Template talk:Africa topic/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

Removing Puntland / Listing Somaliland

Continuation

I'm doing a massed response here because the discussion has become increasingly fragmented. This makes the discussion particularly difficult to follow, and I suggest that all editors follow WP:INDENT to aid in clarity.

Thus far we have sources that give both sides of Montevideo. At least some of those that say that Somaliland passes can clearly be considered pro-Somaliland. The source that says that Somaliland fails is fairly obviously anti-Somaliland. Neutral sources provided by Midday and Scooby do not give any opinion on the matter without original research or synthesis. Either they do not mention the case of Somaliland or they do not tie their references to Montevideo.

The fact that we now have a source - however biased - that states outright that Somaliland fails Montevideo is evidence only of a dispute. We cannot accept that Somaliland definitively fails Montevideo based solely on a source that is biased against Somaliland. Similarly, we cannot accept that Somaliland definitively passes Montevideo. We must accept that there is dispute as to whether Somaliland passes Montevideo.

It's worth going back to the question of sourcing. Midday argues that pro-Somaliland sources are unreliable by definition, while giving the aforementioned anti-Somaliland source as an example of reliability. You said I accused you of double standards. If I wasn't before, I am now. That's a perfectly obvious double standard and you can't expect people not to flag it up. Clearly anti-Somaliland sources cannot be considered intrinsically more - or less - reliable than clearly pro-Somaliland sources. Both can be used to source the positions in the dispute, but the opinions expressed cannot generally be considered definitive - particularly when they're disputed by the other side.

That similarly goes for the position of the Somaliland government. Of course the position of the Somaliland government cannot be taken as definitive. But at the same time it cannot neutrally be dismissed out of hand.

Montevideo is, to a certain extent, a distraction. The key question is not whether Montevideo is definitively passed or failed (provided that it is at least argued that it is passed). Wikipedia editors cannot make such a judgement unless the answer is clearly beyond dispute, and this case isn't because we have sources arguing both ways. The key question here - given that it is not argued that Somaliland is a micronation but rather a state of Somalia - is whether there is dispute as to whether Somaliland is a sovereign state or not.

If any government (including that of Somaliland) considers Somaliland to be independent then we must accept that there is a dispute. Midday argues that of course the Somaliland government is going to consider itself independent. But his argument falls down when we consider the case of Puntland, which does not consider itself independent. The fact that Somaliland considers itself independent is not sufficient to demonstrate that it is legally independent but is sufficient to demonstrate that there is a dispute.

If there is dispute as to whether Somaliland is a sovereign state, WP:NPOV requires we not take sides. Not mentioning Somaliland in such a case is biased against Somaliland. Mentioning it unmarked in such a case is biased in favour of Somaliland. We must steer a middle course, by allowing for both interpretations. Pfainuk talk 22:50, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

I find this statement to be sound, and would have to fully agree with it. It's rational and straight forward. What else can be said? Outback the koala (talk) 04:35, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Thus far we have sources that give both sides of Montevideo. At least some of those that say that Somaliland passes can clearly be considered pro-Somaliland.

Incorrect. All of the sources that have been provided which state that Somaliland fulfills the Montevideo criteria have been exposed as biased -- it is not simply the fact that they state that Somaliland meets Montevideo which makes them as such. It is the people/publishers behind the work that makes them unreliable, as they are all in some way or another involved with the Somaliland secessionist movement & have been proven to be. Middayexpress (talk) 07:12, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Neutral sources provided by Midday and Scooby do not give any opinion on the matter without original research or synthesis. Either they do not mention the case of Somaliland or they do not tie their references to Montevideo.

The fact that we now have a source - however biased - that states outright that Somaliland fails Montevideo is evidence only of a dispute. We cannot accept that Somaliland definitively fails Montevideo based solely on a source that is biased against Somaliland.

It's worth going back to the question of sourcing. Midday argues that pro-Somaliland sources are unreliable by definition, while giving the aforementioned anti-Somaliland source as an example of reliability. You said I accused you of double standards. If I wasn't before, I am now. That's a perfectly obvious double standard and you can't expect people not to flag it up.

I think you misunderstand the meaning of a reliable source. A source doesn't automatically become "biased" just because it asserts that Somaliland fails to meet the Montevideo Convention (or, on the flipside, it doesn't automatically become "reliable" just because it asserts that Somaliland meets the Montevideo Convention's criteria). All authors have views, so a difference in perception is to be expected. It is when the work itself is questionable (for example, if it's an opinion piece or a self-published pdf), or when it is from an author who has been proven to be non-neutral/an advocate, or when it is from a similarly partisan publisher that it becomes unreliable. From WP:RS:

"The word "source" as used on Wikipedia has three related meanings: the piece of work itself (the article, paper, document, book), the creator of the work (for example, the writer), and the publisher of the work (for example, The New York Times or Cambridge University Press). All three can affect reliability."

The source I supplied, on the other hand, is a scholarly paper from a reliable, authoritative author and was originally published in a respected and relevant journal (The Horn of Africa Journal). It passes all three related criteria on what constitutes a reliable source, which, per Wikipedia, makes it reliable.

Similarly, we cannot accept that Somaliland definitively passes Montevideo. We must accept that there is dispute as to whether Somaliland passes Montevideo.

Clearly anti-Somaliland sources cannot be considered intrinsically more - or less - reliable than clearly pro-Somaliland sources. Both can be used to source the positions in the dispute, but the opinions expressed cannot generally be considered definitive - particularly when they're disputed by the other side.

Midday argues that of course the Somaliland government is going to consider itself independent. But his argument falls down when we consider the case of Puntland, which does not consider itself independent. The fact that Somaliland considers itself independent is not sufficient to demonstrate that it is legally independent but is sufficient to demonstrate that there is a dispute.

If there is dispute as to whether Somaliland is a sovereign state, WP:NPOV requires we not take sides. Not mentioning Somaliland in such a case is biased against Somaliland. Mentioning it unmarked in such a case is biased in favour of Somaliland. We must steer a middle course, by allowing for both interpretations.

Let's keep things in perspective. This isn't a matter of compromise. It is quite clearly an either/or issue: either Somaliland is included in the template as a sovereign state or it's not. There is obviously no middle ground here. A territory can't simultaneously be a region in another country and a sovereign state. Middayexpress (talk) 07:12, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

That similarly goes for the position of the Somaliland government. Of course the position of the Somaliland government cannot be taken as definitive. But at the same time it cannot neutrally be dismissed out of hand.

If any government (including that of Somaliland) considers Somaliland to be independent then we must accept that there is a dispute.

The Somaliland separatists are, for obvious reasons, unreliable sources as to whether or not Somaliland itself meets the criteria for de facto statehood. Of course they will say that it is; that is what their entire campaign for recognition is about. From WP:RS:

"Questionable sources are those with a poor reputation for checking the facts, or with no editorial oversight. Such sources include websites and publications expressing views that are widely acknowledged as extremist, or promotional in nature, or which rely heavily on rumors :and personal opinions."

Wikipedia also only allows questionable sources as sources of information about themselves so long as "the material is not unduly self-serving" and that "there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity". Somaliland's government claiming that Somaliland is a state is obviously self-serving, and there is likewise clearly more than reasonable doubt as to Somaliland's de facto statehood.
Wikipedia, however, never allows any advocacy of any sort, and using the Somaliland government itself as a source on whether or not it meets the requirements for de facto statehood is quite clearly a form of advocacy. From WP:NOTADVOCATE:

Wikipedia is not a soapbox, a battleground, or a vehicle for propaganda and advertising. This applies to articles, categories, templates, talk page discussions, and user pages. Therefore, content hosted in Wikipedia is not for: Propaganda, advocacy, or recruitment of any kind: commercial, political, religious, or otherwise.

Middayexpress (talk) 07:12, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Montevideo is, to a certain extent, a distraction. The key question is not whether Montevideo is definitively passed or failed (provided that it is at least argued that it is passed). Wikipedia editors cannot make such a judgement unless the answer is clearly beyond dispute, and this case isn't because we have sources arguing both ways. The key question here - given that it is not argued that Somaliland is a micronation but rather a state of Somalia - is whether there is dispute as to whether Somaliland is a sovereign state or not.

The question is whether or not Somaliland, a secessionist territory every country recognizes as a part of Somalia, belongs on this template at all alongside actual countries (Somalia in particular). Per the Constitutive theory of statehood, it automatically does not since the latter defines a state as a person of international law if and only if it is recognized as sovereign by other states. That leaves the Declarative theory of statehood, whose criteria for statehood are exemplified in Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention. A quote from a scholarly paper by an authoritative, neutral author published in a reputable journal states unambiguously that Somaliland does not meet the criteria for de facto statehood as outlined in the Montevideo Convention. No other reliable source of comparable quality has been produced which argues otherwise; all of the ones that actually have been produced have already been exposed as biased and/or unreliable in some form or another (as already explained above). Middayexpress (talk) 07:12, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Let's start with the neutrality of your source. Your source is written by Faisal Roble, who - as a quick Google search makes clear - is certainly not considered a neutral source by both sides of the dispute. Indeed, he speaks for Northern Somalis for Peace and Unity, an organisation that argues against the notion of Somaliland independence - and also is the organisation that prepared the other source. Beyond that, it's a matter of reading the document: it's clear from the first page that the author is arguing from the perspective that Somaliland independence is invalid.
You say: A source doesn't automatically become "biased" just because it asserts that Somaliland fails to meet the Montevideo Convention (or, on the flipside, it doesn't automatically become "reliable" just because it asserts that Somaliland meets the Montevideo Convention's criteria). I certainly wouldn't say that and wasn't arguing that. But equally, a source does not become biased just because it asserts that Somaliland passes Montevideo, or reliable just because it asserts that Somaliland doesn't pass Montevideo - and that appears to be your position.
Sources that are biased should be held to the same standard regardless of which side they are biased toward. They should be allowed for but not considered definitive. It is clear that those in favour of Somaliland independence claim that Somaliland argue that Somaliland passes Montevideo. It's clear that those against claim that it does not. Which means that there is dispute.
You say: This isn't a matter of compromise. It is quite clearly an either/or issue: either Somaliland is included in the template as a sovereign state or it's not. Not only is there room for compromise, we are required by policy to find one. And there are many ways of achieving it. It might mean splitting off disputed states into a separate section. Or it might mean flagging up disputed states by marking them in italics, linked to a footnote in the template. It might mean including them in brackets after the name of the appropriate sovereign state as in "Somalia (Somaliland)". There's a huge number of different ways we can allow for both sides without supporting either.
You say: The Somaliland separatists are, for obvious reasons, unreliable sources as to whether or not Somaliland itself meets the criteria for de facto statehood. Clearly they cannot be used as definitive sources, but I was not arguing that they could be. My argument is that, while the Somaliland government POV is not definitive, it is relevant and does have to be taken into account. If Somaliland didn't consider itself independent (as in the case of Puntland) then we'd have no question here - it wouldn't belong. But the fact that Somaliland claims independence is enough to imply that there is dispute. The fact that there is a dispute requires that we allow for both sides as per my previous paragraph.
So where are we now? At the moment the only thing we can say definitively about Montevideo is that whether it is met or not is disputed. We have POV sources on both sides arguing both sides, and as Wikipedia editors we cannot make a judgement. Given this, and given that there is clearly dispute between the Somaliland government on one side and the rest of the international community on the other, we must accept the fact that there is a dispute as to whether Somaliland legitimately exists or not. And as such, neutrality requires that we must include Somaliland in the template in a neutral way such as I described above. Pfainuk talk 10:09, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
We're repeating ourselves. The point has been made that many consider Somaliland to be independent—which is perfectly arguable, given the inexplicit nature of the Declarative theory, where the criteria is varyingly understood—thus, automatically, that view has to represented. At this point, I'd recommend an informal mediation unless the other side is willing to let up, because I'm certainly getting over repeating myself, and don't think either side is going to get anywhere with everbody going round and round in circles. Night w (talk) 04:11, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Night w has a point here, with the sides in this debate stagnating, and since I really don't see any new arguments being brought into this, it may have to come to this. I would concur with the recommendation for informal mediation, but I think we should give it at least another day or two to see if anything new comes up, or if any of the previous arguments pans out into any kind of compromise (although at this point it seems to be unlikely). Hopefully, if all else fails, this might satisfy all sides. I should note, I discovered recently that Somaliland appears on the List of sovereign states as well where it is listed as a "De facto independent state not diplomatically recognized by any other state, claimed in whole by the Somali Republic." I wonder why Somaliland is treated with neutrality elsewhere on wikipedia, but when it comes to these templates and the actual Somaliland page, things become a bit slanted toward a certain perspective. I've placed an POV tag on the main Somaliland page pending the outcome of this discussion(I dont want multiple discussions occurring all over the place). Outback the koala (talk) 04:42, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Let's start with the neutrality of your source. Your source is written by Faisal Roble, who - as a quick Google search makes clear - is certainly not considered a neutral source by both sides of the dispute. Indeed, he speaks for Northern Somalis for Peace and Unity, an organisation that argues against the notion of Somaliland independence - and also is the organisation that prepared the other source. Beyond that, it's a matter of reading the document: it's clear from the first page that the author is arguing from the perspective that Somaliland independence is invalid.
You say: A source doesn't automatically become "biased" just because it asserts that Somaliland fails to meet the Montevideo Convention (or, on the flipside, it doesn't automatically become "reliable" just because it asserts that Somaliland meets the Montevideo Convention's criteria). I certainly wouldn't say that and wasn't arguing that. But equally, a source does not become biased just because it asserts that Somaliland passes Montevideo, or reliable just because it asserts that Somaliland doesn't pass Montevideo - and that appears to be your position.
Sources that are biased should be held to the same standard regardless of which side they are biased toward. They should be allowed for but not considered definitive. It is clear that those in favour of Somaliland independence claim that Somaliland argue that Somaliland passes Montevideo. It's clear that those against claim that it does not. Which means that there is dispute.
You keep bringing up the Northern Somalis for Peace and Unity paper I linked to earlier when it was never used to establish statehood, but simply to point out that Somaliland does not control much of its territory & that its referendum was doctored -- both of which are facts that other sources brought up by other users have also borne out. Kindly let it go already. There have been mountains of non-neutral sources brought up that are clearly biased in the other direction, but those somehow haven't attracted nearly as much interest. As for Faisal Roble and his apparent connection to the NSPU, thank you for bringing this to my attention. I was actually not aware that he was a part of the organization, as the scholarly journal I got his paper from did not indicate this.
The whole "dispute" issue is addressed below. Middayexpress (talk) 07:04, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
You say: This isn't a matter of compromise. It is quite clearly an either/or issue: either Somaliland is included in the template as a sovereign state or it's not. Not only is there room for compromise, we are required by policy to find one. And there are many ways of achieving it. It might mean splitting off disputed states into a separate section. Or it might mean flagging up disputed states by marking them in italics, linked to a footnote in the template. It might mean including them in brackets after the name of the appropriate sovereign state as in "Somalia (Somaliland)". There's a huge number of different ways we can allow for both sides without supporting either.
No, there is no room for compromise nor are we required by policy to find one and here's why: The view that Somaliland is an independent country of its own (& thus also belongs on this template alongside actual countries in Africa) is a tiny-minority view only held by people within the secessionist movement itself or by individual authors/groups (and ones that are typically affiliated in some way or another with the former). The rest of the world only recognizes Somaliland as a part of Somalia. You've indicated several times that we should include Somaliland in this template because of WP:NPOV issues. However, just because a reliable source may perhaps exist some place indicating that Somaliland is an independent country of its own doesn't mean we are obliged to include it and on par with Somalia to boot. On the contrary, WP:VER makes it clear that:

Just because a source is reliable does not mean it should be included. All articles must adhere to Wikipedia's neutrality policy, fairly representing all majority and significant-minority viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in rough proportion to the prominence of each view. Tiny-minority views and fringe theories need not be included, except in articles devoted to them.

Adding Somaliland to this template alongside territories that are actually recognized by the world at large as actual countries is giving undue weight to what is, per that New York Times article titled The Signs Say Somaliland, but the World Says Somalia, a view held by a tiny minority. And per Wiki policy, we are under no obligation to include tiny-minority views. Middayexpress (talk) 07:04, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
You say: The Somaliland separatists are, for obvious reasons, unreliable sources as to whether or not Somaliland itself meets the criteria for de facto statehood. Clearly they cannot be used as definitive sources, but I was not arguing that they could be. My argument is that, while the Somaliland government POV is not definitive, it is relevant and does have to be taken into account. If Somaliland didn't consider itself independent (as in the case of Puntland) then we'd have no question here - it wouldn't belong. But the fact that Somaliland claims independence is enough to imply that there is dispute. The fact that there is a dispute requires that we allow for both sides as per my previous paragraph.
No one said anything about any "definitive" sources. We are talking about reliable sources here. And it has already been explained citing actual Wikipedia policy that the Somaliland separatists are indeed obviously unreliable sources as to whether or not Somaliland itself is a state. Of course they will say that it is; that is what their entire campaign for recognition is about. Middayexpress (talk) 07:04, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
If Somaliland didn't consider itself independent (as in the case of Puntland) then we'd have no question here - it wouldn't belong. But the fact that Somaliland claims independence is enough to imply that there is dispute. The fact that there is a dispute requires that we allow for both sides as per my previous paragraph.
So where are we now? At the moment the only thing we can say definitively about Montevideo is that whether it is met or not is disputed. We have POV sources on both sides arguing both sides, and as Wikipedia editors we cannot make a judgement. Given this, and given that there is clearly dispute between the Somaliland government on one side and the rest of the international community on the other, we must accept the fact that there is a dispute as to whether Somaliland legitimately exists or not. And as such, neutrality requires that we must include Somaliland in the template in a neutral way such as I described above.
In order to properly answer that post above, we must first define what exactly is meant by the term "dispute". Judging by the phrase "the fact that Somaliland claims independence is enough to imply that there is dispute", the dispute in question is a reference to whether or not Somaliland is an independent country. The answer to that is no, there is no real dispute that Somaliland is an independent country. On the contrary, there is complete unanimity in the international community that it is a part of Somalia. The only people that dispute this are the secessionists themselves and a few authors here and there (many of whom are in some way tied to said movement). Statehood of all things is also not determined by separatist entities or individual writers/advocacy groups or even Wikipedians; it lies in the realm of actual international law. And per the latter, Somaliland is a part of Somalia. As already explained, listing Somaliland alongside actual countries in Africa on this template (Somalia in particular) is giving an obscene amount of undue weight to what is a tiny-minority view, and in the face of a global consensus that Somaliland is a part of Somalia. Middayexpress (talk) 07:04, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
So, you accept that there is no unbiased source yet available that claims that Somaliland fails Montevideo? That means that we can both agree that there is a dispute.
You are now arguing that the view in support of Somaliland indepedence is a small minority. If you dismiss all sources that support Somaliland independence as "unreliable" because you feel their authors have a POV, while accepting sources that have a POV on the other side, then of course you're not going to get many "reliable" sources that support it. It's a fairly extreme form of selection bias: if you remove all the data that supports one side and then try and draw conclusions from the remainder, you're obviously not going to come to a balanced conclusion.
You say that there is no real dispute as to whether Somaliland is an independent country. And yet you've repeatedly dismissed sources that argue exactly that. Of course there is a dispute as to whether it is independent or not - if there wasn't then there'd be no significant movement arguing otherwise, and plainly there is - several sources have been cited supporting this viewpoint (both by you and by others). We wouldn't hear of the AU calling it a status that is "unique and self-justified in African political history" (per your NYT source). We wouldn't see entries like this or this from neutral and reliable mainstream media sources.
No-one has said that Somaliland should be included on a par with Somalia. In fact I've repeatedly said that I would oppose including Somaliland on a par with Somalia. But there are plenty of ways in which Somaliland can be included in such a template in such a way that it is not put on a par with Somalia, such as those that I described.
I have now taken this to WP:NPOVN to get outside views. Pfainuk talk 12:10, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
So, you accept that there is no unbiased source yet available that claims that Somaliland fails Montevideo? That means that we can both agree that there is a dispute.
Interesting spin on something I never even said. Middayexpress (talk) 04:32, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
You are now arguing that the view in support of Somaliland indepedence is a small minority. If you dismiss all sources that support Somaliland independence as "unreliable" because you feel their authors have a POV, while accepting sources that have a POV on the other side, then of course you're not going to get many "reliable" sources that support it. It's a fairly extreme form of selection bias: if you remove all the data that supports one side and then try and draw conclusions from the remainder, you're obviously not going to come to a balanced conclusion.
This is not about "the view in support of Somaliland independece". It is about whether or not Somaliland is a sovereign country. And what I have done is simply point out to you reality i.e. that the world only acknowledges Somaliland as a part of Somalia (except, of course, for the secessionists themselves & a few sympathetic authors & Wikipedians here and there). I have also not dismissed "all sources that support Somaliland independence as "unreliable"". The latter is a strawman argument you also brought up earlier, and one which I already corrected you on then. Those sources have been exposed as biased & in some detail. Middayexpress (talk) 04:32, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
You say that there is no real dispute as to whether Somaliland is an independent country. And yet you've repeatedly dismissed sources that argue exactly that. Of course there is a dispute as to whether it is independent or not - if there wasn't then there'd be no significant movement arguing otherwise, and plainly there is - several sources have been cited supporting this viewpoint (both by you and by others). We wouldn't hear of the AU calling it a status that is "unique and self-justified in African political history" (per your NYT source). We wouldn't see entries like this or this from neutral and reliable mainstream media sources.
Yes, I did state that there is no real dispute that Somaliland is an independent country; "real" being the operative word here. The dispute is not real (i.e. significant) because there is complete unanimity in the international community that Somaliland is a part of Somalia. The only people that dispute this are the secessionists themselves and a few authors here and there (many of whom are in some way tied to said movement), and that a "dispute" does not make. Furthermore, that quote you cite from the New York Times article and which is attributed to an African Union fact-finding mission dates from 2005; in other words, it was first prepared & published long before Maakhir ever declared itself an autonomous region and neighboring Puntland eventually assumed complete control of the Sanaag region that Somaliland also still claims (1):

"After Somaliland/Puntland armed clashes in 2007, Sanaag's leaders declared their own “state” (Maakhir). Puntland eventually recaptured all of Sanaag"

You also missed the part in that NYT article that actually points out the African Union's (and the United Nation's) official position on Somaliland:

"The African Union, which is made up of all the countries on the continent, does not acknowledge a Somaliland nation, nor does the United Nations."

As has already also been pointed out, that BBC profile on Somaliland actually reinforces the global consensus (and international law) that Somaliland is a part of Somalia, as it is part of a series on 'territories' not 'countries' of which the similarly autonomous Puntland is a part (see the drop down menu to the right; both Somaliland & Puntland are listed under 'territories', not 'countries' where only Somalia is listed) -- Puntland also has its own page. And both Somaliland & Puntland are listed as parts of Somalia in Somalia's actual country profile (see the map of Somalia).
Bottom line, statehood of all things is not determined by separatist entities or individual writers/advocacy groups or even Wikipedians; it lies in the realm of actual international law. And per the latter, Somaliland is a part of Somalia. As already explained, listing Somaliland alongside actual countries in Africa on this template (Somalia in particular) is indeed giving an obscene amount of undue weight to what is a tiny-minority view, and in the face of a global consensus that Somaliland is a part of Somalia. Middayexpress (talk) 04:32, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
No-one has said that Somaliland should be included on a par with Somalia. In fact I've repeatedly said that I would oppose including Somaliland on a par with Somalia. But there are plenty of ways in which Somaliland can be included in such a template in such a way that it is not put on a par with Somalia, such as those that I described.
Semantics. Including Somaliland in the section of the template where actual sovereign states are listed -- which is what you are arguing for -- is, for all intents and purposes, clearly indicating that it is a sovereign country (i.e. promoting a tiny-minority view contrary to international law, the latter of which does not recognize a 'Somaliland' nation). This is despite the fact that the international community only recognizes the region as a part of Somalia. The only conceivable way Somaliland could be included on this template is therefore as an autonomous region. Those are the only two real options, other than not including Somaliland at all. This is why two options were only ever presented to begin with in that draft above. Middayexpress (talk) 04:32, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I have now taken this to WP:NPOVN to get outside views.
Ok. Middayexpress (talk) 04:32, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Nobody is arguing for Somaliland's inclusion to be "on par with Somalia"; everybody here is aware of the fact that the international community does not recognise Somaliland sovereignty—that's what the footnote is for; that's why it's included as an "unrecognised" state. That perspective will already be accounted for, and nobody here is arguing against it. But that perspective does not have the final say on whether or not an entity is included, since there are other factors: we have two theories for determining statehood, and in one of them outside recognition is irrelevant. Official recognition by foreign governments on this subject is obviously subject to political implications, although that has not stopped many bodies from initiating informal ties—France, Djibouti, Italy, Sweden, Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, the UK, the US, as well as the AU, the EU, the UN—all of which would constitute recognition of the state's de facto independence, as they're dealing with the Somaliland government, not the Somalian one.
And as any number of quick Google searches on the topic will show, the definition of Somaliland as a de facto independent state is certainly not a "tiny minority view" in the public eye—nor can it be proven that it is (altho you're welcome to try). In fact, given the current situation that it actually is a de facto independent entity (with a government that currently answers to no higher authority), I'd say it's a fairly widely held view by those not subjected to international protocol (i.e. sovereign governments). Luckily, the public is not required to ignore how a situation actually is for fear of repercussions. Many argue that it has achieved statehood, so we have to represent that view. Night w (talk) 14:13, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
None of the those links you have produced indicate that any of those countries recognize Somaliland as anything other than a part of Somalia (that one interview with a man from the Somaliland secessionist movement itself, notwithstanding). They only indicate that various countries have political dealings with the territory, which is hardly news since the similarly autonomous Puntland region has analogous relations with foreign bodies as well (1). These dealings, however, are never on a country-to-country basis since all of those actual countries & the international community as a whole only recognize Somaliland as a part of Somalia & deal with it as such. This includes the U.S. governmet you alluded to:

"While the United States does not recognize Somaliland as an independent state, we continue regularly to engage with Somaliland as a regional administration and to support programs that encourage democratization and economic development in the Somaliland region. We have consistently voted for United Nations Security Council resolutions reaffirming respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence, and unity of Somalia."

The British government as well, as former Prime Minister Tony Blair explains in response to a petition that was expressly put before him by Somaliland secessionists requesting recognition:

"The Government does not recognize Somaliland as an independent state, neither does the rest of the international community. The UK has signed up to a common EU position and to many UN Security Council Presidential Statements, which refer to the territorial integrity and unity of Somalia."

In fact, Somaliland's own president is:

"regarded more as a governor by other nations, even though he considers himself to be as much a president as, say, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Mwai Kibaki of Kenya or Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, three prominent presidents on this continent."

The Montevideo Convention itself is also ultimately limited by/dependent on recognition since:

"an unrecognized territory soon comes to be disregarded as a state under the Convention, because it is seen as lacking the capacity to enter into foreign relations."

Furthermore, yes, people here -- yourself included -- are indeed arguing for Somaliland's inclusion on par with Somalia because they are requesting that the region ought to be listed in this template alongside actual sovereign countries in Africa. They are not asking for Somaliland to be including as an autonomous region, although that too is an option. The entire world (except, of course, the Somaliland secessionists themselves and a few writers & Wikipedians here & there) only recognizes Somaliland as a part of Somalia. This is why that New York Times article on the secessionist movement is titled The Signs Say Somaliland, but the World Says Somalia. Including Somaliland in this template as a sovereign state is thus indeed giving undue weight to what is a tiny minority view, and tiny minority views per WP:VER "need not be included, except in articles devoted to them". You have attempted to counter this and prove that the view that Somaliland is a sovereign country of its own is somehow not, in fact, a tiny-minority view by referencing random Google hits. This is when I channel you and point out that that is original research. Google hits aren't reliable sources; actually, they aren't sources at all but random links. And for every Google hit that includes the term "de facto" alongside Somaliland -- links which, incidentally, may or may not lead to sources that indicate that Somaliland is a country of its own & that's not even taking the quality of those sources into account; they could just as likely instead lead to Wiki mirrors or sources that, while mentioning Somaliland in one part of the text, actually only indicate that another territory is a sovereign state -- there are exponentially more that include the even more specific term "region in Somalia" alongside it. And that's not including the searches which already presuppose that Somaliland is a part of Somalia, as evidenced by the overwhelming majority of maps produced. Google hits therefore obviously cannot be used to quantify how prominent a view is. What can is a source which explains the view's prominence or lack thereof directly and explicitly, as that New York Times article I've quoted does. And it, of course, makes it clear that the view that Somaliland is anything other than a part of Somalia is one held by a tiny minority of people, an opinion that is also outside the bounds of international law which consistently upholds the territorial integrity of Somalia. Middayexpress (talk) 04:32, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm arguing that Somaliland should not be treated the same as Somalia. I'm arguing that it should be placed on a template that currently includes sovereign states, both those with disputed status and undisputed status, and several entities that are undisputedly non-sovereign (indeed, some of them are integrated into the national structures of the states concerned). My preference at this stage would be for a third row, in between the two current ones, to include the SADR and Somaliland. Somaliland would not be placed alongside Somalia. It would not be on a par with Somalia. But such placement would allow for both sides of the dispute. Puntland could then go alongside La Réunion, the Spanish Plazas de Soberanía, the Canary Islands and so on - I would not accept Somaliland's going there because that would only allow for one side of the dispute and we must allow for both sides.
I've responded to the rest below. Pfainuk talk 18:41, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I've left a response below. Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Sources that highlight the status quo(i.e Somaliland being a region of Somalia, and recognised as such by the world) cannot be considered 'anti-Somaliland' sources, it's factual, which is what wikipedia is about. A source that states that Somaliland has no 'defined' territory is not 'anti-Somaliland' rhetoric, just like a John Kerry or a Al Gore supporter highlighting that Barack Obama is the current President of the United States is not anti-Bush rhetoric, it's reality.
  • I have taken a look at every single source regarding so-called informal ties and nowhere in these links does it show that an actual representative of those selected countries has made a statement where the latter entities recognise Somaliland as a 'de facto state', matter fact if we start with France, the only source to state that this country recognised Somaliland as a de facto state is the Lesnouvelles Magazine interview with a Somaliland representative, not even a member of the French political scene, but an actual member of the entity that's campaigning for recognition, hence this source is not neutral because it's based on the direct words of a member of the Somaliland entity, not to forget the most important point of all, the claim is not corroborated by any other news outlet, thereby making it unverifiable. The other sources are about visits to countries such as Djibouti and Ethiopia and here also it does not show any representatives of those latter countries recognising the Somaliland entity as a 'de facto' country, these welcoming parties have been extended to other states in Somalia such as Puntland(The President Arrives in Ethiopia for an Official Visit), and aren't unique to Somaliland. I think NightW has taken the relations of a region internationally recognised as a autonomous state of Federal Somalia and confused it as sign of being a de facto state, when its not. A Google search will show you plenty of sources that refer to Somaliland as a autonomous zone or autonomous state of Somalia.--Scoobycentric (talk) 19:24, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Again, please don't insult our intelligence. You have a POV here, Scooby, and you would do well to realise it. The two sources in question were written to argue that Somaliland is not legitimately independent. They clearly and obviously took a side in the dispute. That's fine. There's nothing wrong with that, provided that we accept them for what they are and balance them with sources that take the opposite side. Your trying to argue that they are neutral presentations of fact is plainly absurd. Pfainuk talk 22:22, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Ok, here's where I am confused. Why are you guys arguing about Montevideo? Montevideo Convention does not control De Facto independence. It is a necessary, crucial, vital and undeniable step towards De Jure recognition that cannot be circumvented. But it still has nothing to do with De Facto Independence. To better understand the De Facto-De Jure requirements, lets go over how the USSR went from a region of 10,000 to a UN Member with a veto seat. In 1917 the Tsarist Government no longer controlled Russia. And yet there was no government to replace it. Thus the area controlled by the Communists was De Facto Independent, despite not meeting the Montevideo Convention. They controlled the area, they managed it, they recruited from. It was a De Facto Independent Region. As the Russian Civil War progressed, the Red Army became victories. After 1921, the USSR met the Montevideo Convention, but it was still not recognized. In 1934 it finally received De Jure recognition. In 1945/1946 the USSR became a veto-holding member of the UN. Thus it has passed through at least for stages. Meeting the Montevideo Convention is necessary to be considered for De Jure recognition. It is not necessary to be considered a De Facto Independent state. IMHO, Puntland should be listed as De Facto Self-Governing Region, and Somaliland should be listed as De Facto Independent State, while it should be mentioned that both, De Jure, are a part of Somalia. HistoricWarrior007 (talk) 00:29, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Note quite. Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention is indeed used to illustrate de facto statehood. And even then, it too is ultimately limited by/dependent on recognition since "an unrecognized territory soon comes to be disregarded as a state under the Convention, because it is seen as lacking the capacity to enter into foreign relations." So any way you slice it, without recognition, Somaliland (like Puntland) is not a country of its own. Middayexpress (talk) 04:32, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I've finally been able to find a scholarly article that is easily accessible to all (hopefully!); This is what I found. Hopefully, this will not be a 'biased' paper as well simply because it talks about Somaliland's de facto independence and what it means. HW007, we cannot say that Somaliland is de jure a part of Somalia, we must say that, "No state regards Somaliland as de jure independent," as I'm sure it regards itself as such. Outback the koala (talk) 00:38, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Unless that paper directly and explicitly indicates that the fact that Somaliland is a part of Somalia is not the status quo & international law (it is), that is just another tiny minority view from one individual author. And WP:VER of course makes it clear that:

Just because a source is reliable does not mean it should be included. All articles must adhere to Wikipedia's neutrality policy, fairly representing all majority and significant-minority viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in rough proportion to the prominence of each view. Tiny-minority views and fringe theories need not be included, except in articles devoted to them.

The "de facto" device is also itself ultimately dependent on recognition; see the quotes above. Middayexpress (talk) 04:32, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
You just said you weren't arguing that all sources that supported Somaliland were unacceptable and all that opposed Somaliland were not. Now you've just argued exactly that. It is plain that there is dispute as to whether Somaliland passes Montevideo or not. Thus we, as editors, cannot judge the issue.
You say that your position is based on international law. Your NYT source doesn't say that. Indeed, no neutral source we've seen claims that international law definitively favours Somalia. The NYT - and BBC and Observer - say that no other state recognises Somaliland independence. You keep bringing this up as though we hadn't all repeatedly acknowledged it as one of the most basic facts in this case. But that's not the same thing as saying that Somaliland is definitively illegal under international law.
I would suggest that it is plainly obvious to any neutral observer that the viewpoint of the authorities that hold de facto control on the ground - regardless of whether they are legitimate or not - is a significant viewpoint in any given territorial dispute. Your suggestion that Somaliland doesn't count doesn't make any sense at all.
I would remind you once again that Montevideo is not a measure of the de facto only, but of both de facto and de jure according to the declarative theory of statehood. Finally, I would note that your suggestion that passing Montevideo is dependent on recognition was (when applied to this case) original synthesis, and would appear to go against Article 3 of the convention itself, which says explicitly that "[t]he political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states". Pfainuk talk 18:34, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
You just said you weren't arguing that all sources that supported Somaliland were unacceptable and all that opposed Somaliland were not. Now you've just argued exactly that. It is plain that there is dispute as to whether Somaliland passes Montevideo or not. Thus we, as editors, cannot judge the issue.
I never said that "all sources that supported Somaliland were unacceptable and all that opposed Somaliland were not". You did; those are your words, not mine. And the "dispute" of whether or not Somaliland passes Montevideo is, in the grand scheme of things, irrelevant because it indulges the notion that Somaliland is possibly a country to begin with, which is a view held by a tiny minority of people and not enshrined in law to boot -- the world only recognizes Somaliland as a part of Somalia. And per WP:VER, tiny-minority views need not be included at all. Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
You say that your position is based on international law. Your NYT source doesn't say that. Indeed, no neutral source we've seen claims that international law definitively favours Somalia. The NYT - and BBC and Observer - say that no other state recognises Somaliland independence. You keep bringing this up as though we hadn't all repeatedly acknowledged it as one of the most basic facts in this case. But that's not the same thing as saying that Somaliland is definitively illegal under international law.
I never stated that "international law definitively favours Somalia". This is yet another strawman argument. I clearly said that Somaliland is only recognized as a part of Somalia per international law; a "Somaliland" country does not exist at all in international law:

"Somalia has remained a state and UN member even though for the past two decades it has lacked a national government able to control much of its territory, while the breakaway Somaliland, with a functioning government, is unrecognized and regarded by all states and the UN as part of Somalia."

And even if the Somaliland region did meet all the criteria for so-called "de facto statehood" (it doesn't), it still would not legally be a country (yes, that's from a paper that discusses Somaliland; see below):

"Claims that there are “de facto states” and “de facto independence” are “at most, de lege ferenda -- what someone wants the law to be, not what it is” [de lege lata]. That there are no “de facto states” has not kept those who fail to take international law into account from proposing that the concept be adopted... The “de facto state” concept is in fact part of a political argument that territories should have the option to become states if they have separated or may separate from a recognized state. It is an attempt to conceptually undergird separatism in general."

Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
I would suggest that it is plainly obvious to any neutral observer that the viewpoint of the authorities that hold de facto control on the ground - regardless of whether they are legitimate or not - is a significant viewpoint in any given territorial dispute. Your suggestion that Somaliland doesn't count doesn't make any sense at all.
Somaliland does not have de facto control on the ground of much of its claimed territory. In fact, it has no control at all of Sanaag, though it certainly claims the region; neighboring Puntland administers Sanaag:

"After Somaliland/Puntland armed clashes in 2007, Sanaag’s leaders declared their own “state” (Maakhir). Puntland eventually recaptured all of Sanaag"

Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
I would remind you once again that Montevideo is not a measure of the de facto only, but of both de facto and de jure according to the declarative theory of statehood.
Actually, it's the constitutive theory of statehood that is ultimately the determining factor on whether or not a territory is a country (yes, that too is from a paper that discusses Somaliland; see below):

"While recognition may be based on the criteria underlying the declaratory theory, the inability of a territory that otherwise satisfies the criteria to exercise sovereign rights indicates the constitutive theory’s continuing relevance and perhaps determinative nature"

Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
Finally, I would note that your suggestion that passing Montevideo is dependent on recognition was (when applied to this case) original synthesis, and would appear to go against Article 3 of the convention itself, which says explicitly that "[t]he political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states".
No, I'm afraid it is not synthesis. It is fact, and was taken from this very detailed scholarly paper on "pseudo-states", a paper which also discusses Somaliland and identifies it as such a territory:

"Present-day pseudo-states and the states from which they have attempted secession include South Ossetia and Abhazia (Georgia), Transnistria (Moldova), Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenia), the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) (Cyprus), Tamil Eelam (Sri Lanka) and Somaliland (Somalia)."

That paper defines a pseudo-state as follows:

"Pseudo-states is used here to emphasize that such territories are legally not states."

The forgoing means that Somaliland as anything other than a part of Somalia is not legal or enshrined in law. Quite the opposite, actually.
It's ironic you should bring up Article 3 of the convention, because the paper also takes that argument into account:

"The Montevideo Convention criteria -- a permanent population, a defined territory, a government and a capacity to enter into relations with other states -- provide an “objective” test of statehood applied without reference to whether a territory is recognized or not. Under its Article 3, statehood can exist prior to recognition, because “even before recognition the state has the right to defend its integrity and independence.” A territory that declares itself a new-born state is thus not denied the right to defend itself merely because it has not had enough time to get recognized. In practice, however, an unrecognized territory soon comes to be disregarded as a state under the Convention, because it is seen as lacking the capacity to enter into foreign relations. That was the import of the Canadian Supreme Court’s statement that if an unconstitutional declaration by Quebec were to lead to a “de facto secession,” “the ultimate success of such a secession would be dependent on recognition by the international community . . . [although] such a recognition, even if granted, would not, however, provide any retroactive justification for the act of secession.”"

Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
You've just said: I never stated that "international law definitively favours Somalia"., and then immediately afterward a "Somaliland" country does not exist at all in international law. Your second statement argues the very thing that your first says you aren't arguing.
I repeat, you keep bringing up the fact that Somaliland is not recognised by any outside authority as though we hadn't all repeatedly acknowledged it as one of the most basic facts in this case. But that's not the same thing as saying that Somaliland is definitively illegal under international law.
You bring in a new source. But it's not a reliable and neutral source, arguing as it is from a pro-Chinese POV on Tibet. It is in the author's interest to portray Tibet pre-1951 as a non-state at a time when it was not under Chinese de facto control. If it was a state, it destroys his case. Equally it is in his interest to argue for the constitutive theory over the declarative theory. Constitutive theory backs up his point far better because Tibet had a case for statehood under declarative theory but not under constitutive theory. Given as it had a similar status to modern Somaliland, he could not take the opposite position on Somaliland without destroying his case. Fact is, this source is not a neutral presentation of facts, but is arguing a position. The names are different, but it's just as POV as it would be if it were modern day Somaliland and Somalia it was talking about instead of Tibet and China from 1913-51.
Your only argument against the important point that the authorities who hold de facto control on the ground would generally and not unreasonably be considered a significant viewpoint is to say - as has been repeatedly acknowledged - that the Somaliland authorities do not control all of their claimed territory. But they do have de facto control over a significant portion (indeed, a majority) of their claimed territory. They have de facto control on the ground in Hargeisa, for example. The Somaliland POV is significant enough not to be a tiny minority view, and must therefore be represented. Pfainuk talk 19:00, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
I repeat, you keep bringing up the fact that Somaliland is not recognised by any outside authority as though we hadn't all repeatedly acknowledged it as one of the most basic facts in this case. But that's not the same thing as saying that Somaliland is definitively illegal under international law.
Actually, I'm pointing out that Somaliland as a country has no legal basis -- only Somaliland as a part of Somalia does. Middayexpress (talk) 07:14, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
You bring in a new source. But it's not a reliable and neutral source, arguing as it is from a pro-Chinese POV on Tibet. It is in the author's interest to portray Tibet pre-1951 as a non-state at a time when it was not under Chinese de facto control. If it was a state, it destroys his case. Equally it is in his interest to argue for the constitutive theory over the declarative theory. Constitutive theory backs up his point far better because Tibet had a case for statehood under declarative theory but not under constitutive theory. Given as it had a similar status to modern Somaliland, he could not take the opposite position on Somaliland without destroying his case. Fact is, this source is not a neutral presentation of facts, but is arguing a position. The names are different, but it's just as POV as it would be if it were modern day Somaliland and Somalia it was talking about instead of Tibet and China from 1913-51.
That is WP:OR on your part. You do not know for a fact that the author of that paper on de facto states is unreliable or "pro-Chinese" let alone have you proven that he is and been able to link that to Somaliland. You've just claimed that he is, which I'm afraid is not the same thing as actually proving that he is. If you want to see how one actually proves that a given author, publisher or source is biased with regard to Somaliland, look no further than my actual exposes of the references NightW brought up such as that Bryden paper below. That should provide an object lesson as to what actually is an ureliable source. Middayexpress (talk) 07:14, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Your only argument against the important point that the authorities who hold de facto control on the ground would generally and not unreasonably be considered a significant viewpoint is to say - as has been repeatedly acknowledged - that the Somaliland authorities do not control all of their claimed territory. But they do have de facto control over a significant portion (indeed, a majority) of their claimed territory. They have de facto control on the ground in Hargeisa, for example. The Somaliland POV is significant enough not to be a tiny minority view, and must therefore be represented.
My "only argument"? A brief glance at my many posts above makes an utter mockery of that claim. Legally, Somaliland as a "country" simply does not exist; it only legally exists as a part of Somalia. You realize this, so you've opted for a "de facto state" line of argument, an argument which that source you've attempted to invalidate with just your words (that is, without any actual proof) completely blows apart. This present dispute is not about any "Somaliland POV", as that vague reference could mean literally anything (Somaliland as an independent region? province? nation?). It is strictly about whether or not Somaliland is an actual country. If not, simple: it does not belong on this template alongside actual countries in Africa. And of course, in international law, no Somaliland "nation" exists; only Somalia does, and Somaliland is a part of that actual state. I believe this is something the uninvolved editor at the WP:NPOVN board you went to for mediation also already explained to you. Middayexpress (talk) 07:14, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Either you are arguing that Somaliland has no legal basis (in which case international law favours Somalia) or you are not arguing that international law favours Somalia (in which case Somaliland may have a legal basis). Each of those positions implies the other to be true. In any case, your source doesn't say that Somaliland has no legal basis any more than it says that international law favours Somalia.
If you doubt that the source is pro-Chinese, I suggest you read it. Because to any neutral observer that should be obvious. It plainly takes the Chinese POV on all key points, rejecting all Tibetan claims. And it is, essentially, the educated opinion of the author - which is different from established fact. I would imagine that it would not be difficult to find sources that argue the opposite position on Tibet.
The fact is that the only sources that could reasonably be cited on either side that would definitively determine Montevideo, or whether Somaliland legally exists, would be based on an international court judgement. Anything else falls on one side or the other of the dispute. As it seems likely that the ICJ hasn't ruled on this matter, all we can say for sure is that it is disputed.
So it is not clear to me that Somaliland does not legally exist. No neutral source has claimed that Somaliland does not legally exist. That's your POV, and you're welcome to have it, but we have to be neutral. That's not to say that it does legally exist - it is to say that there is legitimate dispute over the matter.
And the fact remains that your only argument against the specific point that the fact that the Somaliland government has de facto control on the ground in most of Somaliland means that the Somaliland side is not a tiny minority viewpoint is that the Somaliland government doesn't control its entire claimed territory. No-one said it did, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have some control, and that doesn't make it a tiny minority viewpoint. Pfainuk talk 11:07, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Either you are arguing that Somaliland has no legal basis (in which case international law favours Somalia) or you are not arguing that international law favours Somalia (in which case Somaliland may have a legal basis). Each of those positions implies the other to be true. In any case, your source doesn't say that Somaliland has no legal basis any more than it says that international law favours Somalia.
I'm not "arguing" anything. I'm pointing out to you reality: Somaliland as an independent "country" simply does not exist in international law. Actual law only recognizes the territory as a part of Somalia. And yes, that paper I quoted from most certainly makes this clear as it identifies Somaliland as a pseudo-state that's part of an actual state: "Present-day pseudo-states and the states from which they have attempted secession include South Ossetia and Abhazia (Georgia), Transnistria (Moldova), Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenia), the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) (Cyprus), Tamil Eelam (Sri Lanka) and Somaliland (Somalia)." And it of course defines pseudo-states as territories that are not legally states: "Pseudo-states is used here to emphasize that such territories are legally not states." Middayexpress (talk) 07:22, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
If you doubt that the source is pro-Chinese, I suggest you read it. Because to any neutral observer that should be obvious. It plainly takes the Chinese POV on all key points, rejecting all Tibetan claims. And it is, essentially, the educated opinion of the author - which is different from established fact. I would imagine that it would not be difficult to find sources that argue the opposite position on Tibet.
That's still an OR argument on your part. You still do not know for a fact that the author of that paper on de facto states is unreliable or "pro-Chinese" let alone have you proven that he is and then been able to link that to Somaliland. You've just claimed that he is, which I'm afraid is still not the same thing as actually proving that he is. Middayexpress (talk) 07:22, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
The fact is that the only sources that could reasonably be cited on either side that would definitively determine Montevideo, or whether Somaliland legally exists, would be based on an international court judgement. Anything else falls on one side or the other of the dispute. As it seems likely that the ICJ hasn't ruled on this matter, all we can say for sure is that it is disputed.
An international court doesn't need to "rule" on whether or not Somaliland is legally a country of its own -- it isn't nor is there any dispute that it is. See the above. Middayexpress (talk) 07:22, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
So it is not clear to me that Somaliland does not legally exist. No neutral source has claimed that Somaliland does not legally exist. That's your POV, and you're welcome to have it, but we have to be neutral. That's not to say that it does legally exist - it is to say that there is legitimate dispute over the matter.
Yes, it is very clear that Somaliland as an independent country does not legally exist. And no, there is no dispute about this. The territory is only legally recognized as a part of Somalia. A reliable source has indeed also already been provided which plainly states this. Middayexpress (talk) 07:22, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
And the fact remains that your only argument against the specific point that the fact that the Somaliland government has de facto control on the ground in most of Somaliland means that the Somaliland side is not a tiny minority viewpoint is that the Somaliland government doesn't control its entire claimed territory. No-one said it did, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have some control, and that doesn't make it a tiny minority viewpoint.
Irrelevant. Somaliland is only legally recognized as a part of Somalia; this is understood and respected by the entire international community. The argument that the region is an independent "country" of its own is indeed a tiny-minority viewpoint that is completely contrary to actual law, the latter of which does not recognize any Somaliland "nation". This is precisely why folks here have been arguing from the start for the inclusion of the region on a "de facto" basis alongside actual countries in Africa. But even if the Somaliland region did meet all the criteria for so-called "de facto statehood" (it doesn't), it still would not legally be a country:

"Claims that there are “de facto states” and “de facto independence” are “at most, de lege ferenda -- what someone wants the law to be, not what it is” [de lege lata]. That there are no “de facto states” has not kept those who fail to take international law into account from proposing that the concept be adopted... The “de facto state” concept is in fact part of a political argument that territories should have the option to become states if they have separated or may separate from a recognized state. It is an attempt to conceptually undergird separatism in general."

Middayexpress (talk) 07:22, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
You still fail to distinguish opinion from fact. That source gives a legal opinion, something quite different from fact. It is obvious that there is dispute over Somaliland's status.
You say: "Yes, it is very clear that Somaliland as an independent country does not legally exist. And no, there is no dispute about this." Here are some sources:

The neglect of Somaliland by the international community exposes its shocking double standard that on one hand advocates for peace, stability, and democratic institutions, and, on the other hand, ignores peaceful, stable, democratic Somaliland by denying it of diplomatic recognition. This denial has no legal basis in the court of international law. ([1])

Somaliland is an independent state and it is the determination of our people that we should remain so. It is therefore my duty to inform that any suggestion to the contrary would be false and misleading. ([2])

The people of Somaliland and many others in the international Community Believe that there is a strong case for diplomatic Recognition of Somaliland as an independent state based on Precedents in international Law. ([3])

Somaliland's voluntary union with former Italian Somaliland to form the state of Somalia constitutes a compelling legal basis for its case for international recognition because, under international law, Somaliland has the right to abrogate the union into which it voluntary entered (sic)... Proponents also draw from international legal instruments which support Somaliland's position, including the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States. ([4])

Are all those sources neutral? Certainly not. One of them is the Somaliland foreign minister, another the Somaliland government, another the Somaliland International Recognition Action Group. But the fact that such sources exist is enough to demonstrate that those who support Somaliland independence take the position that Somaliland legally exists. Which is enough to show that there is dispute.
You say that the fact that the Somaliland government controls territory on the ground is "irrelevant", and then again repeat your mantra that Somaliland is not internationally recognised - something that you repeat over and over and over and over and over as though someone had ever denied this fact - but has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Somaliland controls territory on the ground. It is not irrelevant that Somaliland controls territory on the ground. The fact that they control a significant amount of the territory whose sovereignty is disputed makes them a significant player in the dispute and would do even if they weren't party to the dispute. You then bring up the legal opinion you brought up earlier - which is an opinion and not a fact. One might equally bring up the Swiss government position that:

"neither a political unit needs to be recognized to become a state, nor does a state have the obligation to recognize another one. At the same time, neither recognition is enough to create a state, nor does its absence abolish it." (Switzerland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DFA, Directorate of International Law: "Recognition of States and Governments," 2005) - taken from Montevideo Convention

Or the EU's:

"The [Badinter] Committee considers: a) that the answer to the question should be based on the principles of public international law which serve to define the conditions on which an entity constitutes a state; that in this respect, the existence or disappearance of the state is a question of fact; that the effects of recognition by other states are purely declaratory; b) that the state is commonly defined as a community which consists of a territory and a population subject to an organized political authority; that such a state is characterized by sovereignty;" ([5])

Neither mentions the situation of Somaliland, sure, but the statement you quoted isn't applied to Somaliland either. Pfainuk talk 22:01, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm going to disengage from this part of the discussion at this stage. It is clear that this discussion is just going round and round, with no apparent point. It seems only to be making the talk page longer and I would be surprised if anyone other than us is actually reading it. Pfainuk talk 22:15, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
You still fail to distinguish opinion from fact. That source gives a legal opinion, something quite different from fact. It is obvious that there is dispute over Somaliland's status.
You say: "Yes, it is very clear that Somaliland as an independent country does not legally exist. And no, there is no dispute about this." Here are some sources:

The neglect of Somaliland by the international community exposes its shocking double standard that on one hand advocates for peace, stability, and democratic institutions, and, on the other hand, ignores peaceful, stable, democratic Somaliland by denying it of diplomatic recognition. This denial has no legal basis in the court of international law. ([6])

Somaliland is an independent state and it is the determination of our people that we should remain so. It is therefore my duty to inform that any suggestion to the contrary would be false and misleading. ([7])

The people of Somaliland and many others in the international Community Believe that there is a strong case for diplomatic Recognition of Somaliland as an independent state based on Precedents in international Law. ([8])

Somaliland's voluntary union with former Italian Somaliland to form the state of Somalia constitutes a compelling legal basis for its case for international recognition because, under international law, Somaliland has the right to abrogate the union into which it voluntary entered (sic)... Proponents also draw from international legal instruments which support Somaliland's position, including the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States. ([9])

Are all those sources neutral? Certainly not. One of them is the Somaliland foreign minister, another the Somaliland government, another the Somaliland International Recognition Action Group. But the fact that such sources exist is enough to demonstrate that those who support Somaliland independence take the position that Somaliland legally exists. Which is enough to show that there is dispute.''
You're quoting from unreliable, advocacy groups and sources to support your argument that there is a "dispute" over Somaliland's legal status as a part of Somalia, not from reliable sources like I have. Middayexpress (talk) 22:53, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
You say that the fact that the Somaliland government controls territory on the ground is "irrelevant", and then again repeat your mantra that Somaliland is not internationally recognised - something that you repeat over and over and over and over and over as though someone had ever denied this fact - but has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Somaliland controls territory on the ground. It is not irrelevant that Somaliland controls territory on the ground. The fact that they control a significant amount of the territory whose sovereignty is disputed makes them a significant player in the dispute and would do even if they weren't party to the dispute. You then bring up the legal opinion you brought up earlier - which is an opinion and not a fact. One might equally bring up the Swiss government position that:

"neither a political unit needs to be recognized to become a state, nor does a state have the obligation to recognize another one. At the same time, neither recognition is enough to create a state, nor does its absence abolish it." (Switzerland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DFA, Directorate of International Law: "Recognition of States and Governments," 2005) - taken from Montevideo Convention

Or the EU's:

"The [Badinter] Committee considers: a) that the answer to the question should be based on the principles of public international law which serve to define the conditions on which an entity constitutes a state; that in this respect, the existence or disappearance of the state is a question of fact; that the effects of recognition by other states are purely declaratory; b) that the state is commonly defined as a community which consists of a territory and a population subject to an organized political authority; that such a state is characterized by sovereignty;" ([10])

Great arguments there. I must unfortunately now channel you and point out that that is indeed synthesis on your part since none of those sources above mention Somaliland at all. Those quotes reflect neither the Swiss government's nor the European Union's position on the Somaliland region of Somalia. Here is the European Union's and the entire international community's actual position on whether or not the territory constitutes a country of its own:

"The Government does not recognize Somaliland as an independent state, neither does the rest of the international community. The UK has signed up to a common EU position and to many UN Security Council Presidential Statements, which refer to the territorial integrity and unity of Somalia"

Perhaps now you understand why I find myself having to constantly correct you on the world's position on whether or not Somaliland constitutes an independent country. Middayexpress (talk) 22:53, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Neither mentions the situation of Somaliland, sure, but the statement you quoted isn't applied to Somaliland either.
I didn't quote a statement. I quoted several. And all of them came from a paper specifically on pseudo-states which clearly identifies Somaliland as being one & even discusses the territory in some detail at one point. So yes, I'm afraid it most certainly is germane, unlike your quotes above which, by constrast, are synthesis. Middayexpress (talk) 22:53, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm going to disengage from this part of the discussion at this stage. It is clear that this discussion is just going round and round, with no apparent point. It seems only to be making the talk page longer and I would be surprised if anyone other than us is actually reading it.
Ok. Middayexpress (talk) 22:53, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Midday: Instead of copy-pasting everything everybody else has written, why not take that time to read it over once more before you reply. It will save everybody time in the long-run as we won't have to keep repeating ourselves. Once again, nobody here is arguing for Somaliland's inclusion to be on par with Somalia—was that one of the two options? It's listed as an "unrecognised" state for the very arguments you're putting forth about recognition—thus, those arguments are already accounted for by the footnote. I'll say it again:

By not listing it, we're demonstrating that the opinion that Somaliland has achieved statehood simply doesn't exist, or that it's not valid (i.e. they haven't declared independence, and they don't control any territory or people). But the opinion is there, they have, and they do. By listing it with the attached footnote, we show that the opinion is there, but is not recognised—which couldn't be further from the truth. It's plain and neutral.

Are you simply overlooking the clarifying footnote, or do you just disagree with its correspondence with Somaliland? Because the footnote will always be there anyway, and I'd say "unrecognised or partially recognised state" pretty definitively applies to this case. But, apparently, everyone here is either with you or against you:

Furthermore, yes, people here -- yourself included -- are indeed arguing for Somaliland's inclusion on par with Somalia because they are requesting that the region ought to be listed in this template alongside actual sovereign [states] in Africa. They are not asking for Somaliland to be including as an autonomous region, although that too is an option.

So apparently, we can either ask for what you want, or nothing. There's no room for neutrality or middle-ground, or for demonstrating any other contemporary view. I'm sorry not everybody agrees with you here, but there are other opinions and perspectives that a neutral encyclopaedia would have to account for. Your one-sided editing has been consistently called out in the past, and I think it's about time it were addressed properly.

You cannot prove that the majority of the global public does/does not see Somaliland as a de facto independent state, since no state has held a referendum or a poll of public opinion on the matter. No, your NYT article does not mention anything about opinion of the "people"—it's just about international recognition of sovereignty by other governments. And as for Google hits, while I'm deeply indebted to you for opening my eyes to the fact that a search engine is not a source, they are used to ascertain prominence of a perspective (see #1 on "Uses of search engine tests". And for the record: where I live, and indeed on the Internet, opinion does not lie within "the bounds of international law". Neither do, in fact, the theories on determining statehood. They're not law, they're theories. They haven't been adopted by the United Nations as policy. And its criteria is not governed by any set of rules, so no: the Montevideo Convention is not "ultimately limited by/dependent on recognition." As has already been proven in sources provided (1, 2), your interpretations are just that—altho I see you've now stopped arguing about the "defined territory" and "population" or whatever straws you were clutching at before.

I provided the links that I did to show that those states have de facto recognised Somaliland as a de facto state. Please read the source I provided alongside, which explains what kind of actions might constitute such recognition by a foreign government. An example would be Ethiopia and Djibouti's acceptance of Somaliland passports, as your NYT article mentions.

Scooby: I don't know what you're talking about. You certainly haven't provided a source that claims Somaliland does not have a defined territory. We've been over that. It's old. And, as Pfainuk has pointed out, you have a conflict of interest with this matter (perhaps you both do), and are pushing a POV. Night w (talk) 11:23, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Midday: Instead of copy-pasting everything everybody else has written, why not take that time to read it over once more before you reply. It will save everybody time in the long-run as we won't have to keep repeating ourselves.

Actually, I'm copyng and pasting my responses to your comments because your comments were repetitious to begin with. Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Once again, nobody here is arguing for Somaliland's inclusion to be on par with Somalia—was that one of the two options? It's listed as an "unrecognised" state for the very arguments you're putting forth about recognition—thus, those arguments are already accounted for by the footnote. I'll say it again:

By not listing it, we're demonstrating that the opinion that Somaliland has achieved statehood simply doesn't exist, or that it's not valid (i.e. they haven't declared independence, and they don't control any territory or people). But the opinion is there, they have, and they do. By listing it with the attached footnote, we show that the opinion is there, but is not recognised—which couldn't be further from the truth. It's plain and neutral.

Are you simply overlooking the clarifying footnote, or do you just disagree with its correspondence with Somaliland? Because the footnote will always be there anyway, and I'd say "unrecognised or partially recognised state" pretty definitively applies to this case.

The opinion that Somaliland has achieved statehood means nothing, as it is a tiny minority-view held by a few individual authors/advocacy groups & contrary to international law, which only recognizes Somaliland as a part of Somalia (see the above). This is reality, not what reality ought to be. Adding Somaliland to this template alongside actual countries -- even with what you describe as an explanatory footnote -- is giving undue weight to a tiny-minority political view, and one that is contrary to actual law to boot. WP:VER makes it clear that such views have no place in Wikipedia, and WP:NOTADVOCATE similarly forbids advocacy for any "causes", which is exactly what the Somaliland-is-an-independent-country-of-its-own movement is. Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

But, apparently, everyone here is either with you or against you:

Furthermore, yes, people here -- yourself included -- are indeed arguing for Somaliland's inclusion on par with Somalia because they are requesting that the region ought to be listed in this template alongside actual sovereign [states] in Africa. They are not asking for Somaliland to be including as an autonomous region, although that too is an option.

So apparently, we can either ask for what you want, or nothing. There's no room for neutrality or middle-ground, or for demonstrating any other contemporary view. I'm sorry not everybody agrees with you here, but there are other opinions and perspectives that a neutral encyclopaedia would have to account for.

This isn't about what "I" or you want. That's very reductive, to put it mildly. It is about not attempting to rewrite what already is: Somaliland is legally a part of Somalia, not a "country" of its own. There is no room for compromise on this because the latter proposition (i.e. Somaliland as an independent "country") is a tiny-minority view held by a few individual authors/advocacy groups here & there and is contratry to actual international law, which only recognizes Somaliland as a part of Somalia (see the quotes above). Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Your one-sided editing has been consistently called out in the past, and I think it's about time it were addressed properly.

Major WP:Wikistalking and WP:Harassment issues there, and not for the first time either. None of those old discussions you've linked to above have any bearing on this present discussion nor were you even a part of any of them (at least as far as I know). Your automatically siding with the other parties in those old disputes without knowing the first thing about those discussions let alone participating in them is actually indicative of your own desire to grasp at anything for an edge, no matter how irrelevant & petty. Do try and stay on topic & give the mud-slinging a rest. If you actually have a point, by all means, share it; don't try & make this personal for lack of one. Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

You cannot prove that the majority of the global public does/does not see Somaliland as a de facto independent state, since no state has held a referendum or a poll of public opinion on the matter. No, your NYT article does not mention anything about opinion of the "people"—it's just about international recognition of sovereignty by other governments.

And as for Google hits, while I'm deeply indebted to you for opening my eyes to the fact that a search engine is not a source, they are used to ascertain prominence of a perspective (see #1 on "Uses of search engine tests". And for the record: where I live, and indeed on the Internet, opinion does not lie within "the bounds of international law". Neither do, in fact, the theories on determining statehood. They're not law, they're theories. They haven't been adopted by the United Nations as policy. And its criteria is not governed by any set of rules, so no: the Montevideo Convention is not "ultimately limited by/dependent on recognition." As has already been proven in sources provided (1, 2), your interpretations are just that—altho I see you've now stopped arguing about the "defined territory" and "population" or whatever straws you were clutching at before.

Yes, I'm afraid whether or not a territory is a country (which is the central issue here) is decided in the court of law, not in the court of public opinion as you have suggested. It is international law that Somaliland is a part of Somalia (see the quotes above). It is not "opinion" nor can digging up some individual author's actual opinion that Somaliland ought to be recognized as a country of its own because he or she believes the territory meets some or many of the attributes of a state change this basic fact. That individual author's tiny-minority view is still just that: a tiny-minority view exclusive to that one source and contrary to actual law. And yes, the Montevideo Convention most certainly is dependent on/limited by recognition (see the other quotes above). Your two sources are also irrelevant; the first doesn't even discuss Somaliland (i.e. that's synthesis) & the other is heavily biased and was called on this too (see below). Lastly, the [a search test can do, and what it can't] section of that WP:Search engine test page you linked to states, among other things, that "search engines often will not" "be neutral". It also states that "a search engine test cannot help you avoid the work of interpreting your results and deciding what they really show", and most importantly that "appearance in an index alone is not usually proof of anything". Wikipedia:Search engine test is not even a policy page either, but a how-to-guide unlike WP:VER, which most certainly is a policy page. And WP:VER still makes it clear that:

Just because a source is reliable does not mean it should be included. All articles must adhere to Wikipedia's neutrality policy, fairly representing all majority and significant-minority viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in rough proportion to the prominence of each view. Tiny-minority views and fringe theories need not be included, except in articles devoted to them.

Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

I provided the links that I did to show that those states have de facto recognised Somaliland as a de facto state. Please read the source I provided alongside, which explains what kind of actions might constitute such recognition by a foreign government. An example would be Ethiopia and Djibouti's acceptance of Somaliland passports, as your NYT article mentions.

Yes, and I and others debunked that claim. No country anywhere recognizes Somaliland as anything other than a part of Somalia, and that includes Djibouti and Ethiopia. Somaliland's political relations with foreign bodies is no different to Puntland's. That New York Times article also makes this and the passport issue clear:

"The Somaliland passport — which bears the region's logo and looks as official as any other nation's — is not recognized by any country in the world, although the neighboring countries of Ethiopia and Djibouti do allow people to travel with it while still not officially recognizing Somaliland as a country."

Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
This other source, which identifies Somaliland as a pseudo-state, makes the situation even more plain:

"Existing pseudo-states issue passports, currency, and stamps, yet the items have no validity under international law. As to passports, for example, an unrecognized state or government is considered to have no authority to issue passports. Documents issued by unrecognized states or governments are not regarded as ‘passports.’ They are accorded no official standing; generally no visa is affixed on an unrecognized passport, or if a visa is affixed, such action is expressly said not to imply recognition of the issuing authority."

Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
Well here is another source by By Fatun Mohamed Hassan (Former Charge d’affaires of the Somalia Mission to the United Nations) and Abdalla Hirad highlighting that Somaliland has no defined territory:

There is no defined boundary of any so-called “Somaliland”; and, its claimed boundary, if at all, is very much overlapping with the boundary claimed by “Puntland” to the east.

or population:

The people within the claimed “Somaliland” boundary are divided among themselves on the question. For example, the people of Sool and Sanag are divided in their sentiments between Puntland” and “Somaliland”. Indeed, a good proportion of the people of these two regions (Sool and Sanag) considers itself citizens of “Puntland”. In addition, a good percentage of the people of Awdal region, to the west of Hargeisa, are also averted to the secession. There is, even, a significant population with anti-secession sentiments in and around Hargeisa, Burao and Berbera, which are argued to harbor the core of the separatist constituency.

As has been pointed out to you none of your sources state the countries you selected 'recognised Somaliland as a de facto state', what you have done is assemble several sources and then at the end linked them to a googlebooks source about the definition of 'de facto statehood', it's ironic that after all the talk about original synth towards us, nobody here had the decency to point the same out to you, so consider this me alerting you of your OS.
Editors are allowed to have a personal POV, matter fact that is welcomed, which is why OutbackKoala can sport a template such as this:
Flag of Somaliland.svg This user recognizes the independence of Somaliland.
in his userpage and still engage in this discussion, so it would be wise to stop presenting ancient discussions all centering around a central theme(Somalis/Somalia etc), and attempt to discredit/demonise us with it, when we are in our full wikipedia rights to state our opinions, and if there is a pattern, then this only a sign of common interests revolving around a central theme.--Scoobycentric (talk) 15:11, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I do apologise. It was synthesis on my part. I won't be pushing the argument you noted any further... But you're doing it also with the above. Your source doesn't refer to the declarative theory. It doesn't claim that Somaliland's ill-defined borders make it fail the Montevideo criteria. And it wouldn't either, as that's not what's meant by "defined territory":

Source: Similar consent exists regarding the issue that a state needs (b) a territory. Neither is the size of the territory itself important5 nor do the boundaries have to be defined precisely.6 Thus a border dispute with another country does not cast doubt on the territorial status of a country. It is only important that a country has a clear core territory in order to be a state.7

and

Source: Under international law, boundary disputes do not invalidate a state’s claim to a defined territory, although they often considerably complicate recognition by other states.

Night w (talk) 17:08, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Scooby, Absolutely! Hard to ignore that most editors have a POV, but I would never argue that the side I mostly identify with, be solely represented in any article. I only agrue here that Somaliland should be listed in italics so as to signify the fact that it's an unrecognised state, And I don't feel like that is biased at all. In regard to the other conversation, did anyone read at all the article out of the Yale Journal of International Affairs? I fear not. Outback the koala (talk) 06:41, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
Night: Your first source doesn't even discuss Somaliland i.e. your posting it above is still synthesis. As for the second source, it was long ago exposed as biased:

As the Director of the African Program in the Brussel-based International Crisis Group (ICG), Matt Bryden initiated and oversaw in 2006 the preparation and publication of a notorious one-sided sub-standard ICG report (Somaliland: Time for African Union Leadership http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=4131) promoting the breakup of Somalia and the recognition of Somaliland.

Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Midday - you cannot recognize or not recognize a state as De Facto independent. It either is De Facto independent, or it is not De Facto Independent. All De Facto independent means is that the state/region governs itself. Does Somaliland govern most of its affairs? Yes! Case closed. I gave you the USSR example between 1917 and 1921, I can give you another one: the Confederate States of America(CSA); it is considered De Facto independent according to every single history book. Name me a single difference between the CSA and the current state that Somaliland is in. Just one. A car is either green, or it is not green. You can recognize it as red. Doesn't change the fact that it is green. There are no legal constructs for De Facto Independence, because independent in fact and independent in law are two different things. According to the law established by Justice Marshall, the US Troops were supposed to protect the Native Americans. According to what actually happened, they did not protect the Native Americans, as Andrew Jackson had no respect for the Supreme Court. You cannot use a legal construct, such as the Montevideo Convention, to establish facts. You can pass a law denying the Armenian Genocide, but that does not negate the fact of the genocide taking place. You are trying to use a legal construct to argue against a factual issue. That argument is bound to be inherently incorrect. HistoricWarrior007 (talk) 19:48, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Interesting but ultimately irrelevant analogies. What you have just defined is autonomy, not whether or not a territory is a de facto independent country (not "de facto independent"; that could refer to anything -- region? province? country?). Actual criteria for establishing statehood are found in the Constitutive theory of statehood and the alternative Declarative theory of statehood. Since Somaliland is only recognized as a part of Somalia by the international community, it automatically fails the Constitutive theory of statehood, as the Constitutive theory of statehood defines a state as a person of international law if and only if it is recognized as sovereign by other states. The Declarative theory of statehood, for its part, also cites criteria for statehood, but is itself ultimately dependent on the Constitutive theory of statehood. So any way you cut it, Somaliland is not a country, and certainly not legally (see the quotes above). Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
Except that the whole point of Declarative Theory is that recognition is relevant only as a means of accepting that a state has met the criteria for statehood, and not definitive in and of itself. Your source is non-neutral and in this case its support for your position is far from clear: it argues that unrecognised states in practice start to be ignored - far from saying that they cease to legally exist. You are arguing that Montevideo is definitively against Somaliland when sources are divided. We can't do that on Wikipedia. Pfainuk talk 19:44, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
You have not proven that that source is unreliable let alone with regard to Somaliland. You've just claimed it is with no actual evidence to back this up. And that source, of course, makes it clear that Montevideo is itself ultimately dependent upon recognition & that the "de facto states" argument has no basis in law. Since Somaliland is only legally recognized as a part of Somalia, the region has no place in this template alongside actual countries. Middayexpress (talk) 07:14, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
You're trying to say that a source that's one person's opinion is definitive fact. Facts are different from opinions. And in any case, your source does not make the claim that you ascribe to it. It does not claim that states cease to exist de jure if they are not recognised. It merely says that in practice people start to ignore them - something entirely different. Pfainuk talk 11:42, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
I never claimed that "a source that's one person's opinion is definitive fact" (wth?). You're literally putting words in my mouth here. A "definitive" source, whatever that means, is a term you introduced into this discussion and have consistently been using, although it has no parallel at all in Wikipedia's policies. What I actually did was indicate that the source is not "unreliable" as you claimed nor have you proven that it is especially with regard to Somaliland; you just claimed it was with no actual evidence to back this up. The paper also indeed makes it clear that Somaliland as anything other than a part of Somalia is not recognized in law since it identifies the territory as a pseudo-state that's part of an actual state: "Present-day pseudo-states and the states from which they have attempted secession include South Ossetia and Abhazia (Georgia), Transnistria (Moldova), Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenia), the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) (Cyprus), Tamil Eelam (Sri Lanka) and Somaliland (Somalia)." And it of course defines pseudo-states as territories that are not legally states: "Pseudo-states is used here to emphasize that such territories are legally not states." That Somaliland is not legally a country of its own is not "one person's opinion"; it is fact. That paper also does not merely state that "in practice people start to ignore [unrecognized states]", but clearly that the territory comes to be disregarded as a state under the Convention itself due to its non-recognized status: "an unrecognized territory soon comes to be disregarded as a state under the Convention, because it is seen as lacking the capacity to enter into foreign relations". Middayexpress (talk) 07:22, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
How about fact versus opinion? Your source is one person's opinion - there have been plenty cited above that disagree - but you treat it as though it were fact. WP:NPOV is quite clear that all significant views need to be reported and no-one is arguing that his shouldn't be allowed for. But acting as though his view is the only one that exists is plainly absurd. Pfainuk talk 21:01, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
Apples and oranges. Those "other sources" were exposed as biased, something which you have not succeeded in doing with this souce. You've just claimed it is with nothing at all to back that up much less tie that supposed 'unreliability' to Somaliland itself. And I'm afraid it is not "opinion" that Somaliland is not legally recognized as a country; it is indeed fact. Middayexpress (talk) 22:53, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Exactly. Which is why we include it with the clarifying footnote. It's a de facto state, but its status as a state is unrecognised by the international community. It's simple. If this debate continues much further then I think we should open a MedCab case. Night w (talk) 03:14, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
I now feel like this is going nowhere as well, we might have to bring this to a higher power(no I don't mean God). Outback the koala (talk) 06:41, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
No, Somaliland is a self-declared state, and a territory which doesn't even meet many of the criteria for statehood to boot. Legally, it is only recognized the world over as a part of Somalia. Middayexpress (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Mediation Case

My words don't seem to be registering on some editors here, and I'm getting tired of repeating myself. I've filed a MedCab case to hopefully tie this up. However, given that the outcome of this debate will probably result in implications in similar cases, I think it would be most productive to broaden the discussion and thus encourage a higher level of activity from other editors. It's not just Somaliland's placement that will be affected, so other editors with interest in the matter should be alerted, starting with the talk pages of other templates. If there are any objections or comments, please add them here in this section (which is not for continued discussion of the above) as there will be time to amend the casefile, if someone wishes it, before a mediator accepts the case. Night w (talk) 17:22, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

RfC: Should unrecognized states be included on Templates?

Should Somaliland, a disputed entity, that some consider to be an independent de facto state, but unrecognized by any country or international organization (as per the List of states with limited recognition and the List of sovereign states page), be included in Templates? Some editors have suggested that including such states at all is pushing an imbalanced point of view and thus have made the argument for not including them. While other editors have argued to not include them at all, is not NPOV, and would not reflect the facts, but only certain opinions. Various conciliatory methods have been proposed, but none have achieved consensus. There are many articles referenced in the above debate, almost all have had their neutrality challenged at some point(some challenges valid, while others dubious). There are also arguments ongoing regarding the application of the Declarative theory of statehood and the Constitutive theory of statehood. Commenting Editors should note that the outcome of this debate will most likely have implications upon counterpart templates elsewhere. Outback the koala (talk) 22:45, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Actually Outback the koala, I edit almost exclusively Somali-related pages because that is a subject I am knowledgeable on. When you, on the other hand, edit Somali-related pages, it is strictly limited to Somaliland-related edits and from a position of advocacy (such as these two edits 1, 2, where you attempt to claim that the region constitutes a "country" of its own). This can readily be seen in the template featured on your user page indicating that "This user recognizes the independence of Somaliland". Middayexpress (talk) 07:14, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Guys, this isn't about you. It's about Somaliland. It is irrelevant where Middayexpress edited. It is irrelevant what tags Koala has. Please focus your edits on the issue at hand, not on each other. Having seen one too many Ad Hominem matches, I don't want this to degenerate into an Ad Hominem contest. Focus on the arguments, not the arguer. Focus on the edits that were made, not on who made the edits.
Readers: To correct that user above, there is no dispute at all that Somaliland is a part of Somalia. It is only recognized as such the world over. Please read the discussions above as well as this other post made at WP:NPOVN already asking for mediation. You will be interested to learn that consensus had already been reached in the past on this very issue; a precedent was set suggesting that Somaliland should be excluded from the template since it is not regarded by any UN state as independent, nor does it have any status in international law as an independent entity. Middayexpress (talk) 07:14, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
One does not require De Jure recognition, or even a step in that direction, if the tag suggests that the state is merely De Facto independent. The sources that you cited Midday, and called unbiased, claim that the Isaaq tribe De Facto controls 50-60% of Somaliland. That admission is enough to call Somaliland De Facto independent, as it mirrors the situation of the Confederate States of America during the vast part of the Civil War. HistoricWarrior007 (talk) 11:16, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Nowhere in those sources does it state that Somaliland 'de facto' controls anything, that's original synth. However there have been sources provided that highlight Somaliland neither has a defined territory nor a stable population, and not to forget a neutral source with no connection to Somalia states that Somaliland is a 'pseudo-state'. Other points presented to prove Somaliland being a 'de facto state' have also been refuted above in the discussion, wether it's the Camouflage passports, that are not considered official/Legal or the lavish welcoming parties that are also extended to other autonomous states of Somalia.--Scoobycentric (talk) 18:19, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Umm, here's the definition: "Do not combine material from multiple sources to reach or imply a conclusion not explicitly stated by any of the sources." Simple math is not implying a conclusion. If a single source, that Midday presented, states that Somaliland does not control 40% of its territory, and said source is not a fan of Somaliland, via simple math, 100-40=60, we can see that Somaliland controls 60% of its territory. You either control a territory, or you do not control it. Additionally the same source blamed the Isaaq tribe, who have a defined territory, stable population, etc. I am using your source: http://wardheernews.com/Articles_06/may_06/ILLUSORY__SOMALILAND.pdf. Are you aware of what a De Facto State is? An example is Transnistria. A De Facto States is a state that governs most of its own affairs and yet, remains unrecognized. There is a difference between a country, United States, and a state, Texas. Somaliland is an independent De Facto state. HistoricWarrior007 (talk) 08:54, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes Historic, we are aware by now of your personal belief that Somaliland is a "de facto independent state". And Scoobycentric is not referring to that source above when he indicates that Somaliland does not control much of its territory. He is referring to another source he himself quoted earlier; see his post from 15:11, 11 January 2010 for quotes. Middayexpress (talk) 09:01, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
It is not my personal belief. A state that controls most of its territory, but is unrecognized by anyone, is a De Facto Independent State. See the USSR prior to its recognition, or the Confederate States of America (CSA). Both are well established precedents that fit the analogy. I can assure you that I did not personally create the CSA or the USSR. Let me make it simpler: is there any difference between the CSA and Somaliland? Was the CSA considered De Facto Independent? When Lincoln told the CSA "you have no right to secede without proper cause" he was acknowledging the fact that they are in rebellion. Heck, the Emancipation Proclamation acknowledged that the CSA were in rebellion. It is not merely my own personal belief, it is reality. HistoricWarrior007 (talk) 06:37, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
What you have just described again above is indeed your own criteria for establishing statehood, not any officially recognized criteria. A territory is considered a country of its own when it has met specific criteria. These are outlined in the Constitutive theory of statehood and the Declarative theory of statehood, not according to the ad hoc analogies you have presented above. The forgoing is a large part of what this whole protracted discussion was about, actually. Middayexpress (talk) 22:53, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Our principle of neutrality requires that where there is an international dispute, we at least allow for both sides of that dispute. Removing these entities would imply that they do not legitimately exist, a notion that would take one side in every dispute and would be fairly obviously non-neutral. Including them without specific marking would do the opposite: implying that they do legitimately exist - thereby taking the other side in every dispute. Neither approach should be acceptable to an encyclopædia that aspires to neutrality.

What we need to do is include all of these entities on the templates, but in such a way that they are clearly separated from those states whose legitimate existence is generally accepted. This template is separated into two sections. We could easily separate out a third. Or we could list them in a separate line underneath the generally accepted entities.

The only entities that should not be included at all are micronations and entities that do not have sovereign-like control over any part of their claimed territory. Entities that do not claim to be legally independent could be (but do not need to be) included as in this template, separated off both from generally recognised states and entities that claim independence. Pfainuk talk 11:34, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

I would agree that we need to include all of these entities on the templates in just such a separate way, but my preference would be to have all states listed with states that are partially recognized/unrecognized being italicized with a clarifying statement at the bottom of the template. This seems to be the way it is with other templates and the way it was before Somaliland was taken out of this template by Midday. Outback the koala (talk) 16:39, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually, the precedent was that Somaliland should be excluded from the template since it is not regarded by any UN state as independent, nor does it have any status in international law as an independent entity. This was already clearly explained to you by an uninvolved editor on WP:NPOVN too. Middayexpress (talk) 07:22, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
The United Nations is setting precedent for Wikipedia Templates? I'm guessing their workload ain't what it used to be. HistoricWarrior007 (talk) 06:40, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually, international law is. And those aren't my words either; I'm paraphrasing what an uninvolved editor already explained was the existing consensus. Middayexpress (talk) 22:53, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Previous consensus does not bind future consensus. Consensus elsewhere does not bind our consensus. His statement is disputable and the consensus he advocates is highly biased: it takes the Kosovo side against Serbia, and the Georgian, Cypriot, Moldovan and Azeri sides against Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Northern Cyprus, Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh. It may not be his argument, but the result is that Wikipedia is biased toward the US government position in every dispute in Europe. Pfainuk talk 09:18, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
I never stated or suggested that previous consensus supercedes future consensus. I was merely letting the editor above me know that I was paraphrasing the existing consensus, not inventing stuff as I was going along. You're quite right, however, about consensus not being immutable. In future, I shall bear your words in mind when someone brings up this issue again, whatever the outcome of this dispute. Middayexpress (talk) 23:39, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

And yes I hear you other editors; no I will not descend to his level and I will no longer reply to his posts anymore because whats the point, he keeps repeating the same thing over and over again(a good chunk of his comments no one disputes still) and either he's not reading other editors' posts or the arguments don't register(or he may not understand them). I feel it is not productive(in any way) to engage with discussion with him any longer and I will not be doing so. Outback the koala (talk) 16:39, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Highly ironic seeing as how you were the very person who introduced incivility into the discussion in the first place. As can clearly be seen in the discussions above, you have also not really "engaged" to begin with despite having been one of the original disputants. So one cannot say we'll be missing much with your (latest) absence -- other than, of course, the predictable ad hominem to compensate for a complete lack of actual arguments. Middayexpress (talk) 07:22, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
The MedCab was unneccessary, there is already a NPOV discussion ongoing, this to me resembles Forum shopping because the neutral comment in the NPOVN was not the one the other side was looking for. Somaliland is completely unique in every sense of the word when it comes to seccessionist entities, the other entities that through previous consensus have been removed from other regional templates such as the Europe template, have unlike Somaliland atleast a country or two recognising their legality, the world consensus is that Somaliland is a region part and parcel of Somalia, and in no way do we at wikipedia have to include the opinion of the Somaliland government or it's advocates because they constitute a minority and wiki-policy is quite clear on that--Scoobycentric (talk) 18:19, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

I've been editing and keeping order in several of the continental templates and my POV about NPOV is that all the entities that de facto control at least some of the territory they claim sovereignty and claim themselves to be independent should be included in the templates. If the entity is not (near) universally recognized then it should be mentioned as an unrecognized or a partially recognized entity. IMHO taking any other stand would be taking sides in the dispute. --Jhattara (Talk · Contrib) 19:49, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

The notion that Somaliland is a "country" of its own is a tiny-minority viewpoint and one that's contrary to actual law. The law only recognizes Somaliland as a part of Somalia, as does the entire international community. WP:VER makes it clear that "tiny-minority views and fringe theories need not be included" since they constitute undue weight. So it's actually including the Somaliland region of Somalia in this template amongst actual countries in Africa that would be taking sides since Somaliland is not even legally regarded as such. Middayexpress (talk) 07:22, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
The law is irrelevant to how Wikipedia represents the world. sephia karta | di mi 16:35, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
With all due respect, that is absurd. Whether or not a territory is an actual country of its own is established in the court of law, not in the court of public opinion (yes, even that of Wikipedians). And it's actual Wikipedia policy I cited above. Middayexpress (talk) 22:53, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, it's not for Wikipedia editors to be trying to interpret the law. Pfainuk talk 22:07, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
Highly ironic statement as that is precisely what those arguing for a de facto recognition of Somaliland as a country of its own have been doing all along since the law itself, of course, does not recognize any "Somaliland" nation. Middayexpress (talk) 22:53, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Your opinion of international law, and the opinion of your source, are insufficient to back up your contention that Somaliland is indisputably illegal under international law - particularly given the existence of sources (however biased) that dispute that interpretation. Pfainuk talk 09:12, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
I never shared my "opinion" of international law; I backed up what I wrote with a reliable source. I also never stated that Somaliland is "indisputably illegal". This is the umpteenth strawman argument you have raised. I quite clearly indicated that the notion of Somaliland as a country is not legally recognized; only Somaliland as a part of Somalia is. You have attempted to portray this basic fact as my "opinion", and worse, the "opinion" of my source. Sorry to break it to you, but this is legal reality (see the quotes below). You indicate that there exist biased sources that debate this legal reality, and you're quite right -- with the operative word being biased here. If I wanted to, I too could quote from partisan sources like you do and ones that debunk every last one of the claims your admittedly biased sources make, but I don't need to because there are reliable sources that already do that. Middayexpress (talk) 23:39, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
You should decide what you're arguing. You say that there is no dispute whatsoever that Somaliland doesn't legally exist (07:22, 14 January 2010) but now claim that your not arguing that Somaliland is indisputably illegal. Whatever, there is plainly dispute about whether Somaliland is legally constituted or not. You seem to be arguing that the fact that a source can't be used to give neutral fact means that it can't be used to cite one side's POV. Certainly, it can - biased sources are generally the best way of establishing what one side of a dispute thinks about a subject - provided it's suitably balanced by sources on the other side. Pfainuk talk 09:34, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Great, another strawman. Read it again: "I quite clearly indicated that the notion of Somaliland as a country is not legally recognized; only Somaliland as a part of Somalia is." WP:NPOV also applies to the proportionate representation of views from reliable sources only -- not from people that are part of the secessionist movement itself or in any way affiliated with it (i.e. questionable sources):

"All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view, representing fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources."

Middayexpress (talk) 01:51, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
You're saying is that any source that is in any way connected to the Somaliland government is inherently unreliable and cannot be used even to source that government's own position on the dispute? Such a position is so obviously absurd that I wonder at it. Of course no-one's saying that pro-Somaliland sources should be taken as neutral fact, but that doesn't mean that they don't constitute a significant viewpoint in this dispute. A very significant viewpoint, and one that should be proportionately represented, since for the most part it is the Somaliland government that holds sovereign-like control over the territory in dispute. Pfainuk talk 18:23, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Firstly, only the secessionists themselves believe Somaliland is a country of its own & a few authors here and there. On the other hand, no actual country in the world recognizes Somaliland as anything other than a part of Somalia on both a de jure & de facto basis (see the quotes above). That indeed makes the notion of Somaliland as an independent country a tiny minority view. As has already been pointed out, WP:NPOV also only applies to the proportionate representation of significant views from reliable sources. However, what you describe as "the government's own position" on whether or not Somaliland is a country is obviously unreliable. This is something that has been repeatedly explained to you in the protracted dicussion above, citing actual Wikipedia policy, only for you to return with the exact same arguments backed up with no policy to speak of.
Again, the Somaliland separatists are, for obvious reasons, unreliable sources as to whether or not Somaliland itself constitutes an independent country of its own. Of course they will say that it does; that is what their entire campaign for recognition is about. From WP:RS:

"Questionable sources are those with a poor reputation for checking the facts, or with no editorial oversight. Such sources include websites and publications expressing views that are widely acknowledged as extremist, or promotional in nature, or which rely heavily on rumors :and personal opinions."

Wikipedia also only allows questionable sources as sources of information about themselves so long as:
  • "the material is not unduly self-serving", and
  • "there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity".
Somaliland's government claiming that Somaliland is a country of its own is obviously self-serving, and there is likewise clearly more than reasonable doubt as to Somaliland's hypothetical statehood. Middayexpress (talk) 00:05, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Comment from uninvolved editor - From my review of the purpose of the template, the various sources provided and some other information, I think that Somaliland should be included in the Africa template in a section clearly noting that it is for countries with limited or no recognition.

{{Africa topic}} is a list of states in Africa, divided into a section for Sovereign States and a section for Dependencies, autonomies and other territories. From the information I've seen, it is accepted that Somaliland has been functioning independantly for nearly 20 years. It is also accepted that Somaliland is not recognized by the African Union or the United Nations. No nation has recognized Somaliland as an independant country. Similar situations exist in Europe - see Nagorno-Karabakh (N-K) as an example. In the List of states with limited recognition article, N-K is listed with Somaliland as the only two entries in the "Not recognized by any state" group.

My suggestion is to use the same approach used N-K in the Europe templates (see {{Europe topic}}). The {{Africa topic}} template would need a new section called "States with limited recognition" that would list Somaliland. The other templates in the Africa series should be changed to match how Europe handles unrecognized countries like this. The List of states with limited recognition would be a good place to determine what should be added, and some criteria for what to add in the future. Ravensfire (talk) 17:13, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

The List of states with limited recognition Wikipedia article is not a good place to look for direction as to how to proceed with this issue since it is edited by some of the very same people that are involved in this present dispute. It therefore cannot be used as a neutral model for settling this issue. Wikipedia's actual policies are there to highlight what are the website's best standards & practices: "Wikipedia policies and guidelines are developed by the community to describe best practice, clarify principles, resolve conflicts, and otherwise further our goal of creating a free, reliable encyclopedia." Middayexpress (talk) 22:53, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
From another univolved editor: I would tend to agree with the suggestion by Ravensfire, above. WP should clearly cover emerging states and not merely states that have de jure political recognition by existing national and international governments. It seems a simple way to do that is to simply annotate the state as having limited or partial recognition from other nation states (and/or the international, but with weak governance, UN). N2e (talk) 20:01, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
That's just it: Somaliland is not a "state" at all, but a secessionist region that is legally part of an actual country (Somalia). At least the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and even Transnistria have some measure of recognition as separate countries; Somaliland has none to speak of. Middayexpress (talk) 22:53, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Your source has not started to claim that Somaliland is legally part of Somalia in the last forty-eight hours. Pfainuk talk 09:12, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
If you insist. Here's another (pay special attention to the parts in bold):

"The international attention on piracy in the Gulf of Aden has given the Somaliland’s search for recognition a new lease on life. Last week, the government of Somaliland again offered the international community use of its ports and coastline in launching anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf, once again highlighting Somaliland’s Quixotic quest for recognition as an independent state and the unusual situation which sees the one relatively stable proto-democracy in the region denied statehood.

Many people profess to be perplexed at this anomaly, but they should not be. Independence does not rely solely on whether it is deserved, but on the existing realpolitik. Sadly for Somaliland, they fall between the cracks in international law and cannot win the argument for de jure recognition while Somalia remains without a viable government, so they must instead push for de facto recognition – which no one is willing to offer.

Somaliland voluntarily joined in a union with Somalia (and was actually an independent State for five days) under Chapters XI and XII of the UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, but there is no such clear mechanism in international law for severing such a union or for recognizing the legitimacy of a unilateral declaration of independence from a non-colonial territory, or even for establishing the criteria under which a unilateral declaration of independence may be considered legal. The doctrine of continuity ensures that the predecessor state is considered the legitimate power until such time as it gives up its rights – no matter what condition that predecessor state may be in."

Middayexpress (talk) 23:39, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
You can cite people's legal opinions until you're blue in the face. There are sources that dispute them and we are not in a position to judge what international law say, given such dispute. Pfainuk talk 09:34, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
There are unreliable sources that dispute this, and that is all you and others have quoted from (as repeatedly exposed throughout this talk page). You have not quoted from one actually reliable source that directly challenges the basic fact that Somaliland is neither de jure nor de facto recognized by the international community as an independent country -- a fact which the quotes above from an actually reliable source make painfully clear. Middayexpress (talk) 01:51, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Per the above, the notion that all sources in any way connected to the Somaliland government are inherently unreliable - even when used for sourcing that government's position in a dispute - is patently absurd. Pfainuk talk 18:26, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Per the above, Somaliland's secessionist government and/or any other individuals/groups affiliated with it are indeed unreliable sources on whether or not Somaliland is an independent country of its own. Middayexpress (talk) 00:05, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Saying that we can't argue international law on Wikipedia is not absurd, it is completely logical. There is no universally recognised world court that settles what is legal and what not, internationally, hence all we have is opinions. And our opinions don't matter. As has been pointed out repeatedly, NPOV requires us to acknowledge both that Somaliland is a de facto independent state and that it is not internationally recognised. I thus wholeheartedly agree with Ravensfire's advise.

I did not say that "we can't argue international law on Wikipedia." I clearly said that whether or not a territory is a country is decided in the court of law, not in the court of public opinion. The "court of law" I was referring to is a figure of speech for "legal arena".
WP:NPOV, moreover, applies to the proportionate representation of views from reliable sources only -- not from people that are part of the secessionist movement itself or in any way affiliated with it (i.e. questionable sources): "All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view, representing fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources." The notion that Somaliland, a territory that is only recognized by the entire international community as a part of Somalia, is actually a "country" of its own is a view held by a distinct, tiny minority & one that is contrary to actual law which only legally recognizes Somaliland as a part of Somalia. WP:VER likewise makes it clear that "Just because a source is reliable does not mean it should be included. All articles must adhere to Wikipedia's neutrality policy, fairly representing all majority and significant-minority viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in rough proportion to the prominence of each view. Tiny-minority views and fringe theories need not be included, except in articles devoted to them." Middayexpress (talk) 23:39, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
What you fail to grasp, is that the law only deals with what is right, not what is true. Whether a state is de jure independent is indeed a matter of law, a matter of right and wrong. But Wikipedia can't decide this: Wikipedia does not pass moral judgement. Whether a state is de facto independent is an empirical question, and this is what matters for Wikipedia. sephia karta | di mi 03:03, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
You tell me "Wikipedia does not pass moral judgement", yet this is precisely what you are doing in insisting that Somaliland as a "de facto" country is anything other than a tiny minority view held by people within the secessionist movement itself. The international community does not recognize any "Somaliland" nation whether de jure or de facto; it only acknowledges the territory as a part of Somalia. See the quotes below for actual objective, non-partisan, direct & explicit proof of this (not random Google searches). Middayexpress (talk) 01:51, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
No, by saying that Somaliland is de facto independent, we do not pass any kind of moral judgement, we in no way say whether we think that this is right or not. We just report an empirical fact, namely that Somaliland behaves like an independent state.sephia karta | di mi 19:36, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Do not confuse autonomy with statehood. Merely behaving like a state or state-like alone is not enough to make a territory an actual country. Like Somaliland, Puntland in many respects also behaves like an independent nation, as it has its own army, flag, Ministry of Health, Education, etc. However, it too is only recognized by the international community on both a de jure & de facto basis as an autonomous part of Somalia. Middayexpress (talk) 06:03, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Add to that, the fact that the law - particularly international law - doesn't work in absolutes. Whether or not Somaliland is legally constituted is disputed. The Somaliland government itself is a significant player in that dispute (as it has control of at least a significant proportion of the territory concerned), and thus the argument that it's view is fringe does not hold water. Pfainuk talk 09:34, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
How many times must it be repeated that the secessionists themselves are obviously not reliable sources? And that WP:NPOV only applies to actually reliable sources? Objections from a few unreliable sources does not a "dispute" make. See the quotes below. Middayexpress (talk) 01:51, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

On a side note, I wonder whether I should go look for sources that support my view that if a sovereign state holds a coercive monopoly in the market of government force, then Somalia represents a free market. On the ground, Somaliland is ten times the state Somalia is, and any reference work that fails to acknowledge that is simply out of touch with reality.sephia karta | di mi 14:19, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Your highly ironic notion that Somaliland, a territory that is only recognized the world over as a secessionist region in northwestern Somalia, is "ten times the state Somalia is", I'm afraid is very much your own POV. Middayexpress (talk) 23:39, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

I suggest everyone read the following report by the International Crisis Group, which serves to illustrate that the fact that Somaliland's status is disputed is not a mere fringe theory, and agrees with me that on the ground, Somaliland really is more of a state than Somalia:

Somaliland: Time for African Union Leadership

I take the liberty to give you some quotes:

One of the factors that makes the Somaliland situation unique is that while it meets the Montevideo criteria, the larger recognised nation in which it is still formally embedded does not in many respects. For example, it could be argued that since Somalia has in effect had no government for an extended period of time, its own grounds for formal statehood under the Montevideo principles could at least be questioned.

Under international law, boundary disputes do not invalidate a state’s claim to a defined territory

Although its sovereignty is still unrecognised by any country, the fact that it is a functioning constitutional democracy distinguishes it from the majority of entities with secessionist claims

The territory’s peace and stability stands in stark contrast to much of southern Somalia, especially the anarchic capital, Mogadishu

an AU fact-finding mission in 2005 concluded the situation was sufficiently “unique and self-justified in African political history” that “the case should not be linked to the notion of ‘opening a pandora’s box’”.

Fairly widespread recognition has not ... transformed Somalia’s TFG into a functional national authority.

...the prolonged absence of a credible authority in Somalia from whom to obtain consent.

should Somaliland be rewarded for creating stability and democratic governance out of a part of the chaos that is the failed state of Somalia?

Somaliland’s sovereignty has been contested ever since its declaration of independence on 18 May 1991 but for most of that time the dispute has been more hypothetical than real. Even the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM), the massive international intervention from 1992 to 1995, acquiesced in Somaliland’s refusal to accept foreign troops on its territory

No previous Somali transitional government has come close to achieving de facto authority across even southern Somalia, and none have encroached on Somaliland’s jurisdiction.

And it quotes the international scholar Jeffrey Herbst:

Instead the world insists on clinging to the fiction that Somalia has a government that rules over a united territory. Understanding why the world pretends that Somaliland does not exist tells us much about the foibles of the international politics of recognition

sephia karta | di mi 03:08, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

You have just quoted from a well-known biased source by the International Crisis Group, and one that other users on this very talk page have in the recent past also attempted to cite from.
The International Crisis Group's groups Horn of Africa project, which oversees affairs in the region, was not only affiliated with, but actually headed by one Matt Bryden. Bryden is one of the most vocal supporters for Somaliland's secession. He regularly writes papers for the cause, is married to a woman from the region, and works very closely with Somaliland's government. He has also been called out on his bias and vis-a-vis that very paper you have just quoted from as well:

As the Director of the African Program in the Brussel-based International Crisis Group (ICG), Matt Bryden initiated and oversaw in 2006 the preparation and publication of a notorious one-sided sub-standard ICG report (Somaliland: Time for African Union Leadership http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=4131) promoting the breakup of Somalia and the recognition of Somaliland.

Middayexpress (talk) 01:51, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
It's irrelevant who the author of the report is. What matters is that the International Crisis Group is a neutral, authoritative source, and that it publishes this report as its findings and recommendations. sephia karta | di mi 19:36, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I'm afraid all involved in the creation of that paper are indeed very relevant to the paper's reliability. From WP:RS:

"The word "source" as used on Wikipedia has three related meanings: the piece of work itself (the article, paper, document, book), the creator of the work (for example, the writer), and the publisher of the work (for example, The New York Times or Cambridge University Press). All three can affect reliability."

As already pointed out, that is not a "neutral" source. And Bryden, who oversaw the paper, is no neutral party. Read it again and let it sink in this time: "Matt Bryden initiated and oversaw in 2006 the preparation and publication of a notorious one-sided sub-standard ICG report". Middayexpress (talk) 06:03, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Oh, and http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=somaliland+%22de+facto%22 provides plenty of other reliable sources that think Somaliland is a de facto independent state.sephia karta | di mi 03:08, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Sorry but a vague reference to Google is no way of determining whether or not Somaliland is widely considered to be a de facto state, and here's why:
The What a search test can do, and what it can't section of the WP:Search engine test page makes it clear that "search engines often will not" "be neutral". It also states that "a search engine test cannot help you avoid the work of interpreting your results and deciding what they really show", and most importantly that "appearance in an index alone is not usually proof of anything". Wikipedia:Search engine test is not even a policy page either, but a how-to-guide unlike WP:VER, which most certainly is a policy page. And WP:VER still makes it clear that:

Just because a source is reliable does not mean it should be included. All articles must adhere to Wikipedia's neutrality policy, fairly representing all majority and significant-minority viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in rough proportion to the prominence of each view. Tiny-minority views and fringe theories need not be included, except in articles devoted to them. Middayexpress (talk) 01:51, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

I was not proposing a google-count. I was merely pointing out a large number of authoratitive neutral sources which claim that Somaliland is de facto independent. sephia karta | di mi 19:36, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, but those quotes are not from the Wikipedia:Google search engine test page. They are from the Wikipedia:Search engine test page, and they apply to all search engine indexes, including the one you linked to above. Again, "a search engine test cannot help you avoid the work of interpreting your results and deciding what they really show", "search engines often will not" "be neutral", and "appearance in an index alone is not usually proof of anything". So actually, you still have no idea whether those sources are reliable, neutral, relevant or even meaningful. Let it go already. Middayexpress (talk) 06:03, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Which is what I've been saying this whole discussion. It must be included not only here on this template, but everywhere on wikipedia in a neutral manner, that shows, what is for sure not, a tiny minority opinion. Some SPAs here need to take a look at their politics that is motivating them to oppose what is becoming a painfully obvious discussion. It is clear that Somaliland must be included on this template, that it is a de facto independent state. It is also unrecognized, disputed, and claimed in whole by Somalia(No one disputes this.) I find it very hard to dispute these facts, and can't see why some would go to such lengths to depict every source as biased or whatever the next argument will be(repeated over and over again with massive quotes from other users). Please, no more parrots on the talk pages! Come on let's end this already.. Outback the koala (talk) 05:43, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Like it or not, that source above is biased and has been exposed as such by others (not just me). No amount of re-quoting biased, questionable sources will make them any less unreliable than they already are or prevent others from pointing out their unreliability. Middayexpress (talk) 01:51, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Yes I am in favor of keeping them to the extent that these regions/states have articles that a user may wish to navigate. These templates are helpful to that end. Of course, whatever policy is being followed on the Asian, American, European, and Oceanian templates should be applied here, and that appears to be inclusion. —Justin (koavf)TCM☯ 04:06, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Anyone object if I go to WP:ANI to ask for someone to close and determine consensus? Best if an outside party judge it IMO - it makes the consensus more robust. Pfainuk talk 09:34, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Go for it. I'm in favour of adopting the European model here. It seems well thought-out and very balanced. Is everyone on the same page, or is there someone with an alternative theory about how to address the issue? Night w (talk) 10:54, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
All uninvolved editors here so far have supported that model. Pfainuk talk 10:57, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Agreed, please make it happen. ANI should be able to finally end this. Outback the koala (talk) 17:40, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
I've made the request at WP:ANI#Requsting an RFC close. Pfainuk talk 17:52, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Again people, for obvious reasons, best standards on Wikipeida are not determined by what is or is not done on other pages Wikipedians also happen to edit (including many of the folks involved in this present discussion). They are only determined by Wikipedia's own internal set of policies: "Wikipedia policies and guidelines are developed by the community to describe best practice, clarify principles, resolve conflicts, and otherwise further our goal of creating a free, reliable encyclopedia." A lasting consensus can only be established through honest means, not by reinterpreting (or indeed inventing) Wiki policy as one sees fit. Middayexpress (talk) 01:51, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm also in favour of adopting the European model, and know from experience, that if any other model is proposed in there or in Asian template it just re-opens the whole can of worms, which has already been settled there to a satisfaction of almost everyone. --Jhattara (Talk · Contrib) 21:00, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
It's probably already blindingly obvious from the above, but I too favour the Europe model. Pfainuk talk 21:59, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Quick question to everyone involved in here: Does anyone disagree with this statement "Somaliland is de jure part of Somalia, with no recognition for its independence from other nations, but de facto an independent nation with its own government" --Jhattara (Talk · Contrib) 20:54, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I do. We cannot say that Somaliland is de jure part of Somalia, because we have several sources above that make it clear that Somaliland considers itself to be de jure independent of Somalia. International law is a complicated matter, and we as editors are not in a position to judge whether it is Somaliland that is right or the rest of the international community. Pfainuk talk 21:57, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Taking another look, "disagree" is a rather strong word for my position, which is not that Somaliland is definitively not de jure part of Somalia, but rather that there is dispute as to whether or not Somaliland is de jure part of Somalia. Pfainuk talk 22:18, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Pfainuk. I would rephrase that sentence to: "Somaliland considers itself to be an independent state, but while by many this is seen to be true de facto, all of the world's other states consider it to be part of Somalia de jure." - or something similar.sephia karta | di mi 23:47, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually, Somaliland is legally a part of Somalia, and the entire international community does not recognize it as a country of its own on both a de jure and de facto basis. From an actually reliable source:

"The international attention on piracy in the Gulf of Aden has given the Somaliland’s search for recognition a new lease on life. Last week, the government of Somaliland again offered the international community use of its ports and coastline in launching anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf, once again highlighting Somaliland’s Quixotic quest for recognition as an independent state and the unusual situation which sees the one relatively stable proto-democracy in the region denied statehood.

Many people profess to be perplexed at this anomaly, but they should not be. Independence does not rely solely on whether it is deserved, but on the existing realpolitik. Sadly for Somaliland, they fall between the cracks in international law and cannot win the argument for de jure recognition while Somalia remains without a viable government, so they must instead push for de facto recognition – which no one is willing to offer.

Somaliland voluntarily joined in a union with Somalia (and was actually an independent State for five days) under Chapters XI and XII of the UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, but there is no such clear mechanism in international law for severing such a union or for recognizing the legitimacy of a unilateral declaration of independence from a non-colonial territory, or even for establishing the criteria under which a unilateral declaration of independence may be considered legal. The doctrine of continuity ensures that the predecessor state is considered the legitimate power until such time as it gives up its rights – no matter what condition that predecessor state may be in."

Middayexpress (talk) 01:51, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Aside the fact that you've linked the wrong thing, one person's legal opinion still does not make fact. Particularly while it's disputed by the authorities that have sovereign-like control over most of the territory concerned. Pfainuk talk 18:46, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Try and differentiate opinion from fact. It is not "opinion" that no actual country anywhere has recognized any so-called Somaliland "nation" on both a de jure and de facto basis -- it is fact: "...they fall between the cracks in international law and cannot win the argument for de jure recognition while Somalia remains without a viable government, so they must instead push for de facto recognition – which no one is willing to offer". And the "authorities that have sovereign-like control over most of the territory concerned" that you allude to -- obviously a reference to the Somaliland secessionist government itself, which actually does not control much of the territory concerned and, in fact, has no control at all over the large Sanaag sub-region -- are not, by contrast, reliable sources; this too has already been explained above via actual Wikipedia policy. Middayexpress (talk) 00:05, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually, whether or not some states have already de facto recognised Somaliland is certainly debatable. See the following:

"However, Somaliland has received “de facto” recognition. Several states, especially neighboring ones, have recently begun direct relations with the Hargeisa government. A case in point is Ethiopia. Addis Ababa has opened a diplomatic mission in Hargeisa and has named an Ambassador." — quote by Brook Hailu Beshah, an ambassador for Ethiopia. (source)

While Somaliland is not yet recognised by any state officially, a change has occurred in recent months concerning the position of France, which has evolved into de facto recognition. Within the last 12 months, diplomats from the French embassy in Djibouti have made repeated visits to the capial Hargeisa. Meanwhile, the French government authorised the opening of a Somaliland mission in Paris in preparation for the visit of President Dahir Rayale. — article by Robert Wiren from Lesnouvelles magazine (source, self-translated from French)

President Egal's tour of Ethiopia, France, and Italy has confirmed the trend to grant de facto diplomatic recognition to Somaliland. — from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (source)

I'm not going to sit here arguing about whether it does or does not have de facto recognition, or even recognition as a de facto state—partly because regardless of what we think, it's clear that there is a dispute elsewhere as to whether it does... but mostly because the lack of recognition is already shown by its division from the rest of the states on the list. Its inclusion in the template is necessary because of the reality of its de facto status. As HistoricWarrior has said before me, as far as de facto states go, it either is one, or it isn't—recognition does't come into it. You can ignore the reality as much as you wish, but many people (no, I'm not talking about governments now) believe it to be a de facto state (soures: we've all given you dozens). And no, you can't prove that this is a minority view unworthy of representation, and if you can, you have yet to do so. Night w (talk) 08:58, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually, whether or not some states have already de facto recognised Somaliland is certainly debatable. See the following:
Actually, that the Somaliland region of Somalia has no de facto recognition at all as an independent country of its own is not debatable. In fact, it is so undebatable that even the region's own president, Dahir Rayale Kahin, in a moment of candor, was forced to admit this:

"Yasser Arafat had "de facto" recognition. We do not even have "de facto" recognition. So we cannot go to the UN."

Middayexpress (talk) 06:03, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
"However, Somaliland has received “de facto” recognition. Several states, especially neighboring ones, have recently begun direct relations with the Hargeisa government. A case in point is Ethiopia. Addis Ababa has opened a diplomatic mission in Hargeisa and has named an Ambassador." — quote by Brook Hailu Beshah, an ambassador for Ethiopia. (source)
Those claims above are false for the following reasons: None of the "neighboring" states recognize Somaliland as a country of its own on a de facto basis. From an editorial on one of Somaliland's own websites:

"Djibouti asks what happened, it should be told to ask the TFG to guarantee its security since it does not recognize Somaliland and recognizes the TFG".

In fact, if that same Somaliland secessionist source is to be believed, Djibouti apparently doesn't even allow Somaliland "independence" day to be celebrated on its soil.
Ethiopia likewise has no embassy in Somaliland; it only has a trade office there because it has trade ties with the region. It reserves embassies for actual countries (1, 2). Ethiopia is also one of the prime supporters of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and has even consistently provided military backing to it in the current conflict in the southern half of the country. Here is Ethiopia's actual official position on Somaliland, from its Foreign Minister:

"Ethiopia says despite its trade relations with Somalia’s breakaway enclave of Somaliland, it does not support the sovereignty of the self-declared republic. Ethiopian foreign minister Seyoum Mesfin says Somaliland deserves to be rewarded for creating peace out of anarchy, but no one should confuse Ethiopia’s trade links there as recognition of its bid for nationhood. Last year, the Ethiopian government sent a formal delegation to the former British Somaliland and signed deals to boost cross-border trade and use the Berbera port. Many saw the agreements as a tacit recognition of Somaliland’s much-rebuffed bid for sovereignty."

Middayexpress (talk) 06:03, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
While Somaliland is not yet recognised by any state officially, a change has occurred in recent months concerning the position of France, which has evolved into de facto recognition. Within the last 12 months, diplomats from the French embassy in Djibouti have made repeated visits to the capial Hargeisa. Meanwhile, the French government authorised the opening of a Somaliland mission in Paris in preparation for the visit of President Dahir Rayale. — article by Robert Wiren from Lesnouvelles magazine (source, self-translated from French)
Not quite. Here's how the passage above reads in the original French:

"Alors que le Somaliland n’est reconnu pour le moment par aucun pays de manière officielle, un changement s’est produit depuis quelques mois en ce qui concerne la position de la France, qui a évolué vers une reconnaissance de fait. Au cours des 12 derniers mois, des diplomates de l’ambassade de France à Djibouti se sont rendus à plusieurs reprises à Hargeisa, la capitale du pays, et le gouvernement français a autorisé le Somaliland à ouvrir à Paris un bureau de liaison qui a préparé la visite du président Dahir Rayale."

The phrase you have personally translated to read "concerning the position of France, which has evolved into de facto recognition" actually translates as "concerning the position of France, which has evolved toward de facto recognition". The word "vers" in French means "toward", not "into". Depending on the context, "into" in French would be "dans", "dedans" or "en". In other words, de facto recognition still has not been achieved, but it might be soon. Middayexpress (talk) 06:03, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
President Egal's tour of Ethiopia, France, and Italy has confirmed the trend to grant de facto diplomatic recognition to Somaliland. — from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (source)
First off, this is a very old source. It dates from the late 1990's when Somaliland's prospects for de facto recognition were a lot different and rosier than they are now in 2010, after a decade of successive disappointments & let-downs in the quest for recognition. Secondly, that passage is but a snippet of a larger passage taken out of its proper context. Here is the passage in full:

"President Egal's tour of Ethiopia, France, and Italy has confirmed the trend to grant de facto diplomatic recognition to Somaliland. Italy said it would be willing to back a proposal with the EU for "semi-diplomatic" recognition which would give Somaliland a status of "international existence" and allow it to access bilateral and multilateral financial assistance. Eritrea has agreed to an informal exchange of "ambassadors" with Hargeisa and is backing a proposal to invite a representative of Somaliland to the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Djibouti. The UN has also agreed to give Somaliland the status of observer. Egypt and the Arab League are firm in their stand against autonomy for Somaliland."

The "trend to grant de facto diplomatic recognition to Somaliland" that it alludes to is a reference to an earlier passage in the same paper which reads:

"Ethiopia has agreed to sign a bilateral security agreement with Hargeisa. Though Ethiopia supports a peace process that would lead to the reintegration of Somaliland into Somalia, this agreement is another step towards de facto recognition of Somaliland's independence. Most of Ethiopia's security concerns come from southern Somalia, and it has had good relations with Somaliland since its self-declared independence."

Both those passages based their arguments on so-called "de facto" recognition on promised agreements and/or events that never wound up happening. Ethiopia, as we've already seen above, does not recognize Somaliland as an independent country, even if it still maintains an active trade office in the region. The European Union likewise does not recognize any Somaliland "nation". I'll let former British Prime Minister Tony Blair explain it:

"The Government does not recognize Somaliland as an independent state, neither does the rest of the international community. The UK has signed up to a common EU position and to many UN Security Council Presidential Statements, which refer to the territorial integrity and unity of Somalia."

The same goes for the UN, which (as Somaliland's own president was good enough to point out above), has not granted Somaliland observer status and only recognizes it as a part of Somalia:

"The African Union, which is made up of all the countries on the continent, does not acknowledge a Somaliland nation, nor does the United Nations."

Middayexpress (talk) 06:03, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm not going to sit here arguing about whether it does or does not have de facto recognition, or even recognition as a de facto state—partly because regardless of what we think, it's clear that there is a dispute elsewhere as to whether it does... but mostly because the lack of recognition is already shown by its division from the rest of the states on the list.
No, there is no dispute at all that the international community does not recognize Somaliland on both a de jure and de facto basis (see the above). Somaliland being cited in a section of the template that reads "states with limited recognition" also does not imply that it has a "lack of recognition". It clearly implies that it indeed already has obtained recognition albeit a limited amount, especially now with the addition of Puntland to the autonomies section. This is precisely the problem and constitutes major OR. Middayexpress (talk) 06:03, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Its inclusion in the template is necessary because of the reality of its de facto status. As HistoricWarrior has said before me, as far as de facto states go, it either is one, or it isn't—recognition does't come into it. You can ignore the reality as much as you wish, but many people (no, I'm not talking about governments now) believe it to be a de facto state (soures: we've all given you dozens). And no, you can't prove that this is a minority view unworthy of representation, and if you can, you have yet to do so.
You have indeed given dozens of sources asserting their opinion that they believe Somaliland meets the criteria for de facto statehood per the Montevideo Convention, and as I've repeatedly had to point out, all of those sources have already been systematically exposed as biased -- they weren't just claimed as such (see Bryden, Matt above for just one example). My sources, however, make it clear that Somaliland is neither de facto nor de jure recognized. Even the region's own president is ingenuous enough to admit this. You now indicate that the international community as a whole's position on Somaliland does not matter. That the individual opinions of random writers -- many of whom are affiliated with the secessionsit movement itself -- are key. But this is patently false since Somaliland is listed in a part of the template which reads states with limited recognition, so of course recognition matters & clearly always has.
Exceptional claims also require exceptional sources. So any 'ol source claiming that Somaliland -- a territory that is only recognized the world over as a part of Somalia -- is a actually a country of its own simply won't do, especially since this latter claim is contrary to the prevailing consensus within the international community:

"Certain red flags should prompt editors to examine the sources for a given claim: [...]claims that are contradicted by the prevailing view within the relevant community, or which would significantly alter mainstream assumptions, especially in science, medicine, history, politics, and biographies of living persons. This is especially true when proponents consider that there is a conspiracy to silence them.

"Exceptional claims in Wikipedia require high-quality sources.[1] If such sources are not available, the material should not be included. Also be sure to adhere to other policies, such as the policy for biographies of living persons and the undue weight provision of Wikipedia:Neutral point of view."

Middayexpress (talk) 06:03, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Did you just turn my comments into a rebuttal demonstration? Please don't manipulate another editor's comments.
Firstly, Kahin's outdated quote is from 2003, whereas Beshah's quote is from 2008. Things change. You seem to be confusing de facto recognition with de jure—official recognition comes in words, either on paper or spoken, while the former is tacit, allusive and demonstrated through action. Therefore, all your lines about official state policy don't even assist the argument that you might have wished to make—although they do assist my own:
  • From your own editorial: "If Djibouti asks what happened, it should be told to ask the TFG to guarantee its security since it does not recognize Somaliland and recognizes the TFG." Meaning that while Djibouti officially recognises the authority of the TFG over matters of state security, in fact it's currently dealing with Somaliland in "guaranteeing Djibouti’s border security"—yet another example of what might be construed de facto recognition.
  • From your own cited quote: "Many saw the agreements as a tacit recognition of Somaliland’s much-rebuffed bid for sovereignty."—yet more proof that many believe that some states have already extended de facto recognition. Although that situation is outdated anyway, as Ethiopia upgraded its trade office in Hargeisa to a Consulate last year.
As for "exposing" sources as biased: many of them, like those I just recently quoted, you didn't expose as anything; you just argued against them and said they were wrong. And others were "exposed" as biased for shoddy reasons, such as this article which you called biased simply because the author had interviewed a member of the Somaliland government. Any source provided that goes against your opinion, you'll go and call the author of it an "integral part of the secessionist movement".
The sources have shown that Somaliland enjoys limited recognition. Diplomatic relations, embassies (I listed them above somewhere), trade ties, de facto recognition, the fact that many believe it to have fulfilled one of the theories of statehood—would all constitute a recognition of statehood, albeit limited. Night w (talk) 05:59, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Proposed resolution

  • I am a completely uninvolved editor whose attention was brought here by the ANI post. (I am not an admin, though.) After reading through this, here is my take. First, it's pretty early to be closing an RFC, but the discussion has disintegrated to such a degree that there is not much point in continuing it. Second, there is clear consensus that Somaliland should not be included in a way that gives it equal billing with internationally recognized states. Third, there is significant support for including it in some other way, but this issue has not been settled by the existing discussion. Looie496 (talk) 20:17, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
The latest parts of the discussion above were significantly influenced by the liberal quoting of passages from this source, a paper which has already been identified as biased. This is no way to proceed with a discussion. If any lasting consensus is to be formed here, editors must not try to tip the balance in their favor by citing partisan, unreliable sources, especially while the other party has not done that (though the latter too easily could). Editors must appeal to Wikipedia's actual rulebook to support their position as opposed to reinterpreting or inventing policy as they go along. This is the only way to remove any ambiguity and settle this thing once and for all. Middayexpress (talk) 01:51, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm an uninvolved editor who did, on invitation from the ANI, (full disclosure) make one previous short comment above. Agree with Looie496 that the discussion has degraded. Too many words to be able to clarify the issues, and way too many posts (and words) by one editor who continues to make the same point, repeatedly. If anyone is able to attempt consensus around several (clear and brief) proposed alternatives, feel free to invite me back to weigh in -- just place a note on my Talk page. N2e (talk) 03:17, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
That "one editor" wouldn't need to repeat himself if the posts he is responding to weren't repetitions to begin with. Middayexpress (talk) 00:05, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree the discussion has degraded significantly. However, other than the one un-named editor, I think we could easily work toward a consensus without such a lengthy discussion. Had there not been a single disruptive SPA here, this would have been alot shorter and infinitely less painful. However instead of talking over and over and over again about WP:RS, we should talk about how we are going to include Somaliland into this template. While the Europe Model is probably the way we will end up, I still favour listing it along side all the other states and indicating through italics that the state is an "unrecognized/partially recognized state", as is the case currently on the template.(Somaliland was listed in this fashion before, and was removed by User:Middayexpress, sparking this whole debate). Outback the koala (talk) 03:36, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually, the existing consensus was that Somaliland should be excluded from the template since it is not regarded by any UN state as independent, nor does it have any status in international law as an independent entity. So if your strategy was to appeal to precendents, then let's really do that. Middayexpress (talk) 00:05, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
A full consensus in here seems impossible. Thus we should find a solution that would please the majority of editors present. And reading through most of the talk in here, I believe that majority requires the inclusion of Somaliland in some way. The main question should be, how it is included in this template. --Jhattara (Talk · Contrib) 18:22, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Consensus does not require unanimity, so the fact that we have an editor who loudly disagrees with everyone else does not mean that we do not have consensus. Indeed, it looks a bit like a filibuster, just without the edit warring component. I was hoping an admin would help by determining whether we have consensus or not, but they don't seem keen. I rather think we do have a rough consensus for change, and probably for the Europe model. Pfainuk talk 18:46, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
First of all, you have a lot more than "one editor" disputing your position, both on this talk page and on the NPOVN where mediation was originally sought. Second of all, both WP:NOTUNANIMITY and WP:FILIBUSTER are essays, not policies or guidelines. And as those essay pages themselves stipulate in their very first few lines, one should "defer to the relevant policy or guideline in case of inconsistency between that page and this one". What the actual prevailing WP:CONSENSUS policy page makes clear is that: "Discussions should always be attempts to convince others, using reasons. If discussion turns into a polarized shouting match then there is no possibility of consensus, and the quality of the page will suffer." Middayexpress (talk) 00:05, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Yeah. So, are there any editors who would oppose using the Europe model (own section for states with limited or no recognition) as a compromise between not including Somaliland and including Somaliland in the sovereign states section? Accepting this would also mean moving SADR into the new section. --Jhattara (Talk · Contrib) 18:56, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
I guess, even though I would prefer the status quo, I have no objection to implementing the Europe Model here. I would accept this. (Note that the wording should in that case be a link to the List of states with limited recognition page.) Glad we could find some consensus, everyone ok with this? Outback the koala (talk) 20:50, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
No such Wikipedia policy as the "Europe model" guys. And it's still actual Wiki policies that determine best practices, not what happens on other pages some of the editors involved in this present discussion just so happen to also already edit. Middayexpress (talk) 00:05, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Ahh, policy ... Okay, see WP:CONSENSUS. Here, that appears to be use the European model. Ravensfire (talk) 01:30, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm familiar with that policy, thanks. Now let me quote a key portion of it for you that you appear to have missed. From the Process sub-section of the What consensus is section: "Discussions should always be attempts to convince others, using reasons. If discussion turns into a polarized shouting match then there is no possibility of consensus, and the quality of the page will suffer." So as much as I'm sure it would be convenient to act as though no opposing views exist or matter, they most certainly do (nor are they only limited to me either). Middayexpress (talk) 23:16, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
If we are in agreement on the style, I'm just confirming that inclusion in the sovereign states section should be U.N. membership, since you have recognition problems with states like Israel and the Chinas. So every entry in this section will go under states with limited recognition sections; this would include the State of Palestine, even though it's recognised by the majority. Night w (talk) 05:55, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I believe that's what we are saying. That follows the Europe model. Outback the koala (talk) 06:16, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
(As a matter of pedantry, the Vatican is not a UN member but is universally recognised internationally - it is rightly included on the Europe template as a sovereign state). Pfainuk talk 20:59, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Still no such policy as the "Europe Model" folks. Wikipedia's standards and best practices are still very much determined by its own internal set of policies, not other pages some folks here also happen to edit. And consensus is still not a popular vote. It can only be obtained through discussion using actual reasons -- not via the cold shoulder/freeze out, especially when one considers the fact that it is actually a revision of a pre-existing consensus. Middayexpress (talk) 23:16, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Policy is still WP:CONSENSUS. We've tried discussing with you, but you just repeated the same point over and over, refusing to take any other point on board. Consensus doesn't have to be unanimous. In this case it isn't. Pfainuk talk 07:44, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually, these past few days you have done seemingly everything to avoid discussing the template with me, ostensibly because you realize that you will never be able to prove that Somaliland enjoys any recognition at all as an independent state let alone "limited" recognition as one. Yet the latter is precisely what you have indicated in this very untruthful template. WP:CONSENSUS also does not support your arguments above nor your attempts to act as though I'm the only one who objects to this false consensus -- Scoobycentric has repeatedly indicated on this talk page that he too objects as has ChrisO on the WP:NPOVN, where you first sought mediation. ChrisO clearly explained to you there his view ("The precedent suggests that Somaliland should be excluded from the template since it's not regarded by any UN state as independent, nor does it have any status in international law as an independent entity") as well as the pre-existing consensus:

"I don't think you want to reopen that particular can of worms! The five territories you mention all have either minimal recognition (by one or two states) or none at all, in the case of Transnistria. There was a long debate about which to include in the template before it was agreed that a state should only be included if it has significant recognition. In fact, Kosovo has slightly more international recognition than the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and it's recognised by all of its neighbours with the exception of Serbia. In the case of Somaliland the answer should be easy - it has zero international recognition and no state in the world recognises its territory as anything other than part of Somalia."

WP:CONSENSUS likewise states that: "Discussions should always be attempts to convince others, using reasons. If discussion turns into a polarized shouting match then there is no possibility of consensus, and the quality of the page will suffer." So kindly stop acting as though policy supports your unilateral actions and that you have miraculously achieved "consensus"; it most certainly does not and you most certainly have not (or even attempted to, actually). If anything, policy opposes them, nor is the consensus process predicated on a popular vote -- see WP:NOTDEMOCRACY. Middayexpress (talk) 06:03, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
So far you are the only editor involved in this discussion that disagrees with the current model. It clearly states that Somaliland is an unrecognized country, with a link that explains the situation even better. If you have any better model how to include Somaliland in here without ignoring their point of view completely, please let us know, but you don't have to repeat the same arguments over and over again. --Jhattara (Talk · Contrib) 14:24, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Ah, but the Holy See is a UN observer and widely accepted, which for our purposes is good enough, I would think. So I believe that does conform to the Europe model. I guess our criteria would be the same as on the List_of_sovereign_states#Criteria_for_inclusion page. Sovereign states with general recognition. Outback the koala (talk) 00:19, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Interesting considering that multiple sources have been provided that highlight Somaliland does not meet the criteria set in the List of states with limited recognition page --Scoobycentric (talk) 16:44, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
No, actually. There are sources arguing both sides as to whether Somaliland passes Montevideo, but none has argued that Somaliland does not have sovereign-like control over at least part of its claimed territory (such as Hargeisa, for example). Pfainuk talk 18:43, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
None?, why do i get the feeling you never bothered to read the sources provided above?, unless you completely missed what is said in this source:

There is no defined boundary of any so-called “Somaliland”; and, its claimed boundary, if at all, is very much overlapping with the boundary claimed by “Puntland” to the east.

The people within the claimed “Somaliland” boundary are divided among themselves on the question. For example, the people of Sool and Sanag are divided in their sentiments between Puntland” and “Somaliland”. Indeed, a good proportion of the people of these two regions (Sool and Sanag) considers itself citizens of “Puntland”. In addition, a good percentage of the people of Awdal region, to the west of Hargeisa, are also averted to the secession. There is, even, a significant population with anti-secession sentiments in and around Hargeisa, Burao and Berbera, which are argued to harbor the core of the separatist constituency.

If your argument is solely based on Somaliland controlling a small piece of territory, despite multiple sources pointing out it's a pseudo-state, unrecognised etc, it is still not sufficient for it to be included on the template, just like Sealand is repeatedly removed from the Europe template, regardless of whatever land they control --Scoobycentric (talk) 19:13, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Your source does not say that Hargeisa is not under the de facto control of the Somaliland government (and indeed does not come anywhere close to saying that). But we have consensus that Somaliland should be included. If you have a better way of including Somaliland without ignoring their point of view entirely, please let us know. Pfainuk talk 22:24, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Do we need to get an Administrator to conclude consensus? Midday will most probably keep reverting regardless of what we tell him. Night w (talk) 05:15, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

No - actually the admins didn't want to know (he said it was for the filer - Outback - to judge). It seems generally accepted that there is consensus here. Pfainuk talk 07:44, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Can somebody fix this one up aswell. I tried, but I'm not good with the layout as you can see. And is there a difference between this template and this one? Night w (talk) 09:56, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Your first looks fine, I've done the second. The difference is that some list are titled (for example) "Transport in Kenya" whereas others are titled (for example) "Kenyan cuisine". Pfainuk talk 17:59, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Ah, I get it. Thanks for fixing that up. With the first one, it might just be my browser but I think the words are cut off on "States with limited recognition"...? Night w (talk) 19:35, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Nope. There is no consensus. Not then, and certainly not now the way the template stands. Middayexpress (talk) 06:03, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Note: Please don't take my absence in this discussion as an indication of me agreeing with Somaliland's inclusion on the template, some people have busy lives, and don't always have the time to participate, but let me make it clear that i'm not convinced that a unrecognised secessionist entity like Somaliland belongs on the template, matter fact this discussion has only cemented my earlier view on this issue. I find the dismissal of Middayexpress in this discussion, shown by certain individuals quite disturbing, please do take a look at this section entitled 'not a majority vote' of the What is consensus article, and the ones that follow it. --Scoobycentric (talk) 16:44, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

The one directly below the one you cite is appropriate here. Consensus is not unanimity. Per Jhattara, if you have a better way of including them without ignoring their point of view entirely, please let us know. Pfainuk talk 18:43, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Their point of view?, excuse me, but it has been pointed out to you several times that wikipedia in no way has to include the official self-image of the Somaliland entity, we are not here to advocate or promote the view of the Somaliland government, these are covered in their specific articles, this template is about recognised countries of Africa, and it was made clear in the WP:NOV discussion that the precedent was to exclude Somaliland from the template, because it's recognised the world over as a region of Somalia and is not considered a independent entity wether de jure or de facto. The place Somaliland belongs in is the third section of the template, right next to the other autonomous state of Somalia; Puntland. --Scoobycentric (talk) 19:13, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Yes, their point of view. It's called neutrality. Your statement that "this template is about recognised countries of Africa" is obviously false. But in any case, we have a consensus. If you have a better way of including Somaliland without ignoring their point of view entirely, please let us know. Pfainuk talk 22:24, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
  1. ^ This idea—that exceptional claims require exceptional sources—has an intellectual history which traces back through the Enlightenment. In 1758, David Hume wrote in An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish." [11]