Somaliland:Siilanyo’s Restructured Foreign Policy Failure Part II

Somaliland:Siilanyo’s Restructured Foreign Policy Failure Part II

March 29, 2013   ·   1 Comments



policy by purging expertise in international relations, including Dr. Jazbhay Saad Nour, and several other foreign country representatives. These men were the drivers and engines of our international relations; unfortunately, they were replaced with clueless men who have no idea what international relations entail. Neither can they conduct foreign policy research nor could they counsel the egotistical Minister of Foreign Affairs – A man raised with a Southern culture who does not share our values. I have also urged the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chairman of the House of Representatives to hire lobbyists to look after our interest at this critical moment in our international relations.


Unfortunately, the Minister of Foreign Affairs hired this week an American lobbying firm instead of hiring British experts in international affairs. To understand the difference of hiring British experts one must understand how U.S foreign policy in Africa is influenced.


Below are some pointers that illustrate the drivers and objectives of the U.S Africa foreign policy. It is my believe that the British Africa foreign policy structure is not that different from that of the U.S.


The Structure of State Department’s Africa Policy:


The State Department’s Africa policy is heavily influenced by considerations of their national security bureaucracies including the CIA and Department of Defense. The reason is because the United States delineates the domain of influence and responsibility for Africa to its former European colonizers in the same way Europe defers influence and responsibility of Latin American countries to the U.S. Some would argue, and rightfully, that the United States is the real global hegemony. While this is true and former European colonizers no longer have the wherewithal or resources to maintain a hegemon, the United Kingdom remains the exception and its hegemon over Africa is as relevant today as when it was a colonizer.


Each bureaucracy (the State Department, the Pentagon and the CIA) has its own established organizational mission to deal with a particular aspect of the foreign policy. Members of each bureaucracy often advocate on the views of their agencies and interpret national security according to their agency’s role and mission in the foreign policy theatre. For example, during the Bush administration the Pentagon was advocating for the recognition of Somaliland while the State Department was totally against it arguing it was an African Union issue.


The State Department’s national security bureaucracy established Bureau of African Affairs in 1958. Johnnie Carson now is the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs and is assisted by senior deputy assistant secretary, three deputy assistant secretaries as well as a host of regional offices staffed by country directors and desk officers who monitor day to day developments within sub-Saharan Africa. The primary mission of the African Bureau is the maintenance of smooth and stable political relationships with African governments. As always, the emphasis is on quiet diplomacy and negotiated resolutions of any conflicts that may arise.


Career Foreign Service Officers within the bureau are usually more willing than other member of the executive branch to develop U.S policies that are in alignment with African aspirations. Consequently, they are also more sensitive to the importance that African leaders attach to regional political associations, such as the African Union.


CIA’s Africa Affairs Structure:


The CIA has a separate African affairs division that comes under the Deputy Directorate of Operations known as the (DDO). The DDO’s official mission is radically different from the ideological battles against communism and the instabilities it creates. Now its mission is mostly about the spread of religious movements, especially radical Islam (Al-Shabaab in the case of Somalia), and the uncertainties and instabilities associated with it.


Defense Department’s African Affaris Structure:


The policy office of the Defense Department known as the Pentagon comes under the International Security Affairs (ISA) which is headed by Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and is assisted by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs, Amanda Dory. The office for African Affairs tends to downplay local African concerns in favor of the continent’s strategic position with the international military balance, focusing on paramount U.S interests in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and now Africa specially Somalia and the Sahara. Moreover, the domestic nature of an African regime is not perceived as an impediment to the military cooperation.


White House attention in African Affairs policies:


Usually unfolding of crisis situation serves as the trigger for presidential attention to African issues.  As I have indicated before the U. S generally recognizes European spheres of influence within their former African colonies specifically when a country like Britain is deeply involved and invested in an African country like Somalia and Somaliland. In essence the U.S respects the interests of Britain to maintain the day to day affairs of that country. The Biafara war in Nigeria comes to mind as a great example on the influence of former European colonizers. In that war the United States was sidelined by Britain to the status of an observer while Britain was equipping the military of the Federal government of Nigeria against secession by Biafra.




Siilaanyo’s administration needs to realize our interests lie in establishing a good relationship with the Pentagon. Welcoming men at Camp Lemonnier of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and reaching out to them would be a first step in establishing a good rapport.


For our foreign policy to bear influence in the international theatre, Siilaanyo MUST reshuffle Somaliland’s foreign affairs ministry. He must recruit experts in international affairs and international law as well as two qualified assistant ministers who can conduct research in international affairs. In addition to this reshuffle we must hire internationally known British experts in international affairs to map out our recognition agenda.


Saeed M. Timir