R. BEKKIN, PhD in Law
You will not find such a state on any map of the world: Somaliland. For the world community, this is just one of the provinces of the once unified state of Somalia, which ceased to exist in 1991. The civil war that began three years earlier led to the country's disintegration into three state entities: The Republic of Somaliland (proclaimed in May 1991), Puntland (established in May 1998), and Somalia proper. The first two were never recognized by the international community, although they are de facto states, while southern Somalia is a collection of disparate territorial units ruled by different clans.
There is a smoldering border conflict between Somaliland and Puntland, which seems like a game of Cossack robbers against the backdrop of events in southern Somalia. The real cause of the conflict is a dispute over the territories where oil reserves are discovered, as well as a struggle for revenue from customs duties and port charges between Bossaso, the capital of Puntland, and Berbera, the largest port in Somaliland.
A STATE THAT DOESN'T EXIST
In the capital of Somaliland, Hargeisa, news reports on the local channel SLNTV (Somaliland Nation TV) occasionally remind about the confrontation with a neighbor. Peace is the national wealth of Somaliland, which is cherished and valued more than gold and drinking water. The events of the 1988 - 1991 Somali civil War are still fresh in people's minds. In 1988, the rebel town of Hargeisa was heavily bombed. According to eyewitnesses, only ruins remained of the city. Dictator Siad Barre's order to level the rebel city to the ground was carried out.
In 1991, Somaliland, a former British colony and then a province of Somalia, could only be called a state conditionally. It was a barren area with war-torn infrastructure.
The world community was in no hurry to recognize the new state, and few people would then have volunteered to predict a long life for it. But 16 years have passed, and Somaliland continues ... Read more