Somalia / by Michelle Ryan

Somalia cut ties with Tehran on the basis of Iran's interference in the country's internal matters. On the domestic front, the political situation took a downhill turn as regional leaders failed to agree on an electoral model, which complicates the prospects of smooth transition of power in the upcoming presidential elections. Meanwhile, Al-Shabab continued to undermine the country's internal stability by staging attacks on armed civilians, as well as attacking Kenyan troops on the country's largest military base in Somalia. With balance of military power not favouring official Somali forces, the government plans to expand its military cooperation with foreign countries to improve the capabilities of its army. Leaders of the breakaway region recently conveyed their increased hopes of international recognition, while commending the work of the republic's permanent United Nations representative's diplomatic performance. Such heightened hopes have turned the major figures even more suspicious of Somalia's strategies to destabilise the region and obstruct its pathway to recognised sovereignty. Inside the Somaliland, leaders are promoting new civil initiatives that support the development of independent republic, such as the expansion of region-wide debates about Somaliland's foreign policy and the introduction of biometric voter registration. However, politics of 'party security' still remain the key theme, especially demonstrated through the ruling elites' decision to back away from increasing import tax after wide-scale demonstrations threatened their chances in the upcoming elections.