11 July 2010

Rare Haven of Stability in Somalia Faces a Test

In many ways Somaliland is already a state. The autonomous region in north-west Somalia has its own military, currency, borders and national identity. It is also a functioning democracy in a less-than democratic region. While its neighbors in the Horn of Africa struggle with conflict and misrule, Somaliland has held three sets of peaceful national elections. Despite its successes, however, no other countries have recognized Somaliland as an independent state, and the government does not benefit from international aid. For now, this "haven of stability" is stuck in the grey area between autonomous region and sovereign state.


Many people here worry that if Somaliland's governing party, UDUB, tries to hold on to power illegitimately, the well-armed populace (this is still part of Somalia, after all) will rise up and Somaliland's nearly two decades of peace could disappear in a cloud of gun smoke.




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