Monday, October 16, 2006

Question ....

Which African nation is predominantly muslim, stable, has a government democratically elected in free and fair elections, has a functioning parliament, an unarmed police force, has demobilised the militia, is repatriating refugees, has a free press, a relatively stable exchange rate and, after years of war, has cleared its land of mines and successfully rebuilt its infrastructure including modern airports, universities, power plants and hospitals - all by itself?

And it has achieved all this even though as not recognised as a de facto state - and, therefore, does not qualify for bilateral aid or support from financial institutions.

The answer - Somaliland.

It is strategically important having a large coastline at the entrance to the Red Sea and being right next door to Somalia. Perhaps more importantly, it WANTS to be an ally of the US - but the US, or anyone else in the west, will not recognise it.

If we really want to see muslim nations develop along moderate democratic lines then we must recognise Somlaliland as a nation in it's own right - especially with neighbouring Somalia now in the hands of the Islamofascists.

This is a crucial time for Somaliland. There are signs that internal Islamists have been emboldened by the rise of the Islamic courts in Somalia. Support from the west in general and the US in particular could help this nation ensure that it's future remains secure and will continue to improve.

It's not a perfect state - is there such a thing? - and there is, no doubt, corruption and abuses of human rights as one may expect from a developing nation. But it is moving in the right direction - which is more than can be said for many African nations.

Recognition for Somaliland will come quicker if more of us publicise the situation and add pressure on our governments to recognise it. If you could add your voice to these calls for recognition it will help enormously.

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