Biting the Somali Bullet

04 May 2004

30pages PDF

Over thirteen years after the collapse of the Siad Barre regime, Somalia remains the only country in the world without a government, a classic example of the humanitarian, economic and political repercussions of state collapse, including a governance vacuum that terrorist groups can take advantage of for safe haven and logistical purposes. If peace is to be attainable, the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) must end its own internal divisions. The U.S. and EU need to provide more active support to heal the regional rivalries or they will continue to fuel a low-intensity conflict and ensure that no functioning government comes to power. The international response to date has been tepid and insufficient. The principal focus has been upon the peace process sponsored by IGAD, led in this instance by Kenya, but talks have reached a critical stage, stalemated since January 2004, with foreign ministers to meet soon to decide next steps. Unless they and their passive Western partners act collectively the process will die, causing tensions in Somalia to intensify and any semblance of functioning governance to be deferred indefinitely.