Why war ended in Somaliland but continued in Somalia: A political settlements approach

Event details

IPS / SSGM Joint Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 06 May 2014


Lecture Theatre 2, Hedley Bull Centre (130), corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU
ANU Canberra


Sarah Phillips


Louana Gaffey
+61 2 6125 8244



The case of Somaliland offers insights into why some domestic power struggles €“ including violent ones €“ build the foundations for relative political order while others perpetuate cycles of economic malaise and political violence. This session will look at why large-scale violence was resolved in the internationally unrecognised €˜Republic of Somaliland' but not in the rest of Somalia. It will argue that there were three particularly important factors at play: a domestically-funded peace process that motivated cooperation among elites; Somalilanders' conscious desire for an enclave of peace within the surrounding turmoil; and the fact that there was a history of quality secondary education being available to at least some within Somaliland, which helped to provide critical leadership skills among select elites.

This presentation draws from a longer work that was generously funded by the Developmental Leadership Program: click here

It is now being continued with funding from the Australian Research Council


Sarah Phillips lectures in international security studies, development, and state-building at The University of Sydney. She spent several years living and working in Yemen and has advised numerous Western governments and aid agencies on matters relating to the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. 

Sarah currently holds two Australian Research Council (ARC) grants: one examining state-formation and external finance in Somalia/Somaliland, and the other examining the organisational dynamics of pirate organisations. Her most recent book, €˜Yemen and the Politics of Permanent Crisis' analyses the nature of the country's informal institutions amid rapid political and social change.

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