Somalian, adj., n.
/soh mah"lee euh, -mahl"yeuh/, n.
an independent republic on the E coast of Africa, formed from the former British Somaliland and the former Italian Somaliland. 9,940,232; 246,198 sq. mi. (637,653 sq. km). Cap.: Mogadishu. Official name, Somali Democratic Republic.

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Introduction Somalia
Background: The SIAD BARRE regime was ousted in January 1991; turmoil, factional fighting, and anarchy have followed for eleven years. In May of 1991, northern clans declared an independent Republic of Somaliland that now includes the administrative regions of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sanaag, and Sool. Although not recognized by any government, this entity has maintained a stable existence, aided by the overwhelming dominance of a ruling clan and economic infrastructure left behind by British, Russian, and American military assistance programs. The regions of Bari and Nugaal comprise a neighboring self-declared autonomous state of Puntland, which has been self-governing since 1998, but does not aim at independence; it has also made strides towards reconstructing legitimate, representative government. Puntland also claims Sool and eastern Sanaag. Beginning in 1993, a two-year UN humanitarian effort (primarily in the south) was able to alleviate famine conditions, but when the UN withdrew in 1995, having suffered significant casualties, order still had not been restored. A Transitional National Government (TNG) was created in August 2000 in Arta, Djibouti which was attended by a broad representation of Somali clans. The TNG has a three-year mandate to create a permanent national Somali government. The TNG does not recognize Somaliland as an independent republic but so far has been unable to reunite either Somaliland or Puntland with the unstable regions in the south. Numerous warlords and factions are still fighting for control of Mogadishu and the other southern regions. Suspicion of Somali links with global terrorism complicate the picture. Geography Somalia -
Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia
Geographic coordinates: 10 00 N, 49 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 637,657 sq km water: 10,320 sq km land: 627,337 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Texas
Land boundaries: total: 2,340 km border countries: Djibouti 58 km, Ethiopia 1,600 km, Kenya 682 km
Coastline: 3,025 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 200 NM
Climate: principally desert; December to February - northeast monsoon, moderate temperatures in north and very hot in south; May to October - southwest monsoon, torrid in the north and hot in the south, irregular rainfall, hot and humid periods (tangambili) between monsoons
Terrain: mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m highest point: Shimbiris 2,416 m
Natural resources: uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, natural gas, likely oil reserves
Land use: arable land: 1.66% permanent crops: 0.04% other: 98.31% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 2,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: recurring droughts; frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer; floods during rainy season Environment - current issues: famine; use of contaminated water contributes to human health problems; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification Environment - international party to: Endangered Species, Law of
agreements: the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note: strategic location on Horn of Africa along southern approaches to Bab el Mandeb and route through Red Sea and Suez Canal People Somalia
Population: 7,753,310 note: this estimate was derived from an official census taken in 1975 by the Somali Government; population counting in Somalia is complicated by the large number of nomads and by refugee movements in response to famine and clan warfare (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 44.7% (male 1,737,491; female 1,730,237) 15-64 years: 52.6% (male 2,054,243; female 2,019,980) 65 years and over: 2.7% (male 92,617; female 118,742) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 3.46% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 46.83 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 17.99 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 5.75 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/ female total population: 1 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 122.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 46.96 years female: 48.65 years (2002 est.) male: 45.33 years
Total fertility rate: 7.05 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA% HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Somali(s) adjective: Somali
Ethnic groups: Somali 85%, Bantu and other non- Somali 15% (including Arabs 30,000)
Religions: Sunni Muslim
Languages: Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 37.8% male: 49.7% female: 25.8% (2001 est.) Government Somalia
Country name: conventional long form: none conventional short form: Somalia former: Somali Republic, Somali Democratic Republic
Government type: no permanent national government; transitional, parliamentary national government
Capital: Mogadishu Administrative divisions: 18 regions (plural - NA, singular - gobolka); Awdal, Bakool, Banaadir, Bari, Bay, Galguduud, Gedo, Hiiraan, Jubbada Dhexe, Jubbada Hoose, Mudug, Nugaal, Sanaag, Shabeellaha Dhexe, Shabeellaha Hoose, Sool, Togdheer, Woqooyi Galbeed
Independence: 1 July 1960 (from a merger of British Somaliland, which became independent from the UK on 26 June 1960, and Italian Somaliland, which became independent from the Italian- administered UN trusteeship on 1 July 1960, to form the Somali Republic)
National holiday: Foundation of the Somali Republic, 1 July (1960); note - 26 June (1960) in Somaliland
Constitution: 25 August 1979, presidential approval 23 September 1979 note: the Transitional National Government formed in August 2000 has a mandate to create a new constitution and hold elections within three years
Legal system: no national system; Shari'a and secular courts are in some localities
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: ABDIKASSIM Salad Hassan (since 26 August 2000); note - Interim President ABDIKASSIM was chosen for a three-year term by a 245-member National Assembly serving as a transitional government; the present political situation is still unstable, particularly in the south, with interclan fighting and random banditry election results: ABDIKASSIM Salad Hassan was elected president of an interim government at the Djibouti- sponsored Arta Peace Conference on 26 August 2000 by a broad representation of Somali clans that comprised a transitional National Assembly head of government: Prime Minister HASSAN Abshir Farah (since 12 November 2001) cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister and sworn in on 20 October 2000; as of 1 January 2002, the Cabinet was in caretaker status following a no-confidence vote in October 2001 that ousted HASSAN's predecessor
Legislative branch: unicameral People's Assembly or Golaha Shacbiga note: fledgling parliament; a transitional 245-member National Assembly began to meet on 13 August 2000 in the town of Arta, Djibouti and is now based in Mogadishu
Judicial branch: following the breakdown of national government, most regions have reverted to Islamic (Shari'a) law with a provision for appeal of all sentences Political parties and leaders: none Political pressure groups and numerous clan and subclan factions
leaders: are currently vying for power International organization ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, CAEU,
participation: ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (observer) Diplomatic representation in the US: Somalia does not have an embassy in the US (ceased operations on 8 May 1991); note - the TNG and other factions have representatives in Washington Diplomatic representation from the the US does not have an embassy in
US: Somalia; US interests are represented by the US Embassy in Nairobi at Mombasa Road; mail address: P. O. Box 30137, Unit 64100, Nairobi; APO AE 09831; telephone: [254] (2) 537800; FAX [254] (2) 537810
Flag description: light blue with a large white five- pointed star in the center; blue field influenced by the flag of the UN
Government - note: An interim Transitional National Government - with a president, prime minister, and 245-member National Assembly - was established in Mogadishu in October 2000. However, other governing bodies continue to exist and control various cities and regions of the country, including Somaliland, Puntland, and traditional clan and faction strongholds. Economy Somalia -
Economy - overview: One of the world's poorest and least developed countries, Somalia has few resources and is prone to drought. Moreover, much of the economy has been devastated by civil war since 1991. Agriculture is the most important sector, with livestock accounting for about 40% of GDP and about 65% of export earnings. Nomads and semi-nomads, who are dependent upon livestock for their livelihood, make up a large portion of the population. Livestock, hides, charcoal, and bananas are Somalia's principal exports, while sugar, sorghum, corn, fish, qat, and machined goods are the principal imports. Somalia's small industrial sector, based on the processing of agricultural products, has largely been looted and sold as scrap metal. Despite the seeming anarchy, Somalia's service sector has managed to survive and grow. Telecommunication firms provide wireless services in most major cities and offer the lowest international call rates on the continent. In the absence of a formal banking sector, money exchange services have sprouted throughout the country, handling between $200 million and $500 million in remittances annually. Mogadishu's main market offers a variety of goods from food to the newest electronic gadgets. Hotels continue to operate, and security is provided by militias. Ongoing civil disturbances and clan rivalries, however, have interfered with any broad-based economic development and international aid arrangements. The failure of spring rains caused major food shortages in the south in 2001. Economic data is scare and prone to a wide margin of error.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $4.1 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $550 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 65% industry: 10% services: 25% (2000 est.) Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): over 100% (businesses print their own money) (2000 est.)
Labor force: 3.7 million (very few are skilled laborers) (1993 est.) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture (mostly pastoral nomadism) 71%, industry and services 29%
Unemployment rate: NA%
Budget: revenues: $NA expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA
Industries: a few light industries, including sugar refining, textiles, petroleum refining (mostly shut down), wireless communication Industrial production growth rate: NA% Electricity - production: 250 million kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 232.5 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: cattle, sheep, goats; bananas, sorghum, corn, coconuts, rice, sugarcane, mangoes, sesame seeds, beans; fish
Exports: $186 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)
Exports - commodities: livestock, bananas, hides, fish, charcoal, scrap metal (1999)
Exports - partners: Saudi Arabia 29%, UAE 29%, Yemen 28% (calculated through partners) (2000)
Imports: $314 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)
Imports - commodities: manufactures, petroleum products, foodstuffs, construction materials, qat (1995)
Imports - partners: Djibouti 27%, Kenya 12%, India 9% (2000)
Debt - external: $2.6 billion (2000 est.) Economic aid - recipient: $60 million (1999 est.)
Currency: Somali shilling (SOS)
Currency code: SOS
Exchange rates: Somali shillings per US dollar - 11,000 (November 2000), 2,620 (January 1999), 7,500 (November 1997 est.), 7,000 (January 1996 est.), 5,000 (1 January 1995) note: the Republic of Somaliland, a self-declared independent country not recognized by any foreign government, issues its own currency, the Somaliland shilling
Fiscal year: NA Communications Somalia Telephones - main lines in use: NA Telephones - mobile cellular: NA
Telephone system: general assessment: the public telecommunications system was almost completely destroyed or dismantled by the civil war factions; private wireless companies offer service in most major cities and charge the lowest international rates on the continent domestic: local cellular telephone systems have been established in Mogadishu and in several other population centers international: international connections are available from Mogadishu by satellite (2001) Radio broadcast stations: AM 0, FM 1, shortwave 5 (2001)
Radios: 470,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 3 note: two in Mogadishu; one in Hargeisa (2001)
Televisions: 135,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .so Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (one each in Boosaaso, Hargeisa, and Mogadishu) (2000)
Internet users: 200 (2000) Transportation Somalia
Railways: 0 km
Highways: total: 22,100 km paved: 2,608 km unpaved: 19,492 km (1996)
Waterways: none
Pipelines: crude oil 15 km
Ports and harbors: Boosaaso, Berbera, Chisimayu (Kismaayo), Merca, Mogadishu
Merchant marine: none (2002 est.)
Airports: 54 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 6 over 3,047 m: 4 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 48 2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 1,524 to 2,437 m: 15 914 to 1,523 m: 27 under 914 m: 3 (2001) Military Somalia
Military branches: A Somali National Army is being reformed under the interim government; numerous factions and clans maintain independent militias, and the Somaliland and Puntland regional governments maintain their own security and police forces Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,881,634 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 1,040,662 (2002
service: est.) Military expenditures - dollar $15.3 million (FY01)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 0.9% (FY01)
GDP: Transnational Issues Somalia Disputes - international: most of the southern half of the boundary with Ethiopia is a provisional administrative line; in the Ogaden, regional states have established a variety of conflicting relationships with the Transitional National Government in Mogadishu, feuding factions in Puntland region, and the economically stabile break- away "Somaliland" region; Djibouti maintains economic ties and border accords with "Somaliland" leadership while politically supporting Somali Transitional National Government in Mogadishu; arms smuggling and Oromo rebel activities prompt strict border regime with Kenya

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Country, North Africa.

Located in the Horn of Africa, it stretches from the Equator to the Red Sea. Area: 246,000 sq mi (637,000 sq km). Population (2002): 7,753,000 (excluding an estimated 450,000 refugees in other countries). Capital: Mogadishu. Most of the people are nomadic or seminomadic Somali. Language: Somali, Arabic (both official). Religion: Islam (official). Currency: Somali shilling. Much of Somalia is semidesert. The central and southern regions are flat, while the northern region rises to form rugged mountain ranges. Only a very small percentage of its land is arable, though more than half is grazeable. Somalia has a developing, mixed economy based largely on livestock and agriculture. It is one of the poorest countries in the world. Muslim Arabs and Persians first established trading posts along the coasts in the 7th–10th centuries. By the 10th century Somali nomads occupied the area inland from the Gulf of Aden, and the south and west were inhabited by various groups of pastoral Oromo peoples. Intensive European exploration began after the British occupation of Aden in 1839, and in the late 19th century Britain and Italy set up protectorates in the region. During World War II the Italians invaded British Somaliland (1940); a year later British troops retook the area, and Britain administered the region until 1950, when Italian Somaliland became a UN trust territory. In 1960 it was united with the former British Somaliland, and the two became the independent Republic of Somalia. Since then it has suffered political and civil strife, including military dictatorship, civil wars, drought, and famine. In the 1990s no effective central government existed. In 1991 a proclamation of a Republic of Somaliland, on territory corresponding to the former British Somaliland, was issued by a breakaway group. It did not receive international recognition, but it operated more smoothly than the area of traditional Somalia. A UN peacekeeping force intervened in 1992 to secure food supplies; fighting continued, and the peacekeeping force left in 1995. The country remained in turmoil into the beginning of the 21st century.

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▪ 2009

637,657 sq km (246,201 sq mi), including the 176,000-sq-km (68,000-sq-mi) area of the unilaterally declared (in 1991) and unrecognized Republic of Somaliland
(2008 est.): 8,956,000 (including roughly 3,700,000 in Somaliland); at the beginning of the year, more than 450,000 refugees were in neighbouring countries, Europe, or the United States
Mogadishu; Hargeysa is the capital of Somaliland
Head of state and government:
Somalia's transitional government comprised Presidents Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and, from December 29, Sheikh Aden Madobe, assisted by Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein

      Though news about Somalia had largely disappeared from the headlines in 2008, the country remained wracked by violence and anarchy. In 2007 Somalia had become the focus of international attention when war broke out between the country's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), a fundamentalist Islamic movement that had seized control of much of the country. The ICU was poised to topple the TFG, but the Ethiopian army, with support from the United States, intervened and routed the ICU's militias. Ethiopian troops remained in the country, while remnants of the ICU joined forces with local clans and other armed groups to mount an insurgency. An African Union peacekeeping force, composed of 2,600 troops from Uganda and Burundi, continued to operate in Somalia, but that force had been unable to stop the fighting and was limited to providing VIP escorts and guarding the presidential residence, airport, and seaport in Mogadishu, the country's capital.

      The fighting produced a massive humanitarian disaster. Most of the violence was concentrated in Mogadishu, where mortar fire, roadside bombs, and armed ambushes became a daily occurrence and there were occasional suicide bombings. As a result, an estimated 20,000 residents fled the city monthly, and as many as one person in eight in the southern and central regions of the country was a refugee. In March 2008 the International Committee for the Red Cross reported that many of the refugee families were surviving on less than one meal a day. Food prices in Somalia were soaring, partly owing to the emerging global food crisis and partly because the country, which was heavily dependent on agriculture, was in the midst of a severe three-year drought. International and Somali aid workers suffered increasing attacks from combatants on all sides, which made Somalia one of the most dangerous humanitarian operations in the world.

      Somalia had been without a functioning government since the collapse in 1991 of Mohammed Siad Barre's dictatorship, and prospects for restoring law and order in the country remained bleak. In August 2008 the TFG and representatives of the insurgency signed the Djibouti Agreement, a UN-brokered peace treaty calling for a cessation of hostilities, withdrawal of Ethiopian forces, and implementation of a UN peacekeeping force. The deal faced little chance of success; factions on both sides strongly opposed the agreement, and in September the UN Security Council voted against sending peacekeepers to Somalia. Although an October accord sought to resuscitate prospects for peace, it was hampered by weak language and strong opposition among some insurgency factions. As part of an internal power struggle, Pres. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed in December attempted to replace Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein. The TFG parliament sided with Nur, however, and on December 29 Yusuf resigned and was replaced as acting president by Sheikh Aden Madobe, speaker of the parliament.

      The U.S. initially supported the Ethiopian occupation out of fear that Somalia might become a haven for terrorists. That strategy apparently backfired as the ongoing violence led to rising radicalism and anti-Western sentiment among a populace that increasingly blamed Ethiopia and its U.S. backers for the continuing strife. All of these developments gained little attention in the international press, which instead focused its coverage of Somalia primarily on an increase of piracy off the Somalian coast, which resulted in the hijacking of several international shipping vessels.

Eben Kaplan

▪ 2008

637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi), including the 176,000-sq-km (68,000-sq-mi) area of the unilaterally declared (in 1991) and unrecognized Republic of Somaliland
(2007 est.): 8,699,000 (including roughly 3,700,000 in Somaliland); at the beginning of the year, more than 450,000 refugees were in neighbouring countries, Europe, or the United States
Mogadishu; Hargeysa is the capital of Somaliland
Head of state and government:
Somalia's government under President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan was barely functioning in 2007; a new transitional government comprised President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, assisted by Prime Ministers Ali Muhammad Ghedi, Salim Aliyow Ibrow (acting) from October 29, and, from November 24, Nur Hassan Hussein

      Somalia began the year 2007 embroiled in a war that would produce the worst violence since the fall in 1991 of the country's last stable government. In the final days of 2006, Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG), an internationally recognized but ineffectual ruling body created in 2004, found itself on the verge of collapse. The Islamic Courts Union (ICU), an Islamic fundamentalist movement, had seized control of much of the country, including the capital city of Mogadishu, and was closing in on the TFG's last stronghold, the city of Baidoa, near the Ethiopian border. Commanding only a meager militia, the TFG would have met its end in Baidoa in late 2006 had Ethiopian forces not intervened, routing ICU fighters and recapturing Mogadishu in a matter of days.

      The United States, fearing the ICU would turn Somalia into a terrorist haven, tacitly supported the Ethiopian incursion. In January, as fleeing Islamist fighters became sandwiched between Ethiopian forces, the Kenyan border, and the Somali coastline, U.S. gunships mounted a pair of air raids aimed at cadres of foreign fighters, militiamen, and— reportedly—three high-ranking al-Qaeda operatives aligned with the ICU.

      Though the ICU's militia was defeated, Ethiopian troops remained in Mogadishu, where they were soon joined by a contingent of some 1,500 African Union peacekeepers from Uganda. These foreign forces effected little order, and in the deeply xenophobic capital they quickly became targets of the city's entrenched clan-based militias. In March, violence there reached its worst levels in more than a decade, with battles so intense that bodies were left lying in the streets for days. In response to calls for a UN peacekeeping force, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that such an operation would be too dangerous.

      To escape the violence, some 320,000 civilians poured out of Mogadishu. Many sought refuge in Kenya but were turned back at the border and were left stranded. Though the total number of internally displaced people in Somalia was impossible to ascertain, UN estimates approached one million. These refugees lived in precarious conditions, with scarce access to food, water, and shelter. Spiraling inflation and rising food prices due to insecurity burdened those Somalis who had not fled their homes. Because of security concerns, few humanitarian organizations were willing to provide assistance in Somalia.

      Somalia's relatively stable northern regions could not remain above the fray. The Republic of Somaliland (which had been virtually independent for 16 years) and the adjacent semiautonomous region of Puntland became entangled in a border dispute fueled by rival subclans, which raised fears of a localized war. All-out regional war also remained a threat, with Ethiopian troops still in Somalia and Eritrea continuing to support the lingering Islamist insurgents. The destabilizing presence of refugees and transient militants exacerbated this risk. In June a U.S. warship fired missiles into a mountainous area of Puntland where a band of suspected foreign militants had recently arrived by boat.

      Prospects for peace remained bleak. After repeated delays, a reconciliation conference convened in Mogadishu in July. Yet major opposition groups—including many Islamist insurgents and the powerful Hawiye clan—boycotted it; they held their own conference in September in Asmara, Eritrea. There they formed the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS), an umbrella group that vowed that it would not negotiate until a full withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia occurred.

Eben Kaplan

▪ 2007

637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi), including the 176,000-sq-km (68,000-sq-mi) area of the unilaterally declared (in 1991) and unrecognized Republic of Somaliland
(2006 est.): 8,496,000 (including 3,700,000 in Somaliland); at the beginning of the year, more than 250,000 refugees were in neighbouring countries, and an additional 100,000 resided in Europe or the United States
Mogadishu; Hargeysa is the capital of Somaliland
Head of state and government:
Somalia's government under President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan was barely functioning in 2006; a new transitional government comprised President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, assisted by Prime Minister Ali Muhammad Ghedi (as of February 26, in exile in Baidoa)

 After a decade of stagnation, 2006 was a year of revolutionary upheaval in Somalia, featuring the dramatic rise and fall of the Council of Islamic Courts of Somalia (CSIC). The first half of the year saw a series of battles in the capital, Mogadishu, between a coalition of Islamic courts and an American-backed alliance of militia leaders and businessmen that ended in the complete victory of the Islamists. On June 28 the courts reorganized themselves under the umbrella of the CSIC. The second half of the year was characterized by the expansion of the CSIC throughout much of the southern part of the country and an increasingly tense confrontation between the courts and Somalia's unpopular and ineffectual Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

      The rise of the CSIC alarmed Somalia's neighbours and sent shock waves through the broader international community. Ethiopia and Kenya, concerned over the potential influence of a radical Somali Islamist authority on their own large Somali and Muslim populations, called for deployment of an African military force to protect the TFG. Ethiopia was further antagonized by Eritrean military assistance to the courts and responded by stepping up its support to the forces of the beleaguered TFG. The intervention of these two mutually hostile regional powers threatened to transform the power struggle between the TFG and the courts into a proxy war and, potentially, a broader regional crisis.

      Western governments, notably the United States and the United Kingdom, were troubled by the existence of jihadist elements within the courts. The CSIC's supreme leader, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, was designated by the U.S. and the UN as an individual with links to terrorism. A militant faction within the CSIC known as the Shabaab (“Youth”) featured several leaders who had trained or fought in Afghanistan and were suspected of having links to al-Qaeda's East Africa network. The CSIC rejected American allegations that three senior al-Qaeda operatives remained in areas under its control.

      Two rounds of talks in June in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum produced an agreement in principle between the CSIC and the TFG to cease hostilities, share power, and integrate their forces in a single national army. A third round of talks scheduled for late October failed to take place. On the ground, however, the courts continued to expand into new areas, while the TFG responded with increasingly aggressive military deployments.

      Fears of renewed conflict in Somalia triggered a humanitarian crisis in Kenya as thousands of Somalis poured across the border seeking asylum. By October the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had counted more than 30,000 new arrivals, and the flow continued at over 1,000 per day. In December, following Islamist attacks on government positions near the Somali town of Baidoa, Ethiopian forces intervened in support of the TFG, routing the CSIC militias and seizing control of Mogadishu and Kismayo.

      The turmoil in southern Somalia seemed likely to lend impetus to the self-declared Republic of Somaliland's efforts to obtain international recognition. Somaliland's achievements toward peace, stability, and constitutional democracy (all three levels of Somaliland's government were elected) were met with growing acknowledgment from the international community. In June, Somaliland Pres. Dahir Riyale Kahin paid official visits, for the first time, to Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia, and Uganda. This diplomatic breakthrough, however, was offset on the home front by economic stagnation and a political deadlock between an opposition-controlled House of Representatives and a pro-government Gurti (upper house). Somaliland's next local elections were scheduled for late 2007.

Matt Bryden

▪ 2006

637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi), including the 176,000-sq-km (68,000-sq-mi) area of the unilaterally declared (in 1991) and unrecognized Republic of Somaliland
(2005 est.): 8,228,000 (including 3,500,000 in Somaliland); nearly 400,000 refugees are in neighbouring countries
Mogadishu; Hargeysa is the capital of Somaliland
Head of state and government:
Somalia's government under President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan was barely functioning in 2005; a new transitional government in exile (until June 13) comprised President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, assisted by Prime Minister Ali Muhammad Ghedi

      Despite the announcement of a new transitional federal government in October 2004, Somalia passed its 15th successive year in 2005 without a functioning central government. Parts of the country, including the separatist state of Somaliland in the northwest and the semiautonomous region of Puntland in the northeast, enjoyed relative stability and exhibited signs of recovery; other zones, notably the central and southern regions, continued to suffer from instability and armed conflict.

      The interim government was paralyzed by internal discord virtually from the moment of its inception. The most contentious issue was a request by interim Somali president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed for a 20,000-strong regional protection force to deliver the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) back into Somalia from Kenya, where they had been created. Though the plan initially received the backing of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the African Union, it was rejected on March 19 at a turbulent session of the Somali parliament. The United Nations Security Council also withheld authorization for the deployment, calling for political dialogue first.

      Disagreement within the TFIs over relocation to Somalia further undermined the peace process. One wing of the TFIs, led by interim president Yusuf and his prime minister, Muhammad Ghedi, established itself in Jowhar, 90 km (56 mi) north of Mogadishu, asserting that the capital was insecure. The other wing, led by the speaker of the parliament, Sharif Hassan, relocated to Mogadishu, arguing that the Transitional National Charter did not allow for an alternative seat of government. Prospects for reconciliation between the two factions receded in June when President Yusuf instructed his parliamentary allies to take a recess, effectively crippling the transitional legislature. Although MPs from both sides attempted to revive the institution, the parliament had still not met by the end of 2005.

      The political stalemate was matched by a military buildup on both sides, in violation of a United Nations arms embargo. A report by UN monitors identified Ethiopia and Yemen as major arms suppliers. Violence, much of it linked to the struggle within the TFIs, continued to plague central and southern Somalia. Clashes in the Mudug, Bay, and Gedo regions generated scores of casualties and displaced tens of thousands of people. Hopes for peace were dealt a further blow in July when one of Somalia's most respected peace activists, Abdulqadir Yahya Ali, was assassinated at his Mogadishu home.

 Concern about terrorism continued to inform international perspectives on Somalia. American military officials voiced fears that militants from Iraq and other parts of the world would seek refuge in the Horn of Africa. A Somali extremist group with alleged links to al-Qaeda emerged in Mogadishu and was accused of having murdered four foreign-aid workers in Somaliland between 2003 and 2004. The country's coastline retained its reputation as one of the most dangerous in the world, with over two dozen incidents of piracy reported to the International Maritime Organization in 2005. (See Law, Crime, and Law Enforcement: Special Report. (Piracy on the High Seas ))

      On September 29 the self-declared Republic of Somaliland held its first parliamentary elections, both advancing the consolidation of democracy in the territory and enhancing Somaliland's prospects for international recognition. Somaliland's ruling party, led by Pres. Dahir Riyale Kahin, obtained only 33 of the 82 seats in the parliament, in a contest that international observers described as reasonably free and fair. Somalis everywhere applauded the poll as a goal that leaders should work toward.

Matt Bryden

▪ 2005

637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi), including the 176,000-sq-km (68,000-sq-mi) area of the unilaterally declared (in 1991) and unrecognized Republic of Somaliland
(2004 est.): 8,305,000 (including Somaliland); about 275,000 refugees are registered in neighbouring countries
Mogadishu; Hargeysa is the capital of Somaliland
Head of state and government:
Somalia's government under President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan was barely functioning in 2004; a new transitional government was formed in exile, comprising President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed from October 14, assisted by Prime Minister Ali Muhammad Ghedi from November 3.

      The two-year peace and reconciliation conference between Somalia's warring factions culminated in January 2004 with the signing of a peace agreement in Nairobi, Kenya. In October a new transitional federal government was formed that was intended to bring to an end the 13 years of anarchy that had roiled the country since the fall of dictator Muhammad Siad Barre. The new government, however, was based outside Somalia in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi and had yet to establish its power on the ground.

      The peace conference was held near Nairobi and was sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a subregional organization made up of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, The Sudan, Uganda, and nominally Somalia itself. In the two years since its inception, the conference had frequently seemed on the verge of collapse; in August, however, delegates finally formed a 275-member transitional federal parliament, in which each of Somalia's four major clans was allocated 61 seats, and an alliance of smaller groups was awarded 31 seats. Though 22 women MPs were appointed, women's rights activists complained that this did not fulfill the quota (12% of MPs were to be women) stipulated in the interim charter.

      On October 10 the parliament elected as transitional president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who since 1998 had been president of the northeastern semiautonomous region of Puntland. (Puntland's former vice president, Mohammed Abdi Haashi, took his place there.) A rival candidate was Abdiqassim Salad Hassan, the president of the previous Transitional National Government, which had never succeeded in establishing its authority anywhere except in a part of the capital, Mogadishu, and some territory in the south of the country.

      Several faction leaders remained opposed to the new federal government, notably Gen. Muhammad Siad Hersi “Morgan,” who quit the conference and appeared to be preparing to attack the port city of Kismayo, his former stronghold. Meanwhile, outbreaks of fighting between rival clans continued throughout the year in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

      The self-declared republic of Somaliland in the northwest, under its president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, boycotted the conference and refused to join the federation. Though Somaliland had not attained international recognition as a state, it remained stable and mainly peaceful. The murder of three well-known aid workers in October 2003 and two others in March 2004 remained unsolved, however.

      A prolonged drought led to severe food shortages in the central and northeastern regions, including parts of Somaliland and Puntland. In July aid agencies estimated that up to one million people needed help. This was exacerbated by fighting between rival clans in the central Galguduud region and even more by the standoff in the Sool and Sanaag regions, which were claimed by both Puntland and Somaliland. There were clashes over the territory in January and September.

      The UN estimated that throughout Somalia and Somaliland 750,000 people, including 350,000 internally displaced persons, were living in a state of chronic humanitarian need. Conditions worsened in December when a tsunami hit the country. Puntland suffered extensive damage, and several hundred Somalis were killed.

Virginia Luling

▪ 2004

637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi), including the 176,000-sq-km (68,000-sq-mi) area of the unilaterally declared (in 1991) and unrecognized Republic of Somaliland
(2003 est.): 8,025,000 (including Somaliland); about 425,000 refugees are in neighbouring countries, of which about 300,000 are registered
Mogadishu; Hargeysa is the capital of Somaliland
Head of state and government:
Somalia's government under President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan was barely functioning in 2003, with opposition forces controlling parts of the country.

      In 2003 Somalia still had no national government. The Transitional National Government (TNG) of Pres. Abdiqassim Salad Hassan suffered from internal splits and failed to control more than a small area of Mogadishu and southern Somalia. The remainder of the country was divided between clan-based factions. In August the TNG came to the end of its three-year term, but Hassan said that it would continue until new institutions had been formed.

      The peace talks that had been launched in October 2002 in Eldoret, Kenya, with the objective of setting up a federal government lurched from one crisis to another. The more than 350 delegates represented the TNG, a group of TNG opposition factions called the Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council, a group of factions known as the G8, and a number of civil-society organizations. The conference was boycotted by the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland and the autonomous region of Puntland in the northeast. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (made up of Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Eritrea, The Sudan, and Uganda) served as the mediator, but the refusal of the delegates to recognize one another's legitimacy interfered with progress. In February 2003 the venue was moved from Eldoret to Nairobi, Kenya. An agreement was reached on July 5 to set up a federal government, but it was immediately denounced by the TNG and several other groups. The talks continued, however.

      Meanwhile, despite a cease-fire declaration that had been signed by the Mogadishu-based factions in December 2002, street violence and spasmodic faction fighting continued throughout the south. In Mogadishu, however, the principal danger came from kidnapping for ransom by armed gangs. The violence was fueled by the continued flow of arms into the country, despite attempts by the UN to enforce an embargo. In the southwestern town of Baidoa, a power struggle continued between two rival factions of the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA) under its chairman Hassan Muhammad Nur Shatigadud and his rival Sheikh Adan Madobe. Nonetheless, the economy thrived, but there was heavy dependence on remittances from Somalis abroad. Despite an exceptionally good harvest in the south in March–April, food shortages continued in parts of the country. In June a new medical college opened in Mogadishu.

      Separate peace talks were held in Puntland between Pres. Col. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and the armed opposition led by Gen. Ade Muse Hersi, an ally of Jama Ali Jama, a rival claimant; the talks remained inconclusive.

      Somaliland remained stable, although it had not attained international recognition. Its economy, which depended on livestock, remained crippled by Saudia Arabia's ban on imports. Pres. Dahir Riyale Kahin—who had been elevated from vice president to president following the death in 2002 of Muhammad Ibrahim Egal—had his position confirmed in the presidential elections in April. His main opponent, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, initially challenged the result but finally accepted it in June.

Virginia Luling

▪ 2003

637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi), including the 176,000-sq-km (68,000-sq-mi) area of the unilaterally declared (in 1991) and unrecognized Republic of Somaliland
(2002 est.): 7,753,000 (including Somaliland); about 250,000 refugees are registered in neighbouring countries
Mogadishu; Hargeysa is the capital of Somaliland
Head of state and government:
Somalia's government under President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan was barely functioning in 2002, with opposition forces controlling parts of the country.

      By 2002 the Transitional National Government (TNG) set up in 2000 had failed to bring unity to the country and had little effective power. In effect it represented one alliance of clans, which was opposed by a counteralliance, the Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC). The SRRC's main political leader was Hussein Aydid, and its military leader was Gen. Muhammad Sayid Hersi, known as “Morgan.” Even in the former capital of Mogadishu, the TNG struggled for control with other factions. Banditry and kidnapping continued there in spite of the attempts by the TNG to form a police force and enforce a weapons ban, and in May and again in July there was bloody factional fighting. Violence continued to break out from time to time over local disputes in different parts of the country.

      By contrast, the self-declared Republic of Somaliland in the north remained stable. In June Britain made moves toward some form of recognition, and it seemed that the U.S. and the Scandinavian countries might follow suit. Somaliland's president, Muhammad Ibrahim Egal, died in May (see Obituaries (Egal, Muhammad Ibrahim )); he was succeeded by the vice president, Dahir Riyale Kahin.

      In the self-declared Autonomous Region of Puntland in the northeast, hostilities continued between Jama Ali Jama, elected president by a council of elders in 2001, and the former leader, Col. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed. On May 8 Abdullahi captured Bosaso, the port town and commercial capital, and thus effectively established control of the region.

      In April the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA), which controlled much of the southwest, set up a new regional administration to be known as the State of South-western Somalia, reportedly with support from Ethiopia. Its president was Col. Hassan Muhammad Nur Shatigadud, the chairman of the RRA. The valley of the Jubba River continued to be disputed between the Jubba Valley Alliance (JVA), which supported the TNG, and the SRRC, led by Morgan, who threatened to recapture the port of Kismayo from the JVA.

      On October 15 a reconciliation conference between the TNG and the SRRC, sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD—the regional alliance of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, The Sudan, Uganda, and, nominally, Somalia), finally opened in Eldoret, Kenya, after repeated postponements.

      The major food crisis feared by humanitarian agencies did not develop in 2002, although economic hardship continued owing to drought, warfare, and the continued closure of the Saudi Arabian market to Somali livestock imports. Suspicion that extremist Islamic groups had training bases in Somalia (though not overtly supported by any of the factions) led to fears among Somalis that their country would be targeted in an antiterrorist campaign, but this did not occur.

Virginia Luling

▪ 2002

637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi, including the 176,000-sq-km [68,000-sq-mi] area of the unilaterally declared [in 1991] and unrecognized Republic of Somaliland)
(2001 est.): 7,489,000 (including Somaliland); about 300,000 refugees are registered in neighbouring countries
Mogadishu; Hargeysa is the capital of Somaliland
Head of state and government:
Somalia's government under President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan was barely functioning in 2001, with opposition forces controlling parts of the country.

      By the end of 2001 the economic situation of Somalia was critical. The failure of the main seasonal rains led to crop failure, and in December the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that some 800,000 people were experiencing food difficulties, while 300,000, mainly in the southern regions, were threatened by starvation. The Gulf states still banned livestock from region on health grounds, thus killing the country's main export. In February and April continued deliveries of unauthorized Somali shilling banknotes led to hyperinflation. Nevertheless, at the beginning of the year business thrived, supported largely by remittances from abroad. Financial and telephone services functioned well, and in April Mogadishu's first Internet cafe opened. A crippling blow was dealt in November when the U.S. authorities closed down Al Barakat, the company that handled most of the money-transfer and overseas telecommunications services, on the grounds that it supported terrorism.

      The new Transitional National Government (TNG) under Pres. Abdiqassim Salad Hassan appeared from the outside to be working; it occupied Somalia's seat in the UN and was backed by the Organization of African Unity, the Arab League, and the European Union, which pledged aid. At home, however, it failed to control even the capital, Mogadishu, let alone the rest of the country.

      In an effort to establish law and order in Mogadishu, the TNG began enrolling former gunmen into a new army and recalled former police officers, but most of the city remained in the hands of faction leaders; two deputies of the Transitional National Assembly were assassinated, and spasmodic clan and faction fighting continued. In November the prime minister, Ali Khalif Ghalayr, was voted out of office by the Assembly in a vote of no confidence; he was replaced by Hasan Abshir Farah.

      Outside Mogadishu, clans divided into factions; some supported the TNG, but others opposed it. The breakaway regions of Somaliland in the northwest and Puntland in the northeast totally rejected the TNG, though it contained members from those regions and claimed to represent the whole country. (See Sidebar (How Many Somali States? ).) The result was the formation of a new alliance in opposition to the TNG, the Somalia Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC), which was inaugurated in April at a meeting in Ethiopia and with the backing of the Ethiopian government. The TNG, backed by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, accused Ethiopia of sending troops to support the SRRC, though Ethiopia denied the charge. At the end of the year reconciliation talks between the TNG and various factions opposed to it were held in Kenya, where a peace deal was signed on December 24. However, this was followed by fighting in Mogadishu between supporters and opponents of the deal.

      In the southern port of Kismaayo, a new administration was organized by the pro-TNG Juba Valley Alliance. The area around Luuk and Bardera in the Gedo region remained under the control of al-Ittihad al-Islami, a hard-line Islamic group.

Virginia Luling

▪ 2001

637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi; including the 176,000-sq km [68,000-sq mi] area of the unilaterally declared [in 1991] and unrecognized Republic of Somaliland)
(2000 est.): 7,253,000 (including Somaliland); about 400,000 refugees are registered in neighbouring countries
Mogadishu; Hargeysa is the capital of Somaliland
Head of state and government:
Somalia had no functioning government in 2000 until October. Designated August 27, President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan, assisted from October 8 by Prime Minister Ali Khalif Galaid

      The year 2000 began with yet another failure to patch up the divisions that had torn Somalia apart for a decade. An attempt by Hussein Muhammad Aydid, Ali Mahdi Muhammad, and the three other rival faction leaders (“warlords”) to set up a united administration for the former capital, Mogadishu, fell apart in February. In May, however, a more serious attempt at unification began. The first step was a reconciliation conference proposed by Pres. Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti and backed by the UN, the Arab League, and the Organization of African Unity. Unlike the 12 previous failed peace conferences, this one was intended to bypass the warlords and consisted instead of traditional leaders, intellectuals, and senior politicians.

      On May 2 the conference opened in Arta, Djibouti. While skirmishes between militias and kidnappings continued in Mogadishu, the 900 delegates adopted a charter providing for a three-year transitional government and a 245-strong transitional national assembly (TNA), with seats distributed in blocs between the four main clans, Dir, Daarood, Hawiye, and Digil-Mirifle; another bloc for an “alliance” of minority groups; and one for women representatives. After lengthy and ferocious negotiations over the distribution of seats between rival subclans, the TNA was inaugurated, and on August 25 elected as interim president Abdiqassim Salad Hassan, a member of the powerful Hawiye-Habr Gedir subclan, who had been deputy prime minister and minister of the interior under the former dictator Muhammad Siad Barre. On October 8 he appointed as prime minister the businessman Ali Khalif Galaid.

      The transitional government moved into Mogadishu in October. Ali Mahdi Muhammad was a member, but the new regime was opposed as illegitimate by Hussein Muhammad Aydid and the remaining southern factions. The self-declared Republic of Somaliland in the northwest and the autonomous region of Puntland in the northeast, both of which had established a high degree of peace and economic recovery, rejected the new government and declared the delegates to it from their areas to be “traitors.”

      Somalia was affected by the regional drought in northeastern Africa. In May floods caused damage in the central regions, and in September, according to the UN, 750,000 people were still at risk as a result of the drought; the situation later improved, however, with a good harvest. In September the livestock exports on which Somaliland and Puntland as well as much of southern Somalia depended were endangered by six Persian Gulf nations' regional ban on imports from East African countries, following an outbreak of Rift Valley fever. In November an influx of new bank notes into the nation's currency system caused the shilling to drop to 13,000 to the dollar, the lowest level since 1992.

Virginia Luling

▪ 2000

637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi; including the 176,000-sq km [68,000-sq mi] area of the unilaterally declared [in 1991] and unrecognized Republic of Somaliland)
(1999 est.): officially 7,141,000; in reality, possibly no more than 3,500,000; more than 450,000 refugees are registered in neighbouring countries
Mogadishu; Hargeysa is the capital of Somaliland
Head of state and government:
Somalia had no functioning government in 1999.

      The balance of power in Somalia in 1999 shifted between the unstable alliances of clan- and subclan-based factions that divided the country. Ethiopia supported one loose alliance, apparently in order to create a buffer zone in southwestern Somalia and neutralize the Islamist al-Itihad movement and the Ethiopian dissident groups that had bases there. In response, Eritrea began to assist the other alliance, which included the former archrivals Hussein Muhammad Aydid and Ali Mahdi Muhammad, both of whom were from the Hawiye group of clans.

      The attempt of Hussein and Ali Mahdi to establish a joint administration in the former capital, Mogadishu, and the surrounding Benadir region collapsed as other Hawiye factions broke away and joined the opposite alliance. In April the new regional police force deserted for lack of pay, and in June a Hawiye peace conference broke up indecisively; Mogadishu remained the prey of rival militias, including that of the Islamic Court, and armed gangs.

      Hussein's forces were meanwhile driven from most of the territory they controlled in the southern Somali plain. In June the Rahanwein Resistance Army, which was drawn from the clans native to the area, joined with Ethiopian troops and succeeded in recapturing the regional capital Baidoa and the town of Bur Hakaba. In the following months the Digil Salvation Army, a new clan-militia also backed by Ethiopia, disputed Hussein's control of the Lower Shabelle region. In October the port of Merca was captured by the militia of the Mogadishu Islamic Court. The Ethiopian-backed alliance fared less well, however, in the far south, where in June Gen. Muhammad Said Hersi “Morgan” and his followers were ousted from the port of Kismaayo by Hussein's ally Gen. Omar Haji Masaleh.

      The situation was more peaceful in the north. The self-declared Republic of Somaliland still failed to gain international recognition but nevertheless prospered to the extent that plans were made to expand the airport of the capital, Hargeysa. In the northeast the recently declared independent state of Puntland remained stable, and the port of Boosaaso thrived.

      The economy in all regions was badly affected by the ban on livestock exports to Saudi Arabia, which was lifted only in May. The south was further hit by the halting of banana exports to Europe, a consequence of a trade dispute between the European Union and the U.S. In addition, much of the southern farming area and the central rangelands suffered from drought, and in August some 1.2 million people were reported to be potentially in need of emergency food relief.

Virginia R. Luling

▪ 1999

      Area: 637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi; including the 176,000-sq km [68,000-sq mi] area of the unilaterally declared [in 1991] and unrecognized Republic of Somaliland)

      Population (1998 est.): 6,842,000 (including 4,300,000 residents of Somaliland; excluding 400,000 refugees in neighbouring countries)

      Capital: Mogadishu; Hargeysa is the capital of Somaliland

      Head of state and government: Somalia had no functioning government in 1998

      Moves to reunite Somalia, a country still divided between factions based on clans and subclans, made little progress in 1998. The factions were grouped into two loose alliances: the Somali Salvation Alliance headed by Ali Mahdi Muhammad and the Somali National Alliance, first formed by Gen. Muhammad Farah Aydid, who died in 1996, and in 1998 led by his son, Hussein Aydid. At the end of the year, a breakaway third alliance emerged.

      In the Cairo declaration of December 1997, the Ali Mahdi and Hussein factions had agreed to a cease-fire and a national reconciliation conference. The conference was scheduled for February 1998 in the southern town of Baidoa after Hussein's forces had withdrawn from the town. It was, however, postponed three times during the year, as Hussein's forces continued to hold Baidoa against the Rahanwein Resistance Army, which represented the clans native to the area.

      On the other hand, negotiations aimed at the reunification of Mogadishu and the reopening of the port and airport seemed to be progressing. In February free movement across the city began as checkpoints were dismantled. In August Ali Mahdi and Hussein met in Tripoli, Libya, and agreed to establish a new common administration in the Benaadir region around Mogadishu, and in September a joint administration and multiclan militia was established. Ali Mahdi and Hussein failed, however, to carry all the members of their two alliances with them, and those opposed to the pact formed a new coalition.

      In July part of the northeast declared itself an independent state under the name Puntland, with its capital at Garoowe and Col. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as its president. This move represented a split within the Somali Salvation Democratic Front, which had previously maintained a comparatively stable regional government in the northeast. The political situation in Somaliland remained largely stable, but the republic's economy suffered considerably from a Saudi Arabian ban on its livestock exports.

      In August a peace deal was reached in the southwestern Gedo region after heavy fighting between the al-Itihad Islamic movement and a faction of the Somali National Front (Marehan clan). The latter was reportedly backed by Ethiopia, retaliating for attacks by al-Itihad within its own borders.

      The impact of the floods that overwhelmed the valley of the Jubba River at the end of 1997 continued, and in April heavy rains hampered relief efforts. In July there were floods on the Shabelle River near the town of Balad.

      In the northwest the self-declared Republic of Somaliland continued to function in spite of its failure to gain international recognition.


▪ 1998

      Area: 637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi; including the 176,000-sq km [68,000-sq mi] area of the unilaterally declared [in 1991] and unrecognized Republic of Somaliland)

      Population (1997 est.): 6,870,000 (including 4,200,000 residents of Somaliland; excluding 450,000 refugees in neighbouring countries)

      Capital: Mogadishu; Hargeysa is the capital of Somaliland

      Head of state and government: Somalia had no functioning government in 1997.

      Disastrous floods ravaged southern Somalia in 1997; meanwhile, up to the end of the year, there was little success in the attempts to bring peace and rebuild central government in a country still divided between rival clan-based factions. In the northwest the self-declared Republic of Somaliland continued to function in spite of its failure to gain international recognition. In the rest of the country, however, the factions were grouped into two loose alliances: the Somali Salvation Alliance (SSA), headed by Ali Mahdi Muhammad, and the Somali National Alliance, first formed by Gen. Muhammad Farah Aydid, who died in 1996, and in 1997 led by his son Hussein Aydid. Both claimed to head governments and used the title "president." A third force was that of Osman Hassan Ali ("Ato"), formerly the elder Aydid's financier and right-hand man but now allied with Ali Mahdi.

      There were two concurrent peace processes. In January at the resort town of Sodere, Eth., leaders of 26 factions affiliated with the SSA created a National Salvation Council with a mandate to organize a transitional government. This was followed by a meeting in Addis Ababa, Eth., in July. This peace process, though backed by the Organization of African Unity, was boycotted by both Hussein and the president of Somaliland, Muhammad Ibrahim Egal.

      The other initiative, backed by Pres. Daniel arap Moi of Kenya, involved Hussein, Ali Mahdi, and Ato. In May Ato and Hussein signed a peace declaration in Yemen, and later that month Hussein and Ali Mahdi attended a meeting in Cairo chaired by Pres. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. In November talks were finally held in Cairo between the Hussein and Ali Mahdi factions, and a National Reconciliation Conference was scheduled for 1998.

      Fighting nevertheless continued in several areas: in Mogadishu in January there were clashes between the militias of Hussein, Ato, and Ali Mahdi; in the south Somali plain, the local Rahanweyn clans contested Hussein's control; and in the southeast, conflict continued in spite of a peace conference for the region held at Afmadow in December 1996. A significant role was played by Islamist militia groups, particularly the Sudan-backed al-Ittihad. The latter were driven from their bases in the southwest in June after repeated cross-border attacks by Ethiopian troops, who were retaliating for bomb attacks in Ethiopia.

      In November and December freak rains led to severe flooding of the rivers Jubba and Shabelle in the south of the country. More than a thousand lives were lost, communities were made homeless, and food stores were destroyed. An international relief effort was belatedly mounted.

      In Somaliland the National Communities Conference in February reelected President Egal by a landslide and announced that a new constitution would be operative for an interim period of three years, after which a public referendum would be held to ratify it. In spite of occasional clashes, Somaliland remained generally peaceful, and the economy, especially the important livestock trade, was strong.


      This article updates Somalia, history of (Somalia).

▪ 1997

      Situated in the Horn of northeastern Africa, Somalia lies on the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean (the region on the Gulf of Aden [the self-declared Somaliland] claimed independence in 1991 but is not recognized internationally). Area: 637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 6,802,000 (excluding Somali refugees in neighbouring countries estimated to number about 500,000). Cap.: Mogadishu. Monetary unit: Somali shilling, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of 2,620 Somali shillings to U.S. $1 (4,128 Somali shillings = £ 1 sterling). Somalia had no functioning government in 1996.

      In August 1996 Somalia lost the most commanding figure to emerge in that country since the government collapsed in 1991. Gen. Muhammad Farah Aydid (see OBITUARIES (Aydid, Gen. Muhammad Farah )) died on August 1 after being mortally wounded in a battle near Mogadishu on July 24. A national hero to his followers and a dangerous megalomaniac to his opponents, he had differed from the other "warlords" by his determination to become the leader of a reunited Somalia. His death called into question the future of his Somali National Alliance (SNA), one of the two coalitions of clan-based groupings that divided Somalia, apart from the self-declared republic of Somaliland. The other coalition, the Somali Salvation Alliance, was headed by former businessman Ali Mahdi Muhammad. Both men were titled "president" and claimed to head governments. Mogadishu was divided between them.

      The beginning of the year was marked by military successes for Aydid. He already held much of the southern Somali plain and its capital, Baydhabo, against the guerrilla attacks of the Rahanwayn Resistance Army (RRA). In January he captured the town of Xuddur, and in March he took Diinsoor and Doolow. The SNA was weakened, however, by the split with his fellow clansman and former right-hand man and financier, Osman Hassan Ali ("Ato"). Their conflict became violent in March, when their forces clashed near the port of Marka over control of the lucrative banana trade. In April the violence shifted to Mogadishu, where Ato occupied his own enclave. Intermittent fighting against an anti-Aydid coalition of Ato and Ali Mahdi continued there to the end of the year. In May the RRA recaptured Xuddur.

      After Aydid's death, he was succeeded by his U.S.-educated son Hussein Aydid, who had served as interpreter to the U.S. command in Somalia in 1992-93 until his identity was discovered. Hopes of an early peace were dashed as fighting continued between Hussein's forces and the Ato-Ali Mahdi coalition. In December more than 100 were killed in street fighting between the rivals in Mogadishu.

      In the north the self-declared independent Somaliland Republic of Pres. Muhammad Ibrahim Egal continued to establish itself in spite of failure to gain international recognition and continuing hostilities with those who favoured unity with the SNA. A constitution was under discussion, and there were plans for a general election. In November the mandate of President Egal's government reached its term, and a national conference was convened to appoint a new government.


      This article updates Somalia, history of (Somalia).

▪ 1996

      Situated in the Horn of northeastern Africa, Somalia lies on the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Area: 637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 6,734,000 (excluding Somali refugees in neighbouring countries estimated to number about 500,000). Cap.: Mogadishu. Monetary unit: Somali shilling, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of 2,620 Somali shillings to U.S. $1 (4,142 Somali shillings = £1 sterling). Somalia had no functioning government in 1995.

      On Jan. 2, 1995, Somalia's former dictator Muhammad Siad Barre (see OBITUARIES (Siad Barre, Muhammad )) died in exile in Nigeria. In the country that he left in fragments, the last of the United Nations intervention force UNOSOM II (UN Operation in Somalia) was evacuated in March, covered by an international flotilla led by 1,800 U.S. marines. Fears that the withdrawal would lead to the widespread renewal of civil war were not realized, though local conflicts continued; trade and economic life appeared to be recovering.

      Nevertheless, the country remained divided; besides the breakaway "Republic of Somaliland" in the north, there were several de facto independent areas. Mogadishu, the capital and port, and its hinterland remained split between the factions of Gen. Muhammad Farah Aydid and his rival, the nominal national president, Ali Mahdi Muhammad. Each was attempting to unite the whole country through his own alliance of clan and faction groupings: Aydid with the Somali National Alliance (SNA) and Ali Mahdi with the Somali Salvation Alliance (SSA). Northeastern Somalia and the port of Boosaaso were controlled by the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF). In the far south the valley of the Jubba River with its plantations remained divided between the forces of Gen. Muhammad Said Hersi ("Morgan") in the port of Kismaayo and those of Col. Ahmad Omar Jess in the hinterland, while in the fertile plain between the Jubba and Shebeli rivers, the Rahanwayn group of clans set up a supreme council in the town of Baydhabo to administer the region. Aydid's position was threatened by a split with his former right-hand man, the millionaire businessman Osman Hassan Ali ("Ato"), who became an ally of Ali Mahdi.

      In June Aydid's United Somali Congress voted to replace him as SNA chairman with Ato. In response, a meeting of Aydid's supporters elected him president of all of Somalia (in direct rivalry to Ali Mahdi). Following this, Aydid attempted to consolidate his power throughout the south. In mid-September his forces took Baydhabo; Rahanwayn forces counterattacked, and fighting continued into December.

      In the breakaway Somaliland the government of Pres. Muhammad Ibrahim Egal repelled attacks by the opposition led by his predecessor 'Abd ar-Rahman Ahmad Ali "Tur," who favoured reunion with Somalia and joined forces with Aydid's SNA; by March Egal appeared to be in control. In January Somaliland introduced its own currency.

      In September representatives from all parties met in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, at the latest of many peace conferences and resolved to set up a national government. Aydid, though invited, did not attend. (VIRGINIA R. LULING)

      This updates the article Somalia, history of (Somalia).

▪ 1995

      Situated in the Horn of northeastern Africa, Somalia lies on the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Area: 637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 6,667,000 (excluding Somali refugees in neighbouring countries estimated to number about 600,000). Cap.: Mogadishu. Monetary unit: Somali shilling, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of 2,622 Somali shillings to U.S. $1 (4,171 Somali shillings = £1 sterling). Somalia had no functioning government in 1994.

      In southern Somalia during 1994, a renewal of violence accompanied the phased withdrawal of UN troops. The principal contenders for power were two groupings of clan factions: Gen. Muhammad Farah Aydid at the head of the Somali National Alliance (SNA) and Ali Mahdi Muhammad with his "group of 12." In the northeast region, conditions were more stable, and the breakaway "Republic of Somaliland" in the northwest appeared successful in establishing order until violence broke out at the end of the year. In all parts of the country, the principal problem remained the disarmament of the militias and armed gangs that had controlled the nation since the ouster of Pres. Muhammad Siad Barre in 1991.

      On February 4 the UN mandate in Somalia was revised by the Security Council. The UN was committed to promoting the establishment of the political process, but the military involvement of the UN Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM II) was to be reduced to the role of ensuring the security of communications and transportation. When the contingents of the U.S. and most of the European Union countries left Somalia on March 25, UNOSOM was reduced from a high of about 29,000 to about 19,000. The remaining troops were mostly from African countries and the Indian subcontinent.

      Efforts to negotiate a peace agreement continued. On March 24 in Nairobi, Kenya, the principal opponents, Aydid and Ali Mahdi, pledged to form a government of national reconciliation. Neither this nor other local peace initiatives had any lasting effect, however. In May fighting broke out in Mogadishu when Aydid's forces captured the airport from the Hawadle clan. The southern port of Kismaayo was once again disputed between Aydid's ally Ahmad Omar Jess and his Ogaden clansmen and the militia of Muhammad "Morgan," the son-in-law of Barre. The conflict was sparked by an attempt by Aydid to ban the militia's lucrative export trade in scrap metal; this also fueled rebellion within his own SNA alliance. Although the UN force avoided intervention, 15 of its soldiers were killed in four incidents, as were several journalists.

      In the northwest the breakaway "Republic of Somaliland" established a de facto autonomy and in the first part of the year appeared to be achieving stability, though its president, Muhammad Ibrahim Egal, did not succeed in his efforts to win international recognition for independence. Some groups in the region opposed secession, however. They were led by 'Abd ar-Rahman Ahmad Ali Tur, who in April told a press conference that the decision to secede had to be reversed. This was denounced by the breakaway government, and in October fighting broke out in the capital, Hargeysa, over the control of the airport. On December 19 fighting broke out again in Mogadishu between the forces of Aydid and those of Ali Mahdi. At least 20 persons were reported killed and more than 125 wounded, mostly civilians.

      In October, as UNOSOM's mandate came up for renewal, another peace conference was held in Mogadishu. Tur and the antisecessionists from Somaliland took part; however, the conference was boycotted by the Ali Mahdi group, and by mid-November it appeared that each group was preparing to set up its own rival government. Meanwhile, the UNOSOM mandate was renewed until March 31, 1995.


      This updates the article Somalia, history of (Somalia).

▪ 1994

      Situated in the Horn of northeastern Africa, Somalia lies on the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Area: 637,000 sq km (246,000 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 8,050,000 (including Somali refugees in neighbouring countries estimated to number more than one million). Cap.: Mogadishu. Monetary unit: Somali shilling, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of 2,601 Somali shillings to U.S. $1 (3,940 Somali shillings = £1 sterling). Somalia had no functioning government in 1993.

      The international military force operating under United Nations auspices landed in Somalia in late 1992. (See also United Nations: Somalia (United Nations ).) Operation Restore Hope rapidly established control over much of the south. By the end of March 1993, security and food deliveries were much improved, but the UN troops had not accomplished the essential task of disarming the militias of the various leaders, dubbed "warlords" by the media, each drawing support from one or more of the Somali clans.

      Despite a cease-fire agreement, fighting broke out again in February between the two factions of the former United Somali Congress, whose conflict was laying Mogadishu in ruins. These were headed respectively by the self-declared interim president, Ali Mahdi Muhammad of the Abgal subclan, and the formidable Gen. Muhammad Farah Aydid (see BIOGRAPHIES (Aydid, Gen. Muhammad Farah )) of the Habar Gadir subclan, each faction leading an alliance of other groups. Still other clans were clashing elsewhere in the country.

      Under the aegis of the UN, two Reconciliation Conferences were held in Addis Ababa, Eth., in January and March. Representatives of 15 militia groups and others agreed to a cease-fire and disarmament of the militias, as well as the setting up of a Transitional National Council to be "the repository of national sovereignty" and regional councils. The Somali National Movement from the northern region, which had declared itself the independent "Republic of Somaliland" in 1991, sent observers as well.

      On May 4 the UN handed over control to a much-reduced force, the UN Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM II), supervised by U.S. Adm. Jonathan Howe, who replaced Ismat Kittani as UN special envoy. The peace process appeared to be well under way when, on June 5, 24 Pakistani UN soldiers were killed in an ambush by Aydid's men. On June 17 the UN ordered Aydid's arrest. From this point the situation in Mogadishu became a conflict between UNOSOM and Aydid's forces. Aydid, allegedly receiving support from The Sudan and Iran, evaded capture and even strengthened his position, claiming to represent the Somali nation against a "colonialist" aggressor. Somali factions opposed to Aydid, however, tended to side with the UN.

      There were large numbers of Somali casualties, many of them civilians, and UN forces were accused of human rights abuses. On July 12 four foreign journalists were killed by a pro-Aydid crowd. By October the UN forces had lost 74 men; on October 3, 18 U.S. soldiers were killed in a gun battle and a number of others captured, prompting a reevaluation in Washington of the prudence of U.S. involvement in Somalia.

      General Aydid proposed a cease-fire in October, and on November 16 the UN Security Council voted to countermand the order for his arrest. Instead, they appointed a new commission of inquiry to determine responsibility for the attacks on UN peacekeeping forces.

      By year's end there were a few tentative signs of a return to normalcy. District councils had been set up, and in Mogadishu the police and the judicial system were reestablished. Observers were encouraged when Aydid attended a conference of clan leaders in Ethiopia in mid-December after having refused to attend a UN-sponsored humanitarian aid meeting earlier. Several countries had begun withdrawing their troops from the UN contingent, and all U.S. forces were to leave Somalia by March 1994.


      This updates the article Somalia, history of (Somalia).

* * *

Somali  Soomaaliya,  Arabic  As-Sūmāl,  
Somalia, flag of country on the Horn of Africa. It occupies an important geopolitical position between sub-Saharan Africa and the countries of Arabia and southwestern Asia. It is bounded on the north by the Gulf of Aden and on the east by the Indian Ocean; from its southern point, its western border is bounded by Kenya and Ethiopia and, to the northwest, by Djibouti. The capital is Mogadishu (in Somali, Muqdisho or Xamar; in the colonial Italian rendering, Mogadiscio).

      Living in a country of geographic extremes, with a dry and hot climate and a landscape of thornbush savanna and semidesert, the inhabitants of Somalia have developed equally demanding economic survival strategies. The Somali are Muslim, and about half follow a mobile way of life, pursuing nomadic pastoralism (nomadism) or agropastoralism. As a result, the Somali are an egalitarian, freedom-loving people who are suspicious of governmental authority.

      In colonial times the lands traditionally occupied by the Somali were divided by a new western boundary for Somalia, resulting in large Somali communities in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya. This boundary is still in dispute.

      The Somali Peninsula consists mainly of a tableland of young limestone and sandstone formations. Apart from a mountainous coastal zone in the north and several pronounced river valleys, most of the country is extremely flat, with few natural barriers to restrict the mobility of the nomads and their livestock.

The land

Relief (Somalia)

      In the extreme north, along the Gulf of Aden, is a narrow coastal plain called the Guban, which broadens out in the direction of Berbera. This gives way inland to a maritime mountain range with a steep, north-facing scarp. Near Ceerigaabo (Erigavo), a mountain called Surud Cad (Surud Ad) reaches the highest elevation in the country, about 7,900 feet (2,408 metres). To the south are the broad plateaus of the Galgodon (Galgodon Highlands) (or Ogo) Highlands and the Sool and Hawd regions, which drop gradually southward toward the Indian Ocean.

      In southern Somalia the crystalline bedrock outcrops to the south of Baydhabo (Baidoa) in the shape of granite formations called inselbergs (inselberg). These give way farther south to alluvial plains, which are separated from the coast by a vast belt of ancient dunes stretching more than 600 miles (1,000 kilometres) from south of Kismaayo (Chisimaio) to north of Hobyo (Obbia).

      The flatness of the Somalian plateaus is interrupted by several deep valleys. Starting in the northeast, these are the Dharoor and Nugaal (Nogal) valleys (Nugaaleed Valley); both are wadis that, in season, have rivers flowing into the Indian Ocean at Xaafuun and Eyl, respectively. In the southwest are the only permanent rivers in Somalia, the Jubba (Jubba River) (Giuba) and Shabeelle (Shebeli River) (Shebele). Originating in the Ethiopian highlands, these two streams cut deeply into the plateaus before meandering through the alluvial plains toward the coast. Whereas the Jubba flows directly from north of Kismaayo into the Indian Ocean, the Shabeelle veers southwest immediately to the north of Mogadishu and flows into a large swamp before reaching the Jubba. The Jubba carries more water than the Shabeelle, which sometimes dries up in its lower course in years of sparse rainfall in the Ethiopian highlands. During dry seasons, these rivers are a major source of water for people and animals alike.

      Because over most of the country the water table is deep or the groundwater has a high mineral content, the conservation of surface runoff is of primary importance.

      The types of soil vary according to climate and parent rock. The arid regions of northeastern Somalia have mainly thin and infertile desert soils. The limestone plateaus of the interfluvial area have fertile, dark gray to brown, calcareous residual soils that provide good conditions for rain-fed agriculture. The most fertile soils are found on the alluvial plains of the Jubba and Shabeelle rivers. These deep vertisols (black cotton soils) have a high water-retention capacity and are mainly used for irrigation agriculture.

      Somalia lies astride the equator and so belongs to the tropics. Unlike typical climates at this latitude, conditions in Somalia range from arid in the northeastern and central regions to semiarid in the northwest and south.

      The climatic year comprises four seasons. The gu, or main rainy season, lasts from April to June; the second rainy season, called the dayr, extends from October to December. Each is followed by a dry season: the main one (jilaal) from December to March and the second one (xagaa) from June to September. During the second dry season, showers fall in the coastal zone.

      Long-term mean annual rainfall is less than 4 inches (100 millimetres) in the northeast and approximately 8 to 12 inches in the central plateaus. The southwest and northwest receive an average of 20 to 24 inches a year. While the coastal areas experience hot, humid, and unpleasant weather year-round, the interior is dry and hot. Somalia has some of the highest mean annual temperatures in the world. At Berbera on the northern coast the afternoon high averages more than 100° F (38° C) from June through September. Temperature maxima are even higher inland, but along the coast of the Indian Ocean temperatures are considerably lower because of a cold offshore current. The average afternoon high at Mogadishu, for example, ranges from 83° F (28° C) in July to 90° F (32° C) in April.

Plant and animal life
      In accordance with rainfall distribution, southern and northwestern Somalia have a relatively dense thornbush savanna, with various succulents and species of acacia. By contrast, the high plateaus of northern Somalia have wide, grassy plains, with mainly low formations of thorny shrubs and scattered grass tussocks in the remainder of the region. Northeastern Somalia and large parts of the northern coastal plain, on the other hand, are almost devoid of vegetation. Exceptions to this are the wadi areas and the moist zones of the northern coastal mountains, where the frankincense tree (Boswellia) grows. The myrrh tree (Commiphora) thrives in the border areas of southern and central Somalia.

      Owing to inappropriate land use, the original vegetation cover, especially in northern Somalia, has been heavily degraded and in various places even entirely destroyed. This progressive destruction of plant life also has impaired animal habitats and reduced forage, affecting not only Somalia's greatest resource, its livestock (chiefly goats, sheep, camels, and cattle), but also the wildlife. At present there are still many species of wild animals throughout the country—especially in the far south: hyenas, foxes, leopards, lions, warthogs, ostriches, small antelopes, and a large variety of birds. Unfortunately, giraffes, zebras, oryx, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, and, above all, elephants have been decimated, elephants being slaughtered chiefly by ivory poachers. Measures to protect endangered species have been taken by creating a national park in the lower Shabeelle swamp region.

Settlement patterns
      Roughly half of the Somali population lives permanently in settled communities, the other half being nomadic pastoralists (nomadism) or agropastoralists. The sedentary population chiefly occupies climatically and topographically favourable regions in southern and northwestern Somalia, where rain-fed agriculture is possible and irrigation agriculture can be practiced along the rivers. Their settlements consist of large, clustered villages near the rivers and in the central interfluvial area, as well as small hamlets farther away. The population is also concentrated in the old trading centres on the coast, such as Kismaayo, Baraawe (Brava), Marka (Merca), Mogadishu, Berbera, and Boosaaso (Bosaso).

      The strong influence from Arabia, Persia, and India has shaped the face of the old coastal town centres, and Italian colonial architecture is visible in Mogadishu. Solid constructions of traditional coral limestone and modern concrete brick clearly distinguish the large coastal settlements from the district and provincial capitals of the interior, where traditional wooden houses with thatched or corrugated-iron roofs predominate. There are two main types of traditional house: the typically African round house (mundul), mainly found in the interior, and the Arab-influenced rectangular house (cariish) with corrugated-steel roof, prevailing in the coastal regions and northern Somalia.

      Pastoral nomads still live in transportable round huts called aqal. During the dry seasons, the high mobility of these livestock keepers leads to their temporary concentration in the river valleys of southern Somalia and around important water points all over the country.

      Heavy migration from rural areas into towns has caused enormous urban expansion, especially in Mogadishu. As a result of increased market-oriented and extrapastoral activities, more nomads are tending to adopt a semi-settled way of life and economy. This has led to a great number of permanent nomad settlements, chiefly along the roads and tracks of the country's interior.

The people
      In culture, language, and way of life, the people of Somalia, northeastern Kenya, the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, and the southern part of Djibouti are largely one homogeneous group.

Ethnic composition
      The Somali people are divided into numerous clans, which are groups that trace their common ancestry back to a single father. These clans, which in turn are subdivided into numerous subclans, combine at a higher level to form clan families. The clan families inhabiting the interfluvial area of southern Somalia are the Rahanwayn and the Digil, which together are known as the Sab. Mainly farmers and agropastoralists, the Sab include both original inhabitants and numerous Somali groups that have immigrated into this climatically favourable area. Other clan families are the Daarood of northeastern Somalia, the Ogaden, and the border region between Somalia and Kenya; the Hawiye, chiefly inhabiting the area on both sides of the middle Shabeelle and south-central Somalia; and the Isaaq, who live in the central and western parts of northern Somalia. In addition, there are the Dir, living in the northwestern corner of the country but also dispersed throughout southern Somalia, and the Tunni, occupying the stretch of coast between Marka and Kismaayo. Toward the Kenyan border the narrow coastal strip and offshore islands are inhabited by the Bagiunis, a Swahili fishing people.

      As well as the Somali, there is a sizable and economically important Bantu (Bantu peoples) population, which is mainly responsible for the profitable irrigation agriculture practiced on the lower and middle reaches of the Jubba and Shabeelle rivers. Socially, however, they are regarded as inferior, many of them being descendants of former slaves. The result is a strict social distinction between the “noble” Somali of nomadic descent and the Bantu groups.

      Another economically significant minority is the several tens of thousands of Arabs (Arab), mainly of Yemenite origin. By the end of the 1980s, the number of Italians permanently residing in Somalia (mainly as banana farmers) had dropped to only a few hundred.

Linguistic composition
      The Somali language belongs to the Cushitic language family. Despite several regional dialects, it is understood throughout the country. The second official language is Arabic, which is spoken chiefly in northern Somalia and in the coastal towns. Owing to Somalia's colonial past, many people have a good command of English and Italian, which also are used in colleges and in the university. Swahili also is spoken in the south.

      In 1973 Somalia adopted an official orthography based on the Latin alphabet. Until then, Somali had been an unwritten language.

      Most Somali belong to the Shāfiʿī rite of the Sunnite sect of Islām (Islāmic world). Various Muslim orders (ṭarīqa) are important, especially the Qādirīyah, the Aḥmadīyah, and the Ṣaliḥiyah.

Demographic trends
      The population of Somalia has been increasing annually by more than 3 percent, despite very high infant mortality and an average life expectancy of less than 50 years.

      A high migration rate into the towns, chiefly by young men, has led to a disproportionately large percentage of old people in most rural areas and to high unemployment in the towns. Also, after the Ogaden conflict of 1977–78, hundreds of thousands (refugee) of Somali from Ethiopia fled to Somalia, and during the ensuing civil war more than one million Somali sought shelter in neighbouring countries.

The economy
      Somalia's economy is based on agriculture; however, the main economic activity is not crop farming but livestock raising. Between 1969 and the early 1980s, the military government imposed a system of “Scientific socialism,” which featured the nationalization of banks, insurance firms, oil companies, and all large industrial firms, the setting up of state-owned enterprises, farms, and trading companies, and the organizing of state-controlled cooperatives. In the end, this experiment weakened the Somalian economy considerably, and since the collapse of the military regime the economy has suffered even more as a result of civil war. Generally speaking, the Somalian economy cannot survive without foreign aid.

      Somalia has few mineral resources—only some deposits of tin, phosphate, gypsum, guano, coal, iron ore, and uranium—but both quantity and quality are too low for mining to be worthwhile. However, the deposits of the clay mineral sepiolite, or meerschaum, in south-central Somalia are among the largest known reserves in the world. Exploitable oil and natural gas have not yet been found. Sea salt is collected at several sites on the coast.

      Somalia's most valuable resources are the natural pastures that cover most of the country. Another resource that has scarcely been exploited is the abundant fish life in the coastal waters, still unpolluted by industrial waste. A potential source of hydroelectricity is the Jubba River.

      By far the most important sector of the economy is agriculture, with livestock raising surpassing crop growing fourfold in value and earning about 90 percent of Somalia's foreign exchange. Agriculture in Somalia can be divided into three subsectors. The first is nomadic pastoralism, which is practiced outside the cultivation areas. This sector, which raises goats, sheep, camels, and cattle, has become increasingly market-oriented. The second sector is the traditional, chiefly subsistence, agriculture practiced by small farmers. This traditional sector takes two forms: rain-fed farming in the south and northwest, which raises sorghum, often with considerable livestock; and small irrigated farms along the rivers, which produce corn (maize), sesame, cowpeas, and, near towns, vegetables and fruits. The third sector consists of market-oriented farming on medium- and large-scale irrigated plantations along the lower Jubba and Shabeelle rivers. Here the major crops are bananas, sugarcane, rice, cotton, vegetables, grapefruit, mangoes, papayas, and other fruits.

      The acacia species of the thorny savanna in southern Somalia supply good timber and are the major source of charcoal, but charcoal production has long exceeded ecologically acceptable limits. More efficient and careful handling of Boswellia, Commiphora, and other resin-exuding trees could increase yields of aromatic gums.

      In the small fishing sector, tunny and mackerel are caught and canned in the north, sharks are often caught and sold dried by artisanal inshore fishers, and, in southern Somalia, choice fish and shellfish are processed for export.

      In the late 1980s industry was responsible for just under 10 percent of Somalia's gross domestic product. Mogadishu was the chief industrial centre, with bottling plants, factories producing spaghetti, cigarettes, matches, and boats, a petroleum refinery, a small tractor assembly workshop, and small enterprises producing construction materials. In Kismaayo there were a meat-tinning factory, a tannery, and a modern fish factory. There were two sugar refineries, one near Jilib on the lower reach of the Jubba and one at Jawhar (Giohar) on the middle reach of the Shabeelle.

      Even before the destruction caused by Somalia's civil wars of the 1980s and '90s, the productivity of Somalian factories was very low. Often entire works did not operate at full capacity or produced nothing at all over long periods. The few existing power stations, located at Mogadishu, Hargeysa (Hargeisa), and Kismaayo, were often out of order, resulting in frequent power cuts with adverse effects on factory production. (Rural areas have no power plants at all.) A significant portion of commodities necessary for daily life is produced by small workshops in the informal sector.

      The three principal banks, which are nationalized, are the Central Bank of Somalia, the Commercial and Savings Bank of Somalia, and the Somali Development Bank, which mainly provides loans for development projects. The currency, the Somali shilling, has been depreciating for years, and a shortage of hard currency greatly impedes the country's economic development.

      Somalia has a large trade deficit. Its chief export commodities are livestock (to Arab countries, mainly Saudi Arabia) and bananas (to Italy and Arab countries). Other, much less important exports are hides and skins, fish, and frankincense and myrrh. Almost everything is imported, even food for an urban population no longer accustomed to the traditional diet.

      Besides the official market, there is also a flourishing black market, by means of which tens of thousands of Somali workers in Arab countries provide commodities missing on the Somali market while avoiding the duties levied on imports. Since wages in Somalia are very low, almost every family is directly or indirectly involved in informal trading.

      Inadequate transport facilities are a considerable impediment to Somalia's economic development. There are no railways. Only about 1,800 miles of paved roads are passable year-round, and in the rainy seasons most rural settlements are not accessible by motor vehicle. Buses, trucks, and minibuses are the main means of transport for the population. In rural areas camels, cattle, and donkeys are still used for personal transportation and as pack animals.

      During peacetime, the state-owned Somali Airlines operated on national routes as well as on international routes to Kenya, Arabia, and Europe. Mogadishu, Berbera, and Kismaayo all have airports with long runways. These three cities also have deep-water harbours, but dangerous coral reefs keep coastal traffic to a minimum.

Administration and social conditions

      In 1960 Somalia became independent as a Western-style parliamentary democracy. A military coup in 1969, led by Major General Maxamed Siyaad Barre, inaugurated a phase of “Scientific socialism” that acknowledged one legal political party, the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party, and various socialist-style mass organizations. Under the 1979 constitution the president and his supporters held the important positions of power, and a People's Assembly had no real power. The legal system was based largely on Islamic law, an independent judiciary did not exist, and human rights were frequently violated.

      After years of destructive civil war waged by clan-based guerrillas, Siyaad's government fell in January 1991. Later that year a de facto government declared the formation of an independent Republic of Somaliland in the northeast; similarly, in 1998 the autonomous region of Puntland was self-proclaimed in the northeast. Meanwhile, the fragmented, conflict-riven south lay largely in the hands of various clan-based militia groups at war with each other. Since Siyaad's fall from power, various attempts have been made to end the conflict and form a new government.

      Somalia's education system was in shambles after the government was overthrown in 1991. Some private schools have managed to function since then, as have some schools in the Republic of Somaliland and Puntland. Some Islamic schools are also operational, but traditionally these Qurʾānic schools are responsible for the religious education of children according to Islamic law and do not provide secular education.

      Prior to the country's civil war and the resulting anarchy, the state educational system had been somewhat successful despite considerable shortcomings. Enrollment in primary and secondary schools had multiplied, and the proportion of girls attending school also had risen—at least in towns. A lack of buildings, furniture, equipment, teaching materials, and teachers, together with the frequent unwillingness of rural people to allow children to attend school instead of working, all prevented a rapid improvement of schooling in rural areas. Options for higher education included agricultural secondary schools, a polytechnic school, a vocational training centre, a teacher-training centre, an agricultural college, and the National University. Most of these institutions, located in and around Mogadishu, were unable to consistently maintain operations because of warfare.

Health and welfare
      Many years of conflict, severe drought, and famine have left Somalia in a state of crisis. Hundreds of thousands of Somali have been displaced by warfare. Chronic food shortages have led to high rates of malnutrition in many parts of the country. Much of Somalia is without adequate water supplies or sanitation. Cholera, measles, tuberculosis, and malaria are widespread. The absence of health or welfare infrastructure in the country—largely destroyed after years of conflict—has left international relief organizations struggling to provide essential services normally offered by the government. However, their efforts are hindered by continuing violence, and most Somali have little or no access to health care.

      Conditions in the Republic of Somaliland and Puntland are somewhat better than in the rest of the country but still fall short of ideal. Because of the overall level of stability enjoyed by the two self-governing regions, they have been able to rebuild much of their health care infrastructure.

Cultural life
      The varied cultural life of the Somali includes both traditional activities and, especially in the towns, many modern interests.

Daily life
      Cultural activities primarily consist of poetry, folk dancing, the performance of plays, and singing. These traditional activities still retain their importance, especially in rural areas, and are practiced not only at family and religious celebrations but also at state ceremonies. On such occasions traditional local costume is generally worn.

      Especially in the towns, traditional culture is rapidly being superseded by imported modern influences, such as television and videotapes, cinema, and bars and restaurants. Urban Somalian cooking has been strongly influenced by Italian cuisine, and young townspeople are much influenced by Western fashion in the way they dress. Football (soccer) is a very popular sport.

The arts
      There are many famous Somali artists, poets, musicians, actors, and dancers, some of whom live in exile. Nuruddin Farah (Farah, Nuruddin), whose novels are written in English, has achieved international fame. (For Farah's thoughts about his country at the turn of the new millennium, see Sidebar: Somalia at the Turn of the 21st Century.)

      Cultural institutions in Mogadishu are the National Museum, the new Historical Museum, and the National Theatre. The Somali Academy of Sciences and Arts promotes research on Somalia.

Press and broadcasting
      Press, radio, and television are all controlled and censored by the state. Books in general are hard to obtain, and the printing quality of the few books available in Somali is very poor.

Jörg H.A. Janzen


Early activity on the coasts
      From their connection with the Ethiopian hinterland, their proximity to Arabia, and their export of precious gums, ostrich feathers, ghee (clarified butter), and other animal products as well as slaves from farther inland, the northern and eastern Somali coasts have for centuries been open to the outside world. This area probably formed part of Punt, “the land of aromatics and incense,” mentioned in ancient Egyptian writings. Between the 7th and 10th centuries, immigrant Muslim Arabs and Persians developed a series of trading posts along the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean coasts. Many of the early Arab geographers mentioned these trading posts and the sultanates that grew out of them, but they rarely described the interior of the country in detail.

      Intensive exploration really began only after the occupation of Aden by the British in 1839 and the ensuing scramble for Somali possessions by Britain, France, and Italy (see below The imperial partition (Somalia)). In 1854, while Richard Burton (Burton, Sir Richard) was exploring the country to the northwest in the course of his famous journey from Berbera to Harer, his colleague John Hanning Speke (Speke, John Hanning) was making his way along the Makhir coast in the northeast. This region had previously been visited by Charles Guillain, captain of the brig Ducouedid, between 1846 and 1848. Guillain also sailed down the Indian Ocean coast and went ashore at Mogadishu, Marka, and Baraawe, penetrating some distance inland and collecting valuable geographic and ethnographic information. In 1865 the German explorer Karl Klaus von der Decken (Decken, Karl Klaus von der) sailed up the Jubba River as far as Baardheere in the small steamship Welf, which foundered in rapids above the town. Decken was killed by Somali, but much valuable information collected by his expedition survived.

Penetration of the interior
      In 1883 a party of Englishmen (F.L. and W.D. James, G.P.V. Aylmer, and E. Lort-Phillips) penetrated from Berbera as far as the Shabeelle, and between 1886 and 1892 H.G.C. and E.J.E. Swayne surveyed the country between the coast and the Shabeelle and also reached farther east toward the Nugaal valley. During 1894–95 A. Donaldson-Smith explored the headwaters of the Shabeelle in Ethiopia, reached Lake Rudolf, and eventually descended the Tana River to the Kenyan coast. In 1891 the Italian Luigi Robecchi-Bricchetti (Robecchi-Bricchetti, Luigi) trekked from Mogadishu to Hobyo and then crossed the Ogaden to Berbera. About the same time, further explorations were made by another Italian, Captain Vittorio Bottego. In the 20th century several extensive surveys were made, especially in the British protectorate, by J.A. Hunt between 1944 and 1950, and much of the country was mapped by aerial survey.

Before partition
Peoples of the coasts and hinterland
      Until recent times the history of the Horn of Africa was dominated by two great themes: the southward expansion of the Somali from the Gulf of Aden littoral and the development by Arab and Persian Muslim settlers of a ring of coastal trading towns dating from at least the 10th century AD. By this time Islam was firmly established in the northern ports of Seylac (Zeila) and Berbera and at Marka, Baraawe, and Mogadishu on the Indian Ocean coast in the south. These centres were engaged in a lively trade, with connections as far afield as China. Initially the trend of pressure was from these coastal centres inland, especially in the north.

      Probably by the 10th century the country from the Gulf of Aden coast inland was occupied first by Somali nomads and then, to their south and west, by various groups of pastoral Oromo who apparently had expanded from their traditional homelands in southwestern Ethiopia. To the south of these Cushitic-speaking Somali and Oromo—the “Berberi” of Classical times and of the Arab geographers—the fertile lands between the Shabeelle and Jubba rivers were occupied, partly at least, by sedentary Bantu tribes of the Nyika confederacy, whose ancient capital was Shungwaya. Remnants of these Zanj, as they were known to the Arab geographers, still survive in this region, but their strongest contemporary representatives are found among the coastal Bantu, of whom the Pokomo live along the Tana River in northern Kenya. Another smaller allied population consisted of the ancestors of the scattered bands of hunters of northern Kenya and southern Somalia known as Wa-Ribi, or Wa-Boni, a people whose appearance and mode of existence recall those of the San of other areas of Africa.

The great Somali migrations
      With this distribution of peoples in the 10th century, the stage was set for the great movements of expansion of the Somali toward the south and of the Oromo to the south and west. The first known major impetus to Somali migration was that of Sheikh Ismāʿīl Jabartī, ancestor of the Daarood Somali, who apparently came from Arabia to settle in the northeastern corner of the Somali Peninsula in the 11th century. This was followed, perhaps two centuries later, by the settlement of Sheikh Isaq, founder of the Isaaq Somali. As the Daarood and Isaaq clans (clan) grew in numbers and territory in the northeast, they began to vie with their Oromo neighbours, thus creating a general thrust toward the southwest. By the 16th century the movements that followed seem to have established much of the present distribution of Somali clans in northern Somalia. Other Somali pressed farther south, and some, according to the Arab geographer Ibn Saʿīd, had already reached the region of Marka by as early as the 13th century.

      In the meantime, farther to the west, a ring of militant Muslim sultanates had grown up around the Christian kingdom of Ethiopia, and the two sides were engaged in a protracted struggle for supremacy. Somali clansmen regularly formed part of the Muslim armies: the name Somali first occurs in an Ethiopian song of victory early in the 15th century. In the 16th century the Muslim state of Adal, whose port was Seylac, assumed the lead in the holy wars against the Christian Amhara. The turning point in the struggle between Christians and Muslims was reached with the Ethiopian victory in 1542, with Portuguese support, over the remarkable Muslim leader Aḥmad ibn Ibrāhīm al-Ghāzī (Aḥmad Grāñ), known to the Ethiopians as Aḥmad GrāŃ (Aḥmad Grāñ). With his Somali armies, Aḥmad had harried Ethiopia almost to the point of collapse. This victory, which saved Ethiopia, also closed the door to Somali expansion westward and increased the pressure of the Somali and Oromo thrust southward. With this stimulus the main mass of the Oromo swept into Ethiopia from the south and southwest and streamed in conquering hordes as far north as the ancient city of Harer, which was laid to waste in 1567.

      This massive invasion left something of a political vacuum in the south of the Horn, which new Somali settlers were quick to fill. By the 17th century the influx of new migrants, competing and jostling with each other, had become considerable. The old Ajuran Somali sultanate, linked with the port of Mogadishu, was overthrown and Mogadishu itself invaded and split into two rival quarters. Some of the earlier Somali groups found refuge in northern Kenya. The continuing Somali thrust south—largely at the expense of Oromo and Zanj predecessors—was ultimately only effectively halted at the Tana River by the establishment of administrative posts about 1912.

Somali clans and foreign traders
      Thus, by the latter part of the 19th century, the coastal and hinterland traditions had merged, and the centre of pressure had swung from the coast to the interior. In the north the ancient ports of Berbera and Seylac, much reduced in prosperity and importance, were now controlled by Somali nomads, and the position of the old ports of Marka, Baraawe, and Mogadishu was very similar. These towns had all been penetrated by various Somali clans, and the dominant political influence became that exercised by the Geledi clan ruling the lower reaches of the Shabeelle. Commercial and political links that provided an opening for European infiltration had, however, also been forged between these two coasts and the outside world. Part of the northern Somali coast, including Seylac, was then nominally under Turkish suzerainty, the Turkish claim going back to the 16th century, when Turkish forces had aided Aḥmad Grāñ in his campaigns against Ethiopia. The southern coastal towns, on the other hand, acknowledged the overlordship of the sultan of Zanzibar, although the latter's authority was slight in comparison with that exercised locally by the Geledi Somali.

The imperial partition
Competition among the European powers and Ethiopia
      About the middle of the 19th century the Somali Peninsula became a theatre of competition between Great Britain (British Empire), Italy, and France. On the African continent itself Egypt also was involved, and later Ethiopia, expanding and consolidating its realm under the guiding genius of the emperors Tewodros II, Yohannes IV, and Menilek II. Britain's interest in the northern Somali coast followed the establishment in 1839 of the British coaling station at Aden on the short route to India. The Aden garrison relied upon the importation of meat from the adjacent Somali coast. France sought its own coaling station and obtained Obock on the Afar coast in 1862, later thrusting eastward and developing the Somali port of Djibouti. Farther north, Italy opened a station in 1869 at Aseb, which, with later acquisitions, became the colony of Eritrea. Stimulated by these European maneuvers, Egypt revived Turkey's ancient claims to the Red Sea coast. In 1870 the Egyptian flag was raised at Bullaxaar (Bulhar) and Berbera.

      Britain at first protested these Egyptian moves but by 1877 had come to regard the Egyptian occupation as a convenient bulwark against the encroachments of European rivals. With the disorganization caused by the revolt in the Sudan, however, Egypt was obliged to curtail its colonial responsibilities, evacuating Harer and its Somali possessions in 1885. In these circumstances the British government reluctantly decided to fill the gap left by Egypt. Between 1884 and 1886, accordingly, treaties of protection were drawn up with the main northern Somali clans guaranteeing them their “independence.” Somali territory was not fully ceded to Britain, but a British (British Somaliland) protectorate was proclaimed and vice-consuls appointed to maintain order and control trade at Seylac, Berbera, and Bullaxaar. The interior of the country was left undisturbed, only the coast being affected.

      Meanwhile, France had been assiduously extending its colony from Obock, and a clash with Britain was only narrowly averted when an Anglo-French agreement on the boundaries of the two powers' Somali possessions was signed in 1888. In the same period, the Italians were also actively extending their Eritrean colony and encroaching upon Ethiopian territory. Not to be outdone, Menilek took the opportunity of seizing the Muslim city of Harer, left independent after the Egyptian withdrawal. In 1889 Ethiopia and Italy concluded the Treaty of Wichale (Wichale, Treaty of), which in the Italian view established an Italian protectorate over Ethiopia. Arms and capital were poured into the country, and Menilek was able to apply these new resources to bring pressure to bear on the Somali clansmen around Harer. In 1889 Italy also acquired two protectorates in the northeastern corner of Somalia; and by the end of the year the southern part of the Somali coast leased by the British East Africa Company from the sultan of Zanzibar was sublet to an Italian company.

      Italy had thus acquired a Somali colony. From 1892 the lease was held directly from Zanzibar for an annual rent of 160,000 rupees, and, after the failure of two Italian companies by 1905, the Italian government assumed direct responsibility for its colony of Italian Somaliland. To the south of the Jubba River the British East Africa Company held Jubaland until 1895, when this became part of Britain's East Africa protectorate. Britain and Italy had reached agreement in 1884 on the extent of their respective Somali territories, but the Battle of Adwa (Adwa, Battle of) (1896), at which the infiltrating Italian armies were crushed by Ethiopian forces, radically changed the position. Ethiopia, then independent of Italy, was plainly master of the hinterland, and in 1896–97 Italy, France, and Britain all signed treaties with Emperor Menilek, curtailing their Somali possessions. Italy gave up the Somali Ogaden, and Britain excised much of the western Hawd from its protectorate. Although the land and the Somali clansmen (who were not consulted), so abandoned, were not recognized as belonging to Ethiopia, there was nothing then to stop their gradual acquisition by Ethiopia.

Revolt in British Somaliland
      These arrangements had scarcely been completed when the British Somaliland protectorate administration found its modest rule threatened by a religious rebellion led by Maxamed Cabdulle Xasan (Maxamed Cabdulle Xasan, Sayyid) (in Arabic, Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh Ḥasan (Maxamed Cabdulle Xasan, Sayyid)). This Somali sheikh (known to the British as the Mad Mullah) of the Ogaadeen clan, living with his mother's people in the east of the protectorate, was an adherent of the Ṣaliḥiyyah religious order, whose reformist message he preached with messianic zeal. He quickly achieved wide recognition for his learning, piety, and skill as a mediator and initially cooperated with the authorities. In 1899, however, Sheikh Maxamed came into conflict with the recently established Christian mission and also was involved in a petty dispute with the administration. With the current European and Ethiopian encroachment and with the example of the Sudanese mahdi (in Islamic eschatology, a messianic deliverer), these two incidents provided the seeds that rapidly developed into a major Somali insurrection.

      Maxamed did not appropriate the title of mahdi but assumed the title of sayyid (a descendant of the Prophet), and his followers were known as the dervishes (dervish). He displayed great skill in employing all the traditional tactics of Somali clan politics in building up his following, strengthening these with the call to national Muslim solidarity against the infidel colonizers. Arms and ammunition, denied to Somali in the past, became easily available through the ports of Djibouti and the northeastern coast, and the dervishes, although opposed by many Somali, who were branded as traitors to Islam, successfully weathered four major British, Italian, and Ethiopian campaigns between 1900 and 1904. The cumbersome British armies, hampered by their supply and water requirements, found the dervish guerrilla tactics hard to combat effectively, and, when in 1910 the British government decided to abandon its inconclusive, extremely expensive operations and withdrew to the coast, leaving chaos in the interior, Sayyid Maxamed seemed to have gained the day. A new policy was subsequently adopted, however, and, with the aid of an increasingly effective camel constabulary (whose founder, Richard Corfield, was killed at the Battle of Dulmadoobe in 1913), the dervishes were kept at bay until 1920, when a combined air, sea, and land operation finally routed them. The formidable dervish stronghold at Taleex, or Taleh, was bombed, but the sayyid escaped, as so often before, only to die of influenza a few months later while desperately seeking to rally his scattered followers.

      After 1920, administrative control (under the colonial office since 1905) was gradually restored in the protectorate. In Italian Somaliland, where the Italians had been gradually extending their hold on the country, the sayyid's rebellion had caused less disruption, and the appointment in 1923 of the first fascist governor marked a new active phase in the life of the colony. Two years later Britain ceded Jubaland with the port of Kismaayo, and in 1926, after a bitter military campaign, the two northern Italian protectorates were firmly incorporated. Italian settlement was encouraged, and fruit plantations were developed along the Shabeelle and Jubba valleys. Although agreements of 1897 and 1908 had defined the border with Ethiopia, this had not been demarcated, except for a stretch of about 18 miles delimited in 1910, and remained in dispute, thus facilitating the gradual Italian infiltration into Ethiopia. In late 1934 the celebrated Welwel incident, in which an Ethiopian patrol clashed with an Italian garrison, occurred at the Welwel oasis in the eastern part of the Ogaden claimed by both Italy and Ethiopia. The Italian conquest of Ethiopia that followed in 1935–36 (see Italo-Ethiopian War) brought the Ethiopian and Italian Somali territories together within the framework of Italy's short-lived East African empire. Italian Somaliland became the province of Somalia.

The Somali Republic
Independence and union
      During World War II the British protectorate was evacuated (1940) but was recaptured with Italian Somalia in 1941, when Ethiopia also was liberated. With the exception of French Somaliland, all the Somali territories were then united under British military administration. In 1948 the protectorate reverted to the Colonial Office; the Ogaden and the Hawd were gradually surrendered to Ethiopia; and in 1950 the Italians returned to southern Somalia with 10 years to prepare the country for independence under a United Nations trusteeship.

      Taking advantage of the modest progress that the British military administration had effected, the Italians rapidly pursued social and political advancement, although economic development proved much more difficult. The British protectorate, in the event, became independent on June 26, 1960. On July 1, Italian Somalia followed suit, and the two territories joined as the Somali Republic.

      The politics of the new republic were conditioned by clan allegiances, but the first major problems arose from the last-minute marriage between the former Italian trust territory and the former British protectorate. Urgent improvements in communication between the two areas were necessary, as were readjustments in their legal and judicial systems. The first independent government was formed by a coalition of the southern-based Somali Youth League (SYL) and the northern-based Somali National League (SNL).

      While modest developments were pursued internally with the help of mainly Western aid, foreign policy was dominated by the Somali unification issue and by the campaign for self-determination of adjoining Somali communities in the Ogaden, French Somaliland, and northern Kenya. The Somalian government strongly supported the Kenyan Somali community's aim of self-determination (and union with Somalia); when this failed in the spring of 1963, after a commission of inquiry endorsed Somali aspirations, Somalia broke off diplomatic relations with Britain, and a Somali guerrilla war broke out in northern Kenya, paralyzing the region until 1967. By the end of 1963 a Somali uprising in the Ogaden led to a brief confrontation between Ethiopian and Somalian forces. Since the United States and the West provided military support to Ethiopia and Kenya, Somalia turned to the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) for military aid. Nevertheless, the republic maintained a generally neutral but pro-Western stance, and, indeed, a new government formed in June 1967 under the premiership of Maxamed Xaaji Ibrahiim Cigaal (Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal) embarked on a policy of détente with Kenya and Ethiopia, muting the Pan-Somali campaign.

The era of “Scientific Socialism”
      In March 1969 more than 1,000 candidates representing 64 parties (mostly clan-based) contested the 123 seats in the National Assembly. After these chaotic elections, all the deputies (with one exception) joined the SYL, which became increasingly authoritarian. The assassination of President Cabdirashiid Cali Shermaʾarke (Abdirashid Ali Shermarke) on October 15, 1969, provoked a government crisis, of which the military took advantage to stage a coup on October 21.

      The overthrow of Cigaal brought to power as head of state and president of a new Supreme Revolutionary Council the commander of the army, Major General Maxamed Siyaad Barre (Muhammed Siad Barre). At first the new regime concentrated on consolidating its power internally. Siyaad quickly adopted “Scientific Socialism (socialism),” which, he claimed, was fully compatible with his countrymen's traditional devotion to Islam. Leading a predominantly military administration, Siyaad declared a campaign to liberate the country from poverty, disease, and ignorance. The president was soon hailed as the “Father” of the people (their “Mother” was the “Revolution,” as the coup was titled). Relations with socialist countries (especially the Soviet Union and China) were so greatly strengthened at the expense of Western connections that, at the height of Soviet influence, slogans proclaiming a trinity of “Comrade Marx, Comrade Lenin, and Comrade Siyaad” decorated official Orientation Centres throughout the land. Siyaad's authoritarian rule was reinforced by a national network of vigilantes called Victory Pioneers, by a National Security Service headed by his son-in-law, and by National Security Courts notorious for ruthless sentencing. Rural society was integrated into this totalitarian structure through regional committees on which clan elders (now renamed “peace-seekers”) were placed under the authority of a chairman, who was invariably an official of the state apparatus. Clan loyalties were officially outlawed, and clan-inspired behaviour became a criminal offense. Of the government's many crash programs designed to transform society, the most successful were mass literacy campaigns in 1973 and 1974, which made Somali a written language (in Latin characters) for the first time.

      After 1974 Siyaad turned his attention to external affairs. Somalia joined the Arab League, gaining much-needed petrodollar aid and access to political support from those Persian Gulf states to which Somali labour and livestock were exported at a growing rate. Following Haile Selassie's overthrow in September 1974, Ethiopia began to fall apart, and guerrilla fighters of the Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF) in the Ogaden pressed Siyaad (whose mother was an Ogaadeen) for support. When in June 1977 France granted independence to Djibouti (under a Somali president), the WSLF, backed by Somalia, immediately launched a series of fierce attacks on Ethiopian garrisons. By September 1977 Somalia had largely conquered the Ogaden region and the war was at the gates of Harer. Then the Soviet Union turned to fill the superpower vacuum left in Ethiopia by the gradual withdrawal of the United States. In the spring of 1978, with the support of Soviet equipment and Cuban soldiers, Ethiopia reconquered the Ogaden, and hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees (refugee) poured into Somalia.

Ioan M. Lewis

      Somalia's defeat in the Ogaden War strained the stability of the Siyaad regime as the country faced a surge of clan pressures. An abortive military coup in April 1978 paved the way for the formation of two opposition groups: the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), drawing its main support from the Majeerteen clan of the Mudug region in central Somalia, and the Somali National Movement (SNM), based on the Isaaq clan of the northern regions. Formed in 1982, both organizations undertook guerrilla operations from bases in Ethiopia. These pressures, in addition to pressure from Somalia's Western backers, encouraged Siyaad to improve relations with Kenya and Ethiopia. But a peace accord (1988) signed with the Ethiopian leader, Mengistu Haile Mariam, obliging each side to cease supporting Somali antigovernment guerrillas, had the ironic effect of precipitating civil war in Somalia.

      Threatened with the closure of their bases in Ethiopia, the SNM attacked government forces in their home region, provoking a bitter conflict that left ghost towns in the hands of government forces. Ogaadeen Somali, who had been progressively absorbed into the army and militia, felt betrayed by the peace agreement with Ethiopia and began to desert, attacking Siyaad's clansmen. Siyaad became preoccupied with daily survival and consolidated his hold on Mogadishu. Clan-based guerrilla opposition groups multiplied rapidly, following the example of the SSDF and SNM. In January 1991, forces of the Hawiye-based United Somali Congress (USC) led a popular uprising that overthrew Siyaad and drove him to seek asylum among his own clansmen. Outside Mogadishu, all the main clans with access to the vast stores of military equipment in the country set up their own spheres of influence. Government in the south had largely disintegrated and existed only at the local level in the SSDF-controlled northeast region. In May 1991 the SNM, having secured control of the former British Somaliland northern region, declared that the 1960 federation was null and void and that henceforth the northern region would be independent and known as the Republic of Somaliland (Somaliland).

      In Mogadishu the precipitate appointment of a USC interim government triggered a bitter feud between rival Hawiye clan factions. The forces of the two rival warlords, General Maxamed Farax Caydiid (Muhammad Farah Aydid) of the Somali National Alliance (SNA) and Cali Mahdi Maxamed (Ali Mahdi Muhammad) of the Somali Salvation Alliance (SSA), tore the capital apart and battled with Siyaad's regrouped clan militia, the Somali National Front, for control of the southern coast and hinterland. This brought war and devastation to the grain-producing region between the rivers, spreading famine throughout southern Somalia. Attempts to distribute relief food were undermined by systematic looting and rake-offs by militias. In December 1992 the United States led an intervention by a multinational force of more than 35,000 troops, which imposed an uneasy peace on the principal warring clans and pushed supplies into the famine-stricken areas. The military operation provided support for a unique effort at peacemaking by the United Nations.

      In January and March 1993, representatives of 15 Somali factions signed peace and disarmament treaties in Addis Ababa, but by June the security situation had deteriorated. American and European forces, suffering an unacceptable number of casualties, were withdrawn by March 1994. The UN force was reduced to military units mainly from less-developed countries, and the clan-based tensions that had precipitated the civil war remained unresolved. The remaining UN troops were evacuated a year later. Over the next few years there were several failed attempts at peace as fighting persisted among the various clans; the SSA and SNA continued to be two of the primary warring factions.

      In 1998 another portion of the war-torn country—the SSDF-controlled area in the northeast, identified as Puntland—announced its intentions to self-govern. Unlike the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, Puntland did not claim complete independence from Somalia—it instead sought to remain a part of the country as an autonomous region, with the goal of reuniting the country as a federal republic.

Attempts at peace
      During the 1990s more than 10 peace conferences were held to address the warfare in Somalia, but they were largely unsuccessful. A 2000 peace conference held in Djibouti, however, sparked international optimism when it yielded a three-year plan for governing Somalia. A Transitional National Assembly, comprising representatives of the many clans, was established and later that year formed a Transitional National Government (TNG). But the TNG's authority was not widely accepted within the country: the new government faced constant opposition and was never able to rule effectively.

      Another series of peace talks began in 2002; these talks, sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and based in Kenya, eventually produced a new transitional government. A transitional parliament was inaugurated in 2004, and in October of that year Abdullah Yusuf Ahmed was elected interim president by the parliament for a five-year period. Somalia's new government remained in Kenya, however, as much of Somalia, especially Mogadishu, was unsafe. In 2005 plans were announced to relocate the new government to the Somali towns of Baidoa and Jowhar for safety reasons. In December 2008 Yusuf, who faced growing criticism for his handling of the peace efforts, resigned as president.

      Unrelenting violence and warfare, in addition to drought, flooding, and famine, devastated Somalia at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. The situation was further exacerbated in late 2004 when a tsunami (Indian Ocean tsunami) struck the Somali coast, killing several hundred people, displacing many thousands more, and destroying the livelihood of Somalia's fishing communities.

Ioan M. Lewis Ed.

Additional Reading

Thomas Labahn (ed.), Proceedings of the Second International Congress of Somali Studies, 4 vol. (1984), is a good collection of articles on socioeconomic development, politics, national science, and the arts. Economic Transformation in a Socialist Framework (1977), a report compiled by the JASPA Employment Advisory Mission, analyzes the economic changes under the socialist Somali government in the 1970s. Jörg Janzen, “Economic Relations Between Somalia and Saudi Arabia: Livestock Exports, Labor Migration, and the Consequences for Somalia's Development,” Northeast African Studies, 8(2–3):41–51 (1986), analyzes the close economic interrelationship showing Somalia's dependence upon the Saudis. Janzen's “The Somali Inshore Fishing Economy: Structure, Problems, Perspectives,” in Annarita Puglielli (ed.), Proceedings of the Third International Congress of Somali Studies (1988), pp. 551–561, evaluates an important but under-exploited natural resource. Two additional essays by Janzen are in Applied Geography and Development: “Mobile Livestock Keeping: A Survival Strategy for the Countries of the Sahel? The Case of Somalia,” 37:7–20 (1991), and “Dams and Large-Scale Irrigated Cultivation Versus Mobile Livestock Keeping? The Baardheere Dam Project in Southern Somalia and Its Possible Consequences for Mobile Animal Husbandry,” 38:53–65 (1991), a critical evaluation of the planned dam's effects in the Jubba region. Jan M. Haakonsen, Scientific Socialism and Self Reliance (1984), provides a well-informed account of the fishing cooperatives established for drought-afflicted pastoral nomads. Peter Conze and Thomas Labahn (eds.), Somalia: Agriculture in the Winds of Change (1986), contains articles on the modern changes in crop production, pastoralism, and the socioeconomic environment. M.P.O. Baumann, Jörg Janzen, and H.J. Schwartz (eds.), Pastoral Production in Central Somalia (1993), an interdisciplinary selection of articles, gives a profound insight into the structure and problems of Somalia's pastoral production. Garth Massy, Subsistence and Change: Lessons of Agropastoralism in Somalia (1987), explores the interfluvial area. Abdi Ismail Samatar, The State and Rural Transformation in Northern Somalia, 1884–1986 (1989), is an analysis of the changes in rural areas. Volker Matthies, Der Grenzkonflikt Somalias mit Äthiopien und Kenya: Analyse eines zwischenstaatlichen Konflikts in der Dritten Welt (1977), describes in great depth the internal and external geopolitical influences on the Horn of Africa since the 19th century and analyzes in detail Somalia's border conflict with Ethiopia and Kenya.Jörg H.A. Janzen

Lee V. Cassanelli, The Shaping of Somali Society: Reconstructing the History of a Pastoral People, 1600–1900 (1986), focuses on the history and society of southern Somalia. David D. Laitin and Said S. Samatar, Somalia: Nation in Search of a State (1987), contains a general account of Somalian history, especially since independence in 1960. I.M. Lewis, A Modern History of Somalia: Nation and State in the Horn of Africa, rev., updated, and expanded ed. (1988), is a comprehensive treatment of the political history of affairs in all the Somali territories. Said S. Samatar, Oral Poetry and Somali Nationalism (1982), explains the crucial role of poetry in Somali politics, especially the case of nationalist leader Sayyid Maxamed Cabdulle Xasan, and his Somalia: A Nation in Turmoil (1991), provides a valuable overview of the factors leading to the collapse of the socialist state into clan-based warfare. Ahmed I. Samatar, Socialist Somalia: Rhetoric and Reality (1988), analyzes the Siyaad regime's socialist policy of self-reliance and its efforts to achieve development.Ioan M. Lewis

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Universalium. 2010.

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