Currently viewing the tag: "Somalia"

In the battle of wills for Somalia’s future, the terrorist group al-Shabab struck a cruel and potentially lasting blow on Oct. 14. Not only did it kill more than 300 people in the largest terrorist attack in the country’s history; it shook the confidence of the Somali government and its domestic and international backers that they can stay the course in rebuilding the war-torn East African nation.

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Alex de Waal has a new essay in the London Review of Books (39:12, 15 June 2017, pp. 9 – 12), which they titled, “The Nazis Used It, We Use it.” Below is an excerpt, the full essay is available with a subscription to the LRB.

In its primary use, the verb ‘to starve’ is […]

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Lasting peace in Somalia remains elusive. Since the collapse of the Siyad Barre government in 1991, Somalia has been the site of both failed interventions and policies of neglect. In 2007, the entry of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) promised a new opportunity to: 1) reduce the threats posed by al-Shabaab; and 2) create an enabling environment in which to consolidate state institutions and promote dialogue and reconciliation among the protagonists. However, the profound obstacles that have bogged down every previous mission remain – AMISOM operates in a fluid political landscape marked by the absence of stable political agreement amongst the main parties to the conflict. The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) is still new and fragile, and disputes within the Somali polity continue to vex state-building and stabilisation efforts. At the same time, terrorist and insurgent groups including (but not limited to) al-Shabaab have proved pernicious, resolute, and adaptable in their efforts to undermine any progress toward the FGS’s consolidation.

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The Times Literary Supplement of October 14, 2016 includes both a review of Alex de Waal’s The Real Politics of the Horn of Africa (by Laura James, who also discusses new books by Pamela Aal and Chester Crocker, Gerard Prunier, and Michela Wrong), and a short piece by de Waal, “The Legend […]

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In case you missed our program this afternoon, below is a re-cap via storify, with thanks to Roxani Krystalli. The program, Staying safe in armed conflict contexts: What do crisis-affected people prioritize and does it work? Do humanitarian actors and others take note?, focused on self-protection.

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Winning the peace in the Horn of Africa — and its neighbors across the huge arc of turbulence from the Maghreb to Central Asia — means studying the warlord’s playbook, updated for the 21st century. Countries beset by factionalism, corruption and violence can’t be fixed with the 20th century tool kit of peace talks leading to new constitutions, plus using aid to build institutions, backed by U.N. peacekeepers. Worse, the U.S. strategy of outsourcing counter-terrorism programs to regional proxies just funnels ready cash into precisely the most skilled and ruthless operators in the political marketplace, as well as giving them the means for repression.

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