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“Greater Somalia” Ideology: Similarities with Fascism

By Adam Muse Jibril

Characterization of ‘’Greater Somalia Ideology’’ requires to underline three component dimensions it includes; Somali Irredentism, Clannism, and Radical Interpretation of Islam based on Sheik Ibn Taymyha version. The combination of these three parts forms the concept of exclusion and absolutism, which means anything that doesn’t agree with this absolutism is considered as Infidel. Ethnic based exclusionism has been defined as Fascism and Nazism by many Scholars included Atonio Gramsci who connected Fascism to a category of socio-economic and political system, the superstructures of which generates ideological context of fascism (Fascism Taylorism) where the ruling elite belong to political view of populism, and agree that fascism is a mass political movement that emphasizes extreme nationalism, militarism, and the supremacy of both the nation and the single powerful leader over the rights of individual citizens”. That means a totalitarian system in which, not only freedom of other opinion is forbidden, but all kinds of activities outside of the Great Leader context are excluded.

Somalia had experienced a political and social order during the Siyad Barre regime Similar in many aspects to Italian fascism led by Mussolini, the founder of the Italian Fascist Party who became the Prime Minister of Italy in 1922, where he established a totalitarian system of government. The Siyad Barre regime has raised and lived on two extreme ideological bearings “Greater Somalia Ideology” that designed unification of all Somali ethnic groups under one flag. The other extreme banners he raised were Scientific Socialism which meant establishment of a totalitarian regime of one party run by secret services. The hegemony of this ideological extremism led to a catastrophic consequence both on internal and external fronts. Internal front, the Military Junta, under Siyad Barre, turned the whole country into a tightly constrained Military Barrack under which all kinds of crimes against humanity have been committed.

External front, the Barre regime committed to change all existing conflicts, in the Horn of Africa, from simple traditional disagreements and disputes to much complex politico-religious protracted wars extended to regional and global spaces in both extent and strength, and then turned them into direct military confrontation within regional parts (Somalia and Ethiopia-Kenya) and to global conflict with the involvement of West and Soviet blocks during the cold war era

through engagement of Somali Irredentism based invasion against Ethiopia causing unimageable material destruction and countless human life.

This protracted regional war waged by Siyad Barre against neighboring nations with global involvement and devastating consequences generated three horrific events on the opposite direction of progress: Firstly, the power basis of Siyad Barre tyranny have almost broken and finally collapsed. Secondly, the majority of Somali clans decided to fight against the regime which put the beginning of the armed struggle and made the Somalis believe that Ethiopia is the only country ready to host the Somali insurgents, three main opposition organization appeared; SSDF representing Majeerteen clan, SNM representing Issagi clan, USC representing Hawiye, and SPM representing Ogden emerged out of people’s uprising. This uprising lacked National unity and, as a result was highly fragmented on clan-lines, but irrespective of their fragmentation they were able to overthrow the regime in 1991.

The collapse of the regime could not lead to national unity of the opposition because of the clan cleavage. But the Somali National Movement of Somaliland, SNM, as the most organized, and allied with its constituency declared reconstitution of the Somaliland State. The declaration of the rebirth of Somaliland state is related with the story of the relationship between Somaliland and Somalia, on one side, and the Somaliland and Ethiopia on the other side, which reflect the hard experiences suffered by Somaliland from 1960 to 1991. In1960 both Somaliland and Somalia got their independence and united under the Somali Republic, under which Somaliland had been brutally humiliated and marginalized, politically and economically. The events occurring nowadays had been shaped by the history of the eighties and nighties of the last century.

In1984, Siyad Barre’s armed forces completely ruined two big cities in Somaliland, Hargeisa and Burao, on almost the same scale of destruction which Gaza is undergoing. The Somali army also massacred hundreds of thousands of innocent people in 1984-5. Moreover, while the entire inhabitants of Hargeisa and Burao were escaping their own way to the Ethiopian borders as refugee seekers, they met indiscriminate bombardment by the Siyad Barre airforce killing and massacring thousands of innocent people. Moreover, unlike Somalian aggression, the Somaliland refugees have been warmly welcomed by both the government and people of Ethiopia. The contrast of the Somali government’s inhuman treatment to the Somaliland people, and Ethiopian support to Somaliland people created the historical events that we are witnessing today. These very events occurring nowadays among which the Memorandum of understand between Somaliland and Ethiopia would put the future roadmap towards hoisting the banner of peace, democracy, and unity for Africa, which will hopefully end all extreme and narrowminded ethnic ideologies such as Somali Irredentism, which would open the doors wildly for more peaceful future for Africa.

About the Author

Ambassador Adam Jibril Muse held various positions in Somaliland government including Representative to the United Kingdom and Ethiopia. He can be reached adamjibril47[@]gmail.com.


Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints of Somaliland Chronicle, and its staff. 

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Notice: This article by Somaliland Chronicle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Under this license, all reprints and non-commercial distribution of this work is permitted.

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