Why Peace Where War Prevails? : Comparing Puntland and Somaliland

University essay from Umeå universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: For long the discipline of peace studies have investigated causes of war, rather than causes of peace, in an African context. In the northern peripheries of Somalia, a nation ravaged by civil war and conflict, two apparent peace zones have emerged following the complete state collapse of 1991: Somaliland and Puntland. The study explores whether or not these two realities of peace can be defined and characterised as Zones of Peace, or sanctuaries, amidst a civil war. Utilising the analytical tools of Zones of Peace – hitherto applied on conflictual contexts elsewhere but the Horn of Africa – this study suggests that both Somaliland and Puntland are, despite the territorial conflict between them, peace zones granting shelter from the civil war. Suggestively, peace has prevailed in both Puntland and Somaliland due to Somalia’s deteriorated situation, not in spite of it. The study concludes that in order to optimise research concerning Somaliland’s and Puntland’s peace(s), the framework of Zones of Peace can offer in-depth insights on local everyday milieus. The framework partially explains why these local peace(s) has lasted despite lacking external attention and allow for thorough comparison between two homogenous cases. Lastly, both Puntland’s and Somaliland’s inviolability and durability remain unchallenged and rigorous, possibly because of the civil war’s status quo, and since the international community’s foci on south- and central Somalia persists.

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