It’s not new for a country that has recently achieved its independence to plunge into chaotic bloody civil war, or initiate policies that are hostile to the country it separated from. A good and recent example of this is South Sudan, which became independent from Sudan in 2011. No sooner than South Sudan left the Sudanese Republic than disputes began to emerge with Sudan over crucial natural gas supplies, prices and pipelines. Worst at all, the country plunged into bloody civil war that is still raging today, where civilians are get killed along ethnic and religious lines. The various new militias are raping, killing and maiming at will.
This scenario can unfortunately be compared to Somaliland which if recognized as an independent nation could have detrimental effects on the itself and the wider region. First of all, Somaliland remains an unstable and unrecognized breakaway region divided along clan-lines. Half of the population support and say they are part of Somalia while the other half are divided on the issue, only a minority are hardcore secessionist. Luckily for Somaliland, no nation came to recognize it. The reason being is largely to preserve the territorial integrity of Somalia and a fear that this autonomous region might descend into chaos along clan lines.
The Relevance to Somaliland
Since the unilateral declaration of independence from Somalia, Somaliland has achieved very little in delivering basic infrastructure. Infrastructure is dilapidated as a lack of educational facilities and water shortages in even the largest cities of Somaliland continue.
Somaliland is also in constant conflict with Khatumo State which claims the region of Sool, Sanaag. Recently, clashes over a well-holes took place between clans from both entities resulting in high human and material loss on both sides. Some analysts assert that – similar to that of South Sudan – Somaliland will descend into perpetual civil war if the world community recognized it an state.
After 2007, a no war, no peace relationship has reigned over Somaliland and Khatumo State which is allied to the Federal Government of Somalia. However, a new development is likely to change things for the better. The International Community has decided to support the fragile Somali Government by injecting millions of dollars into the capital Mogadishu to enhance its security, boost investment in critical infrastructure like the energy sector and road construction. A reliable working government in Mogadishu would likely evaporate the one clan dream in Somaliland and ensure the territorial integrity of Somalia.
One major difference is that Somaliland unlike South Sudan has no proven oil and natural gas. The regions that contain oil is disputed with Khatumo State, another region like Somaliland that are allied with the Federal Government of Somalia.
Finally, any move to recognize Somaliland as independent from Somalia has serious implications for Ethiopian national security and survival of the Ethiopian state since more than 12 ethnicities in Ethiopia wants to separate from Ethiopia. The precedence set by a move for independence in Somaliland would therefore be a mistake with regional repercussions.