Counter-terrorism in Somalia, or: how external interferences helped to produce militant Islamism

Markus Virgil Hoehne, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology For the full version of this essay, download the pdf here (pdf, 260 KB). Somalia has made international headlines for almost two decades now, first as a state of civil war characterized by clan warfare and humanitarian catastrophe, then as a failed state, and finally as a potential safe […]

The Role Of Religion In The Ogaden Conflict

Mohammed Mealin Seid, Independent lawyer Introduction For a long time Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State or Ogaden has been a theatre of violent confrontation between the Somalis living there and the Ethiopian authorities. Through history such conflicts have been launched under different pretexts by different groups (Hagmann, 2005). Religion played a prominent role in the campaigns […]

Puntland and Somaliland Clashing in Northern Somalia: Who Cuts the Gordian Knot?*

The political future of Somalia will at least partly be decided in northern Somalia. In this regard, the recent escalation of conflict in the Sool region, in the central north of Somalia, merits closer attention and analysis. On Monday, 1 October 2007, Puntland and Somaliland armed forces clashed near Laascaanood, the capital of Sool region.[1. […]

The Political Roots of the Current Crisis in Region 5

Tobias Hagmann, University of Zürich Introduction Thirty years after the 1977/78 war between Ethiopia and Somalia the Ogaden is back in the international limelight. Following a major attack on a Chinese-operated oil field in Degehabur district of Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State or region 5 by the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) in April 2007, the […]

Genocide in Somalia’s Jubba Valley and Somali Bantu Refugees in the U.S.

Catherine L. Besteman, Colby College How do genocides end from the point of view of those most harmed? Often genocides only end when those targeted flee to a safe place. The best way to end a genocide may be to get those targeted out of harm’s way in a hurry. For survivors, genocide ends when they […]

A Return to Clan-Politics (or Worse) in Southern Somalia?

Harun Hassan, Journalist Cedric Barnes, School for Oriental and African Studies, University of London The first months of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) ‘residence’ in Mogadishu has seen a severe deterioration in security in Mogadishu. By all accounts the TFG and its Ethiopian allies are generally restricted to key strategic points in the city. Much of the […]

War & Peace in Sudan: The Case of the Bejas

Dan Connell, Simmons College ‘When the Janjaweed attacked our village, they came shooting and burning from all directions,’ rape victim Jamila Bochra Moham told a reporter in the summer of 2006. ‘I tried to run away, but they told me to stop or they would kill me. I was raped by five armed men. I saw […]

Class and Power in a Stateless Somalia

Alex de Waal, Social Science Research Council Overview This essay develops an analysis of the Somali conflict that stands apart from the generally accepted wisdom that the country has fractured along clan lines, because of the inherent incapacity of the clan system of politics to provide the basis for a modern state. There is a contrary […]

Ethiopia’s Strategic Dilemma in the Horn of Africa

Abdul Mohammed, InterAfrica Group Introduction The current crisis in the Horn of Africa, including the Ethiopian military intervention in Somalia in pursuit of what Ethiopia perceives as its legitimate national security interest—namely to ensure that the Transitional Federal Government defeats its adversary, the Union of Islamic Courts—has led in some circles to much polarized and […]

Flawed Sheikhs and Failed Strategies: Lessons of the Jihadist Debacle in Somalia

Seifulaziz Milas, InterAfrica Group Introduction There are indications that the Americans have finally taken their revenge, and made it clear that it was the motive of air attacks on the SCIC terrorist bases around Ras Kamboni at the southern tip of the Somalia coast, where certain Al-Qaeda terrorists were reportedly hiding. Revenge is the honourable thing […]