July 16, 2009

HARRISONBURG—Today in his weekly “Strategic Interests” column for the World Defense Review, Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, argues that amid the worsening security situation in Somalia, “an example already exists of the emergence of a stable and peaceful Somali state: the Republic of Somaliland” which “illustrates how a [political] process that is viewed as legitimate and supported by the populace can also address the international community’s interests about issues ranging from humanitarian concerns to maritime piracy to transnational terrorism.”

After reviewing the further weakening in recent days of the “Transitional Federal Government” (TFG) as well as Somaliland’s political progress from its declaration of renewed independence in 1991 to the elections scheduled for September 27, 2009, Dr. Pham contends:

Whatever their shortcomings, the people of Somaliland have demonstrated over the course of nearly two decades a dogged commitment to peacefully resolving their internal conflicts, rebuilding their society, and forging a democratic constitutional order. Their achievements to date are nothing short of remarkable in subregion as challenging as the Horn of Africa, especially when one considers the lack of international recognition under which they labor. It is not only prejudicial to our interests, but also antithetical to our ideals, to keep this oasis of stability hostage to the vicissitudes of the conflict which the rest of the Somali territories are embroiled rather than to hold it up as an example of what the others might aspire to—and could readily achieve if they weren’t so busy fighting over the decayed carcass of a dead state and the resources which the international community stubbornly continues to throw at it in hopes of reanimating the corpse.

To read the full text of the article, “ Somaliland: What Somalia Could Be,” click here.