To fight Somali piracy, find a government to work with

Globe Editorial
Monday, January 03, 2011

As a step toward restoring order in Somalia, a former nation-state that disintegrated in 1991, the international community should explore ways of granting limited recognition to the part of it known as Somaliland. The world is giving disproportionate effort to propping up a putative national government that controls only a few neighbourhoods in Mogadishu, Somalia’s former capital, and which is called transitional; “artificial” would be more accurate. It would be wiser to build upon the stability of Somaliland.

Meanwhile, the Somali pirates of the Indian Ocean are thriving more than ever, in spite of the work of the navies of 30 countries in recent years, and indeed ranging over a larger area. No country is showing consistent resolve to prosecute captured pirates in its own courts.

The pirates are not simply a floating confederacy of criminals. They depend on land bases, particularly in Puntland, another organized fragment of the former Somalia, where they can enjoy the fruits of their robbery in peace, thanks to a degree of civil order. International navies need to pursue the pirates to their safe havens. If the government of Puntland fully co-operates, it should gain a recognition similar to what Somaliland has already merited.

Somaliland is prosperous and democratic, but it needs some regular status that can provide the underpinnings for trade and investment. There is a reasonable reluctance to countenance formal independence from the rest of Somalia, especially because of the potential for chaos and war if a precedent is set for the redrawing of boundaries. Somaliland should not simply become a separate country, or join the Union Nations, but the world has managed to accommodate some anomalies; the very different cases of Taiwan and the Vatican City illustrate such possibilities.

Somaliland, and perhaps Puntland, could eventually serve as a model for a reunified Somalia, or else for the reordering of the anarchic part of Somalia as another independent state. The piracy around the Horn of Africa cannot be ended only at sea – law and order on the adjoining shores is necessary, too.
Source- The Globe And Mail

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