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June 17 , 2009

De Facto States

The Quest for Sovereignty


In this new century, the relentless appeal of national self-determination has moved beyond decolonisation. A large group of de facto states, would-be sovereignties, now seek international recognition. In some cases these 'nations in waiting' have already established the exclusivity of their writ on the ground and wait only for the outside world to come to terms with the realities of their existence. In others, there are powerful external players who could undermine their claims on one hand or ensure their success on the other.
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The cases described in this book are to be found throughout the world: Abkhazia and Chechnya in the Caucasus; Kosovo, Montenegro, Republika Srpska, and Transnistria in eastern Europe; Palestine and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the Middle East; Somaliland in Africa; and Bougainville in the Pacific.

Are these isolated voices or a harbinger of things to come? Their demands for separate statehood have breached the orthodoxies of territorial integrity and eroded the taboos of secession. Other large states, such as Indonesia, Nigeria, and the Sudan, also teeter on the brink of disintegration.

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