Somaliland: “Sovereignty Recognition by the US is Not a Priority”-Prof Kaplan


Security Concerns in the Horn of Africa blind the US to successes in Somaliland says Prof Seth Kaplan inset

Somalilandsun – Somaliland has proven to be the only region within former greater Somalia able to effectively form a fully functional and credible government.

But despite facts Based on proven local methods more so, its home brewed conflict reconciliation mechanism in which the Somaliland experiment has yielded an effective formula for state construction, recognition by the US government is not a priority.

This was informed by Professor Seth D. Kaplan, Institute for Integrated Transitions at Johns Hopkins University and author of “Rethinking State building in a Failed State” in an interview with Freelance investigative Journalist and Funca member Mahmud Ali Walaleye.

In his book, quote- “Somalia is, in short, a nightmare for its own citizens and a source of grave concern for the rest of the world. Ironically, however, the international community bears much of the responsibility for creating the monster it now fears. Previous attempts to help Somalia have foundered because they have been driven by the international community’s agenda, rather than by Somali realities” Prof Kaplan does not only urge recognition of Somaliland but wants the international community to emulate “State Building in Somalia in the Image of Somaliland: A Bottom-Up Approach”

As per the candid interview with reporter Walaleye, the Prof Kaplan surmises that US interests in the Horn of Africa are seen through a security lens, which means that it will not prioritize something as controversial as Somaliland independence unless…..?????

Below are the verbatim excerpts of the interview

Reporter WalaleyeWalaleye. In your paper “Rethinking State building in a Failed State” you mentioned Washington should complement positive outcomes and actions by openly supporting the independence of Somaliland and by encouraging major African states such as South Africa to take the lead in recognizing it.” Have the US policy makers heeded you call, if yes, what update?

Kaplan. US interests in the Horn of Africa are seen through a security lens, which means that it will not prioritize something as controversial as Somaliland independence unless it advances such interests.

Q. Similarly, Has Washington acknowledged your nudging that Ethiopia and Eritrea settlement would stabilize the whole region and reducing the incentives for Asmara to conduct a proxy war against Addis Ababa in Somalia?

A. The relationship with Ethiopia is crucial for security interests and therefore there is little to gain from advancing a settlement on the Eritrean issue if Ethiopia does not want to.

Q. We were aware “Somalia doesn’t want it to be independent, but naive somehow Djibouti’s reluctant towards independent, yet how could we prove it, given their recent appointment of envoy to Somaliland?

A. I do not follow the latest developments in the region so cannot comment on your first question.

Seth Kaplan

Seth D. Kaplan is a Professorial Lecturer in the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, Seth  Kaplan Senior Adviser for the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT), and consultant to organizations working on governance, state building, and poverty reduction.


Similar sentiments urging the US to acknowledge the success attained by Somaliland a moderate Muslim democracy in the Horn of Africa and recognize its sovereignty have been proffered elsewhere.

According to Peter J Shraeder a professor in the Department of Political Science at Loyola University Chicago, “Such an argument, Recognize Somaliland, may seem counterintuitive at a time when tensions are rising in the region. But I submit that it is precisely because of those rising tensions that it is time for the Bush administration to act, especially if it is truly serious about democracy promotion, counter-terrorism, and curtailing the spread of Islamic fundamentalism”

Peter J ShraederConcluding his analysis Prof Shraeder states “The time for U.S. recognition of Somaliland is now, not only because it is right, but because it is in the interests of the United States. Recognition of Somaliland, followed by expanded engagement by Somaliland with the international community, would serve as a powerful lesson for other countries within the region (not least of all southern Somalia) of the benefits associated with the creation and consolidation of democratic systems of governance. Somaliland would become a model to emulate, and the United States would be congratulated for undertaking a proactive policy in support of a moderate, Muslim democracy” Continue reading “Why the United States Should Officially Recognize Somaliland’s Independence”

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