SOMALIA Country Analysis by avn10155

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									   SOMALIA
Country Analysis

    January 2008




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Table of Contents



Acronyms

AMISOM – African Union Mission to Somalia

ARPCT - The Alliance for Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism

AIAI - al-Itihaad al-Islaami (Islamist organisation)

AU – African Union

CBO – Community-Based Organisation

CMC – Coordination and Monitoring Committee (for Somalia)

CSO – Civil Society Organisation

DfID – Department for International Development (UK)

EU –European Union

ICG – International Contact Group (for Somalia)

IGAD – Inter-Governmental Authority on Development

IUCN - International Union for the Conservation of Nature (now the ‘World Conservation Union’)

LAS – League of Arab States

ODA – Official Development Assistance

POGAR - (UNDP) Programme On Governance in the Arab Region

PPP - Purchasing Power Parity

TFC – Transitional Federal Charter

TFG - Transitional Federal Government

TFI - Transitional Federal Institutions (includes the TFC, TFG, TFP and the President)

TFP – Transitional Federal Parliament

UIC / CIC – Union of Islamic Courts / Council of Islamic Courts

UNDP – United Nations Development Programme

Unicef – United Nations Children’s Fund

UNOSOM – UN Operations in Somalia

LPI – Life and Peace Institute




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                                         Introduction to Country Analysis

Purpose and Outline of Analysis

Forum Syd is compiling a series of country analyses on countries where Forum Syd has a
concentration of projects or programmes. The purpose of these is to provide a comprehensive and
accessible resource tool for prioritising and strategising projects and programmes, mainly for Forum
Syd, but also for partner Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders. At typical country
analysis consists of four basic sections: Poverty Analysis, Central Development Issues, Civil Society
and Priorities The ‘Central Development Issues’ above correspond to Forum Syd’s priority areas,
namely: democracy and human rights, gender equality, environment, conflict and HIV/AIDS.

‘Conflict’ is the main focus of this analysis, since Somalia over the past couple of decades has been
insecure, with large parts often entrenched in armed conflicts. This emphasis is apparent both in that
the ‘Conflict’ section is the most extensive and that there is a conflict-sensitive perspective
throughout, as conflict has such deep implications for poverty and civil society in Somalia.

The purpose of this analysis is to provide a basis for strategy development for future development
cooperation with civil society organisations in Somalia for Forum Syd and partner organisations. The
analysis seeks to identify priorities for the coming five years aiming to strengthen civil society
organisations in their efforts in peace building and poverty reduction. The analysis is an attempt to
provide information and understanding on the working climate for civil society organisation in Somalia
and how the state collapse and the historical changes since 1991 influenced civil society and its
development in Somalia. The analysis aims at presenting the main social and economic development
in Somalia in relation to Forum Syd overall strategies and central development issues.

Two points are important and should be kept in mind throughout the reading of this document: firstly,
it needs to be strongly emphasized that, mainly due to frequent insecurity, frequent population
movements and lack of capacity, reliable and up-to-date information and data are very difficult both to
access and to verify, and disaggregated data is rare. Also due to political changes and instability is
the fact that some of this information can quickly become outdated.
Secondly, it should be noted that this analysis covers South-Central Somalia, Puntland and
Somaliland, but for ease of reading the term “Somalia” indicates all these entities, except for where
they are specifically stated 1 . This is not a political standpoint, but a question both of limited space for
everything that needs to be reflected in the analysis, and also an issue relating to the above: data that
is disaggregated by these three areas is rarely available.
.

Methodology

This analysis has been prepared through a desk study conducted in October – November 2007. This
analysis is based on existing Forum Syd documents; internet sources and literature (see footnotes
and list of references). Informants were consulted, mainly members of Somali Diaspora and others
who have worked on, and in, Somalia for many years. The draft document of the analysis was
discussed in October 2007 in a workshop for member organisations as well as Forum Syd reference
group on Somalia.


1 There are various approaches to the Somali ’states within the state’, both in writing about Somalia and in project/programme implementation; one can look

at the three areas separately; or at Somaliland and Puntland as one entity in their capacity of being the more peaceful, developed parts of Somalia; or as

Somaliland as separate from the other two as being the most developed entity with an independency claim (this last view is that of, amongst others, Sida).

This analysis disaggregates when possible and necessary, and, although it is not always possible, tries to describe each areas in its own right.
                                                    I. POVERTY ANALYSIS

Somalia is often referred to as ‘the quintessential failed state’, as it has been without a functioning
central government since 1991. Many parts of it are characterised by a militarised society with a high
proliferation of weapons, very few and poor basic social services, a general lack of livelihoods
opportunities and huge external dependency, a strained and wary relation with the international
community and a largely fragmentised civil society. The reasons why Somalia finds itself in such an
extended, complex situation of poverty and conflicts are many and further explained below.

Poverty is endemic, with 73.4 % living in general poverty and 43.2 % in extreme poverty. For the last
couple of decades Somalia has been extremely turbulent, experiencing man-made as well as natural
disasters. The latter often have almost biblical proportions: severe floods, droughts, sandstorms,
famines and locust invasions. The man-made disasters are primarily armed conflicts over political
power, land and other resources that flare up within and between clans and sub-clans; between and
within South-Central Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland and Governments and opposition movements
in these areas. While these are civil wars, they often involve several external actors, more or less
overtly backing opposing parties according to geopolitical interests. The unequal distribution of
resources between warlords and others who profit from the conflict on the one hand, and the poverty-
stricken population on the other, is both a cause and consequence of this extended armed conflict.

This is a very grim picture, and Somalia might seem like a hopeless chaos with total impunity.
However, this is a country full of resilience and paradoxes. There is a strong clan kinship-system that
works as a powerful bond and social security network - as well as an instrument of manipulation and
frequent excuse for disputes, conflicts and killings. While many Somalis have been forced to flee
because of clan-fighting, they can also draw on their cultural belonging with their groups; this has
been especially clear in the regional context, where Somali-speaking communities play active roles in
not only receiving but also helping the refugees to integrate into their new host communities.
Another paradox is that while the physical and economic infrastructure is almost destroyed in most
parts, particularly in South-Central Somalia, there is a thriving business community. Currently, the
service sector is the most dynamic part of the economy, especially remittance companies and
telecommunications. There are also burgeoning civil society networks, often built on business
interests, faith-based organisations, or academic associations, which work mainly in basic service
delivery but also within advocacy on rights-issues. These are hopeful developments across Somalia,
but the country is still a long way from sustainable basic service delivery and institutionalised
democracy.

1.1 Basic country information

Somalia has an estimated population of around 8.2 million, with about two-thirds living in the southern
part. It is located on the tip of the Horn of Africa, a region also comprising Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti
and Sudan. These countries are historically linked to each other, and Somalia is also culturally and
socio-economically connected to East- and North Africa, as well as the Middle East. Somalia borders
Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia, and the border-area populations are mainly nomadic. The borders have
traditionally been quite porous, allowing a free movement of people and nomads, trade and exchange
of commodities - but also of weapons, cattle rustlers, armed forces and refugees.
Somalia has the longest coast coastline in Africa at over 3,000 km along the Gulf of Aden and the
Indian Ocean. It has a mostly dry and arid climate with limited fresh water resources. The South is
relatively fertile and less than 1.6% of the land is arable 2 . Around 42% of all the inhabitants are



2 CIA – The World Factbook (http://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/so.html)




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nomadic pastoralists, while 35% combine agriculture and cattle rearing, and the remaining 23% are
based in towns, mostly working in trade and business 3 .

Somali society is largely organised in an intricate kinship system of clans, branching out into sub-
clans and sub-sub clans. Long before Somalia was colonised in the 1880’s, clan-elders provided
guidance in the absence of a central authority, and since independence in 1960 and up to today still
continue to play the same role to some degree. Although the importance and functions of elders and
the entire clan-system have changed during the strife in last decades, the clan-system in particular
continues to be the backbone of societal organisation. However, while the war in Somalia is often
labelled as a ‘clan war’ this is a simplification as there are interests far beyond the clan-system that
fuel the conflicts; currently the most blatant one being Ethiopian and American involvement. Also,
lines and loyalties between and within clans and sub-clans are fluid as alliances are formed and split
as situations and needs change - whether these are political, economic or other.

Something that most Somalis have in common is religion, as close to 100% are Sunni Muslims. There
is also a shared mother tongue in Somali (with some regional variations), which is the official
language, while Arabic, English and Italian are also spoken in parts of the country. In addition, there
are few different ethnic groups in Somalia compared to its neighbours. Perhaps because of these
factors, Somalia is often referred to and treated as homogenous by non-Somalis, but in reality it has
many diversities. The country is currently divided into three entities (South Central Somalia, Puntland
and Somaliland), which are themselves experiencing further fragmentisation from break-out regions.
There is also the large ethnic Somali population spread out in surrounding areas in Kenya, Ethiopia
and Djibouti; some of these areas are contested by military means by those who feel they are
rightfully part of Somalia. Also, there are some severely disadvantaged minorities within Somalia,
which make up about a fifth of the population. The largest group is the Bantu who, along with minority
clans and certain ‘professional casts’, lack the political, economical and legal protection offered by the
clan system.

Somalis have since independence suffered from authoritarian regimes and chaos. In 1969 General
Siad Barre staged a coup, ending some attempts at post-colonial democracy and starting an
experiment in ‘scientific socialism’ that grew increasingly authoritarian and militarised in the 1980’s.
This kleptocratic regime was ousted in 1991 and followed by violent power-struggles between clan-
alliances. This, along with failed cropping seasons due to several years of droughts, caused a
widespread famine in 1992-93, which resulted in massive US- and UN- humanitarian- and
peacekeeping missions. There was much resentment against these interventions and they failed
miserably. As they were pulled back in 1994, Somalia was left in civil war. There have been many
peace negotiations and reconciliation conferences over the past decades. These have sometimes
resulted in signed peace agreements, but none has included all stakeholders, nor satisfied those who
were included – or chose to participate - enough to last. 4

Since 1991, Somalia is split into three parts with varying degrees of development, stability and of
autonomy from one another, namely The Somali Republic and The Puntland State of Somalia (former
Italian Somaliland), and The Republic of Somaliland (former British Somaliland). South-Central
Somalia is currently conflict-ridden, and governed by a rather weak Transitional Federal Government
which is based in the capital Mogadishu. Puntland, which is more stable, claims a semi-autonomous
status since 1998, planning unity in confederation with South-Central Somalia once it is peaceful.
Meanwhile, it has a transitional government based in the capital Garowe. Somaliland is the most
developed region, has built comparatively well-developed state structures and institutions, held


3 Regeringskansliet / Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
4 See ”Annex IV: Somalia chronology of key events” for a more comprehensive historical time-line.
several democratic elections and has a government based in the capital Hargeysa. Although
Somaliland has claimed unilateral independency since 1991, when it broke away from the then United
Republic of Somalia, it has yet to gain such recognition and status.

These different degrees of development and stability within Somalia, ranging from armed conflict to
post-conflict rehabilitation, sometimes vary over time and place. For example, some regions in South-
Central Somalia are relatively peaceful, while the capital and adjacent areas are highly insecure and
instable; while Somaliland and Puntland are relatively stable compared to South-Central Somalia,
both flared up in a recent conflict in Las Anood as part of their dispute over borders. However, the
shifting security and population movements which have made it difficult to achieve long-term
development - or even to plan and deliver short-term humanitarian assistance - is mainly
concentrated to the South-Central part of the country.

It is not entirely easy to understand the past decades of extended conflict in Somalia and the nature of
its driving forces – which are the contentious issues, who are the actors and what are their interests
and relationships? A well-known Somali scholar, Nuruddin Farah, has tried to sum up the root cause
of Somalia’s history and the current state of affairs in an ultimate question of: “who does the land
belong to?”. This simple question may sum up the above quite well: historically it has plagued post-
colonial Africa since colonial powers drew its borders, and this certainly applies to the Somali-
populated area which was severely dissected between colonialists and is now split in five countries
(leading also to the reverse question: “which land belongs to Somalia?”). Secondly, land-ownership in
a nomadic-pastoralist and agricultural society is the basis for livelihood, and the competition between
these two categories, combined with clan warfare over rural and urban land areas, makes for harsh
fighting in a resource-poor country like Somalia. Thirdly, Somalia is both blessed and cursed to be
positioned between the Horn of Africa and the Arab States, and this, in combination with its long
coastline, makes it politically and commercially strategic for many external actors, some of who have
not had the best interests of the Somalis at heart.



1.2 Key data and Basic indicators 5

Life expectancy levels in Somalia are similar to its neighbour countries Kenya and Ethiopia - which
themselves have some of the lowest level globally - but most other indicators are worse, which is
mainly due to government collapse, many years of civil war, recurring natural disasters and a lack of
livelihood opportunities. Somalia has not been ranked on the UNDP Global Human Development
Index in the past decade due to lack of statistical data. In 1996 it was ranked 172 out of 174 countries,
placing it as the third least developed country globally, which is unlikely to have changed much a
decade later. It is classified as a Highly Indebted Poor Country, Least Developed Country and Low
Income Country Under Stress (HIPC / LDC / LICUS), with 73.4 % living in general poverty and 43.2 %
in extreme poverty.

Poverty figures for Somalia do not generally take into account remittances, which are mostly
unrecorded and do not generate revenues. Remittances are sent from the Diaspora through a system
of money transfer known as hawaala and are estimated to reach 750 million to one billion US$
annually. They are vital for the Somalis who receive them, making up about a quarter of the
household income. Once they reach Somalia, remittances are normally distributed to household
members, extended family and other networks, such as business associates who may use them for
community benefit, for example supporting a school, or for private investments such as starting up a
small business. It is not generally the most needy who directly receive remittances though, but mainly


5 See Annex I: “Table of Basic Indicators” for more comprehensive data




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people within “urban, middle-class settings”. 6 In the past five years, hawaala and telecommunications
companies have expanded throughout Somalia and increased financial services, facilitating the flow
of remittances from the Diaspora. They are now amongst the most powerful and blooming businesses
in Somalia - hence the hawaala system interestingly sustains much of the Somali economy as well as
itself.



1.3 Characteristics of poverty

General and extreme poverty levels in Somalia are, as mentioned above, very high in absolute
monetary terms. In relative terms, what characterises poverty in Somalia is a severe lack of resources
such as access to reliable information, and there are very few possibilities for citizens to influence
their own lives and the development of their community. There is also a lack of more physical
resources such as basic service providers, especially in rural areas. Malnutrition is rampant - about a
quarter of all children under-five are underweight - and unemployment levels are soaring for both men
and women in the formal, informal, and traditional economies. These conditions are largely caused by
the conflict and also contribute to sustaining it. Even though most Somalis are tired of conflict, they do
live in a war economy, are under-informed and targeted by propaganda and for many the only way
out of poverty, or even to survive, may seem like joining an armed group. Meanwhile, many others
see no other option than to flee, and another characteristic, or result, of Somalia’s poverty is that it
has one of the biggest Diasporas 7 in the world, estimated to be at least one million people. There is
also an abundance of internally displaced persons (IDP´s) at between 400.000 and 800.000 8 , within
Somalia. Many more are refugees based in surrounding countries as well as in Europe and the US.
Somali refugees often find themselves harassed; for example in Kenya, which hosts tens of
thousands of Somali immigrants of both legal and illegal status, Somalis often complain about police
mistreatment, ranging from repeated and demeaning ID-checks to actual violence.

While Somalis are known for their entrepreneurship and survival skills, Somalia has a long-standing
dependency on international aid. In the absence of a capable central government to provide basic
services, aid organisations, particularly UN-agencies, have essentially taken on this role, providing
health care, education, water and sanitation etc. Especially in times and areas of disasters, such as
massive displacements caused by drought, other natural disasters or conflicts, there are massive
food-aid programmes. There is also a growing local non-governmental sector, organised in the form
of community-based organisations (CBO’s), business networks and religious groups, all usually
supported by the Diaspora, which has taken on a major role in the provision of certain social services,
both free of charge or on commercial basis.

This propping up of services is not an ideal solution, as programmes and projects are subject to the
good will of the Diaspora and donor community, making them vulnerable in terms of funding and
lifespan. While relieving the situation, these initiatives cover far from all needs; for example there are
only four physicians for every 100.000 Somalis 9 , and basic service provision is biased towards urban
areas. Also, it cannot be presumed that future generations of the Somali Diaspora will continue
sending remittances as faithfully as the present, since they have fewer and weaker links to a country
that they may never even have set foot in. In addition, insecurity often results in disruption of services
- which are at the best of times lacking both in quantity and quality - as staff is evacuated and
operations halted. Lastly, there is some international donor fatigue when it comes to Somalia, which


6 AMDI, Somalia Country Report, 2006
7 The term “Diaspora” here encompasses all Somalis outside Somalia, i.e. refugees, asylum seekers and those with dual or other citizenships.
8 Amnesty International 2007; Unicef 2007
9 UNDP Human Development Report 2004
also makes long-term planning difficult on both sides. However, in the absence of the present
programmes and initiatives, there would be an even more pressing vacuum of basic services.

There is little disaggregated data on differences in poverty characteristics and status levels between
men and women, rural and urban areas and North and South but the data that exists indicates
inequalities. For example, SOCWEC 10 gives a literacy rate for rural and nomadic women at 6.7%,
compared to 34.9% for men in urban areas. Gender inequalities are extensive; women lack many of
the civil and constitutional rights of men (though these too are rarely fulfilled), and although they
contribute more in labour are worse off economically.



1.4 Poverty causes

There are both external and internal causes for the high levels of poverty in Somalia, as the conflicts,
which are the main reasons for the lack of development, are fuelled both internally and from external
actors. War and poverty are mutual: Somalia’s poverty is mainly caused by its conflicts, but these in
turn feed on poverty, as lack of education and other basic social services and high unemployment
makes a foundation for recruitment of youth who do not know any other way of life. Therefore, in a
war economy, many people have an interest in sustaining the conflict, as it often gives them power,
resources and impunity.

There is often fierce competition over the scarce natural resources in terms of pasture and water to
support the overwhelmingly pastoralist population, especially during droughts. This competition is one
of the main causes behind conflicts and poverty. There are also conflicts over urban areas, in which
land is very valuable commercially, and perhaps even more so politically – it is sometimes said that
‘those who control Mogadishu control Somalia’. The city has for the past couple of decades been split
up between warlords who make a good living off extortion roadblocks and other clientelism, or “rent-
seeking” 11 . Insecurity, in combination with poor infrastructure, makes it very difficult for many Somalis
to move about freely and to make a sustainable living.

As many poor countries, Somalia is vulnerable to price fluctuations in its export produce, which is
mainly livestock, charcoal, and agricultural produce. The ban on import of Somali livestock imposed
by certain Arab countries was a big blow to Somalia’s economy, as 70% of its GDP depends on
livestock trade and countries in the Arabian Peninsula were the major importers and consumers. It is
estimated that due to the ban Somalia has been losing at least US$120 million annually in livestock
sales, resulting also in a loss of customs revenues, a fall in the value of the Somali and Somaliland
currencies (Shillings) and rise in domestic prices for imported food and non-food items. 12
International suspicions of ‘terrorist elements’ using Somalia as a base has led to the freezing of
assets of individuals and businesses, especially some big hawaala-companies, which is also
damaging.

There is widespread trade and use of khat, a mildly narcotic stimulant, all over Somalia. The health
aspects of khat are not fully known, but it is an addictive drug, which is not grown in the country but
imported daily from Kenya and Ethiopia (through a very sophisticated logistical system, which also
includes some of the Diaspora). Khat, just like tea, is generally sold by women, and often provides the
only income for female IDP’s who have very few other income-generating opportunities. But the
consumers of khat are men. However as one of many consequences of the breakdown of traditional


10 SOCWEC (Social Change and Women’s Empowerment): www.socwec.org/Ongoingactivity2005.htm

11 Social order without a State, 2000

12 AMDI, Somalia Country Report, 2006




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patterns since the years following 1991a small minority of women are now consumers of khat. 13 The
drug is often blamed for sustaining the conflict in Somalia, and although it is perhaps hard to establish
the exact links between khat and conflict, it is certain that it has a detrimental effect on both
household productivity and economy. One bundle of khat, which is the average daily consumption per
person, costs around 10 US$ 14 , and most male activity seizes as khat-chewing sessions start around
mid-day, leaving groups of lethargic chewers all over Somalia. Considering the soaring poverty levels
in Somalia this is a massive expense and hardly a productive way of prioritising scarce resources.
Somalis are highly reliant on their physical ability to work, whether they are farmers, nomad-
pastoralists or run small businesses, and the use of khat - much as future increased HIV/AIDS rates
might - contributes to poor production, malnutrition and poverty.

Externally, the international community has sometimes done Somalia disservices. Rather than long-
term development, assistance tends to be funded through consolidated or humanitarian emergency
appeals (although with many needs and pledges unmet). Examples of this focus on ‘quick fixes’ is
that from 1993/94 to 2003/04, UK assistance to Somalia was 74% emergency aid, with just 18%
towards technical assistance 15 ; meanwhile Swedish humanitarian assistance to Somalia was twice
that of long-term development in 2007 16 . This type of extended emergency assistance does not target
structural inequality and poverty in the same way that planned, longer-term development assistance
might; instead risks contributing to making a country less resilient, causing increased external
dependency, inequalities and poverty.




                               II. CENTRAL AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT

                                             2. Democracy and Human Rights

Various degrees of development in democratisation practices exist in Somalia today, with Somaliland
having made the most progress, followed by Puntland and lastly South-Central Somalia. The
Somaliland experience, where three successful presidential, municipal and parliamentary elections
have taken place since 1991, have shown that it is possible to find a path away from violent conflicts
to democratic systems through creation of non-clan-based political parties 17 . Puntland does not have
the same level of democratic development, but has a semi-autonomous government and a
Transitional Charter. Puntland and Somaliland, while having both authoritarian and weak institutions
of governance, do have the basic foundations of democracy in that they are able to maintain a certain
order and freedom of movement – but implementing human rights are in reality not high on the
agendas.

South-Central Somalia provides a different example based on representative democracy through
nomination to the Transitional Federal Parliament created in 2004, based on clan-affiliations 18 . All
those experiences are important for Somalis and should be so for the international community as it
plans support and assistance for rebuilding Somalia as a state in a way that promotes reconciliation
and peace-building - not renewed violence.

13 See e.g. “id21” for further info on khat: http://www.id21.org/zinter/id21zinter.exe?a=8&i=InsightsHealth10art3&u=46f0e573
14 DN 05/11/2007: ”Khat-handeln blomstrar i krigets Somalia”: www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=2502&a=712473
15 OECD: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/53/52/34260696.pdf
16 ”Vad gör Sida i Somalia?” www.sida.se/sida/jsp/sida.jsp?d=1271&a=19336
17 Adan Yusuf Abokor, et al. “Further steps to democracy: The Somaliland parliamentary elections”, September 2005. Progressio.
18 During the process of establishing the TFG representation was given to each of Somalia’s clans through the so-called “4.5 formula.” The four major
clans—Darood, Hawiye, Dir, and Digil-Mirifle—all received sixty-one parliament seats, while the remaining groups together received thirty-one seats.
In the absence or weakness of governance and rule of law, the record of human rights abuses is
horrifying both within and outside the areas of armed conflicts in Somalia. The TFG ratified 17 African
Union (AU) treaties in 2007, and by now Somalia has signed all 31 AU treaties and conventions,
including the African Convention on Human and Peoples' Rights. Realistically, none of the
Governments have the means to monitor the implementation of these conventions, or the UN-treaties
and conventions that have been signed 19 . Steps to create National Human Rights Commissions have
been taken by the TFG and by the authorities in Puntland and Somaliland, but these Commissions
have not begun functioning 20 .



2.1 Political development (introduction) 21

Somalia had sophisticated governance structures long before being colonised, mainly built around
clan-kinships whose elders provided guidance, mediation and authority. The colonising countries had
little understanding of or respect for this system, but did however manipulate it when the need arose.
The pre-colonial Somali-inhabited area, making up a large portion of the Horn of Africa, was colonised
by different European colonial powers. The British signed treaties with clan leaders in what became
British Somaliland in 1886, while Italy colonised what became Italian Somaliland in 1889, which is the
present-day South-Central Somalia and Puntland. The French colonised the Easternmost part, which
then became known as French Somaliland, and since independence in 1977 is known as Djibouti.
British and Italian Somaliland gained independence from Great Britain and Italy in 1960 and jointly
formed the United Republic of Somalia.

During the following few years Somalia moved towards democracy, but this was interrupted when
General Siad Barre took power in 1969, imposing an increasingly harsh rule based on “scientific
socialism” over the next couple of decades. Massive famines started around this time, and several
international NGOs started setting up huge humanitarian projects in Somalia from 1972 and onwards.
In 1960 – 1969 Somalia attempted ‘democratic clan-parliamentarism’, but although the post-
independence Somali government successfully prevented political conflicts and government crisis
from escalating into civil war, it failed to solve the country’s socio-economic problems unsolved
economic and social problems at the level of the military and civil society. This was a source of
frustration that led to several military coup d’états on the one hand and civil society protests on the
other. Also, as for many newly independent countries across Africa, it was difficult to fit relevant
Somali traditions and clan networks into a modern Western model of state-building and democracy. 22

The military government's concept of politics, inspired by a Soviet-type socialism, was ambivalent; on
the one hand it officially denounced tribal politics and on the other hand based promotions in the army
and the recruitment of civil servants on clan-belonging. Clan networks of influence, therefore,
prevailed in political, commercial and social relations. Meanwhile, Barre’s modernization programme
progressed more effectively in urban areas than rural areas because the educated population and
foreign immigrants lived in the towns, which offered more opportunities in terms of livelihoods and
basic social services. 23

The Somali National Movement (SNM), founded in 1982 by members of the Isaaq clan, was a
liberation movement that fought for the independence of northern Somalia (now Somaliland). The
Isaaq mobilized against the southern clans in government and their goal was to achieve

19 See further on ratified conventions etc in Annex.....
20 Amnesty International, 2007 Somalia Report
21 See ”Annex IV: Somalia chronology of key events” for a more comprehensive historical time-line.
22 Clanpolitics..

23 Ibid.




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independence and secession. In May 1991 the Isaaq leaders proclaimed Somaliland independent, but
this move did not receive international recognition. 24 Somaliland does not want to be part of a federal
Somalia and in fact denounces the legitimacy of the Mogadishu government. It held local and
parliamentary elections in 2002 and presidential elections in 2003 which were all considered
democratic by observers. It has a weak but functioning system of governance on different
administrative levels, although these institutions also need more capacity and funding. Also,
corruption remains a problem, women are virtually unrepresented in the government, and there are
growing concerns about voting patterns based on ethnic lines and the virtual monopoly that the ruling
party has gained over regional councils and the Presidency. 25
Puntland declared itself an autonomous region in 1998 but supports a future, decentralised Somali
federal state. It has mostly avoided the fighting in the South and has built local institutions over the
last decade, although these largely lack capacity and funding, and infrastructure is being rebuilt
slowly.

The TFG in South-Central Somalia was created in 2005 after a two-year peace process that was
organised by IGAD and hosted by the Kenyan Government. There were hopes that this arrangement
would finally stabilise Somalia, bridge divisions and ultimately provide democratic governance. But not
all stakeholders participated and there was criticism against the lack of transparency and
inclusiveness. There was also more militarised opposition against the new Government, which
culminated as the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) in mid-2006 emerged as a militant Islamic force,
taking over the better part of South-Central Somalia and closing in on the Northern regions. (The UIC
actually started operating Shari’a courts already in the 1990’s in the power vacuum following the
ousting of Barre, but this was their most extensive activity to date.) The Courts were of course
opposed by the TFG, which felt threatened by their extreme Islamic agendas – and perhaps also their
increasing popularity. Most Somalis welcomed the stability and calm they quickly provided, which the
TFG had been unable to provide ever since coming into power. But the UIC were not entirely
uncontested by all Somalis, as there were reactions against some strict Islamic behavioural rules and
the sometimes violent enforcement of these. Also, the UIC goal of turning Somalia into an Islamic
state under Shari’a law was very controversial, as most Somalis preferred their way of practising
‘Somali Islam’, where religion is mixed with traditional beliefs and a binding factor rather than a
divisive one.
Still, many were happy with the quick and tangible improvements in security and mobility as the UIC
got rid of the monopoly on power which warlords and their armed gangs had had for since 1991,
making especially urban centres insecure. Basic service delivery also improved as schools were
opened, roadblocks removed and litter was even collected from the streets. However, the fast
progress of the UIC alarmed not only the TFG but also neighbouring Ethiopia, which has long seen
itself as a ‘Christian island in an Islamic sea’. The US quickly provided support, and the international
community was, if not outright in support of this, then certainly very quiet when Ethiopia invaded
Somalia, supposedly in support of the TFG and its armed forces, and in late 2006 won back the areas
taken by the UIC. The AU sent about 1500 Ugandan peace-keepers under AMISOM in 2007. Other
countries have promised troops, but this has not yet been realised. According to the TFC, democratic
elections are to be held in 2009 but meanwhile the opposition is gathering strength abroad, though
some remain in the country where they staging attacks against TFG and the Ethiopian army, which is
now increasing its troops to the great resentment of the population.

Puntland and Somaliland were not at all as affected as South-Central Somalia by the upheaval
following the UIC / Ethiopian battles which never crossed over their borders. In the last years, the
governments of Puntland and Somaliland have begun to collect revenues, which gives them some

24 Ibid.

25 AMDI, Somalia Country Report, 2006
autonomy, compared to the TFG which at this point has no capacity to collect revenues, although
none of the areas have a consistent tax base 26 . Political stability was undermined somewhat in late
2003 when Puntland claimed the Sool and Sanaag border regions, taking the city of Las Anood by
force from Somaliland. The populations, many of which are Bantu’s and other minorities, are split in
loyalties between Puntland, Somaliland and their clan loyalties, and this disagreement continues.


2.2 Citizenship, the Clan kinship system and Minorities

There is a long-standing concept of a ‘Greater Somalia’, which would encompass all Somali-inhabited
areas in the Horn. It is symbolised in the five-pointed star of the flag of South-Central Somalia, which
it shares with Puntland. Each point represents the five Somali areas divided by the colonial-powers:
British Somaliland (Somaliland), Italian Somaliland (South-Central Somalia and Puntland), French
Somaliland (Djibouti), the Northern Frontier District (Kenya), and the Ogaden Region (Ethiopia). While
this pan-Somali concept hasn’t been realised, it perhaps shows that ‘being Somali’ has more to do
with cultural belonging than with the narrower idea of nation-state citizenship. 27 This cultural group
may simply be the Somali, but also ones clan as citizenship and clan-belonging are strongly
connected.

Understanding the workings of the Somali clan system is not easy, and opinions differ on its political
and socio-economic importance and influence. Clan families have common, patrilineal ancestral
origins and are interrelated through complex networks of social relationships, such as inter-clan
marriages, which extend over clan territories with fluid borders. The knowledge of one’s genealogy
several generations back is an important identity reference for the individual and the clan
community. 28 It is the clan elders who traditionally ensure a certain order and harmony in and
between the clans, defining the rights and obligations of the members and of neighbouring clans.

Some attribute a great importance to the clan-kinship system, arguing that it is really the socio-
political system of Somalia as it transcends other systems and identifications, such as citizenship.
Others, for example the Somali scholar Nuruddin Farah, argue that the clan system is not the neatly
divided system it is sometimes portrayed as. Instead, in this view, just like all people are born into a
family, so all Somalis are born into a (patrilineal) clan – but this does not mean that when an individual
or group from one clan gets into a dispute with another, it’s necessarily a clan conflict, even though
those involved may call on their clan name for legitimacy.

The clan-hierarchy system was in a way encouraged by colonial powers. Colonialists perceived clan
elders as the only authorised leaders, and hence had the full mandate the represent the opinion of the
clan in negotiations, agreement and conflict resolution, thereby perhaps inappropriately boosting the
system. Upon independence, civilian governments in Somalia used clan-democracy as a framework
for dialogue and resolution of political – and other - conflict, and the military was under civilian
administration. Representatives of the different clan constituencies were represented equally and
expected to identify the needs of their populations and include them in government economic, social
and cultural policies and programmes. 29 However, these governments could not provide the socio-
economic developments as many expected, and was replaced by the Barre regime which established
the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party as the political framework for conflict regulation. Siad Barre
used a divide-and-rule system, which drew in clans, although he did officially try to abolish the clan


26 AMDI, Somalia Country Report, 2006

27 In the ‘regular’ meaning of citizenship it may be noted that many Somalis, especially those in the Diaspora, or formerly so, have dual citizenships.
28 Clanpolitics: the case of Somalia.....

29 Ibid.




                                                                                                                                                          11(47)
system through the Family Law of 1975. His military government appointed military officers to
positions in the ruling council and in the party leadership, and there were government crises or
conflicts in the army, expressed as inter-clan rivalries and confrontations. The political direction of
Somalia in the 1970’s and 1980’s was scientific socialism, with Barre trying to replace Somali
traditional family- and clan-systems and citizenship with ‘comradeship’. During this time the clan-
system and the councils of elders lost a lot of its importance, but were revived in the chaotic lack of
guidance and direction following 1991.

There are four major clan families: the Haawiye, Digil-Mirifle, Dir, and Darood. The Haawiye,
traditionally a dominant and powerful clan, is mainly based in South-Central Somalia; Digil-Mirifle in
Bay-Bakool (two bordering, fertile regions in South-Central Somalia); some of the Dir are based in the
South, but mostly in Somaliland (the Isaaq clan of Somaliland are part of Dir); and Darood are based
in Puntland, with some living in the Juba Valley (another fertile area of Southern Somalia, often called
Somalia’s breadbasket).

The major clans groups are all too large to function as effective political units, but have many
descendant sub-clans, many of which have important political influence in their own right (although it
should be said again that clans-alliances can be quite fluid, and this includes sub-clans). Some clans,
however, are quite large but still discriminated against. The main example is the Rahanwein, based in
the Juba Valley and traditionally treated as inferior because of their agricultural occupations.
Intermarriages are quite common, with exceptions such as for the Rahanwein who are not allowed to
marry members of other clans. Similarly, occupational castes that are ethnic Somalis but
discriminated against because of their occupations as artisans are not allowed to intermarry with other
clans. Clan structures in South-Central Somalia are generally more complex and diverse than in the
north. 30 There is normally more stability where a majority clan, or coalition of clans, rule over a certain
area; the relative peace and development attained in Somaliland is sometimes accredited to the fact
that its majority clan Isaaq has had little clan-resistance from within Somaliland.

Normally, one backs ones clan, although there are circumstances when this is not the case. For
example in Somaliland, when an anti-government militia took control over Hargeysa airport, their own
clan members did not support them but rather the Government (thus supporting a secessionist
Somaliland). In general though, intra-clan loyalty is very strong. IDP’s who flee to their own kin in
traditional clan areas are welcomed, even if they have never been there or met them before; similarly
leaving ones clan areas makes one exposed and vulnerable in the absence of their economic and
socio-cultural support.

Some of the most underprivileged individuals and groups are members of minority clans with little
political leverage, such as the Rahanwein, or those who are outside the system, such as the Bantus.
These groups are particularly vulnerable to unfair trials, lacking support if they fall sick or get into
trouble in general. There are, broadly, two categories of minorities: the lowest in the ‘professional
caste’ system, and the ethnic minorities. Together they make up about 20 percent of the population.
They are outside the clan system, having long been marginalised by the dominant clans. The
‘professional castes’ specialise in professions like hunting, crafts, leather and metal work, which are
considered polluting by the majority clans. The second group includes the Bantu, Benadiri and Eyle
who are not considered ‘ethnic Somalis’; some are believed to come from early non-Somali
agricultural communities and others to be descendants of people who were taken to Somalia in the
19th century by Arab slave traders from areas along the coast south of Somalia. They are small-scale




30 Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre: “Somalia – Window of opportunity for addressing one of the world’s worst displacement crises”, 2006
farmers from the riverine areas of Southern Somalia, and have never been recognised as ‘real’
Somalis and have been discriminated against and treated as second-class citizens 31 .
In sum, the clan system has both positive and negative aspects. It has gone through periods of
strength and of less relevance, although it has proved to be very resilient. This may well be because
of its benefits in serving as a type of social security and safety networks in a society where nothing of
the sort exists on state-level. Perhaps, as Somalia is so fragmented, the clan-identity fills a similar
function to those which are often called upon in times of national trouble elsewhere, such as
nationalism and patriotism, which are based on citizenship. Groups and individuals can call it upon
both in daily lives and in times of crisis, such as disasters and population movements. Also, it
provides a flexible identity where alliances can shift according to pragmatic needs. However, the
system also has disadvantages for those who are excluded from it or born into inferior clans. It is also
used belligerently as clans wage war against each other and ‘clan interests’ are sometimes used to
legitimise armed attacks that are in fact rarely supported by, or even in the best interests of the clan.
The system of clan kinship itself is not the cause of conflicts, but rather the setting of them, which is
sometimes manipulated and abused by groups and individuals; while these are not always Somalis, it
is however ultimately Somalis themselves who can retain the positive aspects of the system.

One system which that emerge strongly and can be regarded as complementary to the clan-system is
the flourishing business networks. The interest of businessmen in creating conditions conducive to
market activities in a secure environment is becoming an increasingly important stabilising force,
cutting across clan differences. 32 Hence, Somali society may be changing concurrently with others,
where business interests are replacing or transcending family ties – although in the case of Somalia
perhaps in a more rapid and therefore visible way.


2.3 Citizens’ opportunities for participation

Public participation in state affairs is basically non-existent in areas where power is in the hands of
local authorities run by warlords and their militia whom are not keen to give up any of this influence.
This is the case mainly in South-Central Somalia, where the TFG is often too busy fighting off
opponents to get involved in support of much democratisation. It also does not really have much
power to share, even if it intended to do so. If the conflict situation changes, this might too, especially
if the free elections planned for 2009 are held. However, it is very hard to predict who will ultimately
end up in charge of this part of Somalia, and the extent to which this group will allow participation.

In Puntland and Somaliland there are more opportunities for participation, such as during the
elections which have been held in the latter. But there is very limited room for women and excluded
minorities – such as populations in Sool-Sanaag – to participate actively, and even less so to gain
positions of influence. Somaliland has the best opportunities for citizens to participate, as it has held
elections on several levels. This government is relatively stable, but rather weak institutionally and
capacity-wise and needs to be more open and encouraging active participation in the democratic
process by giving more space to disadvantaged groups.

According to the UNDP Programme On Governance in the Arab Region (POGAR) 33 , Somalia scored
the worst regionally in “voice and accountability” 34 , showing that citizens’ opportunities for


31 Ibid.

32 Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre: “Somalia – Window of opportunity for addressing one of the world’s worst displacement crises”, 2006.
33 UNDP-POGAR covers the 22 LAS-countries in the MENA region and works within Participation, Rule of Law and Transparency and Accountability.
34 2006, UNDP-POGAR / WB: “A subjective governance indicator aggregated from a variety of sources and measuring perceptions of the following
concepts: free and fair elections, freedom of the press, civil liberties, political rights, military in politics, change in government, transparency in laws and
policies.” Somalia scored -2.07.




                                                                                                                                                              13(47)
participation and insights into state affairs are basically non-existent. Similarly, Somalia scores very
poorly on “political rights” indicators 35 , again indicating that few rights and liberties are being fulfilled.
Somalis and their rulers are not yet accustomed to a participatory manner of governance, and it will
certainly take time to instil this.



2.4 Division of power and state ability to monitor its own institutions

On paper, South-Central Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland all have constitutional divisions of power
and mechanisms for controlling and monitoring its institutions. In reality, however, it is only
Somaliland, followed by Puntland, which fulfils this to some degree. South-Central Somalia, especially
large areas around Mogadishu, is mostly dominated by clientelism and impunity. Many groups are
fighting for control over land and other resources, getting their incomes from extortion and exploitation
of others. Despite the TFG being installed, the power of these groups is still very strong and they have
very little to gain from power-sharing which would make it difficult for them to continue their
exploitation. 36

The TFC stipulates a power sharing formula to guarantee proportional clan representation, known as
the ”4.5 rule”, which means that the four major clans get 4 seats while a minority clan gets 0.5 seats.
This was formulated by IGAD, and to many Somalis seem like an artificial solution which does not
really mean inclusive power-sharing. Many think it places too much importance on clan belonging,
and not even all members of the main clans consider it fair. The Reconciliation Congress held in 2007
recommended a new constitution, followed by a referendum on it, permitting the set-up of a multi-
party system and creating electoral laws in preparation for elections in 2009.


2.5 Self-determination

As mentioned above, Somalia is very dependent on different kinds of external assistance, both
bilateral aid and from different types of international donors such as INGO’s and the UN. This has
been the case for decades and continues to severely limit Somalia’s possibilities to make decisions
about its internal affairs. Some external assistance is in support of efforts for peace, development and
democracy, but much is military funding which fuels conflicts, particularly that from countries which
use Somalia as a proxy in their wars (whether against an old enemy or in ‘the war against terrorism’).
Currently, different factions get military assistance from Ethiopia, the US and Eritrea respectively. The
UIC and other Islamic fundamentalists groups do receive support and financial assistance from
countries in the region and other networks in Europe and North America. Whether it is “positive” or
“negative” assistance, Somalia has often lacked real economic and real political self-determination.
Humanitarian and development funding is sometimes conditional which is might be viewed as an
invasion of self-determination, and military support is generally conditional by definition.

Within Somali borders, there are some breakaway areas claiming self-determination, the most
distinguished one being Somaliland, and of course Puntland has some self-determination towards
SC. But there are also areas in the south which are claiming self-determination, such as Galgaduud
region in South-Central Somalia. The risk here lies in how a further fragmentisation of Somalia might
in fact lessen self-determination for the sum of its parts as these fight each other.



35 2006, UNDP-POGAR / Freedom House : “Countries whose combined average ratings for political rights and for civil liberties fall between 3 and 5 are
"partly free", and those between 5.5 and 7 are "not free". Political Rights scores are measured on a 1 to 7 scale with 1 representing the highest degree of
freedom and 7 the lowest.” Somalia scored 6.
36 Social order without a state.....
There is currently an arms embargo in effect which the TFG has long tried to lift, claiming its right to
defend itself against ‘insurgents and terrorists’, and there are signs that the international community
may be willing to lift the embargo depending on political developments. Puntland has some degree of
self-determination towards South-Central Somalia; meanwhile Somaliland manages to keep a strong
degree of self-determination towards the other parts of Somalia. Ultimately though, Somalia lacks
self-determination as long as it is as reliant on the different types of outside assistance as it has been
for decades and continues to be.



2.6 The Rule of Law

Somalia scores terribly on the POGAR indicators for adherence to the “Rule of Law” 37 - in fact far
worse than the runners-up Iraq and Sudan – due to the lack of an impartial, functional judiciary, high
impunity and poor law abidance.

Somalia is often described as a ‘lawless society’, but has three systems of law: the shari’a (Islamic
law), which has long co-existed with xeer (the Somali customary law), despite some contradictions
between the two. There is also the ‘modern law’ 38 , introduced during the Siad Barre regime as part of
Somalia’s modernisation, but few Somalis are trained in this and the courts are very scarce. Also,
many Somalis associate it with the authoritarian and dictatorship rule and arbitrary arrests issued by
Barre who disregarded the constitution, Shari’a and xeer by making any form of dissidence or protest
against his government liable for the death penalty. 39

Most often the first two are used, sometimes in combination, although there are some regional
variations: xeer is the most common in Somaliland, whereas shari’a is predominant in South-Central
Somalia - this is when a system is used at all in these areas, though, as the modern system never
really took hold and much has been destroyed in wars, while the other two are deeper rooted but
rarely functional when and where they are most needed as population movements, conflicts and terror
make them hard to uphold. Even in peaceful areas there is some confusion on which system to use
when, and processes are often gender-discriminatory, unpredictable and verdicts harsh. It is a serious
issue across Somalia that xeer and shari’a generally override human rights. 40 Whether the modern
law, shari’a and/or xeer actually condone the death penalty is unclear. 41

Torture is prohibited by the TFC and the Somaliland Constitution, but allowed in Puntland provided
that a shari’a court has ordered it. There is however reports about torture taking place all over
Somalia, although much of it is probably never reported. Prisons are in quite a bad state, and
throughout Somalia children and youth share cells with adults. 42

Clan alliances provide their members with physical security and a social welfare safety net. Conflicts
are often minimised and managed through xeer, and the tradition of ‘blood payment’ (known as diya)
is intended to prevent crime and retaliation and sustain clan allegiance. However, such traditional
socio-political conflict mediation mechanisms have been seriously eroded by conflicts in many parts of


37 2006, UNDP-POGAR “A subjective governance indicator aggregated from a variety of sources and measuring perceptions of the following concepts: legal
impartiality and popular observance of the law. Estimates range between -2.5 and 2.5; higher is better.” Somalia scored -2.53.
38 This ’modern law’ is sometimes referred to as ’secular law’, although the term ‘secular’ in the Somali context should be interpreted as ‘non-Sharia’ rather
than (the more Western meaning) ‘atheist’.
39 Social order without a state......
40 Amnesty International,.......
41 Some literature claims shari’a condones the death penalty for, among other things, murder, infidelity and applied homosexuality; some says that this is
not the case and that the death penalty is a non-Somali tradition and also has not been allowed in any of its constitutions.
42 See further at www.pogar.org/




                                                                                                                                                       15(47)
the country, and the clan system can be a divisive and destructive force when manipulated for
economic and political gain. At the moment armed militias rule many Somalis are mistrustful of any
legal protection. On the other hand, in the absence of a state and judicial structure, the clan system
has been virtually the only source of law and order. As legal protection is granted through clan
affiliation, IDP’s and minority groups, either not belonging to the clan system or seeking refuge far
away from their clan-home area, are not protected by xeer. These groups have limited or no access to
the judicial system and are particularly exposed to serious human rights abuses including violence,
rape, forced labour, theft and evictions from their dwellings and/or land. They are particularly
vulnerable to human rights abuses by militias, who generally enjoy impunity for the crimes they
commit. 43

UNIFEM reports that “there is a general lack of awareness of what constitutes women’s human rights
amongst the law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and civil society in general. Few women are fully
aware of their legal rights and the legal procedure that they must follow, thereby becoming vulnerable
to abuse and denial of their rights. Women’s exclusion from the public sphere, low levels of
knowledge of legal procedures and the increasing feminization of poverty all contribute to limited
access to justice by women and other excluded groups.” 44



2.7 Education

Siad Barre invested heavily in free education for all, aiming for 100% literacy across Somalia, and
both enrolment and literacy levels were indeed quite high between the 1970’s and early 1980’s.
However, in the late 1980’s and the following decade school infrastructure was neglected or
destroyed, and although the system is now improved, the better part of two generations of Somalis
has missed out on education, and a third is heading in the same direction. Girls in particular have low
enrolment rates at 7% as compared to boys at 13% 45 . The quality of education is poor. Student to
teacher ratio is 31 on average, and often between 70 and 100 children are taught in a single
classroom. 46 Boys are prioritised for schooling at all levels while girls suffer from higher drop-out
rates, as they are the first to be taken out of school as a result of poor household economy and the
subordinate role of women in Somali society. Religious organisations, often funded by the Diaspora,
are increasingly setting up Quraniq schools (known in Arabic as madrassas) but they will never fill the
gap left by the lack of formal educational schools.

In addition to the lack of quality and outreach in the education system, the nomadic lifestyle of many
children makes it very difficult for them to attend school regularly. There are ways around this though:
some international organisations provide “school-in-a-box”- kits, and some children board with settled,
extended family who live nearby a school.
There is some tertiary education in Somalia, although those Somalis who can afford it tend to go
abroad for their university education. During the Barre regime there was only one national university,
the University of Mogadishu, but there are now also four private institutions in Somaliland and three in
Puntland.

There are several benefits, far beyond increased literacy, to investing in education. One is the
increased awareness of options; an example of this is how mothers, even if just with a primary
education, are more able to make better informed decisions about health seeking behaviour for
themselves and their children. In Somalia, education on issues like FGM/C, HIV/AIDS and the effects

43 Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre: “Somalia – Window of opportunity for addressing one of the world’s worst displacement crises”, 2006
44 UNIFEM, 2006
45 Unicef Somalia Country Office website
46 EC Somalia Operations “Education sector strategy”, 2004
of khat could have a beneficial effect on public health. Education also increases productivity and
choices in life. Integrating societal topics like causes and effects of conflict could have a reconciling
and peace building effect, as education can build solidarity and understanding between groups,
perhaps improving gender equality and reducing discrimination against minorities in future
generations of Somalis. Promoting a culture of peace and making available civic education
programmes for both children and adults, and providing academic as well as vocational training to
demobilised combatants and unemployed youth would greatly help to stabilise Somalia. 47 Somalis
consider education very important, and much of the Diaspora support goes to schools. Also, two of
the Somaliland Universities, providing free education, were set up and are still funded by the Diaspora
and business networks.



2.8 Media

Somalia has one of the absolutely poorest press freedom rankings in the Arab region, similar to those
of Palestine and Sudan 48 . However, there are of course other types of media: radio, TV and internet,
which all have varying degrees of institutionalised as well as real freedom. But a free media is built
equally on a freedom of expression and on journalists willing and able to report objectively – and this
differs between the types of media found in Somalia.

There are different sets of media laws: one in South-Central Somalia and Puntland, and another one
in Somaliland. 49 The main difference, perhaps, is that Somaliland does not allow privately owned
media. The Government justifies this by referring to how radio broadcasts were intensely used to
incite the Rwandan genocide in 1994, fearing it may similarly be used to antagonise groups against
each other in Somaliland. Therefore, while South-Central Somalia and Puntland has seen an increase
in the number of privately owned radio-stations in the last few years, little has happened in
Somaliland. Whether the relative stability in Somaliland is attributable to this control, or whether cause
and effect is reverse, with stability rather a requirement for such control, is hard to determine.
However, some analysts predict that if Somaliland continues on its current path of development, it will
soon allow different kinds of privately owned media.

There are variations between how media is treated by authorities in South-Central Somalia, Puntland
and Somaliland; for example journalists’ personal security is much more threatened in certain areas
than others. While all areas officially have a certain constitutional media freedom, Somaliland and
Puntland authorities keep a tighter hold on media than those in South-Central Somalia for whom it is
harder to control journalists and the media.

In 2005, there were an estimated 350 practising journalists in Somalia. In South-central Somalia,
there is no requirement for journalists to be registered or have a licence to practice, as there is no
existing administration for this. In Puntland, journalists do not register with the government. In
Somaliland, foreign journalists need permits from the government, but local journalists do not need to
register. There are journalist trade unions, but journalists are not required to join. There are currently
two institutes that offer journalism training: the University of Hargeysa, and the Somali Journalists’
Club in Mogadishu.




47 “Strategy Education Sector Somalia - A document in support of the EC Strategy for the implementation of Special Aid to Somalia”, EC Somalia
Operations, 2006
48 UNDP-POGAR, 2006: ” The entries represent freedom of the press with values 0-30 = Free; 31-60 = Partly Free; 61 – 100 = Not Free.” At a score of 83 /
120, Somalia is ‘not free’.
49 AMDI Country Report, 2006




                                                                                                                                                 17(47)
Somalis certainly want a free media, which was made clear in 2004 as draft new media laws in South-
Central Somalia and Puntland, as well as in Somaliland, met with opposition from journalists, lawyers
and the public at large who felt them too restrictive. In both cases, changes were made before the
laws were passed, and media laws protecting freedom of the press are now in place – although not
always enforced. Somaliland and Puntland authorities violate them on occasion, and there have been
reports of journalists being thrown in jail – although later released. Authorities in South-Central
Somalia do not have the means (and perhaps no incitement) to enforce laws, nor to protect journalists
from targeted attacks.

There are several reports of journalists being assassinated, caught and injured in fighting, going
missing and being harassed in South-Central Somalia 50 . So far in 2007, seven journalists have been
killed in South-Central Somalia, all murders for which nobody has been arrested although militants on
both sides blame each other 51 . One of these journalists was one of the founders of Hornafrik, the
biggest independent media network in Somalia, which was set up in 1999 by three Somali returnees.
It operates eight radio stations, one TV-station and has over a hundred members of staff, and has
been closed from time to time and criticised by both the UIC and the TFG, neither of which were
perhaps pleased at being scrutinised. Those who work in the media sector are, unfortunately, used to
ill treatment and intimidation, but 2007 has seen an escalation from previous years in violence directly
targeting journalists, making it even harder for them to do their job and for the population to get
reliable information.

Under the Barre regime, all printed media was controlled of the Ministry of Information and there was
only one official newspaper (Xiddigta Oktobaar, or the October Star). After 1991 there was a
proliferation of daily and weekly newspapers. Literacy rates are low, but often people who can read
newspapers share the news verbally with family, friends and neighbours. 52 Therefore, although
newspapers, as well as other types of media, do not reach everyone due to logistical and literacy
limitations, their existence is considered important. The lack of modern production facilities, including
a modern printing press, is one of the main obstacles facing all Somali print media.
There are no newspapers covering all three parts of Somalia, and a number of papers which lacked
finances have collapsed in recent years in south-central Somalia and Puntland, with Puntland
currently having no paper. Of the nine most popular newspapers in South-Central Somalia, three are
state-owned and the remaining six are privately owned for profit. The press often serves the interests
of those who owns and controls it, although in Somaliland, some private publications are seen to give
considerable coverage and support to the opposition, often being critical of the government. In
Somaliland, where the press is strongest, there are no restrictions on the development of the press,
unlike in the radio sector where the government has refused to allow private radios to operate.

Across Somalia, radio is the most important and powerful medium as literacy levels are low, (and
newspapers mostly available in towns), TV’s being too expensive and the supply of electricity
generally scarce. Also, the radio medium fits very well with the Somali oral culture. Although little data
is available on radio audiences in Somalia, a 2005 survey by the BBC World Service Trust provides
some useful information on listening patterns outside urban areas. This survey of 600 livestock
owners in three regions found that 88% listened to the radio regularly, and that 91% of these listeners
had listened in the past week. Only 19% said they could receive an FM station, whereas 86% said
they could access short wave, and 7% medium wave.




50 Reporters Sans Frontièrs...
51 HornAfrik...
52 AMDI Country Report, 2006
It is often said that ‘Somalis all over the world tune into BBC Somalia every day’. Radio broadcasting
was first introduced in Somalia in 1945 by the British colonial administration in Hargeysa, and it is said
that short-wave radios were among the most essential household items. However, during Barre, radio
broadcasting was heavily censored and there were only two stations, one in Mogadishu and one in
Hargeysa. Since 1991 there has been a dramatic rise in the number of radio stations. However, many
of the stations in south-central Somalia are owned and controlled by clan warlords. The only station in
Somaliland is the state-owned and state-controlled Radio Hargeysa, and it is seen (especially by
many opposition supporters) as giving most of its coverage to the government.

Most of the stations broadcast mostly news and current affairs and tend to copy the formats of the
BBC Somali Service. Some stations in Puntland and South-Central Somalia re-broadcast the BBC
Somali Service Voice of America (VOA) several times a day. A few of the stations air programmes
produced by development organisations, on topics such as female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C)
HIV/AIDS and landmines. An example of this is UNESCO’s civic education programmes which are
broadcast throughout Somalia since 1997. The goal is “to develop dialogue between Somalis about
crucial questions by using radio, which is the most common form of media in the country. Building
peace, the consequences of armed conflicts and the participation of women in decision-making are
among the subjects tackled.” 53

Only 14.5 out of every 1.000 Somalis have a TV, which is by far the fewest in the Arab Region 54 .
Although those who have access to TV are more, since people visit each other to watch TV, this
media does not play a major role in information dissemination – especially not in rural areas, where
people cannot afford TV’s and sometimes lack electricity. The Barre regime forbade licensing of a
second station to compete with the state-run Mogadishu TV launched in 1983. However, in the 1990s
new stations have been set up across Somalia. There has also been a large increase in television
viewing since 1991, with relatively inexpensive television sets and satellite dishes providing services,
such as news and soap operas, from the Gulf region. Some of the owners of the new private TV
stations seem not to be aligned with clans or factions, and these stations tend to be free from such
political control. It is too early, however, to say that all the private televisions are transparent. There
are now seven Somali TV services – three in Somaliland, two in Puntland and two in
Mogadishu. Only one of these, the Somaliland National Television (SLNTV), is state-owned and
controlled by the Government. 55

While only about 6 out of every 1.000 Somalis own a computer 56 , these are most probably shared but
do not make up a great source of information-sharing as only an estimated 0.7% use the Internet. On
the other hand, internet cafés are now common in urban areas and Somalia has had a huge increase
in users in the 21st century. This flourishing community of internet users sometimes writes blogs on
the Somali situation, although those who can access this information are mainly the Diaspora.
Important sources of information for Somalis within the country and in the Diaspora are the many
online daily newspapers, such as Shabellenet and Hornafrik, which are very popular.

In sum, even if none of the types of media is accessible to all Somalis, they are essential sources of
information. Especially radio broadcasts could be supported to inform, and thereby strengthen, civil
society.




53 http://portal.unesco.org/geography/en/ev.php-URL_ID=2361&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
54 1999, UNDP-POGAR
55 AMDI Country Report, 2006
56 2004, UNDP-POGAR / WB




                                                                                                      19(47)
2.8 Current processes and trends

Somalia is rapidly fragmentising, both geographically and ideologically. While Somalia has been split
for years between the three current ‘entities’, and between the little fiefdoms mainly found in South-
Central Somalia, more and more areas in South-Central Somalia are declaring themselves
‘independent’. The ideological fragmentisation is really theological splits between Somali Islam and
more radical factions of radically conservative Islam which have different views of the role of Islam in
a future Somalia. Somalia is continuously politically unstable and within the Arab region ranked as
more likely to destabilize than Sudan and Palestine; in fact it is surpassed only by Iraq. 57

Many would say, particularly those living in Mogadishu and surrounding regions, that the UIC has
succeeded in what the TFG have failed to achieve namely security. It has shown the citizens of
Mogadishu what safety and security feels like when many had forgotten what it is like to walk the
streets safely. But since December 2006 security in Mogadishu continues to be fragile and thousands
of people have left the town and live as internally displaced in the surrounding regions. Currently the
opposition groups, including the rather fragmented UIC, are trying to formulate and cement an
alliance against the TFG, and what is seen as the unlawful Ethiopian invasion / occupation. A
conference was held in Asmara in September 2007 to try to cement agreements. The groups who
make up the new opposition alliance, Somali Congress for Liberation and Reconstitution, are:
members of the Diaspora who oppose Ethiopian presence in Somalia, defected former TFG-
parliamentarians, members of the civil society and the UIC. Meanwhile the TFG are calling for peace
conferences, but political polarisation continues as the opposition has strong support from Somalis,
threatening the TFG, Ethiopia and the US. The “complex emergencies” continue as conflicts are
flaring up in South-Central Somali and between Puntland and Somaliland towards the end of 2007,
leading to masses of refugees and IDP’s.



An encouraging trend is the increase in free – although often partial – media, and the importance this
holds for many Somalis who feel that democratic process should go hand in hand with freedom of
expression and the existence of reliable information. Educating the people about things like their
rights, about human rights and individual rights, the role of the government, and that it should not be
the master but the servant of the people. This needs to be learned over a long period of time, and
while the media is not of very high quality, there are potentials here as perhaps the increased
possibilities of expression in media can translate into society at large. However working conditions for
the journalist in south central Somalia combined with lack of rule of law and respect of their rights
continue to alarming and dangerous.




57 2006, UNDP-POGAR / WB “A subjective governance indicator aggregated from a variety of sources and measuring perceptions of the likelihood of
destabilization (ethnic tensions, armed conflict, social unrest, terrorist threat, internal conflict, fractionalization of the political spectrum, constitutional
changes, military coups). Estimates range between -2.5 and 2.5; higher is better.” Somalia scored -2.75
                                                           3. Gender equality


3.1 Poverty, economics and gender

Somali women constitute just 40% of the total labour force, but still account for almost 60% of all
economic activity 58 , a discrepancy that shows how reliant the Somali socio-economy is on women’s
work. Girls are more likely to work than boys; Unicef Somalia estimates that 41% of girls aged 5-14
work, while for boys the figure is 31%. Women are, apart from a small, wealthy urban elite,
responsible for the bigger part of the subsistence economy, but still economically inferior to men.

The war and its economy has given women more power over their household and income, since, as is
common in (post-)conflict societies, there is a large proportion of female-headed households where
women have replaced men as the principal wage-earners in the families and has thus empowered
them in important - if private - ways. But the perception of reality has not quite caught up to this – men
still see themselves as the breadwinners and women as belonging in the home, taking care of the
household and rearing children. So women still lack a say in public affairs and men make decisions
that concern women and community decisions are made by ‘elders’ (predominantly male). Also, some
of the progress made in equality has been destroyed as the conflicts have made people more
conservative and prone to return to traditional gender patterns.


3.2 Political participation and influence in relation to gender

Women’s room for influence and participation has changed back and forth since independence –
although for most Somali women perhaps more so on paper and in rhetoric’s than in reality. For
example, Barre in his attempts at scientific socialism introduced several laws and acts on increased
equality, including gender equality, but few women noticed much change in their daily lives. These
days aid agencies often stipulate women’s participation in projects, but whether that actually makes
them more participatory is debatable, and this is also often counter-acted by, amongst others,
conservative religious and traditionalistic forces which are not supportive of increasing women’s
political participation and rights.

Women are not allowed to represent a clan politically as they are not considered to have proper clan-
membership in their own right, which largely robs them both of the security that men enjoy through
their clan and the possibility to participate in clan-centred politics 59 . The issue of women and clan-
belonging is quite complicated, but to simplify, a girl (just like a boy) is born into her fathers’ clan, and
once married her clan-affiliation mostly towards her husbands’ clan. On a national level political
participation and influence does not even reach the rather low levels set in respective constitutions:
the TFG has 22 female members out of 245 (each of the four major clans is represented by five
women, while the five remaining women are from minor clans); in Puntland 69 women are on the
Council of Elders; and in Somaliland there are just two, in the Lower House of Parliament. This
indicates that female participation is more tokenism, perhaps to please international donors, than a
real will and goal to include women in decision-making and at the state level.

Women’s sphere of influence is mainly within the household, i.e. limited to child-rearing, and they still
hold little political participation and influence in public affairs, on clan/community- or on governance
level. Whether rural or urban women have more freedom and room for influence is a matter of


58 2004, UNDP-POGAR / WB Indicators. “Persons 15 and older who meet the ILO definition of economically active population and are in the labour force.”

59 The issue of women’s membership and roles in clans is ambiguous and differently interpreted by informants and written sources.




                                                                                                                                                21(47)
interpretation. Some analysts argue that it is bigger in urban areas, especially Mogadishu, as
urbanites are more progressive, and more women are in the paid labour force in towns and cities.
Others argue that rural women are less controlled by their own families and communities at large, and
have more time to associate with each other. Either way, a common form of meetings is madax shub,
where women, both in urban areas and villages, meet in friends’ houses. It is normally 10 or 15
married women linked through friendship, and these groups are based on support and solidarity,
transcending family- and clan ties.

The legal status of women in Somalia is currently dictated by the pre-war civil and criminal code, but
these laws have not been enforced for a decade. The TFC prohibits discrimination on the basis of
gender, but under the personal status code women are only entitled to half of the inheritance of their
brothers 60 .


3.3 Health, sexuality and gender

Somalia is a patriarchical society, where women have little knowledge about and influence over their
own health and their sexuality is often controlled by men. Few women aged 15-49 use modern
contraception: in rural areas 18.3% and in urban areas just 7.5% 61 . There is very little family planning:
the fertility rate is estimated at 7.2 children per woman 62 . The health system in general is extremely
poor in Somalia; health facilities are few, especially in peripheral, rural areas, and lack medical
supplies and trained staff. All this obviously has direct consequences for pregnant and neonatal
women who often lack professional medical attention. Only a quarter of all women have skilled
attendance when giving birth, and just 32% receive antenatal care; it is perhaps no wonder then that
the neonatal mortality rate is 49 women out of every 100.000, or that the lifetime risk of maternal
death is one in ten 63 .

Female Genital Mutilation / Cutting (FGM/C) 64 is very common in Somalia where almost all girls are
subjected to this practice in one of its most severe form, the Pharaonic FGM/C. It is a gross violation
of human rights and a painful and traumatic procedure, often causing severe loss of blood and
infections, and sometimes fatal. Beyond the actual procedure there is continued pain and increased
risk of infections and complications during childbirth. Puntland and Somaliland have legislated against
FGM/C, but despite this and many other efforts to ban it, it is a very resilient practice, as strongly
supported by women as by men who are afraid that their daughters will not be considered fully
acceptable if they are uncircumcised.



3.4 Security, conflict, peacebuilding and gender

Pre-colonial conflicts between clans were normally quite brief and did not directly involve women (nor
children and the elderly). However, women would sometimes act as nurses to the wounded in such
conflicts. After independence, and contrary to these traditional practices, professional groups such as
the International Red Cross took over much of the role of caring for the injured in these clan-based
conflicts. 65 While women in today’s conflicts are more exposed to conflicts through rape,


60 UNDP-POGAR...
61 UNFPA Somalia Country page
62 UNDP-POGAR…
63 Unicef...
64 The term ‘cutting’ is often more acceptable in societies where this practice is common. A discussion on this may therefore be easier and more
approachable if the term FGC is used.
65 Clanpolitics...
displacement etc, they are often excluded from this traditional role. A question, for as long as conflicts
are ongoing, is whether women should reclaim these roles of care-takers and whether it is possible
and/or desirable?
From 1991 onwards, many women have found themselves in more and more vulnerable situations as
traditional protection and support networks are broken down. While it is difficult to find data on
gender-related violence and rape in context of the Somali conflict, it can be assumed that this
increases along with the level of conflict intensity, as does the number of female refugees and IDP’s,
as well as widows and female-headed households. All these categories are more vulnerable than
other women to rape, exploitation and exclusion. Should a crime happen to a Somali woman she’s in
trouble, since she’s disadvantaged under all three justice systems at work in Somalia. However,
women are not innocent victims in the conflict as they do participate actively in the armed conflict, but
their indirect involvement is more widespread through their support to brothers, fathers, sons and
husbands involved in the fighting.

Massive population displacements, mainly from the South to the Northern areas, have led many
women to lead a severely impoverished life, surviving on casual labour, petty trade and begging. The
internally displaced women are mainly agro-pastoralists with no business skills. Females in IDP
camps have low literacy level, no skills and limited opportunity for income generation, no right to land
or property, no clan safety net and are subject to discrimination by health workers. Besides sexual
violence other causes such as absence of income generating opportunities and wage employment
within camps has forced many women without adequate access to resources to resort to coping
strategies such as multiple relationships, petty trade and domestic labour which expose them to
HIV/AIDS 66 .

While the conflict is not a straight forward clan-against-clan, the ambiguous status of women’s clan
connections has terrible effects for women who are connected to several clans through family and
marriage. They may well find themselves in situations where their fathers’ side is at war with their
husband’s side, which, although a woman’s loyalty is generally with her husband’s side, must cause
immense stress and guilt. 67 The upside to women not being as fixed in clan identities as men is their
potential roles as go-betweens, opening up for dialogue between men. There is a largely untapped
resource for conflict management and peace building here, and women have little space to exercise
this potential role of bridge-building.

Although conservative Islamic movements are not likely to increase women’s possibilities for
participation, it was reported that during the brief rule by the UIC women were safer from sexual
harassment and rape 68 . However, in the conflict that broke out between UIC and the TFG and its
Ethiopian allies, women were, as is usually the case, the first victims and the most exposed.


3.5 Current processes

Women have played an increased, though not sufficiently big, role in the efforts to achieve peace and
rebuild Somalia. According to UNIFEM, Somali women “have consistently identified income-
generation, confidence-building through literacy, access to health care and legal information as key
elements of addressing their social justice issues”. 69
An important initiative in trying to increase women’s political influence is that of the Save Somali
Women and Children, founded by Asha Hagi in 1992. Its objectives are to end the Somali conflicts,

66 UNIFEM (East and Horn of Africa): ‘Somali Women between Peace and War’, 2000.
67 Ibid.
68 Amnesty International, Somalia Fact Sheet
69 UNIFEM (East and Horn of Africa): ‘Somali Women between Peace and War’, 2000




                                                                                                     23(47)
unite women beyond clan-belonging and to articulate the female perspective on peace-building.
Among their projects is a centre for women in Mogadishu, called ‘Giving Skills’, from which 3000
women have graduated to date. Asha Hagi is also currently a member of the TFG where she
represents the ‘Sixth Clan’ – meaning women who want to transcend the limits of clan-belonging. This
movement was started as a way to give women a voice in the Arta peace-process, and although it is
perhaps mainly made up of women from the elite, rather than the poorest, it is an encouraging
development on the road to admitting Somali women influence in reconciliation, peace-building and
future of Somalia.




                                                                 4. Environment

4.1 Poverty, livelihoods and environment

Only 1.67% of the Somali landmass is arable and just 0.04% used for permanent crops. The natural
hazards include recurring droughts, frequent and intense dust storms over the eastern and northern
plains during summer and floods during the rainy seasons 70 .

Almost half the Somali population is pastoralist-nomadic, so land is mainly used for pastoralism which
means risks of over-grazing, which could lead to further soil erosion. The biggest threat to the Somali
environment therefore is one common to the Horn of Africa and beyond: desertification. This is
compounded by Somalia’s current dependency on charcoal which has taken the place of livestock as
the major export, mainly to the Gulf-countries, at an estimated amount of 30.000 tonnes per month 71 .
Poverty forces people to use the natural resources accessible to them, whether it’s illegal fishing,
cutting wood for charcoal or other activities which are harmful to the environment, and Somalia is
quite poor in available natural resources. Puntland enforced a ban on charcoal in 2000, which it
claims has resulted in an 80% decrease in exports. But many people have few ways of finding food
and income, and as important as it is to stop environmental destruction, those who make a living from,
for example, cutting down trees for charcoal must have an alternate, realistic source of livelihood if a
ban is to work.

Fisheries offer great potential, but are estimated to generate only 0.39% of the GDP. In contrast
uncontrolled international exploitation of marine resources is very significant (estimated to be about
US$ 90 million per year) and causes major losses to the Somali economy. Pastoralist production,
based on livestock and natural products (such as milk, meat, cheese, leather, frankincense, myrrh,
gum Arabic etc.) is crucial to the national economy, and comprises almost all export revenue,
supports over 50% of the population, and underpins urban economies and trading. Pastoralism is the
most effective and sustainable use of Somalia’s rangelands, given the arid and risk prone
environment, but these resources are deteriorating, due to rapid population growth and changing
resource use such as commercial charcoal burning.

Somalia’s main natural resources such as trees, wood and grasslands, and water resources (marine
and freshwater), are the basis for most people's livelihood, and the foundation for economic growth
and development – but also for the conflicts. A critical issue is the increasingly widening gap between
the limited capacity of Somalia ecosystems and the increasing demands on its production by its



70 Regeringskansliet / The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
71 Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary, “Issue 26 – Environmental degradation in Somalia”
growing population. This constrains the recovery of pastoralist communities from natural disasters,
and places further stress on the natural environment and coping mechanisms. 72

4.2 Politics, economics, rights and environment

Somalia has signed the ‘UN Convention on Biological Diversity’ (1992) and the ‘UN Convention to
Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification,
Particularly in Africa’ (1994). However, much as with the other Conventions signed, Somali authorities
lack the capacity, and sometimes perhaps the will, to properly enforce them. Somalia has not had a
sustainable approach to its environment and there is a risk factor in the current degraded state of the
environment and industries in that they may, as peace comes, fail to provide people with neither
livelihoods nor food. Similarly, the recurrent (but worsening) natural hazards and disasters such as
droughts and floods may displace and / or ruin those affected, thereby creating risks for renewed
conflict over land, water and other resources. Additionally, these other resources may include more
than those being exploited today - many sources say Somalia probably has oil deposits and minerals.
This might not be possible to investigate until Somalia is more peaceful, but could possibly lead to
renewed fighting if true.

Currently, until a time where these resources can be exploited, Somalia exports few, low-value and
mostly unprocessed goods (many processing plants and factories have been destroyed in the war)
such as bananas, livestock, and charcoal made from acacia trees, and is vulnerable to any price
fluctuations on these products.

SEPADO, a Somali environmental NGO, lists the following as major threats to the country 73 :

      •     Burning of forests and uprooting of big trees for charcoal, which is often exported to foreign
            countries for hard currency
      •     Lack of renewable energy sources resulting in heavy dependency on wood/charcoal for
            cooking
      •     Nomads’ heavy cutting of trees for sheltering themselves and their livestock.
      •     Due to lack of maintenance of major water rigs, these are almost idle, forcing nomads to
            crowd the areas that have water wells, bore holes etc, causing severe land degradation
      •     Lack of properly covered roads causes lorries and other heavy vehicles to drive on a wide
            area of land. The consequence of this is hundreds of kilometres of dead, dusty and useless
            lands, and the creation of dry rivers and canyons that spoil pasture land.
      •     Wildlife poaching
      •     Foreign fishing vessels using destructive sea-sweeping nets
      •     Nuclear- and waste-dumping from abroad
      •     The lack of popular awareness on environmental issues

As mentioned above, Somalia, particularly Puntland, suffers from foreign, unlicensed trawlers illegally
fishing along its coast, but without a coastguard they have been able to do little about it. Similarly,
trade has been hampered by waves of piracy along the coast.




72 “Country Environmental Profile for Somalia”, IUCN (The World Conservation Union) Eastern Africa Regional Office, 2006

73 SEPADO (Somali Environmental Protection and Anti-Desertification Organisation): http://members.tripod.com/sepado/




                                                                                                                           25(47)
                                                                            5. Conflict

5.1 Basic description

Most parts of Somalia have been unstable and volatile on-and-off since the 1970’s, as Siad Barre
began to lose control over Somalia, droughts led to massive famines and the country got entangled in
a war with Ethiopia, as well as in internal power-struggles which grew increasingly violent. The
precise root causes of the Somali conflict are debatable, and indeed debated, but this analysis tries to
focus on the current situation and actors. Firstly, the ‘Somali conflict’ is really several conflicts on
different levels. One is between three regions - South-Central Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland –
which are more or less polarised. This conflict, although nowadays generally not an outright, armed
conflict (with the occasional exception of the latter two over the Sool-Sonaag issue), is rooted in a
strong disagreement over the future shape of Somalia, i.e. whether all three should be included in a
federal state along the lines of the old United Republic of Somalia. Currently, this is most often of a
war of words.

The main armed conflict, however, is taking place mainly in South-Central Somalia, with the areas
around Mogadishu most affected. This is the scene of internal conflict, fuelled by proxy battles fought
out by Ethiopia and Eritrea who are backing opposing sides. Ethiopia has long seen itself as a
‘Christian island in an Islamic sea’, and with American support militarily backs the TFG. The
government is also backed by those institutions which helped to broker the peace-agreement and
install the TFG in 2004: the UN, the AU, and IGAD. Eritrea, meanwhile, seems to be working on the
principle ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ in backing the opposition, as they are hoping to tie
down Ethiopian forces in the Ogaden, a region of Ethiopia predominantly inhabited by ethnic Somalis.
Ethiopia may claim it is being provoked into a larger intervention in Somalia, which in turn might make
Eritrea press its border claims with Ethiopia through military means. 74
While Puntland and Somaliland are not directly taking part in the armed conflict in South-Central
Somalia, they are affected by its resulting state of insecurity in several ways - mainly in that they
receive and host tens of thousands of IDP’s who are either in transit or settle in these areas.
Regionally and internationally, effects are also the great number of Somali refugees and asylum-
seekers fleeing for countries which are more or less willing and/or equipped to take them in.

In addition to the internal and external belligerents in the Somali conflicts, there are also pro-peace
forces, such as individuals and organisations within the Diaspora and the Somali civil society.
Additionally, the AU has sent peacekeepers (although not enough) and Kenya and Djibouti have
hosted reconciliation conferences. The international community has tried to bring parties to the
negotiating table on several occasions, but both these and national peace initiatives have resulted in
failures. Since 1991, there have been 14 such initiatives, some of which have been criticized for
actually having made things worse - in particular the infamous UN attempt to broker a cease-fire in
early 1992 which failed completely, costing thousands of lives as the conflict escalated 75 . Some
parties have several, more or less openly stated roles and interests in this conflict. It not always clear,
however, how these opposing roles work - instead they often seem like geopolitical double standards.




74 Centre for Preventative Action: “Avoiding Conflict in the Horn of Africa”, 2006

75 UNIFEM (East and Horn of Africa): ‘Somali Women between Peace and War’, 2000
5.2 Underlying causes

The main underlying causes of the conflicts have roots in colonial mismanagement, followed by post-
independence dictatorships. The fact that the countries that colonised Somalia had different
ideologies and ways of ruling certainly had impacts, which linger today. Many analysts credit the
stability in Somaliland - at least partly - to its relatively more beneficial colonial heritage. The British
signed treaties with clan leaders in what became British Somaliland in 1886, while Italy colonised
what became Italian Somaliland in 1889, which is the present-day South-Central Somalia and
Puntland. The French colonised the Easternmost part, which then became known as French
Somaliland, and since independence in 1977 is now known as Djibouti.
Italy was from the early 1930’s fascist. This ideology coloured its colonial approach, and the Italians
ruled Somalia (and Eritrea) with tight control and brutality, doing little to develop ‘their’ countries.
Meanwhile the British ruled more indirectly, placing comparatively more importance on the
development of the educational system and infrastructure (if only to make the colonies more efficient
in serving them, but there were some spill-over benefits for the populations). While Somalia did not
have as bloody and prolonged an independent struggle as many countries, great parts of the country
were nonetheless suppressed by colonial powers.

Upon independence and unification of Somalia in 1960, it became clear that the rulers were failing to
resolve disagreements over the state’s origins, problems of the different participation between clan
communities in decolonization, lack of representation in power-sharing, and confusion around the
nation-state building process. The new government could not handle the challenge of uniting not just
the land, but also the different political traditions present: the systems left behind by the British and
the Italians differed, and also needed to be united with Somali traditions, practices and values. These
were major problems brewing during the 1960’s; although this is now referred to as the most
democratic time for independent Somalia, the expected socio-economic progress was missing and
many were dissatisfied. Border disputes with neighbouring countries also became important conflict
stakes, and continue to be so. The majority Isaaq population in the Northern areas took an active role
in politics. Since they were not politically reconciled with the southern clans at independence, post-
independence government crises revived clan differences and conflicting visions of power-sharing
models and the future of Somalia. 76

These issues continued to plague Somalia after Siad Barre took power after the 1969 killing of
President Shermarke. State-building and modernisation was a major source of conflict, since the
leadership made little effort to incorporate relevant cultural values – such as the traditional justice
systems described above - into its ‘socialist experiment’. This experiment, inspired by Marxism-
Leninism, provoked a conflict of values between Islam, atheist socialism and Somali cultural practices
which Barre considered primitive.
Prevention of conflicts would have required compromise and coherence between these, but the
government of Barre encouraged clan-politics, corruption, and secrecy, and these factors still
influence armed conflict and politics in Somalia. Different political clan factions have continued to fight
in their territories and against each other in the towns and across the Ethiopian-Somali, Somali-
Djibouti and Somali-Kenya borders. As Barre was not able – or willing – to combine the different
identities of being Somali, civic identities and clan identities, and Islam was not enough of a binding
factor, Somali spiraled further into unrest. 77

In 1978, the decision of the Somali government to support the Ogaden Liberation Movement (OLM),
with Somali patriotism and cultural solidarity against the government of Ethiopia, sparked rivalries

76 Clanpolitics, the case of Somalia...
77 Ibid




                                                                                                       27(47)
among Barre’s cabinet members and the military. The war between Somalia and Ethiopia 1978 - 1979
involved international support from Cuba, the Soviet Union and the US. The OLM and Somali forces
were defeated, and the humiliation and anger of the Somali army caused by the failure to liberate the
Ogaden Somalis from Ethiopia was difficult for the weakened government to contain. The cost of the
war in both human and material terms on the one hand, and the withdrawal of Soviet military and
economic assistance to Somalia on the other, further weakened the military government which began
collapsing and losing authority. The 1980’s were marked by the declarations of states of emergency,
characterised by restricted movement of the people and items, eliminating the possibility of civil
protests and organisation of political opposition. Fear, secrecy and uncertainty spread with
government spies everywhere and ‘justice’ administered on the basis of rumours, gossip and
allegations. The government became suspicious of its own citizens – especially intellectuals - and
citizens were mutually suspicious of each other. Civil society was subdued and finally, to avoid
arbitrary arrests and torture, most intellectuals, civil rights groups and political activists submitted to
the dictatorship because they had family responsibilities. Eventually, armed robbery, violence, crime,
corruption, drug- and firearms smuggling increased as survival strategies overwhelmed the
government’s capacity. 78

The prerequisite for sustainable peace, security and development in Somalia would have been
democratic governance, respect for human rights and satisfaction of the population’s basic needs. But
none of this happened and the government did not communicate with the people. Finally, Barre and
his regime was ousted in 1991 and since then Somalia has been continuously unstable. In total
Somalia has seen almost 30 years of conflicts, and particularly areas of South-Central Somalia are by
now so militarised that its last two generations, having grown up in a ‘war culture’, know very little
about peace and security.

The deep-running poverty in Somalia is, as discussed earlier, both a consequence as well as an
underlying and direct cause of conflict, in the sense that Somalis are robbed of their opportunities for
livelihoods and education, lacking in safety and security, losing their housing, family members and
friends to the conflict. Somalia’s geographic position is also a complicating factor in several ways. The
Horn of Africa has a very harsh climate, and is increasingly prone to natural disasters that constantly
fuel conflicts over limited food aid and scarce natural resources. This is the case in Northern Kenya
and Eastern Ethiopia as well as Somalia, and there are movements and conflicts back and forth due
to this. Somalia’s location also means close proximity to Sudan, which is also ravaged by war, and
both countries, as mentioned before, have long-standing issues with Ethiopia and Eritrea. Plus,
Somalia is strategically placed on the tip of the Horn, making control of it desirable for less
strategically placed countries. The final factor which is directly related to Somalia’s geographic
location is that research has revealed sources of minerals and oil; whoever is in control of these areas
when they become peaceful, will also be in control of these, probably vast, natural riches. Lessons
learned, however, show that there is a clear risk element here, as developing countries found to have
oil and other valuable resources are not necessarily guaranteed peace and prosperity.



5.3 Direct causes

Control over power and resources, notably land, is the main driving force behind conflict in Somalia.
The war has redrawn the ethnic map of some areas, as strong clan militias have taken possession of
valuable and fertile lands in the south. The legitimate inhabitants were often evicted or fled massacres
and sometimes were conscripted as forced labour onto the lands they once owned. Many displaced



78 Clanpolitics, the case of Somalia
caused new displacement situations themselves when settling in a new area, thus creating very
complex and multi-layered property issues. 79
Ultimately, the direct cause for the conflicts in Somalia is the desire for resources, power and control
over certain areas and bigger geopolitical interests, although this is not always clearly stated. There
are “terrorism concerns” of Western countries, mainly the US, who suspect that terrorists are given
safe havens in Somalia, and/or the Ogaden region, by the opposition forces. This has led them to
support Ethiopian “counter-terrorism” forces, which are resented by the population. Instead of
containing and helping the situation, the presence of Ethiopian forces seems to be worsening the
conflict, in fact regionalising it by spreading and radicalising opposition. What Human Rights Watch
appropriately calls the “convenient catchall basket of terrorism” 80 is being used by proxy powers in
Somalia, and some analysts view the Ethiopian invasion, supposedly in support of the TFG, as
Ethiopia doing the dirty work of Western powers who do not want to get directly involved; meanwhile
Ethiopia is not opposed to this situation as it claims to need support against the threat of Islamist
insurgents moving across its boundaries. However, Somalis themselves do not shy away from using
the catchall basket of terrorism when it’s convenient; the Somali online paper Hiraan writes that “they
have also learnt how to present a local dispute as an international threat in order to suppress their
rivals. 81 ”

Also internally, many Somali individuals and groups, i.e. warlords and fighters on all sides of the
conflicts, make money and sustain their power over certain areas through the conflicts, for example
from extortion, kidnappings and roadblocks. There is a ‘conflict industry’ that is fed by the international
community in the form of INGO’s and UN-agencies. They supply food aid and basic services, without
which most Somalis would struggle even more, but also pays security guards and rents cars from
armed forces. The goal for these forces is to gain control over foreign aid, civilian resources and
future state institutions, and a key to ending the conflicts must be to create incitement for these
groups that there is more to gain from peace. The increased crime levels, such as petty crime and
robberies, are an effect of conflicts and impunity; although such ‘everyday crime’ is often forgotten in
the midst of armed conflict, it is certainly an ongoing threat to the population.

In South-Central Somalia, having control over Mogadishu and surrounding areas is geopolitically very
important. There is an abundance of weapons, small and large, some remaining from the massive
stockpiles left behind by the old regimes, some in circulation in the region, which helps to sustain the
conflict.


5.5 Conflict consequences

Just as there are direct and indirect causes for the conflict, there are also more or less obvious
consequences. The more visible, measurable ones include the creation of vulnerable IDP’s and
refugees who go through terrible hardships, usually ending up displaced or as rootless returnees. As
is often the case, however, cause-and-effect of displacement and conflict is not one-way;
displacement is a consequence of insecurity and violence, but displaced groups can also destroy and
deplete fragile resources, thereby (unintentionally) causing conflict.

Insecurity, frequent curfews and wrecked infrastructure impede people’s possibilities of getting to
work and hospitals, for example, as well as aid agencies’ access to many areas. The lack of basic
social services, as well as access to them, is a clear result of conflicts. There are also further reaching


79 Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre: “Somalia – Window of opportunity for addressing one of the world’s worst displacement crises”, 2006
80 http://hrw.org/english/docs/2007/08/05/ethiop16594_txt.htm
81 http://www.hiiraan.com/op2/2007/jun/somali_contact_group_and_its_first_anniversary.aspx




                                                                                                                                                  29(47)
consequences, in that the Somali conflict is often pointed out as a cause of regional instability in the
Horn of Africa, and possibly further still.

It is known that many parties to conflicts use child soldiers – Unicef has rehabilitated several hundred
from South-Central Somalia 82 – though their number and distribution is unclear. The effects of trauma
such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on both civilians and former fighters are likely to be
extensive, both in numbers and time. The online journal ‘Conflict and Health’ published study entitled
“PTSD among Somali Ex-combatants” in the summer of 2007, giving the following observations and
conclusions: “Consequences of war-related trauma cause enormous suffering and problems adjusting
to post-war life in many parts of the world, with post-war Somalia being currently one of the most
tragic cases. The international community has been waiting for years to implement a large DDR
(Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration) programme, but the continued upsurge of violence
destroys these hopes. As soon as a peace accord is reached in Somalia, there will be 70,000 to
80,000 ex-combatants to be reintegrated into civilian society. Based on our findings, we expect a high
prevalence of PTSD among them [which] constitutes a significant risk factor for reintegration
failure.” 83
The slightly less obvious consequences are the increasingly cynical manipulation of the clan system,
the tearing down of traditional mechanisms, such as in justice, with elders no longer carries their
former legitimacy in conflict resolution, and the donor fatigue and reluctance to provide more than
humanitarian assistance.

There are likely to be further peace initiatives, perhaps both local and international. However, at the
time of writing, there is really no obvious solution or outcome of the current crisis, and not even an
obvious party to steer or mediate such a process. All the countries and multilateral organisations
involved have, or are seen as having, their own agenda, and parties who are not involved are perhaps
also unlikely to get involved, or to be seen as having any credibility by the Somali people and the two
main parties. Hence it is likely that those who have an interest in sustaining the conflict will, for now,
continue to set the rules. Hope may perhaps be pinned on the EU or the UN, although they may not
be eager to get more involved – the scepticism that Somalis on occasion feel toward external parties’
involvement is sometimes mutual.

Finally, although one has to understand which groups stand to gain from the conflicts, why and how
(which has been discussed above), the overwhelming majority of Somalis of course do not gain
anything at all, but lose plenty. The International Crisis Group 84 writes that: “Lost in the political
drama are the sentiments and loyalties of average citizens. Strong anecdotal evidence suggests that
most citizens and civic leaders find none of these political groups worthy of unconditional support.
None are broad-based movements, and their leaderships are hostile toward mass mobilisation. All
engage in intimidation, coercion and assassination against civic leaders and critical media figures.
...In sum, most of the public remains worried, angry and unaffiliated with the main political coalitions.”


5.6 Current issues and factors that might influence the conflict positively and negatively 85




82 Unicef Somalia country office website
83 http://www.conflictandhealth.com/content/1/1/10
84 ICG: Can the Somalia Crisis Be Contained? Crisis Group Africa Report N°116, 10 August 2006
85 Due to the explosive situation in Somalia, a Do-No-Harm approach is very important. It is imperative to update conflict analyses regularly to avoid unintentionally
fuelling eventual conflicts or sparking unrest through misguided support. A conflict analysis should include a risk-analysis (which looks at what are the possible threats to
the project; how might the conflict influence it), as well as a risk-consequence-assessment (on how the project might influence the conflict).
Some analysts claim that traditional conflict resolution and settlement mechanisms like xeer, mag
and diya (‘blood payment’/compensation) should be used much more than today, admitting they are
inadequate on a large scale but could perhaps be used to contain smaller disputes.

The economic growth and stability in Somaliland sets a positive example for both South-Central
Somalia and Puntland. The former is far from the level of development in Somaliland, while Puntland
at times seems stuck in a ‘two steps forward, one step back’-mode. Both, however, need a strong
precedent which can show that Somalia can make it without massive foreign interference and/or
dependency.

The UN Panel of Experts on the arms embargo on Somalia has on occasion named several countries
alleged to have supplied arms to actors in Somalia, in breach of the arms embargo. Meanwhile, the
international community’s warming to the idea of lifting this embargo, obviously intensely lobbied for
by TFG, is worrying. Although it most probably depends on the nearby future and how the TFG
handles the armed opposition, the eventual lifting of the embargo would probably influence the conflict
negatively (even though the TFG is currently not lacking arms, this would not improve the situation).

The conflict escalated again in late 2007, sparked in October 2007 by insurgent attacks, followed by
the quick Ethiopian deployment of troops and the resulting displacement of at least 90,000 people
fleeing Magadishu and surrounding areas, according to UNHCR. According to the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) – Somalia, fighting this year has displaced about
450,000 people, bringing the total number of displaced persons in Somalia to more than 850,000
including about 400,000 displaced since the civil war began in the 1990s. 86

As of November 2007, the humanitarian situation in South-Central Somalia is getting worse by the
day, and there is now a stream of warnings and appeals, such as the below, being released by
organisations with insights into Somalia:

  ..."There is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in South-Central Somalia. Tens of thousands of
people are currently fleeing violence in Mogadishu adding to the up to 335,000 people already
needing immediate lifesaving assistance in Mogadishu and the Shabelle regions. International and
national NGOs cannot respond effectively to the crisis because access and security are deteriorating
dramatically at a time when needs are increasing. The international community and all parties to the
present conflict have a responsibility to protect civilians, to allow the delivery of aid and to respect
humanitarian space and the safety of humanitarian workers."... 87

  ...“Renewed armed conflict in Mogadishu in late October has caused an estimated 90,000 new
people to flee toward the Shabelle Valley, a region already facing a severe humanitarian crisis due to
conflict, floods, drought, displacement, malnutrition and limited humanitarian access. These shocks
have drastically reduced livelihood options for and increased the humanitarian needs of populations in
these areas. Immediate live-saving interventions, including clean water, shelter, food, health services,
sanitation and protection, are urgently needed. The resurgence of armed conflict has further stressed
the 600,000 people already facing an acute food and livelihoods or humanitarian crisis in peri-urban
areas of Mogadishu and the Lower and Middle Shabelle regions. The new wave of displacement will
increase competition for already overstretched resources among internally displaced persons (IDPs)
and host populations.”... 88


86 IRIN News, 05/11/07: http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportID=75155

87 ‘Statement of Concern’ issued by more than 40 organisations working in Somalia, published 30/10/07,

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/fromthefield/sosaus/119425152631.htm

88 Published 13/11/07, http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/FEWS/08043531031ceaaf22baf7324e2e0a34.htm




                                                                                                            31(47)
  ...“According to UNHCR, an estimated 173,000 Mogadishu residents fled the violence in the past
two weeks alone. Nearly 90,000 had congregated around the town of Afgoye, about 30km west.
Another 33,000 internally displaced people had moved to other places around Mogadishu, while
thousands more had gone to locations in the Lower Shabelle region. The latest population
movements had swelled the total number of internally displaced people in Somalia to 850,000,
according to UNHCR. The figure included some 450,000 who have been displaced by conflict in
Mogadishu since February 2007.”... 89

This desperate and gloomy situation is related to the fact that the conflict is getting increasingly
‘ideologised’ – or perhaps ‘theologised’ – as different directions of Islam are getting more and more
polarised. This development actually began after the attacks of September 11, 2001, before which the
UIC was mainly focused on setting up Courts in Somalia, and Islam was politically non-contentious.
Since then, Islam has been politicised globally, which many have taken advantage of – both Islamistic
and anti-Islam/Muslim forces, which is also the case in Somalia. Fighting between the TFG and
Ethiopian forces on the one hand, and the opposition on the other, is causing the current huge
displacement described above. The opposition consists of the former UIC, which now have political
ambitions, with support from large parts of the business community and Diaspora as well as defected
members of the TFP.




                                                              6. HIV/AIDS

6.1 Distribution and development (epidemiology)

The HIV/AIDS-prevalence in Somalia is generally estimated at around 0.9%, based mainly on testing
of pregnant women, antenatal women and blood donors. However, this is an area where reliable data
is particularly scarce as there are few and far-between testing sites, huge population movements, and
social taboos and stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. Since the baseline is so limited, some sources
suspect the prevalence might be at least ten times the current estimate, perhaps up to 15%. With
such discrepancies and little established, prevalence figures really represent tendencies rather than
facts.

UNAIDS and WHO carried out a survey in South-Central Somalia in 2004 which indicated that there is
HIV/AIDS present in most of the area, although infection levels are still low. It found that HIV-
prevalence among pregnant women was 0.6%, with the highest infections levels in Mogadishu at
0.9%, and the lowest in Merca where hardly any infections were detected. On the other hand, 4% of
people seeking treatment for sexually transmitted infections were found to be positive 90 .

There are however some variations within Somalia (although these may represent variations in data
collection opportunities, as the most insecure area has the lowest prevalence and vice versa); another
WHO survey found prevalence of 0.9% in South- Central Somalia, 1.0 % in Puntland and 1.4 % in
Somaliland. Compared to surrounding countries, this is still quite low: Kenya has an estimated rate of
6.7% 91 , Ethiopia 2.8 – 6.7% 92 and Djibouti 0.7 – 7.5% 93 . The main risk factor for Somalia is probably


89 Published 14/11/07, http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=75294

90 UNAIDS / WHO AIDS Epidemic Update 12/2005 (http://www.sahims.net/unaidsrstesa/Documents/
Unaids_Docs/unaids_docs/EpidemicUpdateDec2005_EN.pdf)
91 WHO HIV Country Profile 2005 (http://www.who.int/hac/crises/ken/Kenya_may06.pdf)
92 WHO HIV Country Profile 2005 (http://www.who.int/hiv/HIVCP_ETH.pdf)
this high regional prevalence. Somalia is not isolated, and while governments across the region – to
differing degrees - are both trying to secure borders and limit HIV/AIDS-prevalence, they all lack
sufficient resources to be entirely successful in either endeavour. This, there is a lot of cross-border
movement and prevalence rates are increasing.


6.2 Causes and consequences of the spread of HIV/AIDS

There are different categories of causes, although they tend to be interlinked. One cause is the scarce
information and education about HIV/AIDS and ways of transmittance. Neither youth nor adults get
enough information, although some organisations and UN-agencies are trying to get information out
there. Also, Somalis live in a situation which is often highly insecure, constantly facing death which
might breed a fatalistic attitude towards it. Returnees from areas with higher prevalence, such as
Ethiopia and Kenya, may carry the virus, especially those who have been in refugee camps.
Knowledge of HIV transmission is very poor, and condom use is very rare. According to UNAIDS /
WHO, only 13% of young men and just 5% of young women aged 15–24 years had ever used a
condom 94 .

Economically, there is little funding towards voluntary testing sites and treatment. While there are
initiatives targeting this issue from UN-agencies and NGO’s, these can only do so much.
Medical causes are the fact that, because testing sites are scarce, there may well be a higher
prevalence of STD’s than is known and this, much as high levels of malnutrition, contribute to a
weakened resistance against the virus. For women, FGM/C increases susceptibility both to HIV/AIDS
and STD’s.

Besides sexual violence, other causes such as few income generating opportunities forces many
women to resort to coping strategies like multiple relationships, petty trade and domestic labour which
expose them to greater risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. 95 With the country rebuilding itself after
devastating conflict, HIV-prevention might not have ranked high as a priority. Since prevalence is still
quite low (according to available data), consequences are not yet fully known and can only really
predicted based on tendencies in other countries. The biggest group at risk are women, especially
IDP’s, who are vulnerable to rape and other sexual abuse both by civilians and militia. This may lead
to more orphans, some of which will also be infected, which Somalia in its current state is unable to
take care of.

As the virus spreads, economic production will go down and those affected will find it difficult to
support themselves. This will be a strain on kinship loyalties which are already exhausted from many
years of hardship. Obviously it is hard to see any positives in case of increased rates, but one
consequence might be an increased openness with fewer stigmas around HIV/AIDS.




6.3 Current processes




93 WHO HIV Country Profile 2005 (http://www.who.int/countries/dji/en/index.html)
94 UNAIDS / WHO AIDS Epidemic Update 12/2005 (http://www.sahims.net/unaidsrstesa/Documents/

Unaids_Docs/unaids_docs/EpidemicUpdateDec2005_EN.pdf)

95 Presumably prostitution is another way of survival and thus transmittance of HIV/AIDS, but information on this is lacking, perhaps mainly due to social

taboos.




                                                                                                                                                      33(47)
Although HIV-surveillance remains very weak, available evidence reveals trends of increasing HIV
infections, especially in younger age groups, and the main mode of transmission continues to be
through unprotected, heterosexual sex. 96

The AIDS response in Somalia has been hindered by ongoing conflict, but at least 13 voluntary
counselling and testing sites, and four sites providing antiretroviral medication, have been established
over the past two years with the support of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. IOM has
identified hot spots in each of the three regions of Puntland in the northeast, Somaliland and South-
Central Somalia, and data gathering is being carried out to identify basic information on the
population's risk behaviour and vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. IOM will work alongside UNAIDS, WHO,
other UN agencies, the TFG and the AIDS-commissions of all three regions to complete this exercise
by 31 December 2007. 97 In addition, as mentioned under ‘Information and Media’ above, some
international organisations are using radio to spread information on different issues, with the spread
and prevention of HIV/AIDS being one of these. There other media channels for such initiatives:
Unicef Somalia in cooperation with the CBO HAVAYOCO publishes KOOR, a quarterly magazine the
main focus of which is on HIV/AIDS, but it also gives prominence to other reproductive health issues
such as FGM/C. 98




                                       III. CIVIL SOCIETY
There is no set definition of what exactly civil society consists of, and it is a culturally sensitive term
with diverse meanings in different parts of the world. This issue is especially tricky in the Somali
context, since one defining feature of civil society is that it is normally a counter-part, or complement,
to a government. The fact that Somalia lacks a central government therefore has several implications.
For example, working from a rights-based perspective is complicated in a situation where there is no
clearly identifiable duty bearer responsible for provision of the rights of claim holders. However,
precisely because of this unique situation, Forum Syd’s focus on supporting civil society is important
as Somalis need a strong civil society in the absence of central governance, lack of human rights and
basic service provision.

Civil society organisation has strong traditional roots in Somalia. As is common in predominantly
nomadic societies, Somali culture is historically based on negotiation, consensus-building and local
governance – that is, respect and flexibility rather than adherence to a strong central power.
Negotiation is traditionally done through elders’ councils, while opinions and thoughts, both political
and private, are often expressed through poetry, Islamic Sufi traditions and, especially for women,
through songs.
The organised civil society is mainly – though not only – focused on around service delivery, since
basic needs such as education, health and clean water are not adequately met anywhere in Somalia.

Considering the absence of a state structure, Somali civil society is relatively well organised. For
example, Islamic charities assist IDP’s throughout the country, mainly through providing education
and health facilities. Civil society groups have been playing an important role in bringing fighting clans
around the negotiating table, prominent examples being those in Mogadishu, Kismayo, the Baay
region and in Somaliland. Nevertheless, particularly in South-Central Somalia, the operational

96 IOM / IRIN Plus News
97 ibid.
98 AMDI Country Report, 2006
capacity of national humanitarian organisations is weak and no substitute to international
organisations which often hand over responsibility to their national counterparts where insecurity
forces them to relocate. 99


7.1 Civil society structure

The organisation of civil society in the traditional sense of the word, i.e. more or less tightly knit
organisations / NGO’s, took off during the tumultuous years following 1991, encouraged by the large
influx of foreign donor agencies. During the Siad Barre years of socialist experiments, all civil society
organisations – trade unions, women’s groups etc - were set up and controlled by the government,
which doesn’t really qualify them as proper civil society organisations. However, as Barre was ousted
and Somalia was thrown into anarchy, unrest and famine, plenty of international aid agencies flooded
the country and national organisations were set up to assist the displaced with food and other
necessities.

Civil society groups were, as they first started off in the early- to mid-1990’s, mostly focused on acute
needs in basic service delivery. 100 During the last decade, more organisations have been formed
which work in ‘softer’ issues, mainly advocating for rights (often specialising in human-, women’s-, or
children’s rights). There is little evidence of organisations working for the rights of disadvantaged
groups (from within Somalia), such as the Bantu’s and occupational castes.

Broadly, civil society organisation is structured in three parts:
   • Networks of business-people, professionals, and / or artisans
   • ‘Modern’ civil society organisations, such as NGOs, CBO’s, media associations
   • Religious, i.e. Islamic, groups

Some analysts also include community elders as a category, but others, such as LPI, consider these
to be a part of the authority (in some places the only authority) and so do not count them as a part of
civil society.

The categories above do not work in an entirely isolated manner. They often cooperate, but would
benefit from doing so even more. Examples of cooperation that does take place may look like this: a
village decides it needs a school, so the inhabitants get together and request funding from the
Diaspora. If they get the funding, they build the school and are able to maintain it through business
network investments. Similarly, a business network might identify the need for a pharmacy in a
village, build it and then run it on a non-profit basis, or perhaps turn it over to a CBO.
Business networks are said to have the most extensive contacts, often across South-Central Somalia,
Puntland and Somaliland, since they have no or few political agendas. Most of the others operate in
strictly limited areas of the country, although clan elders and some umbrella-NGO’s cover larger parts.
Religious leaders, women’s representatives, youth groups, performing artists and business groups
have played - and still play – a remarkable role in conflict resolution.

At large the development of the civil society organisations has followed established clan patterns as a
natural way of building an organisation for a group of people with common interests and goals. Under
the assumption that civil society organisations have a common interest and goals, the relation
between civil society and the prevailing centre of power (warlords, islamists, TFG forces) is rather
complicated and even questionable in some parts of the country. Many civil society organisations


99 Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre: “Somalia – Window of opportunity for addressing one of the world’s worst displacement crises”, 2006

100 Novib-Oxfam ”Mapping Somali Civil Society”, 2003




                                                                                                                                                  35(47)
operating in areas controlled by militias are trying their best to avoid confrontation when delivering
service to the needy population. But this is not an easy task and can easily encourage malpractices
like corruption.

The civil society in Somalia is in great need of support to their dedicated work for peace, stability and
security. Of importance is to assist civil society in Somalia to be independent. Despite the difficult
working conditions of the civil society organisations in Somalia as represented in absence of a central
administration or service, lack of insecurity and poor capacity, much has been achieved in peace
building, conflict resolution and running the basic service of primary education and health care. The
local initiatives taken by civil society organisations within the area of peace building and conflict
resolution are in every region in Somalia. The common strategy applied is reconciliation through the
use of the indigenous and local peace structures and dialog. Those peace structures draw their
support and membership across a wide variety of community organisations, elders’ councils and clan
leaders. Consequently a high value is placed upon grassroots, which is the base from which civil
society organisations grow.



7.2 Civil Society values

There are few interest-groups in Somalia, as most associations ‘look after their own back yard’,
working in and with their own community. Discriminated (minority) groups that lack representation and
influence over their situation therefore do not get a lot of internal support (but perhaps external, which
may make alienate them, making them more disliked by other Somalis).

The most important issues for Somali CBO’s are the pressing basic needs, such as education, water
and food. This was also the areas which civil society was encouraged by the UN and INGO’s to get
involved in, as these organisations arrived in Somalia for huge emergency operations from the 1970’s
onward. Many organisations which are quickly formed during a crisis are short-lived, especially those
who lack community roots and connections, and tend not to last beyond the crisis during which they
were formed. It is also mainly these organisations which often suffer from clannism and nepotism,
corruption, a lack of transparency, accountability and real will to improve peoples’ lives.



7.3 Civil Society capacity

Because CSO’s are a relatively new phenomenon in Somalia, capacity is still very limited. The
creation of CSO’s has often been donor-driven rather than stemming from a deep commitment to the
issues or activities in focus, and such organisations tend not to last very long, and also often damages
both donors’ and civil society’s confidence in them.

At a workshop held at Forum Syd, 101 a SWOT-exercise was undertaken in three groups on the
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the Somali civil society. The box below shows
a summary of participants’ suggestions:




101 October 31st 2007, including participants from the Forum Syd reference group on Somalia and 11 active members of the Swedish-Somali Diaspora
                              SWOT: Somali Civil Society organisations

                     Strengths                                                Weaknesses

-   Resilience and sustainability: capacity to work in   -   Lack of experience in project organisation /
    areas and times of severe hardship                       implementation / management
-   Work with and within communities: realistic, know    -   High dependency on external support
    beneficiaries and have their trust                   -   Little space for women to contribute and develop in
-   Economically efficient: know where and how to get        project-work
    the best deals and stretch budgets                   -   Clanism and nepotism, bordering on corruption
-   Strong knowledge of issues they work with mainly     -   Lack of regulations and guidelines
    within: education, agriculture, primary health,      -   Forced to replace, rather than complement, regular
    peace-building and promotion of democracy                service provision etc
-   Swedish-Somali CSO’s transfer not only funds but     -   Sometimes works outside national development
    also values, such as democracy and equality, to          plans, i.e. lacking in coordination
    partner CBO’s, which in turn promote these values    -   Little sharing of experiences and dissemination of
    in their communities, thereby contributing to            lessons learned
    positive developments in Somalia                     -   Lack of transparency and accountability within
                                                             organisations

                   Opportunities                                                 Threats

-   Possibilities to influence both the Somali society   -    Lack of will and/or capacity by state institutions
    and politicians / decision-makers to a greater            and local communities to take over projects
    extent                                               -    Risk that (competing) political interests halt
-   Room for more collaboration within sectors (e.g.          projects
    health, education)                                   -    Possible conflicts if CSO’s get funding and the
-   Possibilities to strengthen women’s confidence,           Government doesn’t
    capacity and participation                           -    No stability in donor funding patterns, and
-   Raise awareness on causes and ways of resolving           inflexible/static donor policies
    conflicts




7.5 Swedish-Somali Organisations

Without doubt the Somalia Diaspora has a real impact on Somalia’s socio-economic development,
reconciliation and state formation. When looking closer at the term Somalia Diaspora one can identify
three categories within it; the first are those active within the civil society sector and involved in
reconstruction and rehabilitation of the basic service delivery institutions, advocacy and humanitarian
assistance. The second category are those who are business entrepreneurs within the private sector
and the last category are those individuals, highly educated or not, politicians, and technocrats within
different sectors. All the three categories have been plying a significant role in Somalia’s home
economy and transfer of gained knowledge and skills to Somalia. But the Somalia Diaspora is not a
homogenous group. Fragmentation, narrow self-interest and group loyalty are still the major obstacles




                                                                                                             37(47)
for the Somalia Diaspora to be able to infuse their approach toward problem-solving into the political
processes in their homeland 102

Forum Syd has been playing an active role to reverse the brain drain by providing support and
assistance to the Diaspora in their effort to achieve peace and sustainable development. This has
been done through support to a number of development workers within the field of health, education,
and gender equality. After a decade of working with Swedish-Somali organisations including the
Somali Diaspora within the filed of development cooperation, the following has been observed:

That the engagement of the Swedish-Somalia organisations in rehabilitation and rebuilding Somalia is
increasing. Quite a number of those organisations and their local partners have succeeded in
establishing trust among the local community through projects implemented in the fields of education,
primary health, gender equality and peace building. Forum Syd and their partners are quite well
known actors in what the civil society can achieve in Somalia.

The growth of Somalia-Swedish civil society organisations embodies a number of weak organisations
that are in need of capacity building, guidance and support some times at the basic level to function
as an organisation. Many of the organisations do not fulfil criteria set by Sida for receiving financial
assistance to run projects in Somalia. The reasons behinds this is difficulties in speaking the Swedish
language and hence understanding the documents that govern the procedures and conditions for
financial support.

There is no single organisation that works across clan and geographical boarders in Somalia. The
majority of the organisations were established to serve a specific locality in Somalia in providing basic
service delivery in primary education and health care. Membership is hence almost limited to people
originally from that locality which commonly from the same clan or sub-clan. Cooperation between
different Somalia organisations is not easy and complicated by the rifts between different clans and
regions.

There are rather few women’s organisations, and those that do exist are generally weak and have
poor capacity in advocacy and other activities. Consequently gender issues are far from being
prioritised. There is a wide belief among Somali-Swedish organisations that gender issues are forced
upon the Somali culture by western civil society organisations and western other agencies.




102 Cassanelli: Somali Diaspora and the reconstruction of Somalia: Obstacles and opportunities. In: Somalia: Diaspora and state reconstitution in the Horn

of Africa. Osman Farah et al. ed. Adonis & Abbey Publishers Ltd
                                     IV PRIORITIES


•   Forum Syd shall continue strengthening the capacity of the Somalia Diaspora civil society
    organisations as schools for democracy and positive social change for a future Somalia. This
    shall include organisational development, methods and tools for advocacy for peace and
    peace building.

•   Prioritise any efforts and projects that aim to end the conflict in Somalia and encourage peace
    building by giving support to local and indigenous initiatives that aims to create a conducive
    environment for peace and conciliation.

•   Encourage and support cooperation between Somali-Swedish organisations that works
    together in projects or programs across clan-borders in issues related to peace building,
    dialog, reconciliation and respect of human rights.

•   The Somali Diaspora shall be encouraged to be pro-active, not passive-receivers for financial
    aid. They should be encouraged to initiate ideas and solutions, designing projects or
    programmes that support peace building, reconciliation and sustainable development.

•   Forum Syd, together with its member organisations shall embark on strategic long-term
    programmes that make it possible for civil society organisations to contribute to efforts of
    democratisation, poverty reduction and peace-building.

•   Forum Syd shall provide support to qualified Diaspora and make it possible for them to
    contribute to a sustainable human resources development in Somalia. The support shall be in
    accordance with Forum Syds policy and strategy for strengthening the civil society. However,
    though the needs are acute for qualified personnel in every sector, Forum Syd’s resources
    are limited and personnel aid is costly, which is why Forum Syd will not provide gap-fillers.




                                                                                                   39(47)
                                                        Annex I: Map of Somalia

                                          Annex II: Basic Indicators for Somalia 103


                                                                 Demographics
Population (2007 est.) 104                                                                      8, 228 000
Population under 15                                                                             44.1 %
Median age                                                                                      17.6 years
Total fertility rate                                                                            6.2
Life expectancy at birth – women                                                                50.7 years
Life expectancy at birth – men                                                                  47.0 years
Healthy life exp at birth – women                                                               38.0 years
Healthy life exp at birth – men                                                                 36.0 years
Orphans (0-17 years old; incl. all causes for orphanhood)                                       630.000
Population growth (annual)                                                                      2.8%
Urbanised population                                                                            36%
Urbanisation rate (annual)                                                                      2.7%
International migrants                                                                          3.4 %
Women as percentage of international migrants                                                   46.5 %
Internally Displaced Persons                                                                    700.000
Nationals living abroad / Diaspora 105                                                          1-3 million


                                                                    Economics
Share of population living in extreme poverty (less than 1 US$/ day)                            43.2%
Share of population living in general poverty (less than 2 US$/day)                             73.4%
Child labour (ages 5-14)                                                                        36%
Real GDP per capita (US$)                                                                       795
Remittances per year (US$)                                                                      750 million – 1 billion
ODA / aid: total, bilateral and multilateral (US$ million)                                      190.6
ODA / aid: total, bilateral & multilateral (US$ per capita)                                     23.9
Main exports                                                                                    Livestock, charcoal, bananas, hides, fish


                                                                     Education
Net primary school enrolment/attendance                                                         12%
Primary school attendance – girls                                                               7%
Primary school attendance – boys                                                                13%
Primary school entrants reaching grade 5                                                        68%
Secondary school attendance – girls                                                             48%
Secondary school attendance – boys                                                              41%
Gross tertiary school enrolment                                                                 2%
Adult literacy rate women (over 15)                                                             14%
Adult literacy rate men (over 15)                                                               36%


                                                             Health and Nutrition
Infant mortality rate (per 1 000 live births)                                                   132
Under-5 mortality rate (per 1 000 live births)                                                  224


103 Nomadic lifestyles, refugee-/ IDP-movements and insecurity makes it almost impossible to gather and verify data; hence a range of sources from varying
years had to be used, and several are estimates.
104 Population estimates / extrapolations generally vary between six and twelve million.
105 Estimates on numbers of IDP’s and Diaspora fluctuate greatly (over time and between sources) as migration flows are generally intense but irregular,
depending on natural as well as man-made disasters.
Share of underweight under-5 children                                     26%
Share of population below min. level of dietary consumption               71%
Maternal mortality rate (per 100 000 live births)                         1,100
Births attended by skilled health personnel (1996-2004)                   25%
HIV/AIDS prevalence in pop. aged 15-49                                    <1%
TB incidence (per 100.000 persons)                                        411
Girls undergoing Female Genital Mutilation / Cutting                      98%
Population with access to safe drinking water supply                      23%
Population with access to improved sanitation                             49.8%
Population at risk of Malaria                                             87%
Number of physicians (per 100.000 people)                                 4.0

Sources: UNDP Somalia/World Bank Socio-Economic Survey 2002; Unicef MICS 2001; FAO “State of the Food Insecurity in
the World” 2003; Unicef “State of the Worlds´ Children” 2003; UNAIDS / Unicef 2002; UNDP “Somalia Human Development
Report” 2001; IOM Somalia website; Unicef Somalia Country Office website; CIA website-The World Factbook; Unicef-ESARO
                                                                       th
1996; WHO Statistics 2007; UNDP-POGAR-UN Statistical yearbook, 50 ed; Amnesty International /RefWorld / UNHCR: “AI
Report 2007 – Somalia”; World Resources Institute/EarthTrends




                                                                                                                41(47)
                          Annex III: Main actors in the Somalia media sector



                                                           Press
 Qaran - Mogadishu
 Xog-Ogaal - Mogadishu
 Codka Xoriyadda - Mogadishu
 Ayaamaha - Mogadishu
 Jamhuuriya - Somaliland
 Mandeeq - Somaliland
 Somaliland Times - Somaliland, English-language weekly
 NB: the two newspapers in Puntland collapsed, so currently there are none



                                                        Television

 Somali Telemedia Network (STN) - private, rebroadcasts Quatar-based Al-Jazeera and CNN
 HornAfrik TV - private, rebroadcasts Al-Jazeera, CNN
 Global Television – Private, Mogadishu
 Somaliland National TV (SLNTV) - owned by the Somaliland government
 Eastern Television Network – private, Puntland
 Somali Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) - private, Puntland
 Hargeisa Cable Television (HCTV) - private, Somaliland
 NB: many urban households also receive hundreds of channels through satellite, mainly from Arabic
 countries/networks



                                                Somali Radio stations

 Radio Mogadishu - FM station operated by transitional government, coverage limited to the capital
 Radio HornAfrik – private, independent FM-station based in Mogadishu, rebroadcasts BBC
 Radio Shabelle - private FM-station in Mogadishu and Merka
 Radio Banaadir - private, Mogadishu-based FM-station
 Holy Koran Radio - private, Mogadishu-based FM-station
 Radio Jowhar – community-run station in Jowhar
 Radio Hargeysa - owned by the Somaliland government, via FM and shortwave
 Radio Gaalkayo - Puntland
 Voice of Peace - Puntland
 SBC Radio - private, Puntland
 NB: there are totally 22 Somali radio-stations; these are currently the main ones.



                                            International Radio stations

 BBC World Service
 Voice of America
 Deutsche Welle
 Channel Africa

Sources: BBC News Published 2007/09/06: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/country_profiles/1072592.stm;
AMDI Somalia Country Report 2006
Annex IV: Somalia chronology of key events 1875-2007

History
1875 - Egypt occupies towns on the Somali coast and parts of the interior.
1860s - France acquires foothold on the Somali coast, later to become Djibouti.
1887 - Britain proclaims protectorate over Somaliland.
1888 - Anglo-French agreement defines boundary between Somali possessions of the two countries.
1889 - Italy sets up a protectorate in central Somalia, later consolidated with territory in the south ceded by the
sultan of Zanzibar.
1925 - Territory east of the Jubba river detached from Kenya to become the westernmost part of the Italian
protectorate.
1936 - Italian Somaliland combined with Somali-speaking parts of Ethiopia to form a province of Italian East
Africa.
1940 - Italians occupy British Somaliland.
1941 - British occupy Italian Somalia.

Independence
1950 - Italian Somaliland becomes a UN trust territory under Italian control.
1956 - Italian Somaliland renamed Somalia and granted internal autonomy.
1960 - British and Italian parts of Somalia become independent, merge and form the United Republic of Somalia;
Aden Abdullah Osman Daar elected president.
1963 - Border dispute with Kenya; diplomatic relations with Britain broken until 1968.
1964 - Border dispute with Ethiopia erupts into hostilities.
1967 - Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke beats Aden Abdullah Osman Daar in elections for president.

Drought and war
1969 - Muhammad Siad Barre assumes power in coup after Shermarke is assassinated.
1970 - Barre declares Somalia a socialist state and nationalises most of the economy.
1974 - Somalia joins the Arab League.
1974-75 - Severe drought causes widespread starvation.
1977 - Somalia invades the Somali-inhabited Ogaden region of Ethiopia.
1978 - Somali forces pushed out of Ogaden with the help of Soviet advisers and Cuban troops.
1981 - Opposition to Barre's regime begins to emerge after he excludes members of the Mijertyn and Isaq clans
from government positions, which are filled with people from his own Marehan clan.
1988 - Peace accord with Ethiopia.

Disintegration
1991 - Mohamed Siad Barre is ousted. Power struggle between clan warlords Mohamed Farah Aideed and Ali
Mahdi Mohamed kills or wounds thousands of civilians.
1991 - Former British protectorate of Somaliland declares unilateral independence.
1992 - US Marines land near Mogadishu ahead of a UN peacekeeping force sent to restore order and safeguard
relief supplies.
1993 - US Army Rangers are killed when Somali militias shoot down two US helicopters in Mogadishu and a
battle ensues. Hundreds of Somalis die in the battle depicted in the film "Black Hawk Down". US mission formally
ends in March 1994.
1995 - UN peacekeepers leave, having failed to achieve their mission.
1996 - Warlord Muhammad Aideed dies of his wounds and is succeeded by his son, Hussein.
1998 - Puntland region in declares autonomy.
2000 August - Clan leaders and senior figures meeting in Djibouti elect Abdulkassim Salat Hassan president of
Somalia.
2000 October - Hassan and his newly appointed prime minister, Ali Khalif Gelayadh, arrive in Mogadishu to
heroes' welcomes.
2000 October - Gelayadh announces his government, the first in the country since 1991.
2001 April - Somali warlords, backed by Ethiopia, announce their intention to form a national government within
six months, in direct opposition to the country's transitional administration.
2001 August - UN appeals for food aid for half a million people in the drought-hit south.




                                                                                                                43(47)
2004 August - In 14th attempt since 1991 to restore central government, a new transitional parliament
inaugurated at ceremony in Kenya. In October the body elects Abdullahi Yusuf as president.
Tsunami waves generated by an undersea earthquake off Indonesia hit the Somali coast and the island of Hafun.
Hundreds of deaths are reported; tens of thousands of people are displaced.
2005 February - June - Somali government begins returning home from exile in Kenya, but there are bitter
divisons over where in Somalia the new parliament should sit.
2005 November - Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi survives an assassination attempt in Mogadishu.
Gunmen attack his convoy, killing six people.

UIC advance
2006 February - Transitional parliament meets in Somalia - in the central town of Baidoa - for the first time since
it was formed in Kenya in 2004.
2006 March and May - Scores of people are killed and hundreds are injured during fierce fighting between rival
militias in Mogadishu. It is the worst violence in almost a decade.
2006 June-July - Militias loyal to the Union of Islamic Courts take control of Mogadishu and other parts of the
south after defeating clan warlords.
Ethiopian troops reported in Somalia.
2006 July-August - Mogadishu's air and seaports are re-opened for the first time since 1995.
2006 September - Transitional government and the Union of Islamic Courts begin peace talks in the Sudanese
capital, Khartoum. Somalia's first known suicide bombing targets President Yusuf outside parliament in Baidoa.
2006 October - About 35,000 Somalis escaping drought, strict Islamist rule and the possibility of war have fled to
Kenya refugee since the start of 2006, the UN reports.
War of words between Ethiopia and Somalia's Islamists. Premier Meles says Ethiopia is "technically" at war with
the Islamists because they had declared jihad on his country.

UIC retreat
2006 December - UN Security Council resolution endorses African peacekeepers, specifies that neighbouring
states should not deploy troops. Islamist leaders react by saying they will tackle foreign forces as invaders.
Ethiopian and transitional government engage the Islamists in battle and soon put them to flight.
2006 December 27 - African Union, Arab League urge Ethiopia to pull out its troops. UN Security Council fails to
agree on a statement calling on foreign forces to withdraw.
2006 December 28 - Joint Ethiopian and Somali government force captures Mogadishu.
2007 January - Islamists abandon their last stronghold, the port town of Kismayo.
President Abdullahi Yusuf enters Mogadishu for the first time since taking office in 2004.
US carries out air strikes in southern Somalia which it says targeted al-Qaeda figures, and which reportedly kill
an unknown number of civilians. It is the first known direct US military intervention in Somalia since 1993. The
strikes are defended by President Yusuf. They are condemned for killing innocent civilians.
Interim government imposes three-month state of emergency.
2007 February - UN Security Council authorises a six-month African Union peacekeeping mission for Somalia.
2007 March - African Union peacekeepers land at Mogadishu amid pitched battles between insurgents and
government forces backed by Ethiopian troops. The Red Cross says it is the worst fighting in 15 years.
2007 April - UN says more than 320,000 Somalis have fled fighting in Mogadishu since February.
Hundreds of people are reported killed after several days of fierce clashes in the capital.
2007 May - The World Food Programme says a resurgence of piracy is threatening food supplies.
2007 June - A US warship shells suspected Al-Qaeda targets in Puntland.
Prime Minister Ghedi escapes a suicide car bomb attack on his compound.
Ethiopian Premier Meles Zenawi visits Mogadishu, pledging to withdraw his troops once peace takes hold.
2007 July - National reconciliation conference opens in Mogadishu and comes under mortar attack. Islamist
leaders stay away from the talks.
Refugee exodus grows amid an upsurge in violence.
2007 August - Human Rights Watch accuses Ethiopian, Somali and insurgent forces of war crimes, and the UN
Security Council of indifference during the recent conflict.

Source: BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/country_profiles/1072611.stm
Published 2007/08/17
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                                     th
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