June 3rd, 2008

somaliland

(no subject)

In the topsy-turvy world of international relations, one can still sometimes be surprised by the stupidity of the international system.

The UN yesterday approved foreign warships patrolling Somalia's waters in order to crack down on piracy, which is a very real problem. In general, of course, this is a Good Thing.

But it is irritating that the one area of the dysfunctional state which actually functions, Somaliland (the former British colony in the northwest) gets lumped in with the rest. As you can see from the UN's own maps, there have been precisely two incidents of piracy off Somaliland in the last few years, compared to scores off the coast of Puntland and the territory nominally controlled by the internationally recognised government.

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On the ground, the international naval Combined Task Force 150 has among its duties the fight against piracy, in collaboration with local forces - ie the Somaliland coastguard. However its duties also include enforcing the international arms embargo on all parties in Somalia - also including the Somaliland coastguard!

International diplomacy has its own peculiar logic... (Declaration of interest: I advise Somaliland.)
doctor who

Eight classic Who stories

I have finally finished the Tom Baker TV stories, but will save my assessment of the Fourth Doctor until I've finished reading the books. Apologies to those of you reading by RSS, but here are my views on seven Fourth Doctor stories and one Fifth Doctor story for luck.

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