Northern Somalia’s Diplomatic Aspirations Hindered by Perplexing and Volatile Dispute in Las Anod

Reports have emerged of fighting in the disputed city of Las Anod between forces in the self-declared state of Northern Somalia and local militia from the Dhulbahante clan in northern Somalia, with data revealing a death toll of 299, more than 1,900 injured, and over 200,000 displaced since the conflict began on February 6, 2023. The city is claimed by both Northern Somalia and a nearby semi-autonomous region in Somalia’s northeast called Puntland. Analysts claim that beyond causing chaos in Northern Somalia, the war is also damaging the region’s campaign for international recognition as the international community still regards the area as part of Somalia, despite decades of lobbying by regional officials on the foreign scene. Northern Somalia’s international partners have consistently expressed dismay at the shelling of civilian areas and infrastructure in Las Anod and the lack of clarity on delayed elections. The conflict has negatively affected Northern Somalia’s positioning as a “democratic haven”, diminishing its engagement with Western powers.

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