Somaliland Deserves International Recognition
It is far more functional than Somalia, the state to which it notionally belongs
SOMALILAND’S FIRST stab at independence lasted less than a week. Pipers of the Royal Highland Fusiliers were ordered to play the new state’s national anthem at a ceremony in Hargeisa, the capital, marking the end of British colonial rule in June 1960. On discovering that it did not have one, the bandmaster cobbled together a medley of local folk tunes, and conducted it with brio. A day later, however, Somaliland’s parliament passed an act of union with Somalia, a former Italian colony to its south, and Somaliland officially was no more.
It was a catastrophic mistake. Within a decade the new Somali Republic had collapsed. Its president was assassinated by his bodyguards. A Marxist junta seized power, led by Siad Barre, a general-turned-dictator. He abolished democracy and wrecked the economy by nationalising nearly everything except camel herds. He also launched a disastrous war against Ethiopia. When the northerners rebelled, he bombed Hargeisa, killing thousands of civilians. As Somalia disintegrated into clan warfare, Barre refused to negotiate, saying: “When I leave Somalia,