In a charged address at a Minneapolis hotel, Representative Ilhan Omar claimed an unprecedented influence over U.S. policy regarding the Somaliland-Ethiopian Naval Base Agreement. Omar, facing increased scrutiny due to her recent removal from the Congressional Foreign Relations Committee, stirred further controversy by referring to Somalilanders as “Somali imposters” These blatantly racist remarks, delivered with fervent nationalism, have prompted concerns about her suitability in handling international matters.
During her speech, Representative Omar boldly stated, “The United States Government will do what I tell them to do about it,” referring to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The context of her removal from the Foreign Relations Committee adds an extra layer of concern, with critics questioning whether her statements are fueled by unchecked nationalism rather than a nuanced understanding of international relations.
Omar’s passionate plea for confidence in the Somali diaspora in the U.S. took on a distinct nationalistic tone. Emphasizing, “It’s the confidence that we need to have in ourselves as Somalis,” she asserted that as long as she is in the United States Congress, no other country will take Somalia’s waters, and the United States will not support actions she deems as theft.
In an unusual congratulatory note to Somalian President Hassan Sh Mohamoud for opposing the MoU, Omar proclaimed, “Somalia is Somali, Somalia is one, we are brothers, and our lands are indivisible.” Her reference to “missing lands that we should be getting back,” including the Northern Kenyan territory of NFD and the Ethiopian Somali region, echoes back to the irredentism of the dictatorial regime of Siad Barre, which contributed to the downfall of the Somali Republic.
It’s noteworthy that Ilhan Omar’s apparent adherence to the destructive Somali ideology is linked to the late dictator Siad Barre, under whose regime Omar’s father served. Barre’s brutal dictatorship was marked by egregious human rights violation that culminated in the massacre of tens of thousands of Somalilanders by the very regime whose Omar father has served, raising concerns about Omar’s ties to a dark chapter in Somalia’s history.
Omar’s controversial statements, along with her recent removal from the Foreign Relations Committee, have fueled skepticism about her commitment to diplomatic prudence and nuanced foreign policy. Critics argue that the Congresswoman’s unchecked nationalism may jeopardize the principles of gratitude and loyalty expected from a public figure who sought refuge in the United States. The ongoing scrutiny surrounding Omar’s actions and statements raises important questions about her role in shaping U.S. foreign policy.