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Stabilizing the Horn

After almost two decades as a failed state torn by civil war, perhaps the world should begin to admit that Somalia – as it is currently constructed – is beyond repair. If so, the place to start is the northernmost region, Somaliland, situated strategically at the opening to the Red Sea and already more or less autonomous and stable.

STRASBOURG – After almost two decades as a failed state torn by civil war, perhaps the world should begin to admit that Somalia – as it is currently constructed – is beyond repair.

Some of the country, however, can meet at least a basic standard of governance. The northernmost region, Somaliland, situated strategically at the opening to the Red Sea and home to roughly 3.5 million of Somalia’s 10 million people, is more or less autonomous and stable. But this stability fuels fears that Somaliland’s people will activate the declaration of independence they adopted in 1991.

At the end of September, Somaliland will hold its third presidential election, the previous two having been open and competitive. Unlike many developing countries, it will welcome foreign observers to oversee the elections, though, unfortunately, most Western countries and agencies will stay away, lest their presence be seen as legitimizing Somaliland’s de facto government.

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