This book examines different domestic and international factors that lead to
support for secessions. It questions why South Sudan’s secession was successfully
supported by Western great powers while Somaliland and Western Sahara were
not supported. It argues that support for secessions and international recognition
have more to do with the great powers’ own interests, particularly, the U.S., rather
than the fulfillment of the criteria of international law.
The analysis examines six competing arguments (hypotheses) such as: history of
conflict; agreed framework and commitment of local population; compatible
norms and internationalized ethnic politics; status of the mother state in the eyes of
the international community; economic benefits, and security and stability
interests in the case of South Sudan. A comparison of these hypotheses with the
cases of Somaliland and Western Sahara shows unique case of support for South
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