The Two Completely Different Nations Of Somalia

“You have the power to kill, but not negotiate. In Somalia, killing is negotiation.” —Somalia militiaman, Black Hawk Down

In A Nutshell

The southern portion of Somalia is overrun with pirates, an Islamic insurgency, armed gangs of AK-47 militiamen, and hasn’t had a functioning government since 1991. Meanwhile the northern part, Somaliland, has a stable government with a functioning democracy. One of the silver linings of being ignored and not recognized as a sovereign nation by the rest of the world is that Somaliland didn’t rack up any debt with the IDF, World Bank, or other internationalist bankers.

The Whole Bushel

The seemingly total breakdown of Somalia captured the world’s attention during its 90s famine and then American military disaster known as the “Black Hawk Down” incident. Ever since then, Somalia has been synonymous with feuding AK-47 tribal lords, piracy, and (most recently) Islamic jihad. Yet what most media observers miss (or just conveniently leave out) is that the civil war, anarchy, and total state meltdown all took place in southern part of Somalia, which was formerly a colonial possession of Italy. Meanwhile, since southern Somalia ripped itself apart the formerly British northern part called “Somaliland” has been able to function all this time. It has avoided the south’s lawlessness, still has a functional multi-party government, and actually sends food aid to the south.

In the late 19th century, the British took control of a stretch of African coast opposite the prized British-run colonial city-state of Aden, in what is now Yemen. The size of Greece, the Limeys called their newest slice of Africa “British Somaliland.” Mostly barren scrubland, the British didn’t really see anything of value but seized it to keep out other European colonial powers and to provide a close source of meat to Aden (this gave British Somaliland its nickname, “Aden’s butcher shop”). Italy had its own colony, Italian Somaliland, to the east of the British version. After World War II, Britain took control of Italian Somaliland as a war trophy until, through various phases, the two merged to created the Somali Republic in 1960.

For the next three decades the two Somalias melded together until, following the death of its ruler, Somalia became a “failed state” in 1991. Freed from an oppressive government, various tribal clans ripped the country apart in a still-ongoing brutal civil war. The northern British portion of Somalia has been left unscathed and has been a functioning state, while the Italian part of Somalia very publicly disintegrated. Appreciating that they don’t have to send aid or intervene militarily, most other countries in the world ignore this independently functioning nation because, once the rest of Somalia gets its act together, they want the various parts of Somalia to be reunited again along the 1960 border.

For all of these decades, while large portions of Somalia became a basket case, Somaliland has been doing fine. It is one of the most progressive democracies in Africa with a multi-party system of open and free elections. One of the silver linings of being ignored and not recognized as a sovereign nation by the rest of the world is that Somaliland couldn’t rack up any debt with the IDF, World Bank, or other internationalist bankers. This has forced it to get money to fund its governmental infrastructure by negotiating with business and community leaders. The only way these moneylenders would provide cash to the government was for the political leaders to provide accountability and guarantee a functioning democracy. While aid is sometimes a necessity, in Somaliland’s case, being ignored by those saddling other African nations with huge mountains of debt has worked out pretty well for them. (It’s almost like a model of what a normal country should do.)

Show Me The Proof

US recognition of democratic Somaliland is long overdue
In Somaliland, less money has brought more democracy

  • Hillyard

    It’s no wonder that the southern part of Somalia is screwed up – they took lessons in government from the Italians.

    • Garu Derota


      • Scott

        Actually, it was pretty funny.

  • John End

    The world needs a decade long Holocaust in Africa. A sort of ethnic cleansing enema. Toss the Middle East in there also.

    • Eyan Khan

      Did you seriously just say that?

    • TodosReamus

      Nice plan, armchair Hitler! People who think like you make me fear for humanity’s safety. Oh, and overall sanity.

    • EdouardM

      Africa has had more than a Holocaust, it’s called colonisation. Or how about Belgian Congo held by Leopold I? Go read a book, instead of spewing incult bigoted nonsense.

      I think what you fail to notice is that the primary reason all of these countries are in such bad state is due to foreign (western) intervention. But I won’t hold that against you, I see by your profile picture that your brain is not in the right place.

      • John End

        Oh FFS! You just blamed Africa’s problems on everyone else. Those unevolved disgusting primates ruin everything they touch. Bleeding hearts like you should take a few bullets to the face.

        • EdouardM

          Hahaha..You truly are an idiot. Able to see the reasons for the consequences has nothing to do with being a “bleeding heart”. And then, you need to understand the definition of the word “primary”, as in the reason that has had the most effect on the current scene.

          But let’s talk about how these “unevolved disguting primates ruin everything they touch”. Like the Upper Kingdom of Egypt? Carthage? Kushites? Kingdom of Aksum?

          Unlike the thousands of years of peace and enlightenment Europe has produced. You’re absolutely right, the destruction of Native American culture, or of the Aztecs, Incas, Mayas has nothing to do with the civilized, evolved, white man either. The Opium Wars were not a ploy by the British to drug and destroy the Chinese Empire, so that they could control it.

          There are reasons for everything and it is never black and white. Ok, so the main reason for the current state of affairs is western powers, and so what? Did I say I wanted to stop and establish a different status quo?

          • Guilherme Nunes

            John is who really needs a bullet, preferably before he has any offspring.

    • Valkyrie

      Because the man made Aids virus created in order to ethnic cleanse third world countries failed?

      • John End

        Yeah that’s a tragedy. They’ll probably come up with a better one someday. Here’s hoping!

        • Valkyrie

          So bitter 🙁

          • Peter

            He’s not bitter, just a realist.

          • Scraphead


          • Peter

            That word means nothing anymore due to misuse and overuse. Next time try being more original. You can’t deny the FBI statistics

      • Peter

        If you want to call sex with diseased monkeys a man made virus then I’m with you.

  • Ji99a

    Black and Islam. Two worst combinations to form a government.

    • Ab357

      I guess your dumbass never heard of Timbuktu. Read a book.

    • Firman Hyde Permana

      still better than white and jew

  • Very interesting the two sides.

  • chairde

    To me the Somali people look very different than other Africans. They have straight noses and a different body build.

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