Understanding the sources of the Somali conflict

While droughts are not uncommon in the Horn of Africa, the decisive factors which have transformed the current drought into a famine are essentially political in nature. Somalia, which has been wracked by civil war since the collapse of its central government in 1991, epitomises this. In the following piece, Afyare A Elmi argues that it was a combination of the struggle by local groups for power and resources, colonial and foreign intervention and state repression which precipitated the conflict.

Xumaan ka guur, xumaan u guur

Xaggee bannaan, xeraan galnee

Moving from bad to worse

Where can we go, we are in prison

Farah Gamuute, Somali writer and poet

IN the early 1990s when the Soviet Union disintegrated many people expected that peace in a unipolar world would prevail. Instead, many intra-state wars broke out in different parts of the globe. Different factions, identity groups and regions challenged existing states' monopoly over violence. As a result, a number of states collapsed and many others to this day remain precipitously on the verge of failing. Somalia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, the former Yugoslavia, Congo and Cambodia are examples of states that experienced total collapse. Many African countries such as Ethiopia, Sudan and Zimbabwe are under extreme pressure from domestic and external forces. Many scholars and some important political actors often characterise these conflicts as identity-based civil wars.1

This article discusses the causes of the Somali conflict. As I argued elsewhere,2 the main causes of the Somali conflict are competition for resources and/or power, the colonial legacy, and repression by the military regime. Politicised clan identity, availability of weapons, and the presence of large numbers of unemployed youth are considered as contributing causes.3 The article further outlines the peace processes held and it discusses some of the main factors that led to the failure of these efforts.

Somalia: Brief background

Early European writers called Somalis a mixed race of Arab and African origins but more reasonable accounts suggest that Somalis are related to other ethnic groups in the Horn of Africa. In other words, Somalis, as an ethnic group, are African in race and Muslim in faith. Moreover, Somalis are largely homogeneous even though there are groups of Arabs, Bantus and Baravans. Within the Somali ethnic group, there are many clans and sub-clans that are based on patrilineal kinship.4

Prior to European colonial arrival, Somalis did not have a central state in the sense of a Western, Weberian bureaucratic state. However, they used home-grown conflict resolution mechanisms of Heer (traditional law) and Islam for resolving disputes among individuals and groups. Socioeconomically, Somalis have depended on livestock and farming and many are pastoral-nomads.5

Colonial countries partitioned Somalia into five parts. Great Britain took two parts while France, Italy and Ethiopia divided the remaining three among themselves. In response to the partition and the colonisation that followed, Somalis fought back. Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan led a long struggle against Great Britain while several groups resisted France, Italy and Ethiopia in other parts of Somalia. Besides Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan's protracted struggle between 1899 and 1921, the most significant organisation was the Somali Youth League (SYL), which was established in 1943.

Following Italy's defeat in the Second World War, the United Nations put Southern Somalia into trusteeship for 10 years. Northern and Southern Somalia gained independence on 26 June 1960 and 1 July 1960 respectively, and they united under one state. Somalia's first state was determined to unite all the regions under 'Greater Somalia'.

For the first nine years after its independence (1960-69), Somalia was a democratic state. Although the SYL was the dominant political party, there were as many as 60 political parties in the 1967 election.6 But, Cold War politics and the winds of change in Africa affected Somalia. The military coup on 21 October 1969 turned Somalia into a socialist state. Although Siyad Barre's military regime built many schools and roads, it repressed the Somali people for over 20 years. As a result of the military regime's repressive tactics, several clan-based armed groups organised rebellions. Among these were the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), the Somali National Movement (SNM), the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), the Somali Democratic Movement (SDM) and the United Somali Congress (USC).

In 1978 military officers from the Majeerteen clan attempted to overthrow the regime.7 In response the Siyad Barre government used the national army and police to punish civilian members of the Majeerteen clan and the military was involved in the killing of civilians, mass abuses, and the destruction of areas inhabited by the clan. The current civil war started with these events. As more clans began to challenge the state, so the regime became more abusive. In 1981 politicians of the Isaaq clan established an opposition movement (the Somali National Movement) in London. Again the Siyad Barre regime began to punish innocent civilians, murdering many people when the SNM attacked the cities of Hargeysa and Bur'o in 1988. Human rights organisations reported that more than 50,000 people were killed in these conflicts.8

After Siyad Barre was overthrown in 1991, most of the country's institutions, as well as law and order, were destroyed. Anarchy spread in the country. While successful in overthrowing the regime, opposition factions failed to fill the power vacuum because no faction (including the United Somali Congress that expelled Siyad Barre from Mogadishu) had the power to dominate the other groups militarily. They also failed to reach a negotiated settlement. As a result, the factions kept fighting against each other for different motives. Most of the major factions have been fighting for domination, while smaller ones have been fighting for survival.9

Competition for resources and power

Outside urban centres, different clans contest over resources such as water, livestock and grazing land. In the past Somali nomads have fought over the ownership of camels because of their utility for survival in Somalia's harsh environment. In this context, clan identity is useful because to obtain and keep a large number of camels one needs to rely on the support of one's clansmen. As Abdalla Omar Mansur notes, after urbanisation, the type of assets seen as important changed.10 State power, weapons, jobs and foreign aid became important resources for which clans and other groups competed. To access these, again one had to rely on the relationships that clan identity provided. In relying on clan identity, clan lines were strengthened.

Indeed, during the first round of the civil war, between 1988 and 1992, militias were organised along major clan lines and major cities changed hands.11 In fact, it was at that time common to hear from the media, and Somalis, that faction X had captured a particular city or was occupying an important location within the capital. Militias from Hawiye clans expelled other Somali clans from Mogadishu and other towns in the central and southern regions. Militia groups that belonged to the Darod clan also controlled the Lower Jubba and Puntland regions while Digil and Mirifle took charge of the Bay and Bakool regions. Soon this changed, and the sub-clans of the major clans began to compete for the control of major cities. In Mogadishu, Habar-Gidir and Abgal militias fought for four months and destroyed what was left of the city. Habar-Gidir militias also fought against the militias of Murusade and Hawadle clans. Similarly, the militias of Absame and Harti clans of the Darod clan clashed a number of times for control of Lower Jubba, particularly the city of Kismayo. The Marehan and Harti sub-clans' forces have also fought over the same issue. These examples were repeated as the militias of Digil and Mirifle clans fought over control of the city of Baidoa. Even the break-away region of Somaliland was not spared from this intra-clan warfare - the militias of Isaaq clans (Garhajis and Habar Awal) fought a bitter civil war in north 'Somaliland'.

Colonial legacy and military repression

At the macro level the colonial legacy has also played a significant role in the Somali conflict. In 1884, the colonial powers divided the Somali peninsula into five different regions. Great Britain took the northwest regions and Northeast Frontier District (NFD). France colonised Djibouti and Italy controlled southern Somalia. During the 'scramble for Africa', Ethiopia was given the western portion of Somalia for its cooperation with the colonial powers. After colonisation, Great Britain handed over several regions of the Somali territories to Ethiopia and Kenya. Indeed, it was because of this division that Somalis started to mobilise for independence and fight against colonial forces. Moreover, after Somalia became independent in 1960 it spent most of its resources regaining the lost regions.12 The current collapse of the Somali state is rooted in the 1977 war between Somalia and Ethiopia over the 'Ogaden' region. Due to direct military intervention from the Soviet Union and Cuba, Somalia lost the war.

With respect to repression, injustices that stemmed from the use and abuse of power during the period of the Somali state (1960-91) produced many of the grievances that Somalis have against each other. Both civilian and military governments were essentially controlled by the elites of respective clans who held the levers of state power. Somalis call the first civilian government, as democratic as it was, 'the corrupt government' (Dowladdii Musuqmaasuqa). Qasim, a famous Somali poet, eloquently characterised how Somalia's civilian government failed to meet the expectations of Somalis. He said, 'Isma doorin gaalkaan diriyo, daarta kii galaye'13 (There is no difference between the infidel I expelled [from the country] and the one that occupies the building [the government parliament]). Although not widespread, there were cases in which the government used the Somali police against clans who held grievances against the regime.14

While civilian leaders in the period between 1960 and 1969 embezzled state resources, mishandled judicial cases and scholarships, or else used nepotism when hiring and firing government employees, the military regime which took power in 1969 committed heinous crimes against civilian populations. The military leaders used brute force against opposition groups and the general public. The first incident came when military officers attempted to overthrow the government in 1978 (after the 1977 war). The coup failed, and Siyad Barre's regime killed many innocent Somalis who belonged to the Majeerteen clan in the Mudug and Bari regions. From the regime's perspective, those people were guilty by association or because they shared an identity, at times a distant one, with the officers allegedly responsible for carrying out the coup. Hadrawi, Somalia's greatest poet, protested this barbaric act and wrote his poem 'Heelliyo' (Female monkey), in which he criticised the military regime's practices.15

A similar event, albeit bigger in terms of magnitude and human suffering, occurred in northwest Somalia, 'Somaliland', in 1988. After a long war Siyad Barre signed a deal with Ethiopia's dictator in which they agreed to stop supporting the respective opposition groups of both regimes. This agreement forced Mengistu Haile Mariam of Ethiopia to stop supporting Somali opposition groups, including the Somali National Movement (SNM). As a result, the SNM moved into Somalia, captured Bur'o city and then attacked Hargeysa, the second capital of Somalia. The Siyad Barre regime retaliated, killing thousands of people with military airplanes and tanks. Several human rights groups condemned this act and in fact, even the United States, which earlier supported the Siyad Barre regime, stopped providing military assistance to the Somali government.16

Clan pride and the culture of taking revenge against any member of the perpetrator's clan (i.e., collective punishment) are not only causes of traditional clan wars but the cause of the recent civil war. For some theorists, pride or prestige is considered a type of resource, albeit not a quantifiable one.17 There are numerous examples that show how clan pride motivated conflicts. For example, when the militias of Abgal and Habar-Gidir sub-clans of Hawiye fought in Mogadishu, it was clear that clan pride was a pertinent factor. Members of the Abgal clans considered Mogadishu as their own city and believed that the Habar-Gidir clan came all the way from the central regions of the country. Similarly, when Habar-Gidir's militia captured the Hiran, Lower Shabelle and Bay regions, clans that traditionally populated those areas internalised the defeat as an injury to clan pride.18

Clan pride causes conflicts between clans when a member of a clan kills another person. The clan of the victim often takes such an act as an injury to its pride and takes revenge. Besides competition for resources and/or power, there are many examples where a war began between two clans because of a perceived injury to clan pride and the collective punishment that followed it. In the 1940s clan wars among the Habar Yonis, 'Ogaden' and Dhulbahante clans began, and according to Guba poems, it was because of perceived injury to clan pride.

The Somali peace conferences: Why did they fail?

There were five major conferences that the international community supported (see table). However, at least 12 additional conferences were held, all outside of Somalia and all of which also failed. Djibouti sponsored the first peace conference in August 1991 and the Arta peace process in 2000. It also hosted two rounds of conferences in May and June 2008 for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia. Kenya hosted a conference for the Somali groups in April 1994 and October 1996. Moreover, in 2001 Kenya hosted two more conferences, in Nairobi and Nakuru. Some Somali groups met in Cairo in November 1993. Yemen held talks for the Somali groups in April 1997. This conference was useful as it destroyed the green line in Mogadishu between the United Somali Congress (USC) groups. Moreover, Yemen mediated the two factions of the TFG in 2005. Ethiopia organised two conferences: Sodere in 1996 and Awase in 2001. Sudan hosted three rounds of conferences between the TFG and the Union of Islamic Courts.

Several factors contributed to the failure of the first two peace conferences in Djibouti and Addis Ababa. Some of the faction leaders that participated in the conferences thought they could win the war through military victory and therefore were not interested in a negotiated settlement. For instance, the six groups that met in Djibouti signed a peace accord, but General Mohamed Farah Aideed rejected the deal even though his representatives signed the agreement. He believed the agreement did not reflect the realities on the ground. Right after the accord, war broke out between the factions of General Aideed and Ali Mahdi over power-related issues.

Although thousands of people were killed during the Mogadishu fighting between the USC groups and other inter-clan wars, none of the groups emerged as a winner. The international community and the regional actors called for another conference in Ethiopia. The 15 factions that participated in this conference produced a detailed peace agreement. The creation of a Transitional National Council was agreed on which had to be elected from Somalia's 18 regions. Each of the regions would choose three members, of which one would be a woman. Again, the question over who would select these members resulted in a dispute between General Aideed and the leadership of the United Nations. General Aideed believed that since he controlled many regions his faction would nominate, while the UN wanted to respect the local people's wishes. Again, General Aideed's forces fought against the US-led United Nations forces, thus leading to another failure.

While the first two conferences were unsuccessful due to the lack of will on the part of Somali faction leaders, the Cairo and the Arta conferences failed due to foreign meddling too. When Somalis signed the Cairo Peace Accord, Ethiopia convinced Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf and General Aden Abdullahi Nur (Gabyow) to quit the conference. These leaders left Cairo and rejected the outcome. Moreover, Hussein Aideed, Ali Mahdi and others were also not interested in implementing the agreement. Hussein Aideed refused to leave Baidoa which his forces controlled. In addition, Ali Mahdi and Hussein Aideed failed to pacify Mogadishu. Many Somalis believe they had neither the will nor the capacity to do so.

The Mbagathi conference and Transitional Federal Government

Since the Mbagathi conference lasted for two years and the transitional government that resulted officially ruled the country for the longest time, in-depth analyses are warranted. The peace conference held for the Somali factions and warlords in Kenya concluded on 10 October 2004, with the formation of a transitional government. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional organisation of East African countries, sponsored the conference, which was hosted by the Kenyan government. During this period, as IGAD claims, the Somali factions enacted a transitional charter and selected a 275-member legislature. The selected parliament then elected Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as president.

According to Stedman, badly designed and poorly implemented peace agreements can lead to a renewed civil war, not to peace. Stedman cites the examples of Rwanda and Angola where, according to him, more people died after a peace agreement was signed than during the conflict.19 At the outset, there were serious problems with the process that produced Somalia's Transitional Federal Government. Ethiopia dominated the peace process. In particular, it rewarded the warlords that supported its policies by appointing them as members of the parliament and cabinet, and it punished those who were not on its side: civil society, nationalist intellectuals, and Islamists. Since representation problems have always been the most difficult challenge, Ethiopia and Kenya, with the help of IGAD, arbitrarily selected most of the 275 members of the parliament. They also alienated factions and countries that were important for any successful peace agreement in Somalia.

Ethiopia and Kenya had their own reasons for manipulating the peace conference. They had concerns about the notion of a greater Somalia since they both control Somali regions. So in this venture, they wanted to install a regime that was opposed to the idea of a greater Somalia. Besides, Ethiopia is a large landlocked country, and it is interested in gaining access to a sea corridor. The current Addis Ababa regime, therefore, wants to create several mini-states that are hostile to each other and have good relations with Ethiopia. It prefers to deal with different clans that populate the areas in which it has an interest rather than dealing with a strong united Somali state.20

Ethiopia and Kenya imposed this transitional government on the Somali people, and for the first time in history they had a charter, a parliament and a government of their design in Somalia. Without a national debate or referendum, Ethiopia and Kenya, while using their proxy warlords, also forced an undefined and obscure form of federalism on Somalia. Interestingly, the argument here was that the state was not federal but the government was federal - the Transitional Federal Government of the Somali Republic. This logic was strange because the confusion it created is still with the new Government of National Unity.

The conditions that often necessitate federation are not present in Somalia. In addition, Somalia lacks the capacity to run several layers of government: local, regional and federal. There are also practical problems, as currently there are no agreed-upon regions or states in Somalia. Depending on the popular opinion of different clans, some (federalist northerners) want two regions while others (Puntland and Rahanweyn Resistance Army) call for four or five regions. But there are also those, such as some members of the Darod clan, who want the federation to be based on the 18 regions that Siyad Barre left. On the other hand, some members of the Hawiye clan call for the eight regions that existed before Siyad Barre came to power. None of the above criteria are based on an objective system or the economic reality of the country; each clan wants to maximise its share. Adopting such an undefined form of federalism is likely to lead to more conflicts, not solutions. More important, as has been noted previously, the Somali people did not have an opportunity to participate in the process that was used when adopting federalism.

Although the Somali peace process in Kenya took two years, unfortunately it did not have time to address justice-related issues. The question of how Somalis should deal with their past never made it to the table because the warlords did not want to face up to their crimes. Avoiding this important justice issue will not help solve it. Blanket amnesty, punishment and lustration (i.e., limiting the political rights of the warlords) are all possible ways of addressing the issue, which has to be dealt with in the first place.


In addition to these structural issues, the transitional government faced external and domestic challenges. Externally, although Ethiopia and Kenya were on board, some countries in the region such as Eritrea and Egypt were not happy with the outcome of the conference in Kenya. As media reports suggest, Egypt received Abdullahi Yusuf coldly when he visited Cairo in November 2004 to attend the funeral of Yasir Arafat, indicating that Egypt was not interested in working with his government. Arab countries and Somalia's two neighbouring countries, Ethiopia and Kenya, have always been rivals. Arab countries share a culture and religion with the Somali people. Ethiopia and Kenya, on the other hand, share geographical boundaries with Somalia and consider it a historic enemy. Kenya and Ethiopia also have political, economic and military ties against Somalia.21 Moreover, Ethiopia undermined Egypt's efforts to end the Somali conflict in 1997 at the Cairo conference.

Many Western countries did not clearly state how they would deal with the new regime after it was established - although this changed in 2006 when the Union of Islamic Courts emerged. The US and Great Britain cautiously welcomed the development, but their recognition and support were conditional on how the new government functioned in the country - in fact, Washington ignored the government and decided to work with the Mogadishu warlords in undermining the government. These countries' past policies toward Somalia did not change. When former president Abdikassim Salad Hassan and his prime minister, Dr Ali Khalif Galaidh, asked for assistance in 2000, the US and other Western countries told the transitional national government they would receive assistance when their government was fully functional in the country. Had the Western political and economic support come right after the conclusion of the conference, the survival chances of the Transitional Federal Government would have been much better.

Internally, the TFG faced many challenges. After its inception the government broke down into two factions in 2005. The president and the prime minister were on one side, and the speaker and several Mogadishu warlords were on the other. The president of Yemen mediated the two groups in 2005. The parliamentary speaker and the president agreed to end their hostility and hold a parliamentary meeting in Baidoa.22 But again, the transitional government broke down into two groups. The parliamentary speaker and 40 other members fled the country after Ethiopian invasion forces crossed the Somali border. The president and the prime minister and most of the members of parliament went to Baidoa where they chose another speaker. The difference between these two groups was largely based on the presence of Ethiopian troops. Interestingly, there was another rift between the president Abdullahi Yusuf and the new prime minister, Nur Hassan Hussein, which escalated and resulted in the resignation of the president Yusuf.

Since Somalis did not own the process that produced the new charter, parliament and the government, many Somalis were cautious in dealing with the transitional government. Neither the Somali people nor their representatives have elected the members of parliament; most members obtained their parliamentary seats with the help of the countries managing the peace conference. Many Somali grassroots groups such as civil society organisations, independent media, human rights organisations and religious institutions were not happy with the outcome of the conference. Many chose not to cooperate with the regime while many more actively resisted both the Ethiopian occupation and the installation of the transitional government it controlled.

President Abdullahi Yusuf brought heavy political baggage with him. His style of leadership, his attitude toward those who differed with him and his loyalty to Ethiopia did not sit well with many important sectors of Somali society whose support was necessary for the success of his regime. These groups considered him Ethiopia's determined spoiler. In addition, the timing and the way he handled his first major policy decisions - calling for peacemaking troops that included those of Ethiopia and Kenya - was also controversial. These actions fuelled mistrust among rival clans and Islamists because some interpreted the moves as hostile. As different Somali media outlets have reported, the price of weapons in Mogadishu dramatically increased in the months that followed President Yusuf's election; a sign of war, not peace.

In addition, Abdullahi Yusuf had poor relations with most of Somalia's intellectuals and religious leaders. Yet the support of these groups was necessary for any government to function in Somalia. In the past, he alienated intellectuals and antagonised the religious community, calling them 'terrorists' in order to win sympathy from the Ethiopian government and Bush administration. Moreover, inviting Ethiopian troops, although the US was also involved in this project, was a serious blunder on the part of the government. In fact, the transitional government did not recover from this move.


In short, the causes of the Somali conflict are multiple. I have argued here that the main causes are competition for power and resources, colonial legacy and state repression. Moreover, I discussed the roles of clan identity and the clan pride that comes with it. Regarding the reasons that led to failure of the efforts to end the Somali conflict, a combination of factors including lack of will and capacity on the part of Somalis and foreign meddling are behind the collapse of the five major peace conferences.  u

Afyare A Elmi is Assistant Professor in the International Affairs Department at Qatar University. The above is an extract (Chapter 2) from his book Understanding the Somalia Conflagration (see advertisement on p. 40).

      The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent those of the Third World Network.


1.    See Michael E. Brown, 'The Causes of Internal Conflict: An Overview', in Michael E. Brown (ed.), Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997), pp. 3-25; Chaim Kauffman, 'Possible and Impossible Solutions to Ethnic Civil Wars', International Security 20 (1996): 136-75; Dan Smith, 'Trends and Causes of Armed Conflicts', in M.F. Norbert Ropers, Alexander Austin and Claus-Dieter Wild (eds.), The Berghof Handbook for Conflict Transformation (Berlin: Berghof Research Centre for Constructive Conflict Management, 2000), (accessed August 2008).

2.    Afyare Elmi and Abdullahi Barise, 'The Somali Conflict: Root Causes, Obstacles, and Peace-building Strategies', African Security Review 15, no. 1 (2006): 32-54.

3.    Dr. Abdullahi Barise and I have provided in-depth explanation on the contributing causes and the obstacles in an article we published in African Security Review, 15, no. 1 (2006): 32-54.

4.    The major clans are Dir, Darod, Isaq, Hawaye, and Digil and Mirifle. See I.M. Lewis, Saints and Somalis: Popular Islam in a Clan-based Society (Lawrenceville, NJ: Red Sea Press, 1998).

5.    See I.M. Lewis, Blood and Bone: The Call of Kinship in Somali Society (Lawrenceville, NJ: Red Sea Press, 1994).

6.    A.A. Castagnio, 'Political Party System in Somalia', 1964; Lewis, Saints and Somalis.

7.    Although this is the widely held view, the leaders and supporters of this coup argue that the officers who wanted to overthrow the government belonged to all clans, but the regime played politics with this and punished only one clan.

8.    Africa Watch, Somalia: A Government at War with Its Own People (London: Africa Watch, 1990), p. 10.

9.    See Elmi and Barise, 'The Somali Conflict'.

10.   A. Mansur, 'The Nature of the Somali Clan System', in A.J. Ahmed (ed.), The Invention of Somalia (Lawrenceville, NJ: Red Sea Press, 1995), pp. 117-33.

11.   It would be simplistic to say that clan X fought clan Y over Z resources because militias organising along clan lines used these clan names and committed atrocities against civilian members of all clans. Although most civilian members of clans did not play a notable part in the fighting, the war nevertheless affected them. Here, I mean militias of respective clans fought, not all the members of a clan against all members of another clan. There are many examples where militias from two clans fought in one part of the country, but the same two clans coexisted peacefully in other areas.

12. Charles L. Geshekter, 'Anti-colonialism and Class Formation: The Eastern Horn of Africa before 1950', paper presented at Somali Studies Conference, Boston, 1992; Lee V. Cassanelli, The Shaping of Somali Society: Reconstructing the History of a Pastoral People, 1600-1900 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982).

13.   Ahmed Ismail Qasim is one of Somalia's most well-known poets. He composed this poem during the 1960s.

14.   See Elmi and Barise, 'The Somali Conflict'.

15.   In the last few lines of this poem Hadrawi graphically explains the atrocities that the military regime committed in the northeast and central regions. In Somali, he writes, 'Hadimada Garoowiyo, hanaq go'a Nugaaleed, halka aad tummaatiday, waxa kaga habboonaa, dar kaloo i hawlee, huqdaad reebtay weynaa, hibashiyo ladh kululaa. Colka Bari harraatiyey, hubka Mudug ku talax tegey, Allaylehe hubsiiniyo, hakin buu u baahnaa'. In this poem, Hadrawi is talking about the troops that attacked the Bari and Mudug regions of Somalia and the atrocities they committed. For him, the Somali state cannot be excused for such a crime. He concludes that the implication of such a crime is huge.

16.   See Africa Watch, Somalia.

17.   See Otomar J. Bartos and Paul Wehr, Using Conflict Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).

18.   Raage Ugaas, one of Somalia's classical poets, was quoted as saying, 'Qab qab dhaafay baa, laba qabiil qaran ku waayaane. Qaabiilba Haabiil markuu, qoonsaduu dilaye' (Two clans lose nationhood or brave man because of clan pride. Qabil, the first son of Adam, killed Habil, his younger brother, when he felt anguish).

19.   See Stephen John Stedman, Donald Rothchild and Elizabeth Cousens, Ending Civil Wars: The Implementation of Peace Agreements (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2002), pp. 43-70.

20.   See Elmi and Barise, 'The Somali Conflict'.

21.   Economic and Security Pact between Ethiopia and Kenya.

22.   See the Aden Declaration for the details of the agreement between Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan and Abdullahi Yusuf, Declaration.htm (last accessed February 2006).

*Third World Resurgence No. 251/252, July/August 2011, pp 15-20