Is Somaliland a Potential US Security Partner?

Stars & Stripes and the Somaliland flag

A paper by US Naval War College student urges the United States Government to recognise Somaliland, writes Liban Ahmad

Next May Somaliland will have celebrated the 28th anniversary   of unilaterally seceding from Somalia. Any news that could boost the chance to secure diplomatic recognition will please Somalilanders.

A paper by a former Naval War College student urges the United States Government to recognise Somaliland. Geoffrey R. Latimer, who earned MA in Defence and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College this year bases his argument on the potential of Somaliland as US security partner. According to Latimer, the status of Somaliland as constitutional democracy buttresses its secession argument and its potential as a security partner of the United States in the Horn of Africa.

Stars & Stripes and the Somaliland flag

Additional advantage to Somaliland’s quest for secession lies, according to  Latimer, in ” the current African Union (AU) legal climate favors Somaliland’s claim.” Latimer does not back up this assertion with a documentary evidence from AU. His source is a 2006 International Crisis Group paper Somaliland: Time for African Union LeadershipThe African Union peacekeepers troops are in Somalia to protect and build the capacity of the Federal Government of Somalia.  The AU charter supports the sovereignty claim of Somalia over Somaliland.  This is the policy USA and EU countries refer to when discussing the Somaliland’s claim that it is no longer a part of SomaliaThe United States normally when it comes to recognizing states in Africa will consult with the African Union, and the integrity of the state of Somalia is an important precept for the African Union“, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy said in an answer on US policy on Somaliland.

A UN Map of Somalia accompanies the paper. A part of the territory Somaliland claims as a part and parcel of the ex-British Somaliland is now designated as disputed territories. Latimer has not touched on the territorial dispute between Somaliland and Puntland, talks between Somaliland and successive Mogadishu-based government (the former Transitional Government and the current Federal Government of Somalia). The Dual Track policy the United States adopted in 2010 hardly gets a mention in the paper.  The U. S. government terminated the Dual Track policy   in 2012 when a permanent government had replaced the former Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.  As a secessionist de facto state, Somaliland  stands a better chance to secede from Somalia only through a permission from the parent state – Somalia. At the Heritage Institute for Policy States Forum for Ideas in Djibouti,participants from Hargeysa and Mogadishu agreed the deadlock does not serve anyone’s interest. Latimer’s paper papers over political hurdles the U.S. government will face should it recognise Somaliland, and pays no attention to  Somalia’s history of territorial disputes with neighbouring countries.

By: Liban Ahmad,Horndiplomat Political Analyst

© Horn Diplomat 2018

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