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Non-recognition of countries - a source for future conflicts





kaysch
Little covered in the news, in April 2012 a new state was born - the country of Azawad. Its size is pretty big, similar to that of Venezuela and Namibia. It is located in North Africa, bordering with Mauretania, Algeria, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali to which it belonged before its declaration of independence.

It shares the fate of a growing number of countries unrecognised by other countries, the most prominent of which are:
- Palestine / Israel
- Taiwan
- Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria (all part of the former USSR)
- Somaliland, Puntland
- Nagorno-Karabakh
- Northern Cyprus
- Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara)
- Kosovo

The list is actually longer and can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_states_with_limited_recognition

One may like or dislike their governments, but they have some common characteristics:
- they exist
- there is a constant threat of military intervention around them
- as the legal situation is unclear investment is more risky, so typically citizens of those countries tend to be less well-off than they could be.
- visiting and leaving those countries is of course also harder, even more so for their citizens.

What is your view on this issue? Have you ever been to any of those countries and what are your experiences? Do you see any possible way out?
deanhills
Interesting. I'm behind in news and was unaware of their declaration of independence. Wonder how they would get income though to govern themselves. There are only about 2.5-million people in the country and they are of the poorest people in the world. Most of them are pastoralists and farmers practicing subsistence agriculture on dry land.
kaysch
deanhills wrote:
Interesting. I'm behind in news and was unaware of their declaration of independence. Wonder how they would get income though to govern themselves. There are only about 2.5-million people in the country and they are of the poorest people in the world. Most of them are pastoralists and farmers practicing subsistence agriculture on dry land.


Generating income is one thing. But the bigger problem seems that the islamist group Ansar Dine and the nationalist Tuareg organisation MNLA struggle for power. Not a good start into a bright future. Interestingly enough Ansar Dine are reported to have changed their minds on independence. Instead of strengthening their grip on Azawad they are said to prefer to introduce Sharia law (as they interpret it) across the rest of Mali. The MNLA on the contrary seems to be happy with having their own state now, weak as it may be. We'll see how the story continues there.

Pity this is completely off coverage in the Western media.

By the way, today I read that Somalilanders are getting more and more pissed off. Although their country is stable, safe and democratic they would not get international recognition and therefore no foreign direct investments. Which supports my original point...
deanhills
kaysch wrote:

Pity this is completely off coverage in the Western media.
True. That's quite an eye-opener for me. Not even Jazeera International.

kaysch wrote:
By the way, today I read that Somalilanders are getting more and more pissed off. Although their country is stable, safe and democratic they would not get international recognition and therefore no foreign direct investments. Which supports my original point...
I have a friend from Somalia and you're right on the number with this. I wonder whether after the Egyptian experience there is going to be plenty of unrest in Sudan and Somalia. Think that is already happening.
kaysch
deanhills wrote:
kaysch wrote:

Pity this is completely off coverage in the Western media.
True. That's quite an eye-opener for me. Not even Jazeera International.

The same is true for Transnistria. I visted it last winter and none of my relatives or friends had ever heard about it, although it's only 1.900 km from where I live.

deanhills wrote:
I wonder whether after the Egyptian experience there is going to be plenty of unrest in Sudan and Somalia. Think that is already happening.

Why would you think there will be even more unrest in Somalia?

edit on 18 Nov 2012: I am just in Somaliland on a vacation. As far as can notice, everything is pretty normal. There are even electoral rallies going on as this is one of the few African countries where democracy seems to work really well. It used to be a British colony, and they seem to have taken over the British traditions of having an upper and a lower house. There are 3 parties admitted to the lower house so that no clan can take over the power, and representatives of each clan sit in the upper house.
Pity this country is not accepted as independent although they are. It could be an example that relative good governance pays off for a country rather than what happens in the rest of Somalia. At least the discussions to form a united government have failed repeatedly.
kaysch
capricornis wrote:
Mali is one country

Very true, it has been reunited.

The Tuaregs lost their state because they chose the wrong people to ally with. Then the situation got out of their control with the Islamists taking over and starting to march to Bamako. So finally the French marched in and within a couple of days they managed to drive Ansar-Dine out of the country/countries. One problem off the map it seems, at least for the time being.

The interesting part of the story is that nobody really minded about the self-declared statehood of Northern Mali aka Azawad. Not even when the Islamists took over. The French only started to move when the whole country of Mali was under threat as apparently they were afraid that the violence could spread over to Niger.

I think we will see more phenomena like Azawad in the future...
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