Normalise Somaliland's Recognition

Since its liberation in 1991 after a brutal struggle, Somaliland has showcased remarkable self-reliance, democracy, and peace in a region typically marked by turmoil. Its unique history lays a solid foundation for its legally uninterrupted independence, offering a beacon of hope in the Horn of Africa. This region is in desperate need of a role model, and the question arises: while not perfect, why does the world deny it when such a role model has been stable for over three decades?

Often, the US State Department views the failed state of Somalia as the only contrast to Al-Shabab and not Somaliland. The fight against Al-Shabab remains a critical concern for global security and, therefore, should responsibly place Somaliland in a strategic position as an unwavering ally. Formal recognition of Somaliland is a strategic necessity that can bolster efforts to combat terrorism by backing two horses against Al-Shabab instead of just one. The international community's hesitation, mischaracterising the Somaliland case as a secession, overlooks the reality that its governance model, as a rare Muslim democracy, has already served as a deterrent against extremism.

The apparent oversight of the United States towards Somaliland's situation has been starkly highlighted by its response to Ethiopia's impending recognition of Somaliland. Senior US officials have voiced concerns about the potential impact on the ongoing struggle against Al-Shabab. However, there's an alternative perspective to consider:

The progression of the accord between Somaliland and Ethiopia continues unabated. Hence, adopting a prudent strategy to normalise Somaliland's recognition becomes imperative. This approach not only prevents Ethiopia from being isolated but also safeguards the Ethiopia-Somalia relationship from deteriorating to a level that could adversely affect the concerted efforts against Al-Shabab on both fronts.

Moreover, the ethnonationalism seen in Somalia, now even echoed by figures like Ilhan Omar, contrasts starkly with the inclusive, democratic ethos of Somaliland. Besides terrorism, Somalia grapples with clan-based politics and identity-driven conflicts, whereas Somaliland has emerged as a model of stability and governance with its constitution that forbids clan-based parties or regions. This divergence is critical, emphasising the need for recognising Somaliland to honour its democratic achievements and offer a counter-narrative to the divisive tribalism and ethnonationalism fuelling conflicts in Somalia and beyond.

To add insult to injury, the US State Department continues to spend billions on the Somalian government, even though the collapse of Afghanistan serves as a grim reminder of the consequences of favouring fake and weak governments over accountable allies. Mogadishu, with its fragile political landscape, faces the risk of a similar fate to Kabul if the world fails to act. By embracing Somaliland, the world can foster a beacon of stability in the region, setting a precedent for governance that upholds the principles of resilience and democratic integrity.

In an era where religious and ethnonational extremism looms large, Somaliland stands as a testament to the achievements possible through perseverance and a commitment to democratic values. As Somaliland continues to lead by example, it's time for the international community to follow Ethiopia’s lead.