Somalia 101

Different Somalias

On January 26th, 2011, the BBC published a collection of articles entitled “Somalia: 20 Years of Anarchy” to mark 20 years of war and instability in Somalia.  Since January 26th, 1991, when the military dictator Siad Barre was ousted, Somalia has not been under the control of any single national government.  The only part of the “country” that functions today as an effective state is Somaliland, an autonomous region in the north which declared its independence from Somalia in May 1991 shortly after Siad Barre was overthrown.  Because its independence has not been internationally recognized, Somaliland does not appear on most maps as a separate country, but it has risen like a phoenix out of the ashes of broken, war-torn Somalia.  For a quick beginner’s overivew of the (non-anarchic) situation in Somaliland, see BBC’s Somaliland Hope. This map from The Economist indicates the internal division of Somalia, rather than treating it as one undifferentiated mass. I’ll be based in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland.
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