taiwan is also another de facto State that is seeking recognition by a UN member sovereign country. Thus, the next question is how a de facto State like Somaliland can get recognition.
Way forward for Somaliland sovereignty:
As indicated above, A de facto State is a territory that has a government not recognized as a sovereign country by the United Nations and other regional organizations. These de facto States can become sovereign countries if they fulfill certain criteria put by the UN. These criteria include having territory that the state controls effectively, a permanent population, a government, and a capacity to enter into relations with other states. Although the United Nations has put these criteria; Lassa Oppenheim and Ronald Roxburgh in their book titled “International Law, a Treatise” stated “International Law does not say that a State is not in existence as long as it is not recognized, but it takes no notice of it before its recognition. Through recognition only and exclusively a State becomes an International Person and a subject of International Law.” Moreover, author Christopher Greenwood, in Israel YearBook on Human Rights, published in 1989, cited the recognition of the Polish that did not exist then and Czechoslovak states in World War I and explained that “since recognition of statehood is a matter of discretion, it is open to any existing State to accept as a state any entity it wishes, regardless of the existence of territory or an established government”. It is worth noting that the United States recognized Poland as a sovereign country in January 1919 without all the drama we see against Ethiopia for potential recognition of Somaliland.
According to many scholars, There are two theories recognized by the United Nations that constitute a State, the Constitutive theory and the Declarative theory. The purpose of this article is not to explain these theories but rather to point out to those who jump onto a broken bandwagon to condemn Ethiopia to open their eyes and see Ethiopia and Somaliland agreement from different angles before jumping to a wrong conclusion. Although there are acceptable norms within the international community in dealing with a de facto state. Neither Ethiopia nor any nation is obligated to follow the UN’s criteria according to Tim Hillier’s book titled “Sourcebook on Public International Law”. Tim states “A state may use any criteria when judging if they should give recognition and they have no obligation to use such criteria. Many states may only recognize another state if it is to their advantage”. It is with the criteria set by the UN that Somaliland petitioned the African Union to recognize it as a sovereign country.
According to the African Union (AU) record, the AU took the issue of Somaliland’s independence in 2005 and sent a fact-finding mission. The mission concluded that “Somaliland’s search for recognition [is] historically unique and self-justified in African political history,” (emphasis added) and it urged the AU to take up the issue with the governments in Mogadishu and Hargeisa without delay. Unfortunately, it has taken more than 18 years for AU to act on Somaliland’s petition for independence. Since 1991 Somaliland has functioned with a government that is capable of administering its affairs, before the current Republic of Somalia was established with the backing of the international community in 2012. It is not clear why the international
The community has made an enormous effort to support the ill-equipped Somalia to govern itself and failed to recognize a territory that has functioned for years as a stable and democratically elected government. For all practical purposes, AU’s failure to act did not deter Somaliland from making agreements with other nations. Somaliland signed an agreement with the U.A.E. allowing the U.A.E to establish a military base in Somaliland. The agreement between UAE and Somaliland did not attract such opposition and uproar from Somalia and neighboring countries. Again, one must ask why all these noises are made against Ethiopia by Somalia and its neighbors?
Somaliland has two deals with the UAE. According to the VOA May 17, 2015 report “Somaliland signed a deal with a UAE international port operator DP World. That deal would upgrade the port of Berbera, the largest in Somaliland”. The second agreement was between the UAE government and Somaliland. The agreement calls for the UAE to operate a base in Berbera for 25 years. According to the VOA, Somalis Auditor General Nur Jimale Farah indicated that UAE bribed both the Somali and Somaliland officials for this agreement to go through. The accusation was never proven. Except for a few Somali officials and opposition political parties in Somaliland, we did not see protests, threats of war, and international campaigns to condemn the agreement. It is an enigma to witness such a resistance for Ethiopia’s desire to have access to the sea that will benefit not only Ethiopia and Somaliland but also the entire Horn of Africa. Why is this all-drama necessary when it comes to the Ethiopia and Somaliland deal?
As indicated, Somaliland and Ethiopia’s deal is not the first agreement between a de facto State and a sovereign country. Taiwan, a de facto state, also has made several agreements with other sovereign countries. In fact, in 1996, Gambia recognized Taiwan as a Republic of China. This recognition angered China and cut its diplomatic ties with Gambia. Gambia’s recognition of Taiwan did not create the drama that we are witnessing today when the chance for Ethiopia to recognize Somaliland came to light. (to be continued).
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