This article “Reflections on Somaliland & Africa’s Territorial Order”, examines the arguments for and against reforming the African state system in order to create more viable and peaceful states. It argues that while such a process has the potential to be enormously disruptive, selective recognition of some ‘states-within-states’, such as Somaliland, does offer promising approaches to more effective governance and more viable and coherent states.

By Ian S. Spears



On 31 May 2001, the self-declared Republic of Somaliland conducted a referendum on its future. In what has generally been regarded as an accurate reflection of public sentiment, Somalilanders voted heavily in favor of independence from Somalia proper (Initiative and Referendum Institute, 2001). The results were perhaps not surprising. Since the early 1990s, Somaliland has essentially been a ‘state-within-a-state’; a political entity which had emerged out of a previously recognized territorial third world state but which lacked formal recognition from the international community.

Indeed, Somaliland had already acquired many tangible features of statehood: government ministers and a president, a flag, an army, its own currency, vehicle license plates, and, perhaps most important, a sense of self. By comparison, Somalia-proper has continued to languish in political uncertainty. As Virginia Luling pointed out, Somalia outside of Somaliland had already become the prime example of a ‘collapsed state’, a ‘byword for anarchy’. Becoming ‘another Somalia’, she observed, was the outcome to be avoided by all other African states (1997:287).

This bifurcated outcome thus presents a contradiction to the recent apocalyptic literature which speculates on the prospects of state breakdown (Kaplan, 1994). While many of the existing territorial states in Africa remain fragile and prone to collapse, these conditions have not always given way to anarchy. In a few cases, the breakdown of large, arbitrary state units has given way to more coherent and viable (though, to be sure, not always more benevolent) political entities.

The question remains to what extent these sub-units represent alternatives which the international community should look to in a long-term effort to bring greater stability, security, and development to peoples in Africa. In some cases, it may be time to abandon expectations that African countries can be recreated as they once were and consider other decentralized approaches for the longer term. Radical decentralization, the use of an interim status short of formal recognition, or even recognition itself should all be considered alternatives to Africa’s current state system.

Contrasting Views on Reforming Africa’s State System

Persistent violent conflict and economic insecurity in Africa have led a number of scholars and commentators to argue that it is time for the international community to reconsider its recognition of the existing African state system. The motive for reforming Africa’s territorial structure is the perceived need to rationalize dysfunctional state units, and in doing so, to alleviate the most relentless and violent conflicts. Many contemporary conflicts in Africa are assumed to result from the fact that incompatible ethnic groups have in effect been forced to live with each other because of an ongoing devotion to Africa’s arbitrary colonial borders.

Africa’s economic difficulties are also attributed to the fact that Europeans colonized Africa, not in order to create future viable sovereign countries but to serve their own European interests. The subsequent commitment to colonial borders was articulated in the Charter of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) which repeatedly makes reference to the importance of maintaining Africa’s territorial integrity’.1

In a recent editorial, however, one African scholar Makau Matua, contends that, if democracy is to be realized in countries such as Rwanda and Burundi, the partition is necessary. This is because the dominant minority in each case, the Tutsi, will not allow its interests to be jeopardized by the implementation of majority rule. ‘Just like Kosovar Albanians and Serbs’, Makau Matua argues, ‘the Tutsi and the Hutu cannot live together or tolerate each other.’ He adds:

A real solution to the Hutu-Tutsi conflict … would be for a United Nations panel to redraw the maps of Burundi and Rwanda to create two wholly new states: one for the Hutu, the other for the Tutsi (Matua, 2000).2

Other scholars have echoed these sentiments and called for action to find ways to reduce conflict and reverse Africa’s political misery. Michael Chege has argued that ‘Where a people’s allegiance to their own ethnic group supersedes that given to the state, it may be time to let them secede or fuse with another state. For what does a country benefit if it secures its boundaries yet suffers perennial bloodshed among its own people?’ (1992:153). While some commentators envision a redrawing of borders, others remain open-minded about the forms of political reorganization that might take place.

Chege obviously sees secession as an option which must be considered but, in addition, he proposes federalism as a means of defusing autocratic power. Jeffrey Herbst also declares that alternatives to Africa’s existing state system must be considered, and proposes initiating this process by ‘publicly declaring that the international community is not blindly wedded to the current state system’ (Herbst, 1996/7:133).

Indeed, Somaliland’s late President Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal expressed his own desire to achieve an ‘interim status’, short of recognition, from the international community so that it could, at least for the time being, qualify for financial assistance from international lending institutions (Hirsch, 2001).

While options short of independence are ultimately domestic affairs and therefore not necessarily the direct concern of the international community, there is a well-established reluctance to allow unrestricted redrawing of African borders. Historically, even some of the most prominent proponents of national self-determination have subsequently reconsidered such a policy when the sheer scope and risks associated with such an endeavor became apparent. American President Woodrow Wilson, for one, had reservations about the precedent that was being set when principles of national self-determination were applied outside of Europe following World War I. In testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Wilson acknowledged:

When I gave utterance to those words [that all nations had a right to self-determination], I said them without the knowledge that nationalities existed, which are coming to us day after day. … You do not know and cannot appreciate the anxieties that I have experienced as a result of many millions of people having their hopes raised by what I have said.3

Indeed, it is not always clear that substantive overall gains would be made in a general restructuring of the African state system. On the contrary, there are valid reasons to think that any sort of public declaration on self-determination would be enormously disruptive. In regions where competition over scarce resources is fierce, the creation of separate Tutsi and Hutu states, for example, would almost certainly reorient the conflict from one fought along ethnic lines to one fought along an even more narrowly-defined cleavage. In Rwanda, most of the participants in the 1994 genocide were Hutu but they were Hutus of a particular clan from a specific region – the Bushiru of Ruhengiri and Byumba. As Bruce Jones has noted:

the Habyarimana regime was in fact a clan-based northern Hutu regime that was as discriminatory against Hutus from southern Rwanda as against Tutsis (Jones, 1999:121).

Similarly, in Somalia, the fluidity of clan divisions complicates efforts to formalize new political boundaries to replace those of the original colonial divisions. When individuals are competing for a slice of a finite pie, critics of restructuring say, formalized division and redivision of states in an effort to reduce conflict may, in the end, be an exercise that merely perpetuates it.

Other practical problems associated with national self-determination and economic viability would also have to be considered in any formal territorial restructuring. Who would decide which states are deserving and which deserving states would be viable? Is a community which has been oppressed by its own government and which might be judged economically unviable less worthy of statehood than a similarly oppressed group which has a thriving industrial base? Would the possibility that most African states appear to be even less viable than other developing regions not invite accusations of a racist double standard? Would there not be an enormous reluctance by the international community to continually recognize new ever-more fragile and dependent states? As A.M. Rosenthal (1993) put it:

The plain truth never said out loud at the UN, is that countries have been admitted to the membership that cannot or will not take on the minimum responsibilities that they owe to the international community and to their own people. The very act of independence can make countries dependents on the world.

He adds that:

the UN could save the world a great deal of grief if it used its rights of accreditation to create a flexible waiting period between application for membership and acceptance. If a test is required to drive a car, why not one to drive a nation?

If the international community is to reconsider its approach to the African state architecture, it must be seen as a means to a tangible and realizable end: either to reduce the likelihood of violent conflict or to generate states which are more compatible with democratization and economic development.

In short, given the upheaval that would undoubtedly accompany any major restructuring of the international system, the benefits must clearly outweigh the costs. To date, the experience of formally changing political borders has often been a violent process and the international community has, rightly, remained conservative on the issue of state recognition. Yet there is still a justifiable desire for flexibility.

Rather than risk the kind of public declarations that Jeffrey Herbst calls for, there is a need to adopt a more piecemeal approach to any restructuring of the African state system. Some state entities, such as Somaliland, are empirically stronger than the juridically-dependent hosts from which they emerge and have served as ‘building blocks’ for state reconstruction. Given their potential viability in the longer term, these states-within states need to be regarded as prospective candidates for some sort of new federal arrangement, special status, or even formal recognition by the international community. Efforts to challenge their sovereignty may only undermine some of the most promising examples of political reorganization in the developing world. The result would be even more conflict.

Reflections On Somaliland And Africa’s Territorial Order
Abyssinia (Ethiopia) with Eritrea and British, Italian & French Somaliland, Scale 1:3,300,000. Published by George Philip & Son Ltd, [1936]. (Photo by Royal Geographical Society via Getty Images)

The Case of Somaliland

It is ironic that processes of state formation in Somalia should have undergone such a dramatic reversal since the time of independence in 1960. In superficial terms, given that its commonalities in language, ethnic identity, and religion make it unique among developing states, Somalia might once have been regarded as one of the least likely African countries to experience state breakup.4 This is not to say that Somalia’s political leadership was satisfied with the colonial borders it inherited or that there is no regional variation among Somalia’s peoples. On the contrary, the political and military energies of its leadership, particularly in the first two decades after independence, were more likely to be directed towards fulfilling irredentist, rather than secessionist, ambitions.

Many Isaaq, the predominant clan family in Somaliland, argue that it was precisely the failure to achieve a broader unity among all Somalis in the Horn which led to a renewed desire to embrace a state based on the original colonial boundaries. The independent Somali Republic was formed by the union in 1960 of former British Somaliland in the north and Italian Somalia in the south. Somalis in the neighboring Ogaden region of Ethiopia, in Djibouti, and in the Northern Frontier District of Kenya were left out of the new state. The failure to achieve the larger more ambitious objective of uniting all Somalis led some Somalilanders recently to embrace a more parochial national identity. According to one prominent Somalilander:

the dream was that every Somali had to seek to bring the five parts together politically. And our union with the south was the first step in that direction. It was not a desired union per se. It was a means to an end. If you take away the end, why should the means be pushed together again. The international community has taken away the end.5

The reluctance of the great powers to accept Somalia’s irredentist ambitions was most evident during the 1970s when the army of Mohamed Siyad Barre invaded eastern Ethiopia and was thwarted in its effort to incorporate Ogadeni regions into the existing Somali state. The Soviet Union rescued the Ethiopian regime in November 1977 and the United States warned against a feared subsequent Ethiopian invasion of Somali territory. An unstated message, however, was that, while extra-state ambitions would have to be set aside, Addis Ababa and Mogadishu were free to crush secessionist movements in Eritrea and Somaliland respectively.

The willingness of Washington to underwrite the actions of an increasingly besieged and brutal Siyad Barre regime then became an embarrassment in 1989 when a report by the United States General Accounting Office (1989) observed that small amounts of military aid were being supplied to Mogadishu at the very moment that Hargeisa was being bombed by government aircraft. The brutality with which the Siyad Barre regime attacked centers in Somaliland has been well documented (Africa Watch, 1990).

More recently, scholars and politicians have re-emphasized the historical roots which distinguish Somaliland from the south. Some scholars have decried the fact that so little attention has been paid to a more varied developmental experience among Somalis. As M.J. Fox has recently argued:

Somalia is presumed to have been colonized as an undifferentiated whole, an utterly shared historical experience. … But the northern and southern areas of Somalia did not have a shared colonial or pre-colonial experience, and as such, were bound to manage subsequent events differently as well (1999:11).

Indeed, among other things, Somaliland’s northern orientation, its proximity to the Gulf States, the trading patterns it consequently embraced, and its colonial history distinguished Somaliland from the south. Not surprisingly, Somalilanders and sympathetic observers regard this history as a means of highlighting the region’s distinctiveness. Government publications emphasize the pre-colonial origins of Somaliland and, consequently, that Somaliland was ‘not an entity which was born after the disintegration of the Siyad Barre dictatorship.’ Noted in particular are traces of ‘the ruined cities of Somaliland’ – evidence which apparently proves ‘that in ancient pre-historic times a country existed in Somaliland which had its own identity and its own geographic contours’ (Government of Somaliland, 1997).

Somaliland’s colonial history under Britain was clearly different from that of southern Somalia under the Italians – a fact which is used to explain contemporary political advantages over their southern brethren. While noting that they governed their colonies with varying degrees of enthusiasm, Gerard Prunier has observed that ‘British Somaliland, like southern Sudan, [belonged] to the no-government category.’ Since Britain was interested in Somaliland largely as a means of keeping other colonial powers out of the region, Somalilanders suffered only from Britain’s ‘benign neglect’. Consequently, Prunier writes,

at independence in 1960 the territory was economically underdeveloped but blessedly untampered with at the level of native political institutions. The Somali system of peacemaking, vital in a conflictual nomadic society, remained largely intact (Prunier, 1998:225).

Certainly, Somalis speak proudly of their more recent accomplishments in coping with their own internal conflicts during peace conferences in Berbera and Burao in 1991 and in Borama in 1993 at which time relative stability was established in the north. But while Somalilanders have achieved a measure of internal peace, this solidarity was also a product of war.

Reflections On Somaliland And Africa’s Territorial Order
Map of British Somaliland

War & the Creation of States-within-States

Scholars have long emphasized the importance of violent conflict in European state formation (Herbst, 1990; Tilly, 1985). War forced states to become more efficient in carrying out key tasks such as resource extraction and in creating more durable administrative structures. Warfare also tended to break down divisions between groups and generate domestic solidarity for the purposes of defeating another common enemy. Indeed, specific battles – ones which involved great victories or painful losses – helped forge common identities which define the sense of nation for succeeding generations (Howard, 1978:9). In this way, a war-prone environment tended to strengthen some state structures and absorb other weaker territories into larger more powerful states.

The experience of European state formation, however, is regarded as unique and not likely to be repeated in the developing world. Most new states in Africa and elsewhere were not exposed to the demands of inter-state warfare in ways that European states were. Indeed, prior to 1945, states with such weak administrative structures and divided populations would likely have been swallowed up by much stronger powers. Lacking the empirical qualities that were previously associated with statehood, these quasi-states were sustained during the cold war through a combination of foreign aid, the provision of military hardware, and a benign international environment which was respectful of the norm of juridical sovereignty.6

Nonetheless, processes of state formation similar to those in Europe were important in generating and strengthening sub-state units within these larger juridically-based states. While these political entities were rarely able to overthrow their host governments during the cold war, they frequently carved out portions of territory and some of them have since emerged to become potentially viable members of the international community.

In the Horn of Africa, for example, it is possible to identify three different entities which emerged in this manner: one which has since achieved formal statehood (Eritrea), one whose political viability has yet to be translated into formal statehood (Somaliland), and one whose secessionist ambitions have been put into abeyance (Tigray).7 While central governments in quasi-states made (and continue to make) pro forma claims to all of their territory, these substate political entities have come closer to satisfying Weberian notions of statehood.8

Indeed, the comparative strength and solidarity of these units were largely a product of their respective wars with centralized governments. In Somaliland, for example, by the late 1980s, the Siyad Barre regime had effectively lost much of the northern region to the Somali National Movement (SNM) which had established a rudimentary administrative authority of its own. Moreover, the SNM was increasingly well-armed with weapons captured from government forces. Foreign medical personnel who treated SNM fighters noted that 8 of 10 gunshot wounds were frontal indicating that the level of motivation and discipline was extremely high.

Today Somalilanders continue to make frequent reference to the bombing that was sustained in the city of Hargeisa during the late 1980s. While few dispute their ethnic links with their Somali ‘brothers and sisters’, the sheer brutality of Mogadishu’s attacks during the late1980s has been burned into the collective memory and has furthered the psychological gulf between north and south. As one resident of Hargeisa remarked:

We cannot understand how they could take off from the [Hargeisa’s] airport [which was under central government control] and bomb their own people. They came and cut down our trees. They poisoned the wells to kill the animals. How can people ever forget that?9

In 1997 mass graves were discovered which some Somalilanders have since sought to have preserved as a tangible reminder of atrocities committed by southerners against Somalilanders. As one prominent Somalilander stated:

It’s very important that we at least go and see those graves and feel sorry that this kind of thing can happen to human beings. … The only crime they were guilty of was just being human beings who wanted to decide on their own destiny; who called themselves Somalilanders and wanted to live where they had always lived, Somaliland, and not be part of any other kind of administration. Because the union with our brothers in Somalia just ended up in aerial bombings, killings, and atrocities.10

Since so much of the Somaliland sense of self appears to be derived as a result of the war with the south any serious effort to reintegrate the north and south becomes extremely problematic. The contradiction now is that Somalia is perceived as a potential threat to Somaliland’s fledgling independence, and at the same time as a terminally unviable state whose transitional government, created under the so-called Arta process in neighboring Djibouti in August 2000, is unable to assert its authority in any meaningful way.

In 1997, the United Nations Secretary-General reported that ‘member States have expressed concern about the increasingly evident effects of the lack of a functioning central government in Somalia’. ‘Somalia’, the UN said, ‘was a “black hole“ where the absence of law and order is attracting criminals and subversives’ (UN, 1999: paragraph 62). Since the TNG’s creation, it has made attempts to reconcile with other southern factions – the latest being an agreement signed in Eldoret, Kenya in late October 2002.

Nonetheless, the current composition of the Somalia government makes any future union extremely unpalatable for many Somalilanders. The Transitional National Government (TNG) President, Abdiqasim Salad Hassan, was Minister of the Interior during the attacks on Hargeisa in the late 1980s. Although not directly responsible for the bombing, he oversaw the security services that were active in the north. Others who have been associated with TNG parliament – Generals Aden Abdillahi Nuur ‘Gabiyo’ and Mohamed Siyad Hersi ‘Morgan’ – were also implicated in atrocities committed by military forces in the north.

Consequently, Somalilanders now speak in apocalyptic terms about any effort to reestablish a united Somalia. The Vice-speaker of the Somaliland parliament, Abdulqadir Haji Ismail Jirdeh, warned that:

The TNG has been encouraged to claim sovereignty over other groups, territories, and entities which it doesn’t control and which it doesn’t represent. … They will try to re-arm themselves and try to reconquer by war. We will resist that. By whatever means we will resist that.11

It should not be doubted that the ongoing, seemingly futile, efforts on the part of the international community to re-establish a central authority in Mogadishu will only deepen Somaliland’s resolve. Jirdeh observes that ‘The immediate plan [of the international community] is to help the Somali people in their crisis. The intentions are good, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I have no doubt in my mind, this will lead to more war.’12

At present, however, Somaliland is more accurately described not as a state-within-a-state but a state-without-a-state; the putative government in Mogadishu cannot indefinitely claim sovereignty over the territory in which it is incapable of exercising authority and whose population remains hostile to the re-establishment of the old Somali Republic.

In fact, many Somalilanders perceived the internal conflicts which infected Somaliland in the early 1990s as a central concern and likely only to jeopardize their ability to maintain their independence from the south. A series of popular assemblies, or shirs, which tackled Somaliland’s most pressing political issues, were much more effective than the UN-sponsored efforts taking place simultaneously in the south and was a testament to Somalilanders’ ability to employ their own grassroots approaches to conflict resolution.

Since independence from the south was the over-riding objective, most Somalilanders preferred to rally around President Egal rather than risk an extended and divisive war which would have jeopardized this independence. Concerns over fears of southern interference in northern affairs has arguably been a contributing factor in the maintenance of Somaliland’s traditional form of inclusive ‘consociational’ democracy during the 1990s (Adam, 1994). While Egal lacked varying degrees of legitimacy, his government clearly did not rule through coercion or extraordinary amounts of corruption or patronage. His successor, Dahir Rayale Kahin, has also indicated that there will be no changes in policy and that he will continue Egal’s efforts to achieve security and recognition.

Finally, since its self-declared independence in 1991, Somaliland has become increasingly institutionalized and is currently embarking on a transition to multi-party democracy. There is evidence to suggest that, as a result, levels of human development are generally higher in northern regions where localized administrations have been able to establish themselves than in southern and central Somalia where food security, armed conflict, and low household incomes have remained persistent problems (Bradbury and Menkhaus, 2001). In short, while these features of statehood may not yet amount to a political ‘driver’s license’, Somaliland’s prospects appear more promising than Somalia’s.

Nonetheless, secession by Somaliland could set an important precedent for other secessionist movements in Africa. Some of those who have called for a redrawing of Africa’s borders provide little guidance on how this might be done, and almost certainly underestimate the difficulties that would result particularly when resource-rich territories are involved. As others have noted, efforts towards secession are more likely to lead to violence when there are many other groups within the state who might in turn take the secessionist route (Van Evera, 1994:17).

Given the fluid nature of Somali clan ties and the potential axes of division, a territorial state comprised of anything but all Somali-inhabited territory is likely to be contentious. However, Somaliland does have one key advantage: the willingness of Somalilanders to settle for the previously established borders of British Somaliland – imperfect as they are – allows them to claim that they are continuing to respect the territorial integrity of Africa’s colonial states and to conform to the Charter of the Organization of African Unity.


An editorial published by the United Nations’ Integrated Regional Information Network observed that:

A region of Africa that has produced an enormous refugee population, and a recipient of some of the largest humanitarian interventions in the world, the Horn of Africa has left donor governments with little enthusiasm for its evolving political experiments (IRIN, 2001).

Ironically, the coincidence of the cold war’s end and an increase in political instability in Africa and elsewhere has usually meant that there is less willingness to consider further changes to the international system. Apparently, little thought is given to the possibility that the existing state structure might also be a cause of this instability. State-like entities such as Somaliland are often more viable in terms of their ability to manage their own territory, to provide basic services, and in terms of their internal cohesiveness.

In any other era, when the juridical nature of statehood did not have the prominence it has today, it would have been these more logical and viable sub-units which formed the community of states. In light of the Western desire to re-establish political authority in previously collapsed states such as Somalia as a hedge against terrorism, a viable government in Hargeisa is particularly attractive. The argument here is not that all states-within-states need to be formally recognized.

Even without recognition, these emerging political units can still serve as important foundations to help build peace and sustain development beyond the short run. To the extent that they are effective in this role, however, these de facto political entities should not be abandoned or seen in merely transitional terms. It may well be that they offer a more benevolent form of government which better meets the needs of Africans than the arbitrary states which have existed in Africa and much of the developing world.

Ian S. Spears, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada; e-mail:


  1. Article III of the Charter, for example, states that Member States pledge ‘their respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each State and for its inalienable right to independent existence.’
  2. For a similar argument in the case of the former Yugoslavia, see Charles Krauthammer, ‘Multi-Ethnic Folly’, Washington Post, 17 September 1999, p. A25.
  3. Alfred Cobban, The Nation-State and Self-Determination (Crowell, 1970), pp. 64-65; cited in Crawford Young, ‘Self-Determination, Territorial Integrity, and the African State System’ in Francis M. Deng and I. William Zartman (eds.) (1991), Conflict Resolution in Africa, Washington: Brookings Institution, p. 321.
  4. Most countries are multi-ethnic. In fact, according to Milton Esman, 90 percent of the world’s countries have two or more ethnic groups within its borders; Milton J. Esman (1994), Ethnic Politics, Ithaca: Cornell University, p. 2.
  5. Abdulqadir Haji Ismail Jirdeh, interview with the author, 13 July 2001.
  6. The term ‘quasi-states’ comes from Robert H. Jackson (1990), Quasi-States: Sovereignty, International Relations and the Third World, Cambridge: Cambridge University.
  7. For a comparison of the Eritrean and Somaliland cases, see Hussein M. Adam, ‘Formation and Recognition of New States: Somaliland in Contrast to Eritrea’, Review of African Political Economy, 21, 59 (1994), pp. 21-38.
  8. In Max Weber’s classic definition, a state must, at the very least, ‘successfully uphold a claim to the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force in the enforcement of its order’; Max Weber, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, Talcott Parsons (ed.) (1947), Glencoe: Free Press, p. 154.
  9. Interview, 14 July 2001.
  10. Interview, 6 July 2001; similarly, literature provided by the group ‘Volunteers Without Borders’ also notes that its mission is to ‘preserve these mass graves for future generations as the prime exhibits of the crime of genocide committed against the innocent civilians of Somaliland.’
  1. Jirdeh interview, 13 July 2001.
  2. Jirdeh interview.

Bibliographic Note

Adam, Hussein M (1994), ‘Formation and Recognition of New States: Somaliland in Contrast to Eritrea’, Review of African Political Economy, no. 59, pp. 21-38.

Africa Watch (1990), Somalia: A Government at War with its Own People, Testimonies About the Killings and the Conflict in the North, New York: Africa Watch.

Bradbury, Mark & Ken Menkhaus (2001), ‘Human Development in Somalia, 2001: An Overview’; paper presented to the Eighth Congress of the Somali Studies International Association, Hargeisa.

Chege, M (1992), ‘Remembering Africa’, Foreign Affairs, vol. 71, no. 1.

Initiative and Referendum Institute (2001), Final Report of the Initiative and Referendum Institute’s Election Observers for the Somaliland Constitutional Referendum held on 31 May 2001, Washington, DC: Citizen Lawmaker Press.

Fox, M J (1999), ‘Somalia Divided: The African Cerberus (Considerations on Political Culture),’ Civil Wars, vol. 2, no. 1.

Herbst, J (1996/97), ‘Responding to State Failure in Africa,’ International Security, vol. 21, no. 3; (1990), ‘War and the State in Africa’, International Security, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 117-139.

Hirsch, J (2001), ‘A Second Chance for Somaliland’ (unpublished paper).

Howard, M (1978), War and the Nation-State, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN), ‘A Question of Recognition’ (republished in Jamhuriya ‘The Republican’), vol. 3, issue 169 (July 14-20 2001), p. 1.

Jones, B D (1999), ‘Military Intervention in Rwanda’s Two Civil Wars: Partisanship and Indifference’ in B F Walter & J Snyder (eds.), Civil Wars: Insecurity and Intervention, New York: Columbia.

Kaplan, R (1994), ‘The Coming Anarchy,’ The Atlantic Monthly (February), pp. 44-76.

Luling, V (1997), ‘Come Back Somalia? Questioning a Collapsed State’, Third World Quarterly, vol. 18, no. 2.

Matua, M (2000), The Tutsi and Hutu Need a Partition’, New York Times (30 August).

Prunier, G (1998), ‘Somaliland Goes It Alone’, Current History (May).

Rosenthal, A M (1993), ‘The Driver’s Licence’, New York Times (23 February), A21.

Somaliland Government (1997), ‘Historical Background’ Official Government Statement (Somaliland), Ref. # JSL/M/BD/103-01/497, April.

Tilly, C (1985), ‘War Making and State Making as Organized Crime’ in Peter B Evans, Dietrich Rueschemeyer & Theda Skocpol (eds.), Bringing the State Back In, Cambridge: Cambridge University, pp. 169-191.

United Nations (1999), Report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the Situation in Somalia (16 August).

The United States General Accounting Office (1989), Somalia: Observations Regarding the Northern Conflict and Resulting Conditions, Report to Congressional Requesters (May).

Van Evera, S (1994), ‘Hypotheses on Nationalism and War,’ International Security, vol. 18, no.4 (spring).

Ian S. Spears

Ian S. SpearsIan Spears received his Ph.D. in Political Science from McGill University in 1998 where he examined civil wars in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Angola.  His early career critically addressed power-sharing as a commonly practiced technique of conflict resolution.

His interests continue to focus on the twin issues of conflict resolution and state formation where, in collaboration with other scholars, he developed the concept of “states-within-states.”  His most recent book, Civil War in the African States: The Search for Security (2010), examines conflict resolution techniques and their prospects in the context of war-fighting strategies of belligerents.

He has published book chapters as well as articles in the Journal of Democracy, Third World Quarterly, The Review of African Political Economy, African Security Review, and the International Journal.  Currently, Ian Spears is working on a book-length examination of conflict resolution, tentatively titled Why Conflict Resolution Fails.  This work critically examines the prospects and problems of international conflict resolution.

Review of African Political Economy - ROAPEReview of African Political Economy

Vol. 30, No. 95, Mar. 2003

Africa, Imperialism & New Forms of Accumulation

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