The recent election in Somaliland appears to have had quite an impact on observers.
This “desperately poor, Muslim, and nomadic” society, with few natural resources and limited exports, defied the odds – including threats of violence from the Islamist Al-Shabab militia – to hold the election, writes former US Ambassador Richard S. Williamson.
“The people would not be denied,” he writes.
The International Republican Institute’s team of observers deemed the poll “peaceful, without major incident, and generally [in line with] international standards.”
The country’s achievement deserves the recognition of the international community, argues analyst Chris Harnisch.
“Democratic partners that work to uphold the rule of law and stand up to terrorists are a rarity in the greater Middle East and Africa,” he writes. “The time has come for the United States to start examining whether or not Somaliland may be a partner worth recognizing and embracing.”