Somalia and Somaliland, which have been locked in a decades-long standoff over Somaliland’s 1991 claim of independence and Mogadishu’s rejection of it, are talking again. Previous efforts at dialogue have repeatedly failed, with both sides fundamentally at odds over Somaliland’s claim to sovereignty. This impasse, in turn, has bled into disputes over territory, the management of resources and security cooperation. Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has worked to cajole Somalia’s President Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” and Somaliland President Muse Bihi to come back to the table, as have U.S. and EU officials. In a surprise move, the two leaders convened in the Djiboutian capital on 14 June.… Seguir leyendo »
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The election of Somalia’s new President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo offers the country’s international partners a new opportunity to step up efforts in advancing peace and stability in Somalia as well as the wider Horn of Africa. Yet the hopes of a stable future for war-torn Somalia may be short lived if the fraught regional dynamic, in particular the mistrust felt by regional powers Ethiopia and Kenya, are not effectively addressed.
Farmajo’s near-landslide election victory on 8 February is without parallel. Although the eruptions of joy across the Somali-speaking Horn and the shared jubilation of citizens and soldiers in Mogadishu is rightly giving way to more sober assessments, the view that a seismic shift has occurred will be difficult to ignore.… Seguir leyendo »
On 26 October, about more than 50 heavily-armed Somali Islamic State (IS) fighters seized Qandala, a sparsely populated town in Somalia’s Puntland federal state on a rugged mountainous coastal strip overlooking the Gulf of Aden. It was a small, but highly symbolic, step forward for the group and demonstrates again how armed extremists exploit state disorder and local tensions to develop safe havens and rebuild after otherwise debilitating defeats. Unless Puntland treats this threat seriously and resolves internal tensions like that in the Qandala area and conflicts with neighbouring federal states, IS in Somalia could grow in strength and destabilise much larger parts of Somalia.… Seguir leyendo »