His Excellency the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi, the country’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Essa Kayd Mohamoud, and other senior officials, including the President’s personal adjutantè and personal secretary, each enthused in his own words delight in welcoming a US delegation who arrived on am announced visit to Somaliland Thursday.
Of course, following a recent historic visit the President made to the United States a few weeks ago, it was understandable that the Somaliland side did not read anything negative into the visit or from the delegation such as misnaming where they were so warmly welcomed – or expect it.
The delegation was led by Ambassador Larry Andre, representing the United States in Somalia (not the Somaliland Republic). It included, among other high military officials, General Stephen Townsend, commander of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
“Welcomed to Somaliland today General Stephen Townsend, Commander of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and Ambassador Larry Andre. Deepening Somaliland-U.S. partnership and security cooperation were among the discussions”, President Bihi tweeted soon after meeting the delegation not at his office but at the airport.
“The President of the Republic of Somaliland @musebiihi received General Stephen Townsend, Commander of U.S Africa Command(AFRICOM), US Ambassador Larry Andre and other U.S. officials in Hargeisa. Somaliland-US partnership and security cooperation were among the topics discussed,” the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs also tweeted.
The Foreign Minister himself, Dr Essa Kayd enthused afterwards that he and his government was looking ‘forward to strengthening Somaliland-US Relations and welcome the US Department of Defense to Somaliland’.
“The President of the Republic of Somaliland, H.E. Muse Bihi Abdi, welcomes today General Stephen Townsend, Commander of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), the U.S. Ambassador, Larry Andre & other senior U.S. officials. Security partnership & deepening relations were discussed,” Mubarak Thani, the personal secretary and manager of the President’s office, who is usually very careful with his words, also tweeted his take without waiting for how the delegation perceived his 31-year old democracy.
Dr Jama Musa Jama, Presidential Advisor for Europe, and the Director/Founder of the renowned Hargeysa Cultural Center went a step further by calling the reception and the visit another step toward the right path.
“The President of the Republic of Somaliland, H.E. @musebiihi, welcomes today General Stephen Townsend, Commander of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), the U.S. Ambassador, Larry Andre & other senior U.S. officials. The right path. The way to go,” he said.
The Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Abdullahi Duale, was not any less enthusiastic.
“The President of the Republic of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi, held high-level talks with senior U.S. govt. officials in Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa.SL-US relations continue to advance,” he stated in his.
But how did the United States repay the honour provided to its delegation?
Africom was quick to release the statement facsimiled below.
Its very first paragraph did not even hesitate to put Somaliland under chaotic Somalia that the US and other western nations so blindly, so inexplicably bankrolled breaking all their professed laws on corruption, accountability and democracy.
“U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command, along with the Honorable Larry André, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Somalia, met with Muse Bihi Abdi, President of Somaliland, in Hargeisa, Somalia, April 12, 2022,” the Africom statement began.
AFRICOM did not mince words. Very clear about where it and its government stood on Somaliland’s misguided trust.
“The leaders discussed expanded and enriched partnership with Somaliland, as with Federal Member States, consistent with the U.S. “single Somalia” policy and in line with Somalia’s constitution,” the command tweeted.
The informative thread of AFRICOM’s tweets tells that ‘following the meeting in Hargeisa, André and Townsend traveled to Berbera to view an airfield that U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa assessed last summer’. Berbera – of course in the US’s imaginary Somalia where none of that country’s leaders can visit or claim to do so.
“That assessment and this visit are a part of routine efforts to assess potential operating locations to be able to prepare for contingencies, exercise readiness or adjust force posture as needed,” Africom says, which intimate that the delegation was cleared by Mogadishu to visit Somaliland installations and cities.
The reference to Somaliland being in Somalia was a blow to everything that a Somaliland naively hopeful of US change of heart towards it stood for. It clearly showed that, to the US, President Bihi was in no way different from Jubbaland’s Ahmed Madobe, that of the Southwest Somalia State, Abdio Aziz Lafragareen or that of Hirshabelle, or Puntland although Somaliland was neither a signatory to the federal constitution or a participant in none of Somalia’s teetering administrations since 1991.
The statements invited Somalia media outlets and its politicians to a free-for-all field day and to hearty laughs at Somaliland’s expense.
“Following the meeting in Hargeisa, André and Townsend traveled to Berbera, northern #Somalia to view an airfield that U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa assessed last summer.” Garowe Online tweeted adding ‘northern Somalia’ to Africom’s right after the name Berbera. What else could it do since AFRICOM told everyone that the delegation was in a part of Somalia?
Because the reality is Mujahid sarah, That Somaliland is an integral part of Somali Republic. The rest is myth and delusion..
— Fouwzi A. Osman (@fouwzi) May 12, 2022
Reaction to the words and the mode that the delegation treated the topmost leaders of the country putting them at par with Somalia’s federal states governing ‘presidents, was harsh, incisive, indignant and – to a point – painfully blunt.
Not only is it a spit on the face of @musebiihi @MadaxtooyadaJSL it’s an insult to ppl of Republic of Somaliland & millions who died, to liberate this land from unratified, failed union of Somali Republic
Which ceased to exist@USAfricaCommand need to apologize &leave our country
— Sara (@genuineLander) May 12, 2022
This is shame @musebiihi you shouldn't accept such downgraded level of federal state of Somalia. How could you accept that? Where is Somaliland's pride and 30yrs of devotion for our sovereignty?
— Abdi Farah (@AbdiFar11789166) May 12, 2022
You've willingly accepted being a Somalia federal governor, betrayed the will of your people and the memory of Somaliland's fallen.
— bhlub (@thebhlub) May 12, 2022
We should be super hopeful that US is willing to work with SL, but what really should matter is at what level and what capacity. No base or Access to our National infrastructures should be granted until the US sincerely commits to engage us in many fronts
— Abbuubu Adam (@AbdiAda71980302) May 12, 2022
@musebiihi You must tell them Somaliland is not Somalia. You must make it clear for them to not hurt the sovereign state, and another suggestion is BUILD THAT WALL!. You are the Leader you must take uncomfortable decisions on behalf of your people!. No One Somalia rule. Stand up!
— Greatest Africa (@TheGreatChange1) May 12, 2022
No Recognition, No Military base. We should seek ties with #China if the #USA has complete disregarded the sovereignty of #Somaliland. This will isolate USA from the Horn of African countries as Djbouti, Ethiopia and Kenya grow stronger ties with China
— Somaliland (@SOMALIILAND) May 12, 2022