Friday, October 28, 2011


so basically the kenyans are trying to carve out a new somali de facto state in the south. i doubt if it will work. (because it is being imposed by non-somalis and because the ethiopians are not on board with the project) but it does raise the issue of whether a break-up of somalia is the ultimate solution to the endless civil war.

the relative success of somaliland and puntland in bringing peace to their respective corners of somalia, has made me wonder whether the international community shouldn't just recognize their governments and make them officially independent. the rest of the country is divided under the control of different local warlords, including the shabaab in the south, so international recognition of the two states in the north would give other regions the incentive to prove they can create an island of stability and peace in exchange for international recognition.

if more regions follow suit and become independent, it would also shrink the total area of lawlessness, and take away the largest prize in the conflict: control over mogadishu. mogadishu is a ruined city. it's only value is the fact that it is internationally recognized as the capital, so whichever clan controls it can claim to have the right to rule the entire country. if regional independence is permitted, then the various warlords might be satisfied with controlling their own region where their own clan is dominant, rather than all converging on the capital.

the international community tends to be pretty adverse to recognizing any changes to africa's colonial-drawn borders. it has only recognized changes to those borders twice: when eritrea succeeded from ethiopia in 1990 and when the republic of south sudan became independent this year. (and the former was really just a return to an earlier version of colonial borders). the fear is that if you let one place mess with its borders, then everywhere else will try to mess with their own borders, leading to chaos and civil war across the continent. but that didn't happen when eritrea and south sudan became independent, and a blind commitment to the current borders is arguably making the tragedy of somalia worse.