New Country Watch List

Thanks to some online sleuthing I found a person who, like me, has a very powerful intellectual interest in de facto states (though it would appear as if English is a second language) [1]. So, today I would like to take a look at his list and see what separatist movements are judged by him (it is a rather subjective set of statistics, so for me the number is not as important as the range of probability) as having the best short-term and long-term chance of success.

These Nations Are (Probably) Coming, Whether You Like Them Or Not

A few of the nations are given extremely high chances of recognition: Palestine (60% short term, and I think this estimate is too late, and 90% long term) and Kosovo (85% short term, 98% long term). Bougainville (most famous for its plants) is another area with a high chance at secession (50% short term, 60% long term), in which case it might join the Solomon Islands, with whom it shares an ethnic and cultural history. Somaliland has somewhat low stats for this particular band, but the author probably is not as familiar with their existence as a de facto state (50% short term, 65% long term). Western Sahara has an even better chance at eventual recognition (40% short term, 75% long term). Additionally, the overseas French territory of New Caledonia has a strong chance of 30% short term and 65% long term chances of independence, enough to put it on the immediate watch list. These six nations rank as the top nations on my “state watch” for international recognition. If any of these six nations were recognized by the United Nations, it would not surprise me in the least. I expect Palestine and Kosovo to leave this list and join the list of UN nations very soon (by the end of the year), and Western Sahara, Somaliland, New Caledonia, and Bouganville are perennial contenders for international recognition with very strong de facto state or independence plebiscite status:

1.Kosovo (98% chance)
2.Palestine (90% chance)
3.Western Sahara (75% chance)
4.Somaliland (65% chance)
5.New Caledonia (65% chance)
6.Bougainville (60% chance)

Don’t Be Surprised By These Nations

The second tier of nations includes those that have over a 30% long-term of becoming a nation. These areas have strong and notable separatist movements, and some of them have attracted my interest for the last five to fifteen years when I first became interested in contemporary secession movements (like Quebec and Greenland). These nations are not likely to join the United Nations any time soon, but a plebiscite is always possible, and it would be best not to be too surprised if some of these nations join the United Nations or become part of another nation. Included in this group of nations is Northern Cyprus (30% short term, 45% long term), the Srpska Republic (the Serbian half of Bosnia, which has a strong chance of joining with Serbia, and a 40 % short term and 45% long term chance of successful secession from Bosnia and Herzegovina). Denmark has a couple of strong long-term secession candidates: Greenland (30% short term, 55% long term) and the Faroe Islands (5% short term, 35% long term). Greenland is almost ready to join the top tier of candidates, making it an extremely viable nation with its oil wealth, large amounts of fresh water, and low population. The Chagos Islands are a surprisingly strong candidate with 5% short term and 45% (and falling) long-term chances of success as an indepenent nation. For those who have never heard of the Chagos Islands, their sad history makes for a cautionary tale of imperialism and Cold War politics [2]. Beyond that, Great Britain has a slew of territories with moderately high chances of long-term secession: Anguilla (1% short term, 35% long term), Bermuda (1% short term, 35% long term), Virgin Islands (1% short term, 30% long term), Cayman Islands (1% short term, 30% long term), Turks & Caicos (5% short term, 40% long term), Isle of Man (1% short term, 30% long term), Channel Islands (1% short term, 30% long term), Wales (2% short term, 30% long term), Gibraltar (2% short term, 30% long term), Scotland (5% short term, 35% long term), and Northern Ireland (5% short term, 40% long term).

Nor is the United Kingdom the only European nation which has such concerns. The Netherlands has moderately high chances of seccession movements long-term in Aruba & Curacao (5% short term, 35% long term) as well as Sint Maarten (5% short term, 30% long term). France has an even worse slew of potential nations than the Netherlands, with two nations threatening to join New Caledonia in the top tier: French Polynesia (20% short term, 50% long term chances) and Wallis and Fortuna Islands (10% short term, 50% long term). Besides this there are some long-term secession movements in Martinique, Guadalupe, and French Guiana (2% short term, 40% long term), the Marquessas (5% short term, 30% long term), Reunion and Mayotte (2% short term, 30% long term). Spain has some long-term issues with both the Basque region and Caledonia (2% short term, 35% long term chances of separation).

Even little Moldova has a strong contender for separation: the de facto state of Transnistria (30% short term, 40% long term). Chechnya is a strong contender to be free from Russia (only 10% short term, but 55% long term), and so are Dagastan and Tatarstan (10% short term, 40% long term) as well as Ingushetia (5% short term, 35% long term), Kalingrad and Eastern Siberia (2% short term, 30% long term). Ukraine has a couple of contenders as well (Donetsk and Crimea, with 10% short term and 35% long term chances of separation). Continuing our theme of separatist post-Soviet disaster areas, the Caucusus region has some areas (other than Chechnya) that are very close to reaching the first tier. Georgia has two regions that have a better than 50% chance of legal separation (Abkhazia with 40% short term and 55% long term chances and South Ossetia with 35% short term and 55% long term chances). The Nagorno-Karabakh republic has very strong chances of eventual separation from Azerbaijan (40% short term and 50% long term), and even Nakhichevan is an eventual contender for independence from Azerbaijan (10% short term, 35% long term).

Moving to the Middle East, Kurdistan has a pretty fair long-term bid for independence as well (5% short term, 45% long term odds for recognized independence from Iran, Turkey, and Syria, though those odds jump dramatically if Syria falls apart on ethnic lines, as is possible). Iraqi Kurdistan has even better odds of independence at 25% short term and 50% long term. Keep an eye on whether Iraq is able to hold together as a federation, because if it starts falling apart the Kurds go free. The Shias State (aka the Shiite Arab state of Southern Iraq) also has a strong chance of eventual freedom, 15% short term and 40% long term. South Yemen also has a very strong separatist bid, and it has had a long history as a nation of its own (30% short term, 45% long term—even higher if the problems in Yemen continue).

Moving to South Asia, Baluchistan and Balawaristan have a decent chance at eventual separation from Pakistan (5% short term and 30% long term), and Kashmir has fair odds of eventual independence from both Pakistan and India (5% short term and 35% long term). Three regions have strong odds of eventual recognized indpendence from China, Taiwan (which, like Somaliland and some of the other contenders, is already a functioning de fato state, but it has 50% eventual odds of international recognition (though only 2% short term), while Tibet and Xinjiang have pitiful 1% short term but decent 40% chances of long-term freedom). Of Burma’s problematic states both the Shan State (5% short term and 35% long term) and Wa State (5% short term, 30% long term) have decent odds at freedom.

Moving to the islands of the Pacific Mindanao also has reasonable odds at long-term independence from the Philippines (5% short term, 35% long term). Indonesia has a couple of very strong separatist movements in Aceh (5% short term, 40% long term) and West Papua (15% short term, 50% long term). The Solomon Islands have an obscure contender in Malatia (5% short term, 35% long term chances). Both the Cook Islands (2% short term, 40% long term) and Tokelau (5% short term, 40% long term) have strong chances at eventual independence from New Zealand. And the Northern Marianas Islands (15% short term, 50% long term) and American Samoa (10% short term, 40% long term) have very strong separatist chances from the Uinted States, as does Guam (5% short term, 40% long term).

Moving right along to North America, Quebec has a near coin-flip chance at eventual freedom from Canada (25% short term, 45% long term), while Puerto Rico has a strong eventual separatist bid from the United States if it is unable to enter into the United States with full statehood (10% short term, 40% long term). Tiny Nevis has a very strong separatist bid (20% short term, 50% long term), and I’ve personally signed their online petition supporting a plebescite for freedom. In South America, Bolivia has a couple of strong contenders (Santa Cruz, with a 20% short term and 35% long term chance of independence, and Los Llanos, with a 15% short term and 30% long term chance of recognized freedom), while Easter Island has a good chance at eventual freedom from Chile (10% short term, 35% long term).

Unsurprisingly, Africa has some strong contenders for freedom as well, besides its two “star” candidates in Western Sahara and Somaliland. Eastern Libya has a good chance at freedom from Libya, especially if the transitional government falls apart post-Gaddafi (20% short term, 35% long term), and Puntland has a good long-term chance of freedom from Somalia (25% short term, 40% long term). Casamance has a good long-term bid of independence from Senegal (5% short term, 30% long term), while Tanzania has two strong indepnedence bids from Zanzibar (5% short term, 40% long term) and Pemba (5% short term, 35% long term). Darfur has very good odds at eventual freedom from Sudan (35% short term, 50% long term), while Eastern Sudan has good odds at freedom as well from Sudan (10% short term, 30% short term). The Comoros has two strong separatist bids (Anjuan at 25% short term and 40% long term and Moheli at 10% short term and 30% long term), while Western Camaroon has good odds at freedom from Camaroon (5% short term, 40% long term). Nigeria’s Niger Delta region also has a fair bid at freedom (5% short term, 30% long term) as does Bioko from Equitorial Guinea (5% short term, 35% long term), and Cabinda from Angola (5% short term, 30% long term).

Since so many separatist regions have fair chances at freedom, we have limited the second tier of strong contenders to those with 45% chances of freedom or above. Still, if any of these 17 nation get a spot on the United Nations, or any of their still more numerous fellows in the lower rankings, one should not be surprised. The United Nations could get to be a crowded place with all of these independence bids.

7. Abkhazia (55% long term chance)
8. South Ossetia (55% long term chance)
9. Greenland (55% long term chance)
10. Chechnya (55% long term chance)
11. Nagorno-Karabakh (50% long term chance)
12. Darfur (50% long term chance)
13. French Polynesia (50% long term chance)
14. Iraqi Kurdistan (50% long term chance)
15. Nevis (50% long term chance)
16. West Papua (50% long term chance)
17. Marianas Islands (50% long term chance)
18. Wallis And Fortuna Islands (50% long term chance)
19. Taiwan (50% long term chance)
20. Sprska Repulic (45% long term chance)
21. Northern Cyprus (45% long term chance)
22. Quebec (45% long term chance)
23. Chagos Islands (45% long term chance)
24. Non-Iraq Kurdistan (45% long term chance)

Finally, I would like to briefly point out those bids that have a 10% or better chance at long term success, just for completeness’ sake: Vojvodina (from Serbia, 15% chance), Sandzak (from Serbia and Montenegro, 10% chance), Istria, Dalmatia, and Krajina from Croatia (10% chance), Szekler from Romania (15% chance), Aland (from Finland, 10% chance), Saint Helena (from the UK, 10% chance), Faulkand Islands (from the UK, 15% chance), Montserrat (25% chance of freedom from the UK), Sint Eustacius (25% chance from the Netherlands), Bonaire and Saba (15% chance from the Netherlands), Saint Bartholmeny and Saint Martin (25% chance of freedom from France), the Marquessas, Reunion, and Mayotte (30% chance of freedom from France), Corsica (10% chance of freedom from France), Galicia and the Canary Islands (10% chance of freedom from Spain), Madeira (10% chance of freedom from Portugal), Gagauzia (10% chance of freedom from Moldova), Baskortostan, North Ossetia, Mary El, Yakutia, Chukotka, Sakhalin, and Primoski (20% chance of freedom from Russia), Kamchatka, Magadan, Adygeya, Balkaria, Kabardin, Karachai, and Cherkessia (15% chance of freedom from Russia), Udmurtia, Stavropol, Ingria, Karelia, Tuva, and Kalmikya (all with a 10% chance of freedom from Russia), Adharia (25% chance of freedom from Georgia), Mingrelia (10% chance of freedom from Georgia), South Azerbaijan (20% chance of freedom from Iran), West Azerbaijan, Khuzestan, Sistan-Baluchistan (15% chance of freedom from Iran), Gorno-Badakhsan (25% chance of freedom from Tajikistan), Karakalpakstan (25% chance of freedom from Uzbekistan), Mount Lebanon (15% chance of freedom from Lebanon), Assyria (10% chance of freedom from Iraq), Sharjah (25% chance of freedom from United Arab Emirates), Dubai (15% chance of freedom from United Arab Emirates), Muscat (15% chance of freedom from Oman), Socotra (20% chance of freedom from Yemen), Zaydi Shia (15% chance of freedom from Yemen), Okinowa (10% chance of freedom from Japan), Tamil State (20% chance of freedom from Sri Lanka), Hazarajat, Kandahar, and Herat (15% chance of freedom from Afghanistan), Nangahar (10% chance of freedom from Afghanistan), Pashtunistan, Hunza-Brooshal, Sindh, and Waziristan (25% chance of freedom from Pakistan), Assam (25% chance of freedom from India), Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur, and Andaman-Nicobar Islands (20% chance of freedom from India), Meghalaya (15% chance of freedom from India), Punjab, Khalistan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Arunahal Pradesh, West Bengal, Karela, Lakshadweep Islands (10% chance of freedom from India), Bangabumi and Chakma (20% chane of freedom from Bangladesh), Suvadives (15% chance of freedom from Maldives), Mahadhesi (15% chance of freedom from Nepal), Inner Mongolia and Hong Kong (20% chance of freedom from China), Macao (15% chance of freedom from China), Manchuria and Guanxi (10% chance of freedom from China), Karen, Chin, and Kachin States (25% chance of freedom from Burma), Arakan state (20% chance of freedom from Burma), Kokang (15% chance of freedom from Burma), Mon Stan, Nampam, Pangwuam (10% chance of freedom from Burma), Southern Muslim Thailand (15% chance of freedom from Thailand), Sarawak and Sabeh (25% chance of freedom from Malaysia), Cordillera (15% chance of freedom from the Philippines), West Timor and Ambon (25% chance of freedom from Indonesia), Sulawesi and East Kalimantan (20% chance of freedom from Indonesia), Riau (15% chance of freedom from Indonesia), Hela (25% chance of freedom from Papua New Guinea), Milne Bay and Bismark Islands (15% chance of freedom from Papua New Guinea), Otong Java (25% chance of freedom from Solomon Islands), Rennel & Bellona (20% chance of freedom from Solomon Islands), Rotuma Island (25% chance of freedom from Fiji), Pohnpei and Yap Islands (25% chance of freedom from Micronesia), Truk Islands & Hall Islands (20% chance of freedom from Micronesia), Vemerana (25% chance of freedom from Vanuatu), Malakua and Tafea (20% chance of freedom from Vanuatu), Banaba, Phoenix Islands, and Eastern Islands (20% chance of freedom from Kiribati), Ralik Islands (15% chance of freedom from Marshall Islands), Norfolk Island (15% chance of freedom from Australia), Christmas Island (10% chance of freedom from Australia), Niue (25% chance of freedom from New Zealand), Virgin Islands (25% chance of freedom from the United States), Alaska (!) (15% chance of freedom from the United States), Chiapas (15% chance of freedom from Mexico), Nuevo Leon & Yucatan (10% chance of freedom from Mexico), Atlantic Regions (10% chance of freedom from Nicaragua), Grenidines (10% chance of freedom from Saint Vincent and the Grenidines), Tobago (10% chance of freedom from Trinidad & Tobago), Saint Andres (15% chance of freedom from Colombia), Southern Brazil (15% chance of freedom from Brazil), Coast Region (20% chance of freedom from Ecuador), Andine Regions (20% chance of freedom from Peru), Tarija (20% chance of freedom from Bolivia), Beni and Pando (15% chance of freedom from Bolivia), Kabylia (10% chance of freedom from Algeria), Kidal (10% chance of freedom from Mali), Southwestern Somalia (20% chance of freedom from Somalia), Maakhir and Galmudug (15% chance of freedom from Somalia), Oromo State and Tigre State (25% chance of freedom from Ethiopia), Gambella and Ogaden regions (20% chance of feedom from Ethiopia), Coast Province (20% chance of freedom from Kenya), Northeastern Region (10% chance of freedom from Kenya), Blue Nile (20% chance of freedom from Sudan), Southern Kordofan & Kassalya (15% chance of freedom from Sudan), Abyei and Nuba Mountains and Beja (10% chance of feedom from Sudan), Lado (10% chance of freedom from Sudan & Uganda), Lagone Region (10% chance of freedom from Chad), Bakassi Peninsula (25% chance of freedom from Camaroon), Southern Camaroon (15% chance of freedom from Camaroon), Biafra and Ogoni (25% chance of freedom from Nigeria), Hausa (10% chance of freedom from Nigeria), Dagbon (20% chance of freedom from Ghana), Northern Regions (20% chance of freedom from Cote d’Ivoire), Katanga, Kassai, Bunda Dia Kongo (10% chance of freedom from Congo-Kinshasa), Principe (10% chance of freedom from Sao Tome & Principe), Caprivi (25% chance of freedom from Namibia), Matabeleland (10% chance of freedom from Zimbabwe), Orania and Western Cape (10% chance of freedom from South Africa), Rodrigues Island and Agalega Island (20% chance of freedom from Mauritius).

If there is one thing this above massive list of possible nations says, it is that the potential long term for separatism is massive all around the world. The encouragement of separatist movements is a bad precedent all the way around, because just about every nation is vulnerable to some kind of separatist movement. Most of these movements in this third category are not all that heated at the moment, but they may be, so it is worthwhile to at least have them on one’s radar if something prompts these problems to become more serious.

Recap

So, to recap the foregoing into a very short message: there are some nations that had better start preparing their ambassadors to the United Nations and other nations right now (Palastine and Kosovo). There are a few other nations that should be at least working on their flag designs and plans as independent states (Western Sahara, Somaliland, New Caldedonia, and Bougainville), and there are at least four other state (Greenland, Abkazia, South Ossetia, and Checnya) that have a better than 50% chance at eventual independence. There are also a whole lot more countries that need to do what is necessary to keep strong secession movements from dividing their countries. You have been warned.

[1] http://www.mherrera.org/newcountries.htm

[2] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/1005064.stm

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, Middle East, Musings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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