UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Analysis: Somalia Slipping Away

Council on Foreign Relations

May 29, 2007
Prepared by: Eben Kaplan

Over sixteen anarchic years, the people of Somalia have endured more than their fair share of strife. But conditions have taken a pronounced turn for the worse in the last six months, with the capital city Mogadishu witnessing some of the heaviest fighting in a decade as local militias resist the presence of Ethiopian forces. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis have fled the violence, seeking refuge in the countryside and neighboring states only to find themselves without such basic necessities as food or shelter. Visiting UN High Commissioner for Refugees John Holmes said, “Somalia is a worse displacement crisis (al-Jazeera) than Darfur or Chad or anywhere else this year.” The country sits at the heart of a region so volatile that Western observers worry the strife could have global security implications.

Streams of refugees and lack of security are contributing factors to broader insecurity. As a new interactive map shows, discord in the Horn of Africa extends across national borders. Ethiopia, which dispatched its troops at the behest of the weak Somali government, now wants to withdraw its forces. After protests from the United States—which supported Ethiopia’s intervention—and the African Union, Addis Ababa said it will wait for the arrival of more AU troops (Reuters) before pulling out. David Bosco, a human rights law expert, suggests the “responsibility to protect” doctrine applies to Ethiopian forces in Somalia.

Ethiopian leaders have plenty to preoccupy them at home. Facing a simmering border dispute with Eritrea, a growing domestic religious conflict (WashPost), and separatist rebels in the southeast, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s desire to bring his troops home is understandable.

Read the rest of this article on the cfr.org website.

Copyright 2007 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on GlobalSecurity.org with specific permission from the cfr.org. Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to cfr.org.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list