Somalia - the dark side of humanity
This brief report describes the conflict in Somalia, which originates in the fact that General Mohammed Farah Aidid do not recognise Ali Mahdi as the interim president, leading to armed conflict. During the Cold War, the US and the USSR viewed Somalia as gateway to the Red Sea, and the country was flooded with weapons. When central authority collapsed with the end of Mohammed Siad Barre’s dictatorial rule, it gave free reign to armed gangs and warlords. Somalia no longer figures prominently in the strategy or politics of the superpowers, and the country’s plight is largely forgotten outside the region. The recent UN-sponsored cease-fire negotiations reflect the changing role of the UN in peace-keeping. There is a wider recognition that internal conflicts have international implications. The talks have achieved little, but they are backed by influential personalities. Calls for the UN to send a peacekeeping force are getting stronger, but there has been no decision to do so. The violence in Somalia has pushed the country to the brink of famine due to drought and social dislocation, and the fighting in Mogadishu has prevented the distribution of food. The disintegration of Somalia could also impact on Ethiopia, Chad and Sudan and will challenge the OAU principle of inviolate borders, with implications beyond the immediate region.