Can the Somalia and Somaliland Unified again?

Can the Somalia and Somaliland Unified again?


The union of Somalia and Somaliland, after their simultaneous independence, was part of a pan-Somali vision to reverse the colonial partition of the Somali inhabited territories in Northeast Africa. On July 1, 1960, Somalia and Somaliland united and formed the Somali Republic.

Somalia Republic is a sovereign country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Guardafui Channel and Somali Sea to the east, and Kenya to the southwest. The country claims a border with Djibouti through the disputed territory of Somaliland.

Adan Abdullah Osman Daar, president of the Legislative Assembly, was elected provisional president. President Adan Abdullah appointed Abdi Rashid Ali Shirmarke as prime minister on July 12, 1960.  The Egyptian government agreed to provide military assistance to the Somali government on December 15, 1960.  A new constitution was approved in a referendum held on June 20, 1961.  Government troops suppressed a military rebellion in northern Somalia in December 1961. The government of the Soviet Union provided military assistance to the Somali government (weapons, training, and 300 military advisors) beginning in 1962.  Legislative elections were held on March 30, 1964, and the Somali Youth League (SYL) won 69 out of 123 seats in the National Assembly.  The Socialist National Congress (SNC) won 22 seats in the National Assembly.  Abdi Rashid Ali Shirmarke was elected president by the National Assembly in June 1967.  Legislative elections were held on March 24, 1969, and the SYL won 73 out of 124 seats in the National Assembly. The SNC won 11 seats in the National Assembly.  More than 25 individuals were killed in election-related violence. Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal formed a government as prime minister on May 22, 1969.

President Shirmarke was assassinated by a government policeman in the town of Las Anod in northern Somalia on October 15, 1969.  Prime Minister Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Cigaal was deposed in a military coup led by General Mohammed Siad Barre on October 21, 1969.  The governments of Egypt and Italy provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the military government on October 25, 1969.  The governments of Britain and East Germany provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the Somali government. The Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) headed by General Barre took control of the government on November 3, 1969. General Barre abolished political parties and suspended the constitution. The governments of the Soviet Union and Cuba provided military assistance (1,500 Soviet military advisors and 50 Cuban military advisors) to the Somali government. General Barre suppressed a rebellion on April 21, 1970. The SRC nationalized the country’s banks and oil companies on May 7, 1970.  The U.S. government imposed economic sanctions (suspension of economic assistance) against the Somali government on June 1, 1970.  Vice-President Muhammad Ainanshe Guleid unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow General Barre on May 5, 1971. The SRC was dissolved, and the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party (SRSP) headed by General Barre took control of the government on July 1, 1976. Soviet military advisors were withdrawn from the country in November 1977.  The governments of Egypt, Italy, and Saudi Arabia provided military assistance to the Somali government beginning in 1978.  The Somali government suppressed a military rebellion led by Colonel Abdullah Yusuf on April 9, 1978, resulting in the deaths of 20 government soldiers.  The Chinese government agreed to provide economic assistance to the government on April 18, 1978. On October 26, 1978, seventeen military personnel were executed for their involvement in the military rebellion. Some 200 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Colonel Ahmed Abdullah Yusuf formed the Somali Salvation Front (SSF) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in February 1979.  The Libyan government provided military assistance (weapons) to the SSF.  A new constitution was approved in a referendum held on August 25, 1979.  Legislative elections were held on December 30, 1979, and the SRSP won 171 out of 171 seats in the People’s Assembly.  General Barre was elected president by the People’s Assembly on January 26, 1980.  Government troops clashed with SSF rebels on February 8, 1980, resulting in the deaths of 52 government soldiers. Government troops clashed with SSF rebels on July 2-3, 1980, resulting in the deaths of 72 government soldiers.  President Barre declared a state-of-emergency on October 21, 1980, and a 17-member Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) took control of the government on October 23, 1980.  The U.S. and Chinese governments provided military assistance to the Somali government beginning in 1981.  The SSF joined the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Somalia (DFLS) and Somali Workers’ Party (SWP) to form the Democratic Front for the Salvation of Somalia (DFSS) on October 5, 1981.  The Libyan government provided military assistance to the DFSS.  President Barre lifted the state-of-emergency on March 1, 1982.  DFSS rebels, supported by Ethiopian government troops, attacked government troops in Balumbale on June 30, 1982.  The U.S. government provided emergency military assistance to the government.  DFSS rebels killed 20 government soldiers in Garaya Cawl, Toghdeer province in February 1983. Somalia National Movement (SNM) rebels launched a military offensive against the government on November 13, 1984.  Legislative elections were held on December 31, 1984, and the SRSP won 171 out of 171 seats in the People’s Assembly.   The Libyan government suspended military assistance to the DFSS in April 1985.  Hassan Haji Ali Mireh was appointed as head of the DFSS in March 1986.  President Barre was re-elected without opposition on December 23, 1986.  Government troops and demonstrators clashed in Mogadishu on July 14-16, 1989, resulting in the deaths of some 400 individuals. Several Somali politicians signed the Mogadishu Manifesto No.1 in May 1990, which called for the resignation of President Barre.  Some 60 individuals were killed during a demonstration against the government on July 6, 1990.  Italy ended military assistance and withdrew its 56 military advisors on July 11, 1990.   President Barre dismissed Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Samatar, and appointed Mohamed Hawadie Madar as prime minister on September 3, 1990. United Somali Congress (USC) rebels attacked Mogadishu in December 1990 and January 1991, resulting in the death of some 5,000 individuals.  The USC rejected an Italian-proposed peace plan on January 9, 1991. Prime Minister Mohammed Hawadie Madar resigned on January 20, 1991.  President Barre fled the country on January 26, 1991, and USC rebels took control of Mogadishu on January 27, 1991. Ali Mahdi Mohammed of the USC formed a government as provisional president on January 29, 1991.  General Mohamed Farah Aideed was elected as chairman of the USC on July 5, 1991.  Supporters of President Ali Mahdi and General Aideed clashed in Mogadishu on September 5-7, 1991, resulting in the deaths of some 300 individuals. Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) established a mission to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians beginning in 1991. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) established a mission to provide humanitarian and repatriation assistance to Somalis beginning in 1992.  The UN Security Council imposed military sanctions (arms embargo) against Somali rival groups on January 23, 1992.  Representatives of the UN, League of Arab States (LAS), Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and Organization of African Unity (OAU) began a joint mediation effort on February 13, 1992.  General Aideed was dismissed as chairman of the USC in February 1992, and General Aideed established the Somali National Alliance (SNA).  The UN/LAS/OIC/OAU coalition mediated the signing of a ceasefire agreement by Somali factions on March 3, 1992.  Some 250,000 individuals died and some 2.8 million individuals were displaced during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (March 4, 1992-August 25, 1995): On April 24, 1992, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM I) to monitor the ceasefire and protect the delivery of humanitarian assistance.  At its maximum strength, UNOSOM I consisted of 54 military observers and 893 peacekeeping troops from 16 countries commanded by Brig. General Imtiaz Shaheen of Pakistan.  The UN secretary-general appointed Mohamed Sahnoun of Algeria as UN special representative to Somalia on April 28, 1992.  The UN Security Council increased the number of peacekeeping troops in Somalia to 3,500 on August 28, 1992.  Ismat Kittani of Iraq was appointed as special envoy of the UN secretary-general to Somalia on November 3, 1992.  Some 150,000 individuals died of starvation between March and November 1992.   On December 3, 1992, the UN Security Council authorized the establishment of the US-led Unified Task Force in Somalia (UNITAF) to protect the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia (Operation Restore Hope).  UNITAF, which consisted of 37,000 troops from 27 countries, was deployed on December 9, 1992.  UN Special Envoy Lansana Kouyate of Guinea facilitated a conference on national reconciliation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from March 12-27, 1993.  The Somali factions agreed to establish a Transitional National Council (TNC) to govern the country for a two-year period.  UNOSOM I was disbanded on March 25, 1993.  Six UNOSOM I military personnel were killed during the mission.  On March 26, 1993, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM II) to monitor the ceasefire agreement, assist with the disarmament of the factions, provide security for airports and ports required for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and protect UN, ICRC, and other NGO personnel.  UNOSOM II consisted of 28,000 peacekeeping troops and civilian police personnel from 33 countries commanded by Lt. General Cevik Bir of Turkey (April 1993 to January 1994) and Lt.-General Aboo Samah Bin Aboo Bakar of Malaysia (January 1994 to March 1995).  UNITAF was disbanded on May 4, 1993. Fifty-two UNITAF personnel were killed during the mission, including 43 U.S. military personnel.  Twenty-five UNOSOM-II peacekeeping troops were killed during an attack by General Aideed’s militia in Mogadishu on June 5, 1993.  On June 17, 1993, the UN requested General Aideed to surrender to UN troops for an investigation of his role in the killing of the UN peacekeeping troops.  Eighteen US soldiers were killed during a military operation against General Aideed’s forces in Mogadishu on October 3, 1993.  On November 16, 1993, the UN Security Council established a commission of inquiry (Ghana, Finland, Zambia) headed by Matthew Ngulube of Zambia to investigate the killing of UN peacekeeping troops in Mogadishu.  The U.S. government withdrew its troops from Somalia on March 31, 1994.  UNOSOM II was disbanded on March 2, 1995.  Some 154 UNOSOM II personnel, including 149 military personnel and three international civilian staff members, were killed during the mission.  Secretary-General Kofi Annan established the United Nations Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) on April 15, 1995.  UNPOS consisted of ten international staff personnel.  General Aideed proclaimed himself president on June 15, 1995.  Some 200,000 individuals died and some 750,000 individuals were displaced between March 1992 and August 1995.

Nevertheless, if we go back our main question, can the Somaliland and Somalia unified again? These what same people adage about recognition of Somaliland.


Somaliland shouldn’t secede from the rest of Somalia. I know Somaliland have enjoyed a relative stability and made progress for the past twenty years while the rest of Somali is in disarray. However, breaking away from Somalia will only separate people who share the same religion, language and culture. it will also weakened the ambition and the hopes of uniting greater Somalia. Somalis are one people that share everything please let’s build our country for the next generation.

Somaliland =Somalia? One religion, one Language, one Culture, One clan. is not like Jubba south Sudan or like sub-Saharan in morocco. After the collapse of Somalia state they tried their best, but this not mean to be a recognised state. Somaliland is like Puntland and the like States within Somalia…so should not qualify for independence. The world could not accept 20 Somali countries!!!! While the world is suffering from one Somalia!!! Recognition of Somaliland will pave the way that any Local administration within Somalia will ask international recognition also.

Somaliland has solid legal grounds to become an independent state. Somaliland’s case don’t violate the African Charter which calls for the respect of colonial borders, Somaliland inherits the borders of the Somaliland British Protectorate. Somaliland was briefly an independent country recognised by UK and other Commonwealth countries from 26 June until Somaliland voluntarily united with the former Italian colony of Somalia on July 1st 1960.

Somaliland has stablished itself as a beacon of peace in a region known only to be instable and war-ravaged. Somaliland’s coast line is safe from Piracy. Somaliland enjoys peaceful coexistence with its neighbouring countries namely Ethiopia and Djibouti.


Finally, conflict Dynamics International most recently Briefing Paper on Somaliland and Somalia attempts to raise some of the controversial arguments about the political future of Somaliland and Somalia. Mostly the paper is searching for political accommodation and inclusive political arrangements that advocate towards imposing reunification of Somalia and Somaliland, despite, confronting historical evolutions and trajectory of the problems caused by Somaliland’s independence and its withdrawal of the Union in 1960. In the inception of the paper the authors showed more sympathy with Somalia and its current political trends of federalism. The options generated this paper seem to be unconvincing and unacceptable to the context of Somaliland which most actors in the world witnessed the sustainable peace and workable governance system. Moreover, the paper has made some extensive conceptual explorations based on types of state formation that Somaliland and Somalia could entertain together in the future through current dialogue, but most narrative and cognizant views of this paper made clear tendency and favouritism with reviving once again a merger of Somaliland and Somalia, other than assessing critically the current position of the of Somaliland and political reality in which two countries pursued over the past three decades. The paper has also undermined the possibilities of achieving two state solution. On the other hand, this Briefing Paper produced by Conflict Dynamics International in 2014, lacks much historical evidence about Somaliland and Somalia and eagerly misguides the cause and case of the Somaliland’s independence, self- determination and timely revoking the failed union in 1960 and this is the reason that this critique wants to expose some historical and empirical experiences about context of Somaliland and Somalia. Without deep analytical and proper diagnosing, the political and historical trends of Somaliland and Somalia cannot be evaluated through such instantaneous analysis presented by this Briefing Paper. This Briefing Paper has also explored variety of options to override and justify its core aims. The main aim of the Briefing Paper appears to demonstrate how Somaliland could adopt one of the “six options” notably; all these options seemed to be intimidating the sovereignty and historical existence of Somaliland, the paper failed to discover the political reality of Somaliland and Somalia due to the shallow analysis and consistent campaigning against Somaliland’s history, independence and the will of the people, the paper treated to Somaliland as one of the entity of the federal states of Somalia for instance, many times the paper tried to make some interconnections between Somaliland and the semi- autonomous region of Puntland. However, the so-called six options suggested by this Briefing Paper are imposing the way to single state solution other than two state solution. Presumably, the authors of this paper presented political arrangements which are impracticable to pursue by people of Somaliland and the authors of this paper have also failed to understand the profound and fundamental underlining issues that Somaliland people are arguing in terms of their claim of independence based on historical and decisions of the majority of people of Somaliland. More importantly, the central expression of this paper which is “political accommodation” is in the onset an imperative indication and deliberate reflection anticipated to forge a new path of political configuration between Somaliland and Somalia which is not helping the concept of the two state solution and it is plausible that this is a true diversion of the Somaliland’s aspiration as being sovereign state. In fact, this Briefing Paper keeps away from all relevant examples of the two state solution as Ethiopia – Eretria in 1993, 1 Indonesia – East Timor in 19992 , Sudan – South Sudan in 2011.3 In addition, the Somaliland’s case is legally, historically and politically reasonable more than those above states because the Somaliland and Somalia were united of states in 1960 and there is no legal base at all, that should distinguish which one Somalia and Somaliland can be recognized as “absorbing or absorbed state on the basis of international law” while there is no international treaty which was ratified by both assemblies. Furthermore, Somaliland and Somalia talks commenced straightforward after the London conference on Somalia in 2012, this conference has coincidence two main stuffs, first, the London conference has become the first Somalia conference that Somaliland participated fully but Somaliland treated as independent entity and it had its special diplomatic privilege during the meeting, second, the final communiqué of the London conference extensively necessitated for talks between Somaliland and Somalia. The conference recognized the need for the international community to support any dialogue that Somaliland and the TFG or its replacement may agree to establish in order to clarify their future relations4. Aftermath, of the London conference there were several rounds of talks held in UK, UAE and Turkey in between 2012- 2014, no signs yet to be found what current talks should be, but Somaliland Constitution is foundation of the negotiators from Somaliland and negotiators from Somalia may also carry on their own agenda based the old slogan of greater Somalia. Ultimately, this easy evaluation has been divided into fourth main sections. First section: this easy reflects some of the historical perspectives of Somaliland and Somalia that this paper missed. Second section: re-assesses the governance options which the Briefing Paper examined as core areas, following some comparative analysis of Somaliland Constitution and Somalia Constitution and what paper is called existing arrangements. Third section: examines the intention and the central premises of the paper. Fourth section: this easy evaluation will also make some conclusions.


By: Abdirahman Ismail-Buuni