Somalia

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Somalia is experiencing "the worst violence" in years, Reuters' Guled Mohamed reported May 4, 2006. "The United States is funding a coalition of Somali warlords fighting hardline Islamic militia in the capital Mogadishu as part of Washington's declared war on terrorism, a Somali government spokesman said. ...

"Some 90 people were killed in March [2006] in battles between fighters linked to the influential Islamic courts and those tied to a self-styled anti-terrorism coalition in Mogadishu, comprising most of the capital's powerful warlords," Mohamed wrote.

Before the civil war began in 1991 [1], there was substantial interest in getting access to Somalia's potential oilfields by major US Companies -- Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips.[2] . Piracy of foreign ships and oil tankers by somali pirates has been a become a major problem in last few years.[1]

About Somalia

Somalia (Somali Democratic Republic) has a "coastline approximately 3300 km long." [1] Somalia "forms the area known as the Horn of Africa, bordered on the North by the Gulf of Aden, on the East and South by the Indian Ocean, on the Southwest by Kenya, on the West by Ethiopia, and on the Northwest by Djibouti." [2]

"Throughout Somalia, animal husbandry and agriculture are the main economic activities. Both fisheries and maritime transport play minor economic roles. There is no oil or gas exploitation, nor is there tourism in the area. Pastoral nomads form the majority of the Somali population, followed by farmers. Coastal population varies seasonally as many nomads, and their flocks, move to the coastal areas after rainfall and retreat to the mountainous hinterland during the dry summer months." [3]

The Gulf of Aden: Waterway to Persian Gulf Oil

The Gulf of Aden is located in the Indian Ocean and is situated between Yemen on the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula and Somalia in Africa.

"The gulf – roughly 900 kilometres long and 500 kilometres wide – is an important waterway for transporting Persian Gulf oil. Together with the Red Sea, which it connects with in the northwest through the Bab el Mandeb sound, it forms an essential oil transport route between Europe and the Far East." [4]

Africa's "two non-African issues"

"On top of Africa’s internal problems there are also two non-African issues which are hampering efforts to resolve conflicts and to promote better government and economic development," Tom Porteous wrote January 21, 2006. "The first is the industrialised world’s increasing thirst and competition for African oil, which seems to take precedence over pious statements about African development."

"The second non-African problem Africa could do without is the west’s 'war on terrorism'. Increasingly since 9/11, the entire predominantly Muslim belt running from the Horn of Africa through Sudan and the Sahel to West Africa has been regarded as a front in this war," Porteous wrote.

Since the September 11, 2001, "attacks on the United States more than four years ago, Somalis have feared that their lawless country could become the setting for a battle between US-backed anti-terror forces and al-Qaeda sympathisers," the BBC reported March 24, 2006. "Now it seems as though their worst fears may be coming true."

Somalia as a "failed state"

Somalia "appears to be the very definition of what we call a failed state," Andrew Cockburn, wrote in the July 2002 issue of National Geographic. "The last time this desert country possessed anything approaching a normal government, with tax collection, social services, and law enforcement, was under a bloody dictator named Siad Barre. After Barre was driven out by a national rebellion early in 1991, political power over most of Somalia fell into the hands of feuding warlords, who, like grand dukes from the European Middle Ages, deployed their private armies to battle for power even as hundreds of thousands of other Somalis were dying of hunger. Outside intervention, often with good intentions, has done little to help--and has usually made things worse."

In May 2002, the International Crisis Group wrote that "Somalia is one of the world's chief examples of a failed state - a frequently lawless land of chronic, criminally opportunistic, conflict. There is no functioning, nationally-recognised central government. Somalia is unable to control its borders or police its financial sector and has in the past been a safe haven for al Qaeda. Its highly fragmented internal security situation and the competing agendas of its neighbours have raised concerns that it may again become a base for international terrorism."

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Somalia", CIA World Fact Book, April 9, 2009. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "CIA" defined multiple times with different content
  2. Mark Fineman,The Oil Factor in Somalia: Four American petroleum giants had agreements with the African nation before its civil war began. They could reap big rewards if peace is restored", The Times, January 18, 1993.

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2001
2002
2003
2004
  • Joseph Winter, "Living in Somalia's anarchy," BBC, November 18, 2004: "As Somalia's new government prepares to return to restore order after years of anarchy, [report] from Mogadishu on life with no central control. "
2005
2006
2007
2011