The Paradox that is Diplomatic Recognition: Unpacking the Somaliland Situation

©2013 Academic Paper 97 Pages


Somaliland is an example of a territory that has fulfilled the conditions that are pre-requisite for state recognition in the international system. Somaliland is however, not recognised as a state. Questions abound about why Somaliland finds itself in this situation when there are territories which obtained recognition after fulfilling a fraction of what Somaliland has achieved. This study contributes to answering the aforementioned questions. This study has certain objectives. It delved into the examination of the criteria that is used for the recognition of states in the international system. It also analyses the role of intergovernmental organizations in the non-recognition of Somaliland. The objective of this study is also to make an assessment of the nature of interactions between Somaliland, and other actors in the international system.


Table Of Contents


1.1 Background to the Study
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
1.4 Objectives of the study
1.5 Literature Review
1.6 Justification of the study
1.7 Conceptual framework
1.8 Hypotheses
1.9 Research Methodology

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Pre-colonial and colonial period
2.3 Post-colonial Somalia
2.4 Somalia since 1991
2.5 Conclusions

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Secessionist cases in Africa: an overview
3.3 Somaliland’s justification for recognition
3.4 Positions of regional and sub-regional institutions
3.5 Perspectives of the Somalis
3.6 Conclusions

4.1 Introduction
4.2 Somaliland in post-1991 war-torn Somalia and the peace process
4.3 Role of politics in the recognition of states
4.4 International legal perspectives
4.5 Other issues
4.6 Conclusions

5.1 Summary
5.2 Key Findings
5.3 Recommendations



To my mother Mrs. Clarice Martha Otieno, fondly referred to by her peers as Nyar Gem, who toiled tirelessly and saw to it that not only did I obtain a solid foundation in education but that I also appreciated its worth.


Many thanks go to the Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies (IDIS) of the University of Nairobi for granting me the opportunity to pursue this research. In particular I would wish to thank Dr. Ibrahim Farah for his patience and unwavering guidance while I engaged in this study.

I would wish to extend my thanks to the University of Nairobi’s Master of Arts in International Studies class of 2011 for providing an environment that allowed incisive debates that led to the development of the idea of this study.

Most of all, I would wish to thank the respondents who agreed and took their time to participate in this study.

To my family and friends, I shall always be thankful for your patience, encouragement and moral support during the entire time that I pursued this course.

My ultimate thanks go to God for providing me with the resources, good health, perseverance and understanding that led me to working on this study.

Figure 1: Overview of post-1991 Somalia[1]

illustration not visible in this excerpt


This study examines the diplomatic intrigues that take place in the international recognition of states. It seeks to contribute to the analysis of the probable dynamics that have led to some territories in the International System not to be recognised as states by other states and international entities. A specific focus was on Somaliland which has failed to obtain international recognition since May 1991 when the ‘Republic of Somaliland’ was proclaimed after the breakdown of the central government of the Somali Republic. This study had certain objectives. It delved into the examination of the criteria that is used for the recognition of states in the international system. It also analyses the role of intergovernmental organizations in the non-recognition of Somaliland. The objective of this study is also to make an assessment of the nature of interactions between Somaliland and other actors in the international system. The conceptual framework that was used in this research was majorly based on realism. Specific reliance was on structural realism but with some reference to the tenets of institutional liberalism. The methodology that was used in this study is the research design known as formulative research studies. Specifically survey of concerning literature was done and the researcher reviewed and built upon the work already done by others. This study came to the conclusion that from a juridical perspective, Somaliland meets the threshold for statehood. However, in the International System, politics takes precedence over law when it comes to state recognition. Another key finding is that Somaliland’s failure to participate in the Somalia peace process or its lack of engagement with the semblances of governments in Somalia has served to isolate it from the international community even as it seeks international recognition. A key recommendation is that in as much as there is global interest for peace in Somalia, for the efforts of the international society to work, the efforts need to compliment the efforts of the Somalis who must be left to devise their own mechanisms of handling their own problems. Ultimately, with peace in Somalia, and with a stable government in Baidoa or Mogadishu, the question of Somaliland’s independence can then be exhaustively discussed by all actors concerned.


1.1 Background to the Study

Somaliland is an autonomous region located in the Horn of Africa (HoA) region. Most countries in the world regard it as being part of Somalia. The contested boundaries of Somaliland are bordered by Ethiopia in the south and west, Djibouti in the northwest, the Gulf of Aden in the north, and, internally, by Puntland in the east.

Historically it has been referred to as the British Somaliland, which was a British protectorate in the northern part of present-day Somalia. The protectorate incorporated much of what now constitutes the Puntland (Maakhir) and Somaliland macro-regions of Somalia. For much of its existence, British Somaliland was bordered by French Somaliland, the Ogaden, and Italian Somaliland. From 1940 to 1941, it was occupied by the Italians and was part of Italian East Africa.[2] In August 1940, during the East African Campaign in World War II, the British protectorate was briefly occupied by Italy. In March 1941, British Somaliland was recaptured by British and Commonwealth forces. The final remnants of Italian guerrilla movement discontinued all resistance in British Somaliland by the summer of 1942.

The protectorate gained independence on 26 June 1960. As a referendum indicated support for unification with the Italian-administered Trust Territory of Somalia (formerly Italian Somaliland), days later on 1 July 1960, the northern State of Somaliland joined with the southern trust territory to form the Somali Republic.[3]

In 1991, after the breakdown of the central government of the Somali Republic, parts of the area which formerly encompassed British Somaliland declared independence. In May 1991, the formation of the "Republic of Somaliland" was proclaimed, with the local government regarding it as the successor to the former British Somaliland. However, the Somaliland region's self-declared independence remains unrecognized by any country or international organization.[4]

1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

The aforementioned background establishes that Somaliland has a somewhat defined territory with distinct population. The territory also has a system of governance that brings forth leadership through periodic elections. Somaliland also interacts in various ways with other entities and actors that are external to its territory. Basically it would seem that Somaliland is a state. However this is not the case since other states and international organisations have not formally recognised it as a state.

For a territory to be given state recognition in the IS, there are certain standards that are used by international actors and these standards are a reference point when it comes to the question of whether or not a territory is a state. The fulfilments of these standards by a territory would highly likely lead to state recognition by international actors most notably states.

Intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) are influential bodies that play a big role on the question of recognition of states. Such bodies are primarily composed of sovereign states and are established by treaty. When a territory seeks to be recognised as a state, IGOs normally make known their stand on the matter and such is important to the territory seeking state recognition. When an IGO expressly recognises a territory as being sovereign; then that territory is considered to be a state as far as that IGO is concerned.

The recognition of a territory as a state often happens after a struggle that is laden with many challenges. Such challenges have to be surmounted by the territory as it puts to the IS, its case for state recognition. The more successful a territory is in surmounting these challenges the more likely it will be recognised as a state in the IS. It follows that since Somaliland has sought to be recognised as a state for long there are a myriad of challenges that it continues to face.

Territories interact with each other and it is through such interactions that relations are established. Through such relations, legitimacy is derived for those territories that seek to be recognised as states by other states and international organisations. For example, if Kenya was to allow Somaliland to open an embassy in Nairobi then it would mean Kenya recognises her as a state. There are also other modes of interactions that can contribute to legitimising a territory as a state. As it seeks recognition, the more a territory engages in interactions with other actors in the IS, especially states, the more likely it is to be recognised as a state.

Against this background, this study will seek to contribute to the understanding of the diplomatic intrigues behind recognition of new states. The main question is: why does Somaliland still remain unrecognised in the IS?

1.4 Objectives of the study

The study aims to analyse the diplomacy of state recognition with the specific objectives being to:

i. Examine the criteria that are used for recognition of states in the international system.
ii. Analyse the role of intergovernmental organisations in the non-recognition of Somaliland.
iii. Assess the nature of interactions between Somaliland and other actors in the international system.

1.5 Literature Review


The literature that was reviewed was that which analysed the probable reasons why some territories remain unrecognised as a state in the IS. A specific focus was on Somaliland. The literature also included those that explain some of the criteria used in the IS to recognise territories as states. When examining such criteria, note was made of the examples of territories that have fulfilled such criteria and whether or not they were recognised as states. The researcher was also interested in literature that relates to Somaliland’s interactions in the IS as well as the how IGOs have influenced its non-recognition status in comparison to other states or territories. The aforementioned literature was obtained from books, journals, newspapers, credible websites, and speeches among other sources that can stand the test of credibility.

Criteria for recognition of states in the IS

Malanczuk and Akehurst postulate that when a new state comes into existence, other states are confronted with the problem of deciding whether or not to recognise the new state.[5] They add that recognition means willingness to deal with the new state as a new member of the international community. The rise of a new state means that the IS does not stay the same. The status quo is revised and each time states and other international actors want to transact on a global issue then a provision is made of the new state’s reaction to global issues; the fact that such reaction could be ignored notwithstanding.

Brunnée et al identify two theories that have been advanced for recognition: the constitutive theory and the declaratory or evidentiary theory.[6] They assert that the constitutive theory postulates that recognition has a constitutive effect to the extent that it is through the act of recognition that international personality is conferred. In essence, states are only established as subjects of international law by the will of the international community through recognition. According to Brunnée et al, the declaratory or evidentiary theory adopts an opposing approach and is more inclined to reality in so far as state practise is concerned. The theory propounds that statehood does exist prior to recognition. That recognition is only a formal acceptance of an already existing situation. Thus, it is the factual situation that produces the legal constitution of the entities and recognition does not have to be awaited for this purpose.[7]

Erades and Instituut delved into the legal dynamics of recognition of a state by other states.[8] The act of recognition is a precondition of the existence of legal rights: full international personality as a subject of international law derives from the decision of other states to recognise statehood. To this has been coupled the view that there is a legal duty on states to accord recognition where the criteria for statehood under international law are satisfied.

Kaplan has discussed the principles that guided the recognition of states by the United States (US) during the time of Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State.[9] These principles involved effective governance, discharge of national obligations, and general acceptance by the people. These requirements were comfortable for a nation that won its independence through revolution.

Bringing in an interesting aspect of premature recognition of states, Shaw says that there is often a difficult and unclear dividing line between the acceptable recognition of a new state, particularly one that is emerging as a result of secession, and intervention in the domestic affairs of another state by way of premature or precipitate recognition.[10] For each individual case, ‘‘the state seeking to recognise will need to consider carefully the factual situation and the degree to which the criteria of statehood…have been fulfilled. It is therefore a process founded upon a perception of fact.’’[11] Croatia for example was recognised as a state by the European Community member states on 15th January 1992. Its recognition was premature to the extent that at the time and for much longer after that it didn’t effectively control one third of its territory.

Evans posits that recognition of statehood has also been based on the willingness of the territory seeking state recognition to respect the rights of its population.[12] For example, the long-denied recognition of an independent Southern Rhodesia was based, at least in part, upon the regime’s denial of majority representation and South Africa’s apartheid policy was denied recognition in the Bantustan and Namibia. More recently, the guidelines formulated by the European Community (EC) for the recognition of new states formed out of the break-up of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and Yugoslavia made recognition dependent upon a commitment to the rule of law, democracy and a guarantee of minority rights.[13]

Cross pointed toward the possibility that international law had been violated in the manner in which some states were recognised in the Balkans.[14] Under German pressure, a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the European Union member countries was held in Brussels on 17 December 1991, which passed a Declaration on the Criteria of Recognition of New States in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union and also a Declaration on Yugoslavia. They stated that the European Union (EU) was prepared to extend recognition to the Yugoslav republics and confirmed their support for the obligations stated in the document on the criteria of recognition of new states. Cross’ analysis is that from the viewpoint of international law, the EU declarations represented a gross violation of the 1975 Helsinki Act stipulating respect for the territorial integrity of each state signatory.[15] The declarations in question withdrew Yugoslavia (and also partially the USSR) from the sphere of the international jurisdiction of the Act. Further, the EU countries assumed the functions for which no one had authorised them, wilfully misappropriating the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and UN decision-making prerogatives concerning the destiny of a sovereign and independent state.

There have been efforts in the IS to bring the recognition of states under some legal framework. The classic statement of the elements of statehood under international law can be found in the 1933 Montevideo Convention. As Bederman notes, ‘‘…article I of this treaty declared ‘the state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with other states’…this remains the customary international law standard of statehood.’’[16] Bederman adds that ‘‘…the political reality is that entities that can effectively act like states are treated as states. With breakaway or separatist entities…when the new entities achieve some measure of independence and are safely and permanently established, recognition should follow. This occurred for the revolutionary government in the United States, the former Spanish colonies in Latin America, and so forth in the history of the past two centuries.’’[17]

The Estrada Doctrine brought an interesting dimension. As Jessup observes, the Mexican government made an announcement that it would no longer give any expression regarding the recognition of new governments which come to power by coups d’état or revolution. This policy therefore recognises states rather than governments.[18]

Scattered around the world are a number of states and statelets that have declared independence but are not recognized by other states. These political entities are what Kolstø referred to by various names: ‘de facto states’, ‘unrecognized states’, ‘para-states’, ‘pseudostates’, and ‘quasi-states’.[19] This denial of recognition is not based on any assessment of their internal sovereignty, which may or may not be deficient. The reason, instead, is that the would-be state has seceded from a recognized state that does not accept this loss of territory. Such secessionist states can be said to lack external sovereignty.[20] Examples include Nagorno-Karabakh (NK), Transnistria, also known as Trans-Dniester or Transdniestria; Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Taiwan and Chechen republic of Ichkeria. Others are Kosovo, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Tamil Eelam.

Since decolonisation, Africa has had at least four quasi-states one (Eritrea) of which has achieved international recognition whereas South Sudan only recently gained independence from Sudan after an internationally observed plebiscite. From 1960-1963 Katanga sought to secede from Congo whereas Biafra (1967-1970) wanted to be independent from Nigeria. Both were unsuccessful in their quests. Kolstø notes that when the Spanish colonial power withdrew from West Sahara in 1976, the Polisario liberation movement established the Saharan Democratic Arab Republic, but controls today less than one-third of the territory of West Sahara. The rest is under the control of Morocco.[21]

The role of intergovernmental organisations in the recognition of states

Before any further steps are taken, it would be apt to understand what IGOs are. Peters contends that finding an all-embracing, clear and unambiguous definition for IGO remains to be formulated. He alludes to the Union of International Associations’ definition of an IGO as being based on a formal instrument of agreement between the governments of nation states; including three or more nation states as parties to the agreement and possessing a permanent secretariat performing ongoing tasks.[22]

According to the Public Inquiries Unit located in the Department of Public Information of the UN, “the recognition of a new State or Government is an act that only States and Governments may grant or withhold. The United Nations is neither and, therefore, does not possess any authority to recognize a State or a Government.”[23] Rothwell et al argue on their part that if a UN Member State votes in favour of the admission of a new member, that vote will necessarily imply recognition of the applicant as a state.[24] That having been said, they caution that not all states in the IS may be a member of the UN. Switzerland, a European State with a long standing interest in international affairs and which hosts a number of UN bodies in Geneva, refrained from becoming a member of the UN until 2002.

Verma postulates that an international institution can provide a medium through which collective recognition by states can be granted to a territory seeking state recognition.[25] The Berlin Conference of 1878 granted recognition to Bulgaria, Serbia, Roumania and Montenegro. In the UN membership case, the International Court of Justice clearly stated that admission of a new entity to the UN is merely an acknowledgement by the organisation that the new member is a state. In essence, it clearly rejected the inference that admission to the UN amounts to recognition. The recognition therefore, Verma adds, is an evidence of statehood of the new entity as a State in the sense that the UN purposes to treat the new entity as a State for its purposes.[26]

Milton-Edwards affirms that economic assistance for less developed economies in the latter half of the twentieth century, from international lenders and financial institutions as the World Bank and the IMF, has often been tied to statehood, and statelessness has made it all the more difficult to obtain the important benefits associated with such international legitimacy and recognition[27]

Warbrick promulgates that NATO has been used as a podium from which the recognition of statehood has been influenced.[28] This can be seen in the statement by the NATO Heads of State and Government on 7th – 8th November 1991 when they said that they would not recognise any changes of borders, external or internal, brought about by the use of force. Weitz points out NATO’s influence in state recognition going by its condemnation of Moscow’s recognition of the formal independence of the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.[29] Indeed after the war, NATO leaders visited Georgia to reaffirm their support for the government’s pro-Western policies.

Kamanu provides some insight about the African context. He notes that the struggle for African independence was waged under the banner of the right of self-determination. African states as well as the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) gave financial and diplomatic support to the liberation movements of Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique.[30] The paradox he notes is that the same African states and the OAU denounced Biafra’s attempted withdrawal from Nigeria and similar struggles in South Sudan, Chad and Eritrea, without reference to the possible merits their peoples’ claims to the right to self-determination.

Pavković identifies the fact that the contending norms of self-determination and non-interference brought the OAU to a standstill in the 1980s, when the occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco became the most contentious issue ever to confront the organisation.[31] Indeed, he affirms that Eritrea’s independence from Ethiopia in 1993 (and until recently South Sudan) is the only such case in Africa that has succeeded. The OAU treated the case of Eritrea as an exception and did not alter its stance on territorial boundaries in general. It should be noted that it was only after Ethiopia recognised Eritrea’s independence that the OAU followed suit.[32] Mazrui speculated that recognition of Eritrea would pave way for Somaliland and other disputed territories to resolve their claims.[33]

Dehéz argues that given that Somaliland is also seeking independence and is far more advanced in its consolidation of statehood it will prove to be problematic to offer international recognition to South Sudan and not to Somaliland, especially keeping in mind that Somaliland had been a single British protectorate in the colonial period and its case is hence a quest for the restoration of colonial borders, something that cannot be said about Southern Sudan.[34]

Somaliland’s quest for recognition and interactions with other actors

Despite the many challenges, Somaliland has been making some progress in her quest for international recognition. Minahan notes that in November 1997 the government of neighbouring Djibouti reportedly officially recognised Somaliland.[35] The Isaaks of Somaliland then opened their first diplomatic mission abroad, in Djibouti’s capital. In 1998, Egal (the president of Somaliland) toured Ethiopia, France, and Italy, reinforcing the trend toward ‘‘semi-diplomatic’’ recognition, which would allow the country access to bilateral and multilateral financial assistance. Minahan adds that Eritrea and Ethiopia exchanged ambassadors with Somaliland and the UN agreed to give Somaliland observer status.[36] Be that as it may, in February 2006 the Ethiopian foreign minister Seyoum Mesfin said that despite its trade relations with Somaliland, it does not support her (Somaliland’s) sovereignty. Mesfin however said that Somaliland deserves to be rewarded for creating peace out of anarchy, but that no one should confuse Ethiopia’s trade links there as recognition of Somaliland’s bid for recognition.[37]

Woodward contends that in Somaliland itself, the UN is seen as hostile to its independence, a position which is viewed critically in the light of the latter’s acceptance of Eritrea, though there is growing informal recognition, especially by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).[38] Schlee supposes that the international recognition of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia continues to prevent official recognition of Somaliland, which in 2005 held a peaceful parliamentary election and progresses steadily in providing order and justice in a democratic framework.[39]

According to Human Rights Watch, Western Nations have in the meantime largely insisted that the AU must take the lead on the recognition issue one way or the other.[40] As it stands, many AU states are reluctant to sanction what some see as a precedent that could embolden secessionist movements across the continent. Gebrewold and Gebrewold-Tochalo hold that the non-recognition of Somaliland by global powers has more global systemic aspects. They surmise that global players such as Russia and China have got their own separatists. They further note that whereas the West supported the independence of Kosovo, Russia was against it, not only because Kosovo became independent from its closest ally, Serbia, but the issue of Chechnya is still there.[41] Therefore, the non-recognition of Somaliland has to be seen in the global context.

Kaplan affirms that Somaliland can make a strong case for recognition on a wide variety of grounds: legal, historical, political and practical. Its legal and historical case rests on its separate status during the colonial period and its existence, albeit brief, as an independent country in 1960.[42] Except for a short period during World War II, Somaliland was a British territory for over seven decades, unconnected to the rest of what became Somalia. It had clearly demarcated borders that were recognised by the international community – and that could easily be used today. During the five days in 1960 that Somaliland existed as an independent country, it gained the recognition of thirty-five states and indeed signed a number of bilateral agreements with the United Kingdom, and received a congratulatory message from the U.S. Secretary of State. The Somaliland authorities argue today that they are dissolving an unsuccessful marriage rather than seeking secession, and that their case is therefore analogous to the breakup of Sénégambia (Senegal and Gambia) and the United Arab Republic (Syria and Egypt). They also draw parallels with Eritrea. In May 2001 a constitutional referendum was held. Kaplan explains that this was actually a referendum on independence and ninety-seven percent of those who voted approved the document in a ballot deemed to have been ‘‘...conducted fairly, freely, and openly...and in accordance with internationally accepted standards.”[43]

Literature gap

Having reviewed what other writers have propounded in areas that are similar or related to this study, the researcher came to the conclusion that the various writers seemed to agree that for a territory to become a state that is recognised in the IS, there are certain criteria that it must fulfil. The researcher also came to the conclusion that the recognition comes faster if one or more of the major powers in the IS expresses recognition. Most importantly, the literature reviewed pointed to the fact that in recognition of a territory’s statehood, a state normally assesses the consequences of such action to its national interests.

There were, however, certain gaps in the literature reviewed. The reasons which prompted the government and peoples of Somaliland to decide to secede are inadequately addressed. Another area that had some gaps pertained to the interests that various actors in the IS have with respect to Somaliland and how their recognition of Somaliland will impact on those interests. It is these gaps that this study aimed at contributing to filling.

1.6 Justification of the study

This research seeks to contribute to the intellectual understanding of the diplomacy that takes place in order for a territory to be recognised as a state by other states. The study provides an analysis of the criteria that a territory must fulfil before it is recognised as a state by other state and actors in the IS. The study also analyses the role of IGOs in the recognition of territories seeking statehood in the IS. Students and researchers examining the foreign interactions of Somaliland will find an additional reference point in the form of this research, which they will find useful in their studies as it will focus on why territories like Somaliland still remain unrecognised as states in the IS in spite of their autonomy. The aforementioned analyses are be backed up by in-depth historical overview of Somaliland which will be useful to a researcher or student attempting to obtain background information on Somaliland.

This research makes attempts to fill the vacuum provided by the situation where some states have gained recognition in the IS after fulfilment of some criteria while others like Somaliland have found it difficult to gain recognition. There is need for more analysis on why a state might fulfil some criteria for statehood and yet remain unrecognised in the IS. The focus on Somaliland in this research provides this opportunity. This research is potentially important to diplomats[44] who are currently or might in the future find themselves handling policy decisions on the prospects and implications of territories like Somaliland gaining state recognition in the IS. If or when that recognition comes to reality, it is highly likely that the diplomat with adequate context analysis and background information of a territory’s (like Somaliland) quest for recognition will be well equipped to function effectively.

IGOs and influential International NGOs (INGOs) conduct their some of their activities in territories like Somaliland which continue to seek state recognition in the IS. These organisations prepare policy briefs, strategy documents among other communiqués which serve as formidable advocacy documents. As Somaliland continues to lobby for recognition, IGOs and INGOs need to proactively prepare for and understand the dynamics that are at play in this process. IGOs, being an element of this study, and INGOs, which work closely with IGOs, will find this study useful in understanding how their policies influence the process of recognising a new state.

1.7 Conceptual framework

The conceptual framework that was used in this research was mainly based on the theory of realism. Realism is a school of thought in international relations that gives priority to national interest and security as opposed to ideals, social reconstruction and ethics. Ofuho observes that realism views the relations between sovereign states in terms of 'a balance of power', in which states pursue their individual national interests in an anarchic international system.[45] In this research, the national interests of states were looked into vis-à-vis recognising other territories as states.

This research was also guided by the tenets of structural realism to the extent that the IS as a structure is seen acting on the state. Wagner observes that the claim that propositions about the behaviour of states can be deduced from properties of the state system is the most basic idea in structural realism or neorealism.[46] In this case, the IS appears to be defining the requirements which the territory of Somaliland must fulfil in order to be granted state recognition.

Institutional liberalism as a theory was most definitely applicable in this research to the extent of analysing the role of IGOs in the non-recognition of Somaliland. Institutional liberalism is a modern theory of international relations. Jackson and Sørensen summarise institutional liberalism by affirming that “...international institutions help promote cooperation between states and thereby help alleviate the lack of trust between states and states’ fear of each other which are considered to be the traditional problems associated with international anarchy...”[47] Jackson and Sørensen add that institutions provide a flow of information and opportunities to negotiate, enhance the ability of governments to monitor others’ compliance and to implement their own commitments-hence their ability to make credible commitments; and strengthen prevailing expectations about the solidity of international agreements.[48]

Realism and institutionalism are not competing theories in this research but rather complimentary because they analyse the activities of states in the IS.

1.8 Hypotheses

This research was based on the following hypotheses:

a) When a territory fulfils certain set standards for statehood, other actors in the international system are more likely to recognise the territory as a state.
b) Intergovernmental organisations influence the recognition of territories as states in the international system.
c) The more a territory as an entity interacts with other actors in the international system, the more likely it is to be recognised as a state.

1.9 Research Methodology

This study used the research design in case of exploratory research studies otherwise also known as formulative research studies. Specifically, the method used was the survey of concerning literature. This research used non-probability sampling; specifically purposive sampling.

This research mostly relied on secondary sources of data. Where possible, the researcher also endeavoured to use primary data in the form of interviews with experts in the field of this research. Specifically, this research used the case study method and interviews.

This research had a focus on Somaliland. The researcher was not able to visit Somaliland in order to collect data. This is due to the high costs of transportation as well as living costs and also against the backdrop of the researcher being limited as far as pecuniary resources are concerned. The researcher de-limited this by making attempts to conduct telephone interviews with his contacts already in Somaliland as well as extensively reviewing available material on the research topic.


2.1 Introduction

In chapter one, a brief background of the study was delved into and this gave a pointer to the research problem which was raised. The study seeks to analyse the diplomacy that is involved in the recognition of states in the IS. It was ascertained that Somaliland has all the qualities of a state in the current day and age but it has failed in its attempts to obtain international recognition. This state of affairs attracts pertinent questions that this study will seek to contribute in answering.

This chapter aims to provide an in-depth overview of the history of Somalia and by extension Somaliland. This will help in providing an understanding of the journey that Somalia has taken in the course of time up until Somaliland began to seek international recognition. The historical overview will be classified into three viz. pre-colonial and colonial period; the post-colonial era, and the period after secession from Somalia.

2.2 Pre-colonial and colonial period

Because of its clan system, it would be a faux pas to try to understand the history of Somaliland without going into that of Somalia or that of the Somali as a people. Mohamoud provides an important analysis of the Somali people. He suggests that the social structure of the Somali pastoral nomads has some key characteristics. First, the Somalis are highly egalitarian because of the absence of exploitation and domination in their power relations. Second, the Somali society is stateless, lacking centralised institutions and formalised authority. Third, the primary social networks of the Somali people are regulated by a web of lineage segmentation, which provides the fundamental basis for identity formation.[49] Accordingly, it must be the persistence of this primordial kinship segmentation that prevented Somali society from developing a single political unit during pre-colonial period. Mohamoud’s analysis is that in the contemporary post-colonial era, the tenacity of this lineage segmentation is what perpetuates social divisiveness and political fragmentation among the Somali population.[50]

Kieh argues that European colonialists formalised the incorporation of Somali societies into the global capitalist system and completed the process of the commodification of social relations by shifting from clan-based to class-based interests.[51] Under the new relations of production, the upper class consisted of the colonial agents, the middle stratum consisted of Somali compradors and the lowest tier comprised the subaltern classes consisting primarily of pastoralists and farmers. Characteristically, the colonial state was used as a vehicle for legitimising and maintaining the mode of production and its associated relations of production and system of unequal exchange and lopsided power arrangements.[52]

Fitzgerald affirms that Somalia is steeped in thousands of years of history and that the ancient Egyptians spoke of it as “God’s Land” (the land of Punt).[53] Chinese merchants frequented the Somali coast in the tenth and fourteenth centuries and, according to tradition, returned home with giraffes, leopards, and tortoises to add colour and variety to imperial menagerie. According to Fitzgerald, Greek merchant ships and medieval Arab dhows plied the Somali coast. The Arabs referred to the Somalis, along with the related peoples, as the Berberi.[54]

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 increased European involvement and interests in the Horn of Africa. Indeed, by the eighteenth century, the Somalis essentially had developed their present way of life, which is based on pastoral nomadism and the Islamic faith. As colonialists divided up the Somalis, Ethiopia emerged as the master of the hinterland, especially after defeating Italy in the 1896 battle of Adowa and thereafter assuming control of the Ogaden region.[55] From 1897 and during the colonial period, the Somalis were separated into five mini-Somalilands: British Somaliland (north central), French Somaliland (east and southeast); Italian Somaliland (south); Ethiopian Somaliland (the Ogaden); and what came to be called the Northern Frontier District of Kenya.[56]

Easton observes that in the 1880’s Britain, France, and Italy were disputing their spheres of influence in Africa with one another, and with the then Abyssinia. Easton adds that in the circumstances then prevailing, it was necessary for the Somalis who lived in the Horn of Africa to obtain some protection. The Somali chiefs of the protectorate sought British protection and signed treaties with Great Britain, who Easton affirms that for a long time administered the territory through Aden which was itself a dependency of the government of India.[57]

As Page notes, European colonialism first arrived in Somalia in 1887 when the British, attempting to safeguard their trade interests in the Indian Ocean, proclaimed the British Somaliland Protectorate.[58] Juang however offers different dates. He posits that in 1884, the first British political agent was appointed to the country and that the British protectorate called British Somaliland was established in 1885 but was initially governed from India.[59] Shortly thereafter in 1889, the Italians established their own protectorates over the Obbia and Mijertein sultanates and continued expanding southward toward the Juba River such that by 1892, Italy had laid claim to all of Somalia outside of British Somaliland. Even though both the British and the Italians made efforts between 1892 and 1899 to consolidate their control over their spheres of influence, it is the Italians who managed to institute any semblance of formal administration.[60] In 1899 there arose formidable resistance movements which challenged the British and the Italians. One notable rebellion was led by Muhammad Abdullah Hassan (also known to the British as ‘Mad Mullah’), a religious leader from the north who attracted a huge following among like-minded Somali.

Juang indicates that the revolt was gradually put down by the British use of the Camel Corps led by Richard Corfield.[61] It would be interesting to understand the events that led to the overcoming of ‘Mad Mullah.’ The latter had a band of about 3,000 dervishes whose attacks made the British to deploy to Berbera, the Central Africa Rifles, 2d Battalion, which included 16 British officers, 1 British warrant officer, 30 Sikh, and 862 African troops.[62] This was to prevent ‘Mad Mullah’ from crossing into British Somaliland from his base in eastern Ethiopia. Between 1900 and 1904, the British launched four unsuccessful campaigns against ‘Mad Mullah.’ After 1904 ‘Mad Mullah’ moved to Italian Somaliland and by the time he returned to British Somaliland in 1909, the colonial administration had reinforced the 6th Kings African Rifles (KAR) with Indian battalion. This however failed to beat ‘Mad Mullah’ in 1910 resulting in the withdrawal of the British to the coast and disbanding the 6th KAR and the standing militia[63]. For the next two years, British administrators in Somaliland argued for a more assertive policy. This led to the June 1912 approval by the British government for the formation of the 150-man Camel Corps, which operated within an eighty-kilometre radius of Berbera. This was to counter ‘Mad Mullah’s’ hit-and-run tactics. There were also 320 Aden troops and 200 Indians from a disbanded contingent of the 6th KAR to support the Camel Corps which was later to be reorganised into the Somaliland Camel Corps. In 1920 a combined British land and air offensive – which included the Somaliland Camel Corps, Somaliland Police and elements from the 2d and the 6th KAR and an Indian battalion – finally defeated ‘Mad Mullah’s’ army. Despite this defeat, many Somalis continued to hail ‘Mad Mullah’ as a warrior hero and the source of modern Somali nationalism.[64]

Stokes’ analysis is that before ‘Mad Mullah’ came into the scene; Britain took little interest in its Somaliland protectorate, instead regarding it as a supply point for its Aden colony.[65] He adds that Britain invested very little in infrastructure during the two decades it tried to suppress ‘Mad Mullah’ whereas the Italians in Southern Somalia made considerable investments as they sought to establish an agriculturally productive colony over the same period. It is this imbalance that would later lead to the dominance of the south in the post-independence period and can be seen as one of the causes of the later Somali civil war.[66] Lulat agrees with this notion going by the fact that in British Somaliland of the post-World War II era, there was practically no higher education comparable to that being developed by the Italians, other than a teacher training institute and one or two vocational schools. Lulat concludes that the principal determinant of this parsimony in education provision appears to have been the decision by the British to govern British Somaliland as cheaply as possible.[67] In fact, Dumper and Stanley argue that British Somaliland was a poor excuse for a colony and should have been abandoned. They add that Winston Churchill made this point when he visited Berbera in 1907 where, as undersecretary of state, he recommended that the protectorate be abandoned, since it was unproductive, inhospitable, the people were hostile to the occupation, and that the governor’s residence “was unfit for a decent English dog.”[68]

British Somaliland was a very small part of a far larger empire, and it attracted minimal attention or investment. Roberts and Oliver affirm that most of the population (350,000 in the mid-1930’s) were herdsmen, though by 1920 some clans of the Ise and Gadabursi had adopted plough cultivation from Sufi communities at Hargeisa. They add that the imposition of peace from 1920 enabled both human and animal populations to recover, and many herdsmen migrated to Ethiopia in order to escape interference by the British.[69] In 1921 there was the introduction of direct taxation and this met such resistance in the camel corps and among officially backed clan elders that troops had to be called in from Kenya and Nyasaland.[70]

According to the Europa World Year Book, during the World War II British Somaliland was conquered temporarily by Italian troops, but in 1941 it was recaptured by a British counter-offensive, which also forced the Italians to withdraw from Eritrea, Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia.[71] A British military administration was then established in British and Italian Somaliland. Under the provisions of the post-war treaty of February 1947, Italy renounced all rights to Italian Somaliland. In December 1950 however, the pre-war colony became the UN Trust Territory of Somalia with Italy returning as the administering power for a ten-year transitional period prior to independence.[72]

Contini posits that until 1957, the Governor in British Somaliland exercised full executive and legislative powers, and the only participation of the local inhabitants in the administration of the Territory on the national level was through an Advisory Council of appointed members representing all sections of the Somali community.[73] In 1957, as a result of increased demands for self-government, a Legislative Council was established, consisting of eight official and ex officio (British) and six unofficial (Somali) members.[74] The latter were appointed by the Governor from a panel of candidates prepared by the Advisory Council. In March 1959, for the first time the unofficial members were elected rather than appointed and their numbers were increased to thirteen and that of the official and ex officio members to seventeen.[75]

Rao notes that a nationalist party in the British Somaliland desired merger with the Italian Somaliland[76] and in the ensuing election aftermath the British agreed for the union of the two Somalilands to form Somalia.[77] Prior to this, Seddon and Seddon-Daines point out that the Trust Territory’s first general election held in March 1959 saw the Somali Youth League (SYL) win 83 out of 90 seats in the Legislative Assembly.[78] McEwan and Sutcliffe affirm that having opposed Pan-Somali tendencies, the British surprised everyone, including the Somalis, by timing British Somaliland’s independence to coincide with that of Somalia.[79] A movement in French Somaliland in favour of accession to Somalia had been circumvented two years earlier when that territory’s assembly voted in favour of remaining a French Overseas Territory. Hatch posits that after the passage of the loi cadre, elections were held in French Somaliland and they were won by Mahmoud Habri, who was unable to secure more than a quarter of the votes for his proposed rejection of membership of the Community.[80] Shortly afterwards, Habri fled to Cairo and was deposed by the French, who organised new elections in which the Assembly was returned which voted for continuing status as an Overseas Territory. The latter was eventually to become Djibouti. When the independent Somali Republic was declared in June 1960, the president of the southern Legislative Assembly was proclaimed Head of State and the two legislatures merged to form a single National Assembly.[81]

2.3 Post-colonial Somalia

On 26th June 1960 the Somali National League (SNL), the majority party headed by Mohamed Ibrahim Egal led British Somaliland to independence. But the resulting State of Somaliland was short-lived as on 1st July, four days later, it combined with Somalia on the same day the Italian-administered UN Trust Territory gained its independence. Abdullahi contends that Somaliland was hence referred to in the British newspapers as “the colony that rejected freedom.”[82] Despite an initial period of political stability, inter-clan tensions threatened the coalition government under the SYL. Seddon and Seddon-Daines allude to the fact that at the Lancaster House conference on Kenya in 1962, a request by the Somalis for a plebiscite in the Northern Frontier District (NFD) of Kenya and its union with Somalia was denied.[83]

Schraeder contends that one of the most remarkable aspects of Somalia’s heady nationalist experience was the degree of agreement and clarity among nationalist elites concerning the nature and ultimate justice of their pan-Somali nationalist agenda. Simply put, Schraeder adds, the elites of the new Republic of Somalia were in agreement as to who theoretically formed the Somali nation (all ethnic Somalis) and which territories theoretically formed part of a larger, natural, pan-Somali nation-state (all neighbouring, Somali-inhabited territories).[84] Schraeder further postulates that in reality, a true, populist-based Somali nationalism was never born due to the fact that Somali elites, “...regardless of whether democratically elected or illegally taking power through a military coup..., ultimately employed the rhetoric of nation-building and Somali irredentism to guarantee their hold over power – not to promote a pan-Somali nationalism truly capable of overcoming clan-based differences.”[85]

Bariagaber notes that the union of British Somaliland and the Trust Territory in the south is rare in the annals of the decolonisation process because of its voluntary nature and was a manifestation of Somali solidarity, which colonialism failed to erase.[86]

Abdullahi argues that the amalgamation of the north and the south was the result of a nationalist fever in the north; the southerners were not much interested in a union especially since the southern leadership were afraid to lose their prominence.[87] Indeed, when the northerners flew to Mogadishu, the southern capital, they were housed in a hotel as the southerners deliberated alone for a day about what their conditions would be for the union with the north. Finally they summoned the northerners in the middle of the night and presented them with a set of options stating that “the president is one, and it is going to be ours; the prime minister is one, and it is going to be ours; the capital is one, and it is going to be ours; the currency is one, and it is going to be ours; the flag is one, and it is going to be ours.”[88] The southerners thought they had raised the stakes so unpalatably that the northerners would not be able to swallow their conditions but knowing the nationalist fervour in the north, the northerners duly accepted the southern proposition. It is no wonder, Abdullahi notes, that despite the union, the new country was functioning in all reality as two countries under one flag: there were two administrative systems, two monetary systems, two customs and taxation systems, two official languages and two educational systems.[89]

Abdullahi’s position is one shared by von Bogdandy et al. The latter contend that although unified in one single state, the former British part and the former Italian Trust Territory were, from an institutional standpoint, two separate countries given that Italy and the United Kingdom had left them with separate administrative, legal and educational systems where different procedures were used and different languages spoken by the elites.[90] The orientation of their elites was divergent because of their different backgrounds to the extent that economic contact between the two regions was virtually nonexistent. Northern political, administrative and commercial elites were reluctant to accept that they had to orient themselves towards Mogadishu.[91]

Hironaka postulates that although the Somali people were delighted to be united, integration created serious challenges and inequities in the new state. Neither colony had been prepared economically or politically for independence.[92] The northern British half of Somalia had been less economically developed than the southern Italian half. On the political front, nearly all of the work on the preparation of the constitution had been completed by Italian Somalia before Britain decided to allow the independence of its half of Somalia. Thus the northern British half of Somalia had little say in the new political structure and resented the dominance of the southern Italian half in setting the political agenda.

Abdullahi confirms this through how, just before the union, the police officers of the south, themselves products of the semi-illiterate colonial force, gave themselves (with the full knowledge of their political bosses) generous promotions in rank with the express aim of outranking the northerners. In the north, the British had a territorial army of about 2,000 men whose junior officers were graduates of distinguished British military academies such as Sandhurst and Mons. These young officers now fell under the command of the old carabinieri (police) officers such as Siad Barre.[93]

Later on in 1962 there was discussion of an East African federation, which would embrace not only Somalia and the British East African territories, but also Ethiopia. Kenya was however adamant that it would retain the NFD. In 1963 hostilities erupted between Somalia and Ethiopia – the Somalis did not accept the 1897 treaty by which Britain ceded part of British Somaliland to Ethiopia, and the fact that the border between Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia was not established. Fighting continued until 1967 when mediations resulted in restoration of diplomatic relations in 1968.[94] Thackrah affirms that by rejecting the 1897 Treaty, Somalia proceeded to break off relations with Britain in 1965.[95]

On the home front, the democratically elected President Aadan Abdallah Usmaan and Prime Minister Abdirashid Ali Shermaarke oversaw the creation of a clan-based elite compact that ensured proportional representation for individual clans. Schraeder notes that the regime’s first cabinet included four Daaroods (two Dulbahantes, one Majeerteen and one Mareehaan), two Isaaqs (one Habar Awal and one Habar Yoonis), three Hawiyes (one Habar Gidir and two Abgaals), and three Digil and Rahanwayn.[96] In so doing, perhaps the Usmaan/Shermaarke administration was presumably attempting to prevent clan suspicions and competition from subsuming the energies of the new administration by making the equitable distribution of political spoils the bedrock of all future initiatives.

Contini suggests that among the many achievements of the new administration were the drafting and adoption of a new constitution, the formulation of a new judicial system that blended important components of the British and Italian (not to mention Sharia) legal traditions, and the merging of the northern and southern civil services and security forces.[97] Be that as it may, Hastedt observes that the early years of independence witnessed the emergence of a number of conflicts; one pitted the north (formerly British Somaliland) against the south (formerly Italian Somaliland).[98] A second dispute centred on priorities. Modernists sought to undertake a program of economic and social development. Others wanted to create a Greater Somalia along the lines that Schraeder already alluded to earlier in this chapter.[99] Doornbos and Markakis propound that the root causes of the imminent disintegration of Somalia is the ruling class made up of the intelligentsia and petty bourgeoisie who exploited clannishness to promote their own interests.[100]

In May 1962, Egal, the man who took the north into the union despite his personal misgivings, allied himself with some southern opposition leaders in a new political formation, the Somali National Congress (SNC). When the first national post-independence elections were held in 1964, the SNC coalition of northerners and southerners did not win the election (it got 22 seats) but it narrowed the SYL seats to 54 out of 123. Egal later joined SYL and was instrumental in getting Abdirashid Ali Shermaarke elected as the second president of the Republic by corralling the northern deputies against the incumbent Aadan Abdallah Usmaan, the man who had presented the five conditions of the union to the northerners. As a result, Egal, now in the SYL, was invited by President Shermaarke to form the next government. The presidency had thus its first northern premier.[101] Gradually, the integration of the two regions improved and northerners felt less alienated in the union for three reasons: the crossed political alliances such as the SNC or Egal’s entry into the SYL inner circle, the increasing use of English in the south as a result of the internationalisation of that language; and the increased commerce between north and south and investment in the south by northern business people who built the highest buildings in Mogadishu.[102]

Mubarak elucidates that soon after the war between Somalia and Ethiopia in 1964, the Somali government’s preoccupation with security increased, in terms of both human and financial resources.[103] The Soviet Union agreed to provide Somalia with military assistance – to build a 5,000 strong army which later expanded to 17,000 troops. Recurrent spending on defence was around 35% to 38% of the government budget.[104] To confront the threat of Pan-Somalism, the Kenyan and Ethiopian governments agreed to mutual defence agreement in 1964 in the event of war.[105] Premier Egal, seeing the economic stagnation and the political stalemate over the issue of pan-Somalism, tried to ease the tensions by diplomatic means. In 1967, he initiated an understanding with President Kenyatta of Kenya that Somalia intended to solve the issue over NFD through peaceful means. He attempted a similar approach with Ethiopia. But Ethiopia was a traditional enemy of Somalia since the 16th century, and the move made many Somalis furious, including the army. Mubarak argues that Premier Egal’s reconciliation effort toward Ethiopia was one of the principal factors that provoked the military officers to stage a coup in October 1969.[106]

Seddon and Seddon-Daines point out that following the unsuccessful war with Ethiopia, and a presidential assassination, the army under General Mohamed Siad Barre seized power in October 1969 and began ruling Somalia as a “scientific socialist” state.[107] Mubarak declares that the military regime started reorganising all economic activities along socialist lines.[108] It announced that the objective of its development policy was to create a society based on justice, equality and development. It also aimed to create an atmosphere for greater self reliance. The regime sought these goals through nationalistion

of major private enterprises (foreign and national), banks, insurance companies, and wholesale businesses.[109]

Nolan observes that when Barre took over, he opened port facilities to the Soviet Union.[110] In 1974 an even more radical group took over power in Ethiopia and the Soviets shifted to support this new client state to the west in the war with ethnic Somali guerrillas fighting for secession of the Ogaden region. This led to the Ethiopia-Somalia war in 1977 whose result was the annihilation of Somalia by largely Cuban troops who intervened on the side of Ethiopia.[111] In reaction to the Soviet-Ethiopian relationship, probably with Saudi Arabian and Sudanese encouragement, President Barre was left with no recourse but to abrogate, in November 1977, its 1974 Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with the Soviet Union. He ordered all his Soviet bloc advisers (estimated at 6,000) as well as Cubans to leave the country.[112] Though he did not cut diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, he moved to the right and asked the US for aid. The resultant co-operation led to Washington providing aid to Barre and in return the US took over the Soviet-built naval facilities at Berbera in the north.


[1] P. Hoyle, ‘Somaliland: Passing the Statehood Test?’, IBRU Boundary & Security Bulletin, Vol. 8, No. 3, (2000), pp.80-91:81. Note should be taken that the boundary between Somalia and Ethiopia has never been demarcated or agreed on by the two countries.

[2] M. E. Page, and P. Sonnenburg, Colonialism: An International Social, Cultural and Political Encyclopedia, (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2003), p.544.

[3] Federal Research Division, Somalia a Country Study, (Washington: Library of Congress, 2004), p. 72.

[4] M. Lacey, “The Signs Say Somaliland but the World Says Somalia’’ in Hargeysa Journal. Retrieved January 16th, 2010 from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/05/world/africa/05somaliland.html

[5] P. Malanczuk, and M. B., Akehurst, Akehurst’s Modern Introduction to International Law, (London: Routledge, 1997), pp.80-85:83.

[6] J. Brunnée, et al, International Law, Chiefly as Interpreted in Canada, (Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publication, 2006), pp.19-23:20.

[7] Ibid ., p.20.

[8] L. Erades, and Instituut, T. M. C. A., Essays on International & Comparative Law in Honor of Judge Erades, (The Hague: Brill Archive, 1983), pp.235-238:237.

[9] L. S. Kaplan, Entangling Alliances With None: American Foreign Policy in the Age of Jefferson, (Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1987), p.33.

[10] M. N. Shaw, International Law, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p.383.

[11] Ibid., p.383.

[12] T. Evans, Human Rights Fifty Years On: A Reappraisal, (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998), p.107.

[13] Ibid., p.107.

[14] S. Cross, Global Security Beyond the Millennium: American and Russian Perspectives, (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1999), p.197.

[15] Ibid., pp.197-198.

[16] D. J. Bederman, The Spirit of International Law, (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2002), p.82.

[17] Ibid., p.83.

[18] P. C. Jessup, ‘The Estrada Doctrine’, The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 25, NO. 4, (1931), pp.719-723:720.

[19] P. Kolstø, ‘The Sustainability and Future of Unrecognized and Quasi-states’, Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 43, No. 6, (2006), pp.723-740: 723.

[20] Ibid., p.724.

[21] Ibid. , p.726.

[22] B. A. Peters, Managing Diversity in Intergovernmental Organisations, (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2008), p.26.

[23] United Nations Department of Public Information, Can a new State or Government be recognized by the UN?, Retrieved March 14th, 2011 from http://www.un.org/geninfo/faq/factsheets/memberstate.pdf.

[24] D. Rothwell, et al, International Law: Cases and Materials with Australian Perspectives, (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2011), p.240.

[25] S. K. Verma, An Introduction to Public International Law, (New Delhi: Prentice Hall of India, 2004), p.98.

[26] Ibid., p.98.

[27] B. Milton-Edwards, Islam and Politics in the Contemporary World, (Cambridge: Polity Press Ltd., 2004), p.34.

[28] C. Warbrick, ‘Recognition of States’, The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol. 41, No. 2, (1992), pp.473-482:476.

[29] R. Weitz, Global Security Watch-Russia: A Reference Handbook, (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2010), p.154.

[30] O. S. Kamanu, ‘Secession and the Right of Self-Determination: An O.A.U Dilemma’, The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 12, No. 3, (1974), pp.355-376:355.

[31] K. Sturman, ‘New Norms, Old Boundaries: The African Union’s Approach to Secession and State Sovereignty’, in A. Pavković & P. Radan (ed), On the Way to Statehood: Secession and Globalisation, (Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2008), pp.67-84:75.

[32] Ibid., pp.67-84:75.

[33] A. A. Mazrui, ‘The Bondage of Boundaries’, IBRU Boundary and Security Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 1, (1994), pp.60-63:60.

[34] D. Dehéz, ‘Crisis Region Eastern Africa: The Intergovernmental Authority on Development in an Environment of Latent Conflict’, in B. Gebrewold-Tochalo (ed), Africa and Fortress Europe: Threats and Opportunities, (Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2007), pp.21-36:30.

[35] J. Minahan, Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: Ethnic and National Groups Around the World, Volume 4 S-Z, (Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002), p.809.

[36] Ibid., p.810.

[37] Icon Group International, Ethiopia: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases, (San Diego: ICON Group International, Inc., 2008), p.120.

[38] P. Woodward, Horn of Africa: State Politics and International Relations, (London: British Academic Press, 1996), p.86.

[39] G. Schlee, How Enemies are Made: Towards a Theory of Ethnic and Religious Conflicts, (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2008), p.165.

[40] Human Rights Watch, & C. Albin-Lackey, “Hostages to Peace”: Threats to Human Rights and Democracy in Somaliland, (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2009), p.51.

[41] B. Gebrewold, & B. Gebrewold-Tochalo, Anatomy of Violence: Understanding the Systems of Conflict and Violence in Africa, (Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2009), p.43.

[42] S. D. Kaplan, Fixing Fragile States: A New Paradigm for Development, (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2008), p.125.

[43] Ibid., p.125.

[44] These also includes policy makers in respective foreign affairs ministries of respective governments.

[45] C. H. Ofuho, ‘Security Concerns in the Horn of Africa,’ in M. Mwagiru (ed), African Regional Security in the Age of Globalisation, (Nairobi: Henrich Böll Foundation, 2004), p.8.

[46] R. H. Wagner, War and the State: The Theory of International Politics, (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2007), p.17.

[47] R. H. Jackson, & G. Sørensen, Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), p.110.

[48] Ibid., p.111.

[49] A. A. Mohamoud, State Collapse and Post-conflict Development in Africa: the Case of Somalia, (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2006), p.38.

[50] Ibid., p.38

[51] G. K. Kieh, ‘The Somali Civil War’, in G. K. Kieh, & I. R. Mukenge, (ed), Zones of Conflict in Africa: Theories and Cases, (London: Praeger Publishers, 2002), pp.123-138:125.

[52] Ibid., p.125.

[53] N. J. Fitzgerald, Somalia: Issues, History, and Bibliography, (New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2002), p.30.

[54] Ibid., p.30.

[55] A. McKenna, The History of Central and Eastern Africa, (New York: Britannica Educational Publishing, 2011), p.159.

[56] N. J. Fitzgerald, Somalia: Issues, History, and Bibliography, op cit, p.30.

[57] S. C. Easton, The Twilight of European Colonialism: A Political Analysis, (London: Bradford and Dickens, 1961), p.288.

[58] M. E. Page, Colonialism: An International Social, Cultural, and Political Encyclopedia, (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2003), p.544.

[59] R. M. Juang & N. Morrissette, Africa and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History, (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2008), p.1016.

[60] M. E. Page, Colonialism: An International Social, Cultural, and Political Encyclopedia, op cit, p.544.

[61] R. M. Juang & N. Morrissette, Africa and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History, op cit, p.1016.

[62] Federal Research Division, Somalia a Country Study, (Washington: Library of Congress, 1993), p.230.

[63] Ibid., p.230.

[64] Ibid., p.232.

[65] J. Stokes, Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East, Volume 1, (New York: Infobase Publishing, Inc., 2009), p.640.

[66] Ibid., p.640.

[67] Y. G-M. Lulat, A History of African Higher Education from Antiquity to the Present: A Critical Synthesis, (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2005), p.366.

[68] M. Dumper & B.E. Stanley, Cities of the Middle East and North Africa: A Historical Encyclopedia, (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2007), p.92.

[69] A. D. Roberts, & R.A. Oliver, The Cambridge History of Africa, Volume 7, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), p.727.

[70] Ibid., p.727.

[71] Europa Publications, The Europa World Year Book 2004, (London: Taylor & Francis Group, 2004), p.3822.

[72] Ibid., p.3822.

[73] P. Contini, The Somali Republic: An Experiment in Legal Integration, (London: Frank Cass, 1969), p.5.

[74] The Legislative Council had been established by the Somaliland (Constitutional) Order in Council, 1955, which was made on February 10, 1955 but came into force more than two years later, on April 15, 1957.

[75] Ibid., p.5.

[76] The Italian Somaliland became independent on 1st July 1960.

[77] B. V. Rao, World History from Early Times to AD 2000, (New Delhi: Sterling Publishers Private Limited, 2007), p.359.

[78] D. Seddon, & D. Seddon-Daines, A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa, (London: Routledge, 2005), p.475.

[79] P. J. M. McEwan, & R. B. Sutcliffe, The Study of Africa, (London: Methuen & Co. Ltd, 1965), p.223.

[80] J. Hatch, A History of Post-War Africa, (Worcester: André Deutsch Ltd., 1965), p.350.

[81] D. Seddon, & D. Seddon-Daines, A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa, op cit, p.475.

[82] M. D. Abdullahi, Culture and Customs of Somalia, (Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., 2001), p.26.

[83] D. Seddon, & D. Seddon-Daines, A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa, op cit, p. 475.

[84] P. J. Schraeder, ‘From Irredentism to Secession: The Decline of Pan-Somali,’ in L.W. Barrington (ed), After Independence: Making and Protecting the Nation in Postcolonial and Postcommunist States, (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2006), pp.107-140:116.

[85] Ibid., p. 117.

[86] A. Bariagaber, Conflict and the Refugee Experience: Flight, Exile, and Repatriation in the Horn of Africa, (Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2006), p.30.

[87] M. D. Abdullahi, Culture and Customs of Somalia, op cit, p.26.

[88] Ibid., p.27.

[89] Ibid., p.28.

[90] von Bogdandy, et al, Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law, (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2005), p.521.

[91] Ibid., p.521.

[92] A. Hironaka, Never Ending Wars: The International Community, Weak States, and the Perpetuation of Civil War, (Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2005), p.65.

[93] M. D. Abdullahi, Culture and Customs of Somalia, op cit, p.28.

[94] D. Seddon, & D. Seddon-Daines, A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa, op cit, p.475.

[95] J. R. Thackrah, The Routledge Companion to Military Conflict Since 1945, (New York: Routledge, 2009), p.228.

[96] P. J. Schraeder, ‘From Irredentism to Secession: The Decline of Pan-Somali,’ in L.W. Barrington (ed), After Independence: Making and Protecting the Nation in Postcolonial and Postcommunist States, op cit, p.117.

[97] P. Contini, The Somali Republic: An Experiment in Legal Integration, op cit, p.23.

[98] G. P. Hastedt, Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy, (New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2004), p.442.

[99] Ibid., p.442.

[100] M. Doornbos & J. Markakis, ‘Society and State in Crisis: What Went Wrong in Somalia?’, in M. A. R. M. Salih & L. Wohlgemuth (ed), Crisis Management and the Politics of Reconciliation in Somalia: Statements from the Uppsala Forum, 17-19 January 1994, (Uppsala, Reprocentralen HSC, 1994), pp.12-18:13.

[101] M. D. Abdullahi, Culture and Customs of Somalia, op cit, p.28.

[102] Ibid., p.29.

[103] J. A. Mubarak, From Bad Policy to Chaos in Somalia: How an Economy Fell Apart, (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1996), p.10.

[104] D. D. Laitin, ‘The Political Economy of Military Rule in Somalia’, Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3, (1976), pp.449-468.

[105] D. K. Orwa, ‘Change & Continuity in Kenya’s Foreign Policy from Kenyatta to Moi’, in W.O. Oyugi, (ed), Politics and Administration in East Africa, (Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers, 1994), pp.297-330:305.

[106] J. A. Mubarak, From Bad Policy to Chaos in Somalia: How an Economy Fell Apart, op cit, p.11.

[107] D. Seddon, & D. Seddon-Daines, A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa, op cit, op cit, p.475.

[108] J. A. Mubarak, From Bad Policy to Chaos in Somalia: How an Economy Fell Apart, op cit, p.13.

[109] Ibid., p.13.

[110] C. J. Nolan, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations: S-Z, (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002), p.1548.

[111] Ibid., p.1548.

[112] R. Lapidoth-Eschelbacher, International Straits of the World: The Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, (London: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1982), p.88.


Type of Edition
ISBN (Softcover)
File size
1.2 MB
Publication date
2013 (June)
Recognition of Somaliland Non-recognition of Somaliland Somaliland diplomacy Criteria for recognition of states Republic of Somaliland


John Ahere is a researcher with vast knowledge of the dynamics in the Horn, and East Africa Region. Apart from Somaliland where he facilitated the implementation of peace building, and conflict transformation projects, he has worked within the peace building contexts of Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Uganda, South Africa, Ethiopia and Kenya. Moreover, he has conducted extensive conflict mapping in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. He is an alumnus of the University of Nairobi, Kenya Institute of Management, and the East African Uongozi Institute.

Title: The Paradox that is Diplomatic Recognition: Unpacking the Somaliland Situation
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97 pages