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Indigenous Forms and External Interventions in a Somali Context

There have been numerous outside interventions in the Somali areas, many of them ill- timed, ill-thought through and poorly implemented. Over a period of more than twenty years, serial efforts have been made by a range of actors employing the techniques of state- building on the one hand, and military invasion on the other, to lay the foundations for a ‘national’ government. Some seventeen externally-sponsored ‘reconciliation’ conferences have been held between the collapse of the Siyaad Barre government in 1991 and the Ethiopian invasion of 2006. Perhaps in time, the Kenyan invasion which commenced in October 2011 will also be seen in that light, although it is too early to draw that conclusion yet. While the pattern is particularly clear in relation to efforts to establish a viable government for the nation-state that is presumed should follow the Republic of Somalia, much the same criticism can be leveled at development interventions more generally. International interest in intervention in the Somali context has recently been renewed with yet another major, internationally supported conference on Somalia, this time in London.

Michael Walls & Hodan Elmi

University College London & CARE International