By Naima Osman
August 31, 2019
The world order has become more volatile subsequent to
the election of Donald Trump as a President of the United States. Since his
election he is running a foreign policy that is inconsistent, incoherent and
unpredictable. He is hostile to America’s most important alliance, the EU, and is
highly sympathetic of Brexit. His trade war with China is affecting the world
In the Middle East, Arab league is barely functional. A
coalition led by Saudi Arabia and its arch enemy Iran are fighting a proxy war
in Yamen and elsewhere in the region. Palestinian cause is up in the air as countries
in the Gulf have chosen to pursue their national interest over that of
Palestine, and are certainly forging strategic partnership with Israel.
In the Horn of Africa, some positive changes have
emerged. Ethiopia and Eritrea have signed peace agreement. Also Somalia,
Eritrea and Ethiopia have forged a trilateral agreement that entails security,
defense and economic cooperation. The era of TPLF and its divisive policy is
over. In the meantime, Hassan Al-Bashir
is overthrown and is in jail for corruption charges.
On the other hand Kenya is nervous on the new
development because its role in the region is shrinking as Ethiopia’s interest
has shifted. More importantly, the
looming instability in Ethiopia is of prime concern to the Horn of Africa and
to the wider East African communities.
Anarchy and disarray has always dominated international
politics. Somalia has to be on guard to secure its survival. It needs a proactive
diplomacy that could devise a strategy to sustain its national interest.
Somalia should do?
Two foreign policy matters require immediate attention
and overhaul. Commitment to the regional peace and development should be a priority
for Somalia. But this should be done by either demanding IGAD to reform or quit
from the organization. Somalia cannot survive with IGAD as is now. Just
recently the Secretary General of IGAD elevated the status of Mr. Mohamed Ali
Guyo, a Kenyan national not only as the Special Envoy for Somalia, but also for
Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, while there is no single Somali national serving at
the executive level. Very strategic indeed. It must be understood that Kenya
though it does not border with Red Sea and Gulf of Adan has managed to position
itself as the main driver of the new Red Sea and Gulf of Aden initiatives. This
is a slap in the face for countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan who
hail from the Red sea and Gulf of Adan.
There is a growing frustration among IGAD member
states regarding the way IGAD is hijacked. Countries like Sudan, South Sudan,
Eritrea, Somalia and even the new Ethiopia sees IGAD as a regional institution that
failed to deliver its mission. Somalia needs to spearhead a diplomatic campaign
aimed at either reforming IGAD or pushing for the creation of a new regional block,
a block of the willing. Obviously Djibouti will not be part of this change at
least at the beginning because it hosts IGAD, therefore, Somalia should remain
committed to prioritize its strategic interest without alienating Djibouti.
If reform is denied, it is our national survival to drive
the diplomacy for a new regional block that excludes hostile countries. Our
differences with Kenya is widening. Somali
nationals entertaining Kenya’s divide and rule policy for their personal gain
are leaving behind a terrible legacy, a legacy of national treason. Anyone
undermining Kenya’s soft occupation in Somalia is in denial. Kenya has
partnered with other hostile countries to dismantle Somali National unity and
is devising a political strategy to take over our land and sea. They will use
the likes of Madoobe to destroy the aspiration of the future generations.
Aiding a foreign entity at the expense of Somali
national interest has been the political platform of the past several decades. Unfortunately,
the power struggle in Somalia is guided by a personal greed and has had major
repercussions to the security, development and survival of this nation. The
problem touches the nature of our deep political division. Somalia’s current leadership
should commit to mobilize the public against external and internal axis of
evils that is threatening our great nation.
We ought to pursue a foreign policy that purely
defends Somalia’s national interest. Time has come to call a spade a spade and
IGAD, a dysfunctional organization that often serves as a political instrument
to meddle in the internal affairs of Somalia and South Sudan.
The new block should focus establishing closer
economic ties, and common security and defense strategies. Keeping in mind that
the region has become a battleground for geopolitical struggle. Our existence
is interdependent and only through collective strategy we can mitigate all
threats facing the region.
The second foreign policy change that is way overdue
is what to do with Israel. The notion
that Arab countries are friends or brothers with Somalia is a fantasy of the
past. Indeed some Arab countries have pursued policies that are detrimental to
the stability of Somalia. The question whether Somalia should establish
diplomatic relations with Israel is not a matter of debate, but a matter of
time only. Historically, Somalia never had a direct confrontation with Israel,
but our policies always remained supportive of Palestinians because of
conviction of their plight. Nevertheless, countries have interest, but no
eternal friendship. Considering the current reality in the Middle East, and the
fact Somalia is a victim of the geopolitical infighting between GCC member
states, it will be unwise to stick with the same arguments of the past. Relationships
are shaped and guided solely by the interest of the country. As the regional
interests diverted, the search of a balanced diplomacy that enhances the status
of Somalia internationally should be adapted.
Diplomatic pragmatism calls for pragmatic solutions; it is time for
Somalia to seriously consider establishing friendly relationship with Israel
without compromising its long standing moral position of the two states