Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Western Sahara and Somaliland

This report caught my eye in today's Washington Times, about Morocco's proposal to give autonomy to the Western Sahara.

What is interesting is this attempt to reconcile self-determination with territorial integrity. Whether it will work remains to be seen. Similar proposals were made for Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh and Abkhazia without much apparent success. It bears watching.

Also of interest for those who follow these questions of the separatist movements are the comments of the ICG's Horn of Africa program director Matt Bryden, who argues for moving ahead with recognition of Somaliland as a separate state from a larger and dysfunctional Somalia (see the report from the African News Dimension) and that its claims are better than those of Eritrea and Western Sahara. Also of interest in that report is the contention that recognition of a new state should be a collective decision of the regional organization (in this case the African Union). Another situation to keep under observation.

You run into problems of double standards only when you insist that all these issues are identical. In some cases promoting self-determination is the better course of action, in others maintaining territorial integrity. All of these attempts to say one size solution fits all is what creates the problems.
mr gvozdev i had a chance to listed to your comments on BBC about question of kosovo. it seems that america has no principles in how it applies international rules. if america likes the rebels they get independence and if they like the ruling powewr they say territorial integrity. so albanians will get serb holy places but israel gets to keep all of jerusalem as their undivided capital
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