Recent History of Somalia
Lawlessness and clan warfare has been rife since a military government collapsed in 1991. UN estimates 1 million people have become refugees.
Sadly, inter-clan tensions, radical socialism, rearmament by the USSR and the occasional (often disastrous) war with Ethiopia helped tear the country apart. Mohammed Siad Barre, Somalia's last recognised leader, fled to Nigeria in 1991 after the forces of General Aideed took Mogadishu. At the same time the Somali National Movement (SNM), moved quickly and declared independence for Somaliland. Puntland also broke away.
After the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in 1991, the north-west part of Somalia unilaterally declared itself the independent Republic of Somaliland. The territory, whose independence is not recognised by international bodies, has enjoyed relative stability.
Fierce battles between warring factions throughout southern Somalia took place throughout the 1990s, but in 1992 the US led a UN mission (Operation Restore Hope) to distribute food aid to the southern population. Without much ado a nasty little conflict between the US-UN and warlord General Aideed began, during which it's estimated that thousands of Somalis died. The last UN troops pulled out in 1995 having alleviated the famine to some extent, but the nation was still a disaster area.
Designed to establish control across the whole of the country, Somalia's lame-duck Transitional National Government (TNG) was set up in 2000. Alas, it still controls only about a third of Mogadishu and is periodically kicked out of its offices for nonpayment of bills.
In January 2004 talks in Kenya led to a breakthrough: political and militia leaders struck up a deal to form a new parliment. By August, the new transitional parliament was up and running, and as its first task set about scouting around for a president.
In June and July 2006, Islamist militias, operating under an umbrella calling itself Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), toppled the warlords in Mogadishu and imposed their rule over southern Somalia, except in the Baidoa area, which is still controlled by the transitional government.
The rise of Islamists who gained control of much of the south, including the capital, after their militias kicked out the warlords who had ruled the roost for 15 years.
With the backing of Ethiopian troops, forces loyal to the interim administration seized control from the Islamists at the end of 2006. A surge in violence ensued.
In May 1991, northern clans declared an independent Republic of Somaliland that now includes the administrative regions of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sanaag, and Sool. Although not recognized by any government, this entity has maintained a stable existence and continues efforts to establish a constitutional democracy, including holding municipal, parliamentary, and presidential elections.
The regions of Bari, Nugaal, and northern Mudug comprise a neighboring self-declared autonomous state of Puntland, which has been self-governing since 1998 but does not aim at independence; it has also made strides toward reconstructing a legitimate, representative government but has suffered some civil strife. Puntland disputes its border with Somaliland as it also claims portions of eastern Sool and Sanaag.
A two-year peace process, led by the Government of Kenya under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), concluded in October 2004 with the election of Abdullahi YUSUF Ahmed as President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia and the formation of an interim government, known as the Somalia Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs). The Somalia TFIs include a 275-member parliamentary body, known as the Transitional Federal Assembly (TFA), a transitional Prime Minister, Nur "Adde" Hassan HUSSEIN, and a 90-member cabinet.
The TFIs are based on the Transitional Federal Charter, which outlines a five-year mandate leading to the establishment of a new Somali constitution and a transition to a representative government following national elections. While its institutions remain weak, the TFG continues to reach out to Somali stakeholders and work with international donors to help build the governance capacity of the TFIs and work towards national elections in 2009.
In June 2006, a loose coalition of clerics, business leaders, and Islamic court militias known as the Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) defeated powerful Mogadishu warlords and took control of the capital.Last Updated on Friday 13th November 2009