As is often the case, I sometimes hold off on writing a Somaliland update and then find out it becomes much larger than it was originally intended to be. In today’s update we have some further information about the Chinese oil deal that was negotiated in the recent state visit to China with Ethiopia and China . Additionally, we have an update about Somaliland athletes and their success, often in playing for England. Finally, we have a couple of news items about Somaliland’s foreign policy interests, including a visit between Somaliland’s Foreign Minister and three US Congressmen.
PetroTrans Fortunate Chinese Company In Somaliland Oil Exploration
With recent natural gas finds in Tanzania, oil finds in Uganda, and the known oil wealth of South Sudan in the region, PetroTrans, a Chinese company, has made agreements with both the Somaliland and Ethiopian national governments . In the deal PetroTrans will expand the port at Berbera, add a refinery, and build a natural gas/oil pipeline to Ethiopia, and also transportation infrastructure. Somaliland hopes that the project will provide thousands of jobs and also encourage other investment in its infrastructure, resources, and strategic location. Ethiopia, the dominant military power in the Horn of Africa, has at least a couple of political reasons to support Somaliland: Somaliland offers friendly access to the coast, giving it options other than Djibouti, and also a strong and viable independent Somaliland state weakens the threat of Somali irredentism in the Ogaden region. China gets access to the natural resources it has a ravenous appetite for, and Somaliland gets jobs and investments. Everyone wins, at least among those three nations. There should be more updates on this as more information becomes available.
British Somalilander Wins Men’s 5000m World Championship
Just a week after narrowly missing out on the gold at the Men’s 10000m World Championship, British Somalilander athlete Mo Farah won the gold in the Men’s 5000m World Championship . Last year, in 2010, Mo Farah won the double gold in both events at the World Championships. As a racer, he has to be considered among the favorites for both events at next year’s 2012 Summer Olympics in London, given his performances in recent years. But despite the fact that he is a well-known long distance runner, the fact that he is a British Somalilander is less well known. The fact that he races for Britain rather than for Somaliland is a bit of a disappointment for his homeland, but it demonstrates that Somalilanders would rather race for their former colonial empire than for their erstwhile nation of Somalia, a fact that is full of importance for the politics of sports.
But Mo Farah is far from the only notable Somaliland athlete (though he is perhaps the most famous one). A group of British Somaliland soccer players is on a summer tour of Somaliland in the first tour of the British Somaliland diaspora team in their homeland, against local Somaliland soccer teams . The hope is for British Somalilanders to feel a greater bond with their homeland, to keep the feelings of belonging as Somalilanders alive for those of Somaliland descent in the United Kingdom. Despite the fears many people have about the safety of life in the Horn of Africa, the parents of the teenage Somaliland diaspora players
were extremely supportive of their going to their homeland to play against teens from Somaliland in six regions. Here’s hoping it was a successful tour. Somaliland’s atheletes tend to play on a low profile given the low profile of the nation they belong to.
Successful Foreign Speech At The International Republican Institute
Somaliland Foreign Minister Dr. Mohamed Abdullahi Omar had a successful speech at the International Republican Institute (IRI) where he compared the very similar circumstances between the case for South Sudan and Somaliland independence . He also highlighted the successes Somaliland has had in fighting against piracy and developing the Somaliland private sector as well as holding free and fair national elections (a rarity in that part of the world). On a more cautionary note, he also reminded the world that Somaliland’s success in overcoming the massive drought that has become a Somali humanitarian disaster are not sustainable without foreign aid. This is a problem in general, that Somaliland’s low international profile makes development very difficult and hard to sustain, but at least that message is out in public as far as foreign affairs analysts are concerned.
Somaliland Foreign Minister Meets With Three US Congressmen
During a recent state visit to Washington DC, Somaliland Foreign Minister Dr. Mohamed Abdullahi Omar met with three members of the United States Congress: Donald Payne, Chris Smith, and Keith Ellison . Donald Payne is a very liberal Democrat who has represented the 10th Congressional District of New Jersey since 1989 . Chris Smith is a Republican Congressman from the 4th Congressional District of New Jersey, and has served in the US House of Representatives since 1981 . Keith Ellison is a very radical Progressive (and Muslim) Democrat serving Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. I’m glad to see that the foreign policy efforts were bi-partisan, at least. It’s nice to see at least one Republican show some interest in Somaliland and not leave the field to radical leftists.