Somaliland Update: Powerful Friends, Powerful Logic

In today’s Somaliland update we have a set of pro-Somaliland independence updates from a wide variety of sources that demonstrate Somaliland’s international profile is increasing.

UKIP European Parliament Member Supports Somaliland Independence

Somaliland247 has obtained a statement from UK Indpendence Party European Parliament Member for the English Midlands, Godfrey Bloom, that the rise of Islamic fundamentalists in Yemen and the threat of the closure of the Red Sea requires that the world find support for its anti-piracy fight in Somaliland. This author could not agree more, and the statement is worth quoting in full [1]:

“On 6 June, Catherine Ashton, the EU‘s foreign policy chief, spoke to the Asia-Europe Meeting in Budapest and, among other things, she touched on the situation off the coast of Somalia, pointing out that 500 people have been imprisoned for piracy off the coast of Somalia and saying that the solution to piracy “lies on land”. It does, of course.

With the decent of Yemen and the port of Aden into chaos and with a very real risk that it will become the preserve of fundamentalists, one of the world’s most vital arteries has a distinct possibility of being cut.

So what to do? How can we help tackle the scourge of piracy and keep the Red Sea open for merchant shipping. Well, one simple way would be to recognise the country of Somaliland. A couple of weeks ago the peaceful democratic Islamic nation of Somaliland celebrated 20 years of independence. On the same day that Ashton was vapouring about things needing to be done, a Somaliland court put six pirates in prison for a total of 45 years.

Is it not time that this peaceful land was granted recognition by the international community? Not just because we morally should, but because it is in our interests to support the only part of that unhappy corner of the world that is looking forward to peace and prosperity?”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

UK-Based Overseas Development Institute Finds Hope In Somaliland Development

The UK-based Overseas Development Institute (www.odi.org.uk) recently completed a study of 24 nations to examine the key factors that led to international development. The study: Mapping Progress: Evidence For A New Development Outlook, has determined that a few key factors lead to the progress and development of nations, even those with difficult historical, geographical, and demographic challenges: effective leadership, smart policies, proper institutional foundations, and international partnerships.

The study found that Somaliland was among a small group of “surprise performers” whose progress made against daunting challenges showed that even in the most dismal of areas of the world, nations that are able to provide basic public security, improve the environment for business, and demonstrate legitimate government authority are able to overcome extremely serious challenges. The example of Somaliland’s development despite its marginal international position and its extreme poverty provides hope for other nations who struggle with terrible difficulties. Nonetheless, it also demonstrates that those nations that fail to develop and progress do so because of their own failures of leadership, wisdom, institutions, and cooperation with other nations.

Apples To Apples

A Tanzania-based political analyst has examined the case of Somaliland and has asked the (rhetorical) question as to why the international community has been so slow to recognize the independence of Somaliland when it has recognized easily the secession of nations that (unlike Somaliland) have had no historical existence as independent states [2]. This has been a frequent concern of this blog as well, especially concerning South Sudan.

Most of the arguments that Mr. Kagaruki cites for the recognition of Somaliland are very familiar to readers of this blog. Somaliland’s historical situation is much like that of Eritrea, which was granted its independence in 1991 by the international community. Somaliland additionally meets all of the definitions of the Montevideo Convention for statehood. (It is clearly not a Manchutko-type puppet state of an empire, but a legitimate nation under self-government via democratic institutions with a strong historical claim to a separate identity from the rest of anarchic Somalia via its distinct colonial history as a British colony.)

What Mr. Kagaruki does best, though, is explain the three main reasons why Somaliland desires recognition of its independence even after all these years: a desire to participate in the international community, a desire to do business with the rest of the world, and a desire to be able to sign international treaties. It is this willingness and interest in doing business, rather than engaging in pointless internecine struggles, that has made Somaliland far outstrip the rest of former Somalia in its economic and political development. For it is worldviews that are decisive in nations, rather than economic resources.

Somaliland: Now Even More Democratic

Somaliland247 reports that a Committee on political parties has returned the verdict that more than three parties will be recognized in future Somaliland elections [3]. Previously there had been limitations for only the largest three parties to be recognized, but the current Somaliland President, Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo, who campaigned on the promise of the expansion of recognized political parties, has delivered on the campaign promise as the committee he chose returned a decision saying that the will of the Somaliland people would be reflected by more political parties.

It would appear, therefore, that Somaliland’s government is heading not in the direction of an American-style two-party system, but rather in the European (and Israeli) democratic fashion of multiple parties that govern based on coalitions. Such parties tend to be more narrowly focused but also provide for the development of collaboration between those of a similar political mindset. Such a cooperative political system would appear to reflect Somaliland’s own clan-based social system and their genuine will. Whether certain parties develop strength far beyond others to become the leading parties in Somaliland politics is something that will have to be seen in the future.

[1] http://somaliland247.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/recognising-somaliland-would-boost-the-fight-against-piracy/

[2] http://somaliland247.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/why-the-international-community-does-not-recognise-somaliland/

[3] http://somaliland247.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/somaliland-committee-on-the-formation-of-more-political-parties-returns-with-yes-verdict/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in International Relations, Somaliland and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Somaliland Update: Powerful Friends, Powerful Logic

  1. Pingback: A Modest Proposal For A Plebiscite To Resolve The Status Of The Republic Of Somaliland | Edge Induced Cohesion

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