By Dr. Suleiman Walhad
March 2nd, 2023
We cannot actually compare the United Nations Organization and the League of Nations. They are, indeed, differing institutions dancing to differing tunes. The League of Nations was a league of some nations and not a league of all the nations while the United Nations Organization almost includes every nation. The countries that did not join the League of Nations included the United States of America, while some members only joined for a brief period and left membership soon after. Germany and the Soviet Union were not even allowed to join. On the contrary, the United Nations Organization is open for all sovereign nations of the world to join and today encompasses some 196 members of which one hundred and Ninety-three are sovereign nations while three are observer nations on their way to becoming full members.
The main reason the league of Nations failed was basically absence of very powerful nations and international relations of member countries conflicting with the league’s requirements of collective security. In the end it had to die for it was unable to reconcile with the needs of most nations of the world at the time. It was replaced by the United Nation Organization which stood well against many tough situations in maintaining peace among nations of the world. However, it appears to be on the way out as many nations no longer trust the organization as a neutral organization. It is seen by some as an instrument of some countries to coerce other countries and the way things are going such as the Ukraine war, countries are drifting apart, and the organization appears to be on its dying throngs.
They meet and never come up with generally acceptable international solutions to the problems over which they meet. The G20 summit in New Delhi of foreign ministers and the one a week earlier of their finance ministers is a perfect evidence that countries are drifting apart. The meetings of the security council and even the general assembly of the UNO are no different and this goes for all the other multi-lateral organizations that were the core of nations working together to address world matters. Today they simply look like talk shows where people argue and only say what they want to say and walk away, not even trying to reconcile with the opposing parties.
Where does this leave the Horn of Africa States? It does remain one of the main focus points of the world and this is why many countries and organizations have named special envoys to the region to support their traditional ambassadors. Traditional ambassadors report back to their foreign ministries while special envoys report back directly to the leading authorities of the countries and organizations they represent. The UN special Envoy reports back directly to the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization while the USA special envoy reports back directly top the President of the United States of America. There are special envoys from the Africa Union, China, Europe, the United Kingdom, and even Finland to the Horn of Africa States. There must be something in this region which the normal Horn African citizen is probably not aware of.
The region, in fact, faces many challenges, but what triggered the appointment of the many special envoys in the last three or four years must be related to the fact that the countries of the region appeared to be burying the hatchet and coming closer together. There were, indeed, a rapprochement among Ethiopia and Eritrea and Somalia and even the conflict between Eritrea and Djibouti was being cooled off. Is this related to this rapprochement, which seems to be cooling off now or some other factors unknown at present? The region straddles the important waterway of the Suez Canal, Babel El Mandeb, Gulf of Aden, the Somali Sea and the Indian Ocean, but these were always there and nothing new happened to warrant appointment of so many special envoys to the region. It must be the rapprochement which triggered the moves.
Nevertheless, since the UNO and its many multilateral organizations have just become talking points without any real substance coming of them, perhaps it is good time for the Horn of Africa States (HAS) region of Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti, to protect their collective security together in this exceedingly harsh world political situations where the big countries are no longer on speaking terms. A HAS summit would be a good idea to be organized to address the common security issues of the region, including the GERD and the region’s waterways.