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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Crisis in Somalia: Tragedy in Five Acts
Author:Menkhaus, KenISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Geographic term:Somalia
Subjects:State collapse
Politics and Government
Ethnic and Race Relations
Military, Defense and Arms
international relations
Inter-African Relations
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4496459
Abstract:Somalia's catastrophic humanitarian crisis of 2007, in which up to 300,000 Mogadishu residents were displaced in fighting pitting Ethiopian and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces against a complex insurgency of clan and Islamist opposition, was the culmination of a series of political miscalculations and misjudgements on the part of Somali and external actors since 2004. They resulted in a cascading sequence of political crises which plunged Somalia into increasingly intractable conflicts. This 'tragedy in five acts' includes the flawed creation of the TFG in late 2004, which emerged as a narrow coalition rather than a government of national unity; the failure of a promising civic movement in Mogadishu in summer of 2005 to challenge the power base of warlords and Islamists in the capital; the disastrous decision by the US government to encourage an alliance between its local counterterrorism partners in Mogadishu, producing a war which led to the victory of the Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) in June 2006; the radicalization of the CIC over the course of 2006, which guaranteed a war with Ethiopia; and the Ethiopian offensive against the CIC in late 2006, leading to its occupation of the capital, a complex insurgency against Ethiopian forces and armed violence which produced what the UN described as a 'humanitarian catastrophe'. In virtually every instance, key actors took decisions that produced unintended outcomes which harmed rather than advanced their interests, and at a cost in human lives and destruction of property that continues to mount. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]