Somalia: Conflict Insight
Located in the Eastern part of Africa, Somalia is one of the world’s most geographically strategic countries, connecting the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden. During the colonial era, Somalia was divided into five states: Italian Somaliland, British Somaliland, French-controlled Djibouti, and sections of Kenya and Ethiopia. These fractures became a source of pan-Somali nationalism following independence in 1960; leading to irredentist wars with Ethiopia and strained relations with Kenya. While Somalis are homogenous in language and religion, they are divided along patrilineal lineages called clans, which are Somalia’s primary mode of social organization and identification. In the post-1960 period, Somalia experienced a period of democracy followed by military rule for over three decades. In 1991, a civil war overthrew Siad Barre’s authoritarian regime and the country quickly plunged into an extended period of anarchy. The clan infighting that followed eventually led to state collapse. Since then, Somalia has been wracked by political instability, violence and widespread famine that have cost the country immensely, both in human and financial terms. Subsequently, two of its regions (Somaliland and Puntland) broke away. The purpose of this report is to provide analysis and recommendations to national, regional and continental decision makers in the implementation of peace and security-related instruments.