America’s Diplomatic Neglect Compounds Somalia Fighting Featured

Fighting continues in Las Anod, the administrative capital of Somaliland’s eastern Sool region. It is a colorful region where Somaliland citizens flocked to register to vote just two years ago, standing in line for the biometric iris scans that the unrecognized country uses to guarantee its election integrity. Brightly colored villas—many built by Somali Americans—shine in sharp contrast to the dusty, scrub, and mountainous landscape, like some small New Mexico town.

Today, the peaceful Las Anod I knew is gone. Instead, it is at the center of a clan war. The tragedy is that the fighting was neither inevitable nor random. Different forces outside Sool seek to drive the conflict for narrow geopolitical, political, or clan interests. In each case, a more proactive U.S. presence in Somaliland could have averted conflict.

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