Welcome to Azania/Jubaland: The world’s newest pseudostate

In addition to Somaliland and Puntland, it appears Somalia may now be home to a brand new semiautonomous region, Azania — confusingly also sometimes called Jubaland. Alex Thurston writes: Jubaland/Azania now has a president, former Somalia Defence Minister Professor Mohamed Abdi Gandhi, who has said a main goal of his administration will be to defeat ...

555731_110406_295px-Map_of_Jubaland2.jpg
555731_110406_295px-Map_of_Jubaland2.jpg

In addition to Somaliland and Puntland, it appears Somalia may now be home to a brand new semiautonomous region, Azania -- confusingly also sometimes called Jubaland. Alex Thurston writes:

Jubaland/Azania now has a president, former Somalia Defence Minister Professor Mohamed Abdi Gandhi, who has said a main goal of his administration will be to defeat al Shabab, Somalia’s Islamic rebel movement. This, Kenya’s Daily Nation reports, is one of the driving goals of the new region’s creation, but Somalia’s neighbors disagree on whether this tactic is a wise one:

"The idea to create an autonomous region near the Kenyan border is hinged on the reason that it will prevent the movement of al Shabaab extremists within the region.

In addition to Somaliland and Puntland, it appears Somalia may now be home to a brand new semiautonomous region, Azania — confusingly also sometimes called Jubaland. Alex Thurston writes:

Jubaland/Azania now has a president, former Somalia Defence Minister Professor Mohamed Abdi Gandhi, who has said a main goal of his administration will be to defeat al Shabab, Somalia’s Islamic rebel movement. This, Kenya’s Daily Nation reports, is one of the driving goals of the new region’s creation, but Somalia’s neighbors disagree on whether this tactic is a wise one:

“The idea to create an autonomous region near the Kenyan border is hinged on the reason that it will prevent the movement of al Shabaab extremists within the region.

Thurston also notes that a recent WikiLeaks cable discussed Kenyan support — with funding from China — for the creation of Jubaland as a buffer state in early 2010. 

The news doesn’t really raise the prospects of Somalia ever really being reunified under the control of Mogadishu. On the other hand, given the relative stability of Somaliland and Puntland, there’s a reasonable case to be made that the creation of more smaller, locally controlled regions might be a better option. 

But unlike those states, Azania/Jubaland appears to be very much the creation of Nairobi. Combining this latest news with recent reports of Kenyan military activity across the Somali border, it’s starting to look like Kenya is joining the civil war in Southern Somalia in a very big way.  

In any case, it appears Limbo World has a new member. 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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