Ethiopia’s interest in recognizing Somaliland represents a significant opportunity to establish African hegemony in the Horn of Africa. Recognizing Somaliland would end the vacuum left by Houthi rebels due to anarchy and a lack of recognition. This move aligns with the ICJ ruling on Kosovo and the list of successful UDIs.

By Abdirahman Mohamed Abdi Daud

Let’s leave out the “he said, she said” of Bloomberg’s fake news and discuss real geopolitics.

Having a navy near Bab Al Mandab signifies Ethiopia’s emergence as a major regional military power, while its leadership in recognizing Somaliland serves as a diplomatic aspect of this emergence. Together, this puts an end to the vacuum filled by Houthi rebels as a result of Somalian anarchy and the lack of recognition of Somaliland.

The Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) causes short-term pain but is not a new phenomenon in international relations. That short-term pain often leads to rewarding gains, and that is why it is a power move reserved for major countries. Those who advocate for “territorial integrity” need to understand the ICJ ruling on Kosovo and review Wikipedia’s list of successful UDIs, which includes Greece, the United States, Indonesia, Namibia, and Bangladesh.


Ethiopia's Interest In Recognizing SomalilandIn that list, I use the Bangladesh example, although Somaliland is not a case of secession but rather a case of state continuity, similar to the Baltic republics. However, I picked Bangladesh due to the geopolitical implications in the Horn of Africa, which mirror the tensions in the Indian subcontinent during the ’70s.

Bangladesh did not beg Pakistan for recognition and took the UDI route. India was the first major country to recognize Bangladesh. Tensions initially escalated but eventually eased after all countries recognized Bangladesh, with Pakistan being the last. That short-term pain is now part of the past, but it has left a lasting impact: reaffirming India’s hegemony in the subcontinent.

Similarly, Ethiopia’s interest in recognizing Somaliland represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish an African hegemony in the Horn. As Africans, we should all rise together with Ethiopia rather than watch the Horn fall under the influence of Iran, Turkey, or the Arab Gulf states in a disordered, competitive, and neo-colonial manner.

About the Author

Abdirahman Mohamed Abdi Daud

Abdirahman Mohamed Abdi DaudAustralian Somalilander and Software Engineer. Works as a principal developer in a fintech company.

Melbourne, Australia

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