The news I tend to get about Somaliland tends to come in waves, and the news I got last night was no different. There were two separate, and intriguing updates. The first is an eloquent letter from a supporter of Somaliland independence who happens so sit in an interesting place–in the British House of Lords. The second bit of news is a very obscure but interesting two-step process for international recognition of Somaliland by Pakistan that Pakistan has been pursuing for some time and wishes to continue.
Friends In High Places
The ever-helpful Somaliland247 blog has provided an eloquent letter from Lord Anderson of Swansea, a former Labour MP (member of Parliament for non-British readers) who is now a peer in the British House of Lords. Lord Anderson appeals for England to accept Somaliland as a full member of the British Commonwealth, a place Somaliland wishes to have, and notes that the feared divisions of African countries that were thought to result from the recognition of Somaliland are happening anyway, even without such recognition. Currently Libya faces a conflict that could very easily result in the partition of Libya into at least two separate states (based on the main cities of Tripoli and Benghazi). Ethiopia lost Eritrea in the early 1990’s. South Sudan’s independence will be recognized by the international community this coming June . Cote d’Ivoire currently has a split between its northern and southern halves that could easily result in partition. Accepting the independence of Somaliland from the asabiya black hole that is Somalia is merely recognizing reality, as the precedent for secession within African nations has already been set .
As Lord Anderson’s letter is worth reading in full, those people who would like to check it out on Somaliland247 are welcome to do so. Here’s hoping that something can be done in Her Majesty’s Government to get the ball rolling on recognizing Somaliland independence. It would be rather embarrassing for Great Britain to be caught flat-footed by a world becoming increasingly more willing to cast aside fallacious arguments about the importance of preserving failed states from legitimate separatist movements. If a nation cannot maintain a successful national government (like Somalia or Belgium ), the international community has no standing to maintain the legal fiction of unity where none exists in fact. Here’s hoping enough people realize this and act upon it, for the sake of the people of Somaliland.
A Pakistani Two-Step
The other bit of news from Somaliland247 comes a bit out of left-field. The second unusual letter of the evening came from Pakistan’s advisor on Consular Affairs, a fellow named Mr. Shafiq Ahmed Qureshi, who invokes Muslim solidarity to renew efforts for a two-step process for Pakistani recognition of Somaliland independence . Step one is for Somaliland’s new administration to continue the efforts of the previous administration to open up a Somaliland Trade Office is Islamabad (the capital of Pakistan), as was agreed upon in 2009 . Step two is for Pakistan to recognize the independence of Somaliland.
It would seem that this process reflects a quid pro quo–in that Pakistan is willing to great the diplomatic support Somaliland is looking for in exchange for trade that benefits Pakistan (presumably this is in prime Somaliland beef, though it could be in other resources as well). So long as trade with Somaliland appears profitable (something that is reasonable to guess by the recent interest of China and other nations in establishing relations with Somaliland), they are willing to increase the diplomatic profile of Somaliland. Here’s hoping that trend continues.