A soldier of Somalia's breakaway territory of Somaliland stands guard during an Independence day celebration parade in the capital, Hargeisa on 18 May 2016. MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB / AFP

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 »

Livestock traders chat in front of a row of camels in the livestock market of Hargeisa, the capital of the Somaliland autonomous region. (Paul Schemm for The Washington Post)

On Nov. 13, Somalilanders will vote for a new president. The campaign kicked off in dramatic fashion in October with Somaliland’s first-ever presidential debate shown live on national television, and large campaign rallies.

Here’s what you need to know:

Somaliland has a long history of elections and executive turnover

A former British protectorate, Somaliland enjoyed five days of sovereign independence before uniting with Somalia in 1960. Following a brutal civil war, Somaliland dissolved its union with Somalia in 1991 and continues to exist as an unrecognized de facto state.

With 4 million people and a territory of 68,000 square miles, Somaliland impresses outside observers with its sustained process of electoral democracy and a hybrid blend of traditional and modern state institutions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Somali soldiers at the scene of a suicide car-bomb attack on a police station in Mogadishu last month. The explosion killed five people and wounded 10. (Mohamed Abdiwahab/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

The United States is getting more involved in Somalia, the nation in the Horn of Africa that has been wrestling with violent conflict and political instability for nearly three decades. Since June, the United States has conducted multiple military operations against al-Shabab militants in the country, pledged $126 million in humanitarian assistance, and announced plans to reestablish  permanent diplomatic representation in the capital in hopes of helping to stabilize the government.

Somalia’s central government’s failure has continued for years — despite hosting a large African Union peacekeeping force and many international military advisers, and receiving a significant amount of development aid.…  Seguir leyendo »

Drought, famine, refugees, piracy, and the violence and terrorism endemic to the shattered city of Mogadishu, a capital ruined by civil war: these are the images that flash through peoples’ minds nowadays when they think of the Horn of Africa. Such perceptions, however, are not only tragically one-sided; they are short-sighted and dangerous.

Behind the stock images of a region trapped in chaos and despair, economies are growing, reform is increasingly embraced, and governance is improving. Moreover, with Yemen’s government imploding across the Red Sea, the Horn of Africa’s strategic significance for maritime oil transport has become a primary global security concern.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Africa this past week a completely peaceful presidential election was held. International observers said it met all the western standards for a free election. What's more, the incumbent president fully accepted the result the minute it was announced and handed over power to his successor and bitter political rival – and on accepting his victory, the president-elect thanked and congratulated the outgoing president for his services to his country.

What makes this election remarkable, and an important example not just to Africa but to the whole of the developing world – especially Muslim countries – is that it took place in Somaliland, a self-declared republic that broke away from the rest of Somalia 20 years ago, which doesn't get a penny of international assistance, and which hosts an estimated 600,000 refugees from the continuing civil war in the rest of Somalia.…  Seguir leyendo »

Después de casi dos décadas de ser un Estado fallido desgarrado por la guerra civil, tal vez el mundo debería empezar a admitir que Somalia - en actual proceso de construcción-está más allá de toda reparación.

Parte del país, sin embargo, cumple con un estándar al menos básico de gobernanza. La región más al norte, Somaliland, situada estratégicamente en la boca del mar Rojo y hogar de aproximadamente 3,5 millones de los 10 millones de habitantes de Somalia, es más o menos autónoma y estable. Pero esta estabilidad alimenta los temores de que el pueblo de Somaliland active la declaración de independencia que adoptó en 1991.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Borja Bergareche, abogado y master en Relaciones Internacionales por la universidad de Columbia (EL CORREO DIGITAL, 14/06/06):

El guión se repite una y otra vez: se resquebraja la estructura del Estado, el caos y la violencia se apoderan del día a día en forma de clanes y facciones rivales, Estados Unidos interviene del lado equivocado y, mientras la atención mundial se centra en otros menesteres, la población local busca refugio y orden en el Islam. Lejos de los titulares de la prensa diaria española, Somalia se ha convertido ahora en el último episodio del auge global del islamismo y del suicidio autoinducido de los valores liberales y democráticos en cada vez más regiones del planeta.…  Seguir leyendo »