The Wrong Lessons
The vanishing legacy of Operation Restore Hope
Alex de Waal
8 In the last days of his presidency, George H.W. Bush dispatched the U.S. Marines to Somalia for Operation Restore Hope. One of the defining cases of humanitarian intervention, the U.S. action was intended to stem the violence, looting, and famine that had emerged after the 1991 collapse of the Siad Barre regime.
The Marines landed in Mogadishu in December 1992 and at peak strength numbered over 30,000. In April 1993 the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) took over command with a multinational force including troops from every continent, but the United States continued to make key decisions, especially military ones. The urban war against insurgent General Mohamed Farah Aidids militias started in June and ended in October of that year, when 18 American soldiers were killed in a daylong battle in Mogadishu as they pursued Aidid and his leading lieutenants. U.S. forces withdrew just a few months later, and in March 1995 the last UN forces left.
Shortly after the fiasco in the streets of Mogadishu, President Bill Clintons National Security Council embarked on a lesson-learning experience that was even more disastrous than the decision to fight Aidid. Rather than analyzing why Operation Restore Hope went so badly wrong, the administration shifted blame everywhere but where it belonged: on a poor understanding of the Somali crisis, a failure to appreciate the central historical role of the United States in that crisis, and the arrogant assumption that overwhelming power compensates for ignorance. The result was Presidential Decision Directive 25 (PDD 25), which placed immense restrictions on future U.S. military interventions, including support for UN interventions that involved no U.S. troops. Washingtons studied inaction in the face of Rwandas 1994 genocide grew directly from PDD 25.
Some analysts have sought to generalize from the Somali failure about the prospects for successful humanitarian military intervention,1 but few have examined the consequences of humanitarian intervention by studying the aftermath in Somaliawhere centralized political authority has never reemerged and intermittent hunger afflicts many. Conventional wisdom holds that the country faces these troubles because its clan system of politics cannot provide the basis for a modern state, but the real story in Somalia is not about the limits of clan politics. Instead, it is about political conflicts over the control of basic resources, both before and after the collapse of the state. In the 1980sin part because of Somalias role in Cold War conflicts in the Horn of Africacontrol of the state became the most valuable prize in the country. Somalis continue to kill each other to win it.
Conflict and State Collapse in Somalia
At independence in 1960, Somalia was regarded as one of the few true nations on the African continent. Much more than a colonial concoction, Somalia
had a shared language and culture and a 99 percent Muslim population. But the history of the next 30 years has shown that common language, culture, and religion do not suffice to make a state.
Somalia is poor. In much of the country, where the climate is semiarid, the only way of life is herding livestock. Two riversthe Jubba and Shebelledivide the southern part of the country, providing irrigation for agriculture along their banks. Somalis are famously enterprising and have long been traders, exporting livestock and engaging in all manner of business throughout East Africa, the Middle East, and increasingly further afield.
Somali society is organized according to the principle of descent: every Somali is supposed to know his or her lineage right back to the sheikhs who founded the four main Samaale clan families: Darood, Dir, Hawiye, and Isaak. These clan families further subdivide, in theory making for as many subdivisions as there are generations. By custom, some of these subdivisions are more politically significant than others, providing for a nomenclature of clans and subclans. There are also significant minorities, both the Saab Somali (Digil and Rahanweyn clans), who live a mainly agrarian lifestyle in the south, and non-Somali minorities of traders, town dwellers, riverine farmers, and former Bantu slaves from East Africa. Somali ideology values the pure clanism and nomadism of the Samaale clans.
Somalia has faced a series of hurdles to unification. During the colonial era the Somali peninsula was carved into five pieces by imperial powers. The Italians occupied the larger part of the coastal littoral including the future capital, Mogadishu. The British annexed the coastline opposite the port of Aden. These two parts came together to form the independent Republic of Somalia. Further to the south, the British took additional Somali-inhabited territory as part of Kenya, while in the north, the French occupied Djibouti. Meanwhile the interior of the peninsula, known as the Ogaden after its principal clan, was conquered by Ethiopia.
Aspiring to bring the entire peninsula under one state, Somalia was the only independent African country to refuse to sign the 1963 charter of the Organization of African Unity. In the 1960s Somalia supported a guerrilla war in Kenya, hoping to bring northeast Kenya into its ambit. It also went to war twice with Ethiopia, most seriously in 1977 when President Siad Barrewell armed by the Soviet Unionsaw what he believed was his best chance, with Ethiopia weakened by internal war. The Soviet Union, however, saw revolutionary Ethiopia as a bigger prize and in one of the Cold Wars most remarkable about-faces abandoned its former client and shipped a huge arsenal to Ethiopia, leading President Jimmy Carters National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, to remark that détente lies buried beneath the sands of the Ogaden. Somalia was defeated and withdrew but America stepped into the breach and armed Siad Barre for a decade, making Somalia one of the worlds largest aid recipients. Somali markets were stocked with corn from Kansas; USAID Land Cruisers crisscrossed the plains carrying aid workers to development schemes, the ruins of which now litter the countryside; and affluent villas funded by diverted aid monies sprang up in south Mogadishu.
Over the course of the 1980s the divisive dictatorship of Siad Barre sparked a series of insurrections that gradually reduced the presidents power to the city of Mogadishu. The most serious rebellion was in the north, former British Somaliland, where the Somali National Movement (SNM) began guerrilla attacks in 1980 and briefly captured the two main towns in 1988. In a vicious scorched-earth counterattack, the government destroyed the cities and drove most of the population (principally Isaak) into exile in Ethiopia. Thus was born the separatist sentiment that caused the North to break away and declare itself the independent Republic of Somaliland in April 1991a state that has yet to obtain international recognition. Despite government victory in the north, disintegration had set in and a host of other insurgencies sprang up, notably the United Somali Congress (USC), headed by General Mohamed Farah Aidid and based among the Hawiye clan, and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM) among the Ogaden.
In late 1990 the combined opposition forces converged on the capital and, after weeks of fighting, Siad Barre fled. The USC occupied Mogadishu, which was also largely Hawiye. But the USC had split into two competing factions, and Mogadishu businessman Ali Mahdi prevented General Aidid from going to Radio Mogadishu to announce his victory. The result was an intractable and bloody conflict, with looting and economic disruption that eventually created famine conditions in many parts of southern Somalia.
The suffering was intense, and the conflict prevented most Western relief agencies from operating safely in Somalia. As a result, the calls for a military humanitarian intervention intensified over the course of 1992. In their determination to bring in foreign troops, and thereby set a precedent for a new form of humanitarianism in the post<60.000000>Cold War and post<40.000000>Gulf War era, the heads of some relief agencies took liberties with the truth in their description of the situation. Figures for aid looting were exaggerated, the port was declared closed when careful negotiation could have readily reopened it, and figures for those likely to die from starvation were hyped, just as death rates due to famine were tapering off. But they got what they wanted: in November, a lame-duck President Bush dispatched the troops.
The U.S. Marines had the easy part: protecting humanitarian relief operations just as the famine was waning. In these circumstances it was not difficult to declare success. But the United States postponed the hard political work, failed even to begin the task of disarmament, and then handed over command to a smaller UN force (UNOSOM) in Aprilwhile asking it to do more. Under the command of U.S. Admiral Jonathan Howe, UNOSOM picked a fight with General Aidid and proved unready to take casualties. In October the United States made a truce with Aidid and scaled down the operation. 40.000000>60.000000>
Since the withdrawal of the UN troops in 1995 Somalia has suffered an intractable low-intensity conflict, punctuated by explosions of violence in the southern cities of Mogadishu and Kismayo. Twelve years after the collapse of Siad Barres regime, Somalia still lacks a recognized central government. A succession of mediation attempts by Djibouti and Kenya so far has come to naught. The Transitional National Government (TNG) was formed in 2000, but it excluded key factional leaders, some of whom gained backing from Ethiopia, which suspected transitional government leaders of backing insurrectionary forces in the Ethiopian Ogaden. More recently the Kenyans have been leading a prolonged and thus far inconclusive round of peace talks. Meanwhile, the self-declared Somaliland Republic has enjoyed its de facto independence, securing (for the most part) internal peace.
Economic Roots of the Conflict
<0.800000><0.600000><-0.040000>Why has the Somali conflict proved so hard to resolve? Intractable wars such as those in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been closely linked to struggles for economic resources. Lacking oil, diamonds, forests, or any other reserves of plunderable minerals, Somalia does not seem a strong candidate for a resource-driven conflict. As a result, conventional explanations have focused on the level of armaments in the country and political fragmentation produced by the clan system. Armaments, however, do not produce wars, and the Somali clan system is more a way of organizing Somalias political and economic life than a determining factor in conflicts. Instead, closer study of the conflicts history suggests that control of resources lies at its heart.
Traditionally, riverine agriculture and pastoral husbandry have sustained the Somali economy. In the 1980s, as it became embedded in the global economy and the Cold War geopolitical calculus, these resources were supplemented by a substantial influx of foreign aid and currency. The social groups clustered around these resources have been the principal factors in the political conflict.
1. Riverine Agriculture: Three principal groupsfarmers, landowners, and self-styled liberatorsoccupy the irrigable lands along the banks of the Jubba and Shebelle rivers. The farmers are members of minority groupsDigil and Rahanweyn, various Bantu groups, and others (the latter now much depleted)who inhabited these areas fifty years ago and used simple cultivation techniques. Most of them are now farm workers who were forcibly evicted by the current landowners and own little or no land.
In the 1950s the landowning group began a systematic land-grabbing campaign designed to create banana plantations and other irrigated farms. But the biggest land grab was perpetrated in the 1980s by those closely associated with the Siad Barre regime. Sometimes the land was not even farmed, the title being used as collateral for obtaining loans from aid donorswhich were then used for trade or consumption. The former farmers were reduced to landless laborers. Self-styled liberators, businessmen and soldiers associated with General Aidids USC, overran most of the riverine areas in 199192 and generally appropriated the land for themselves, rather than returning it to the original farmers. They were more cruel than the displaced landowners and exploited the original farmers with still greater ferocity. During the 1992 famine many plantations continued to produce bananas and sometimes corn, but most of the liberators banned the original owners from entering themsometimes savagely punishing those who slipped through the fence to find food for their families.
2. Pastoral Husbandry: Somaliland (in the north and northwest) and Puntland (in the northeast) are dominated by pastoralism and the livestock export trade rather than agriculture and efforts to extract resources from the state. In the 1970s and 1980s traditional Somali pastoralism was completely transformed by the advent of large-scale commercial exports. In the early 1980s livestock exports through Berbera port in Somaliland provided over 75 percent of Somalias recorded foreign currency income. This export growth involved the establishment of a very complex trading and financial system based at Berbera, with a network of agents and brokers stretching throughout Somalia. In the 1980s these traders came into conflict with the Siad Barre government, which tried to control the livestock trade.
While the Siad Barre regime was less successful in these efforts than in its land grabs, the state did manage to penetrate the pastoral economy. Siad Barre used state resources (drilling water wells, establishing grazing enclosures, and sending in the army to impound herds) in support of its favored groups. The Hawiye of the central rangelands were particularly hard-hit because their neighbors belonged to the presidents Marehan clan. The losers in the dual processes of capitalist development and political favoritism were forced to become urban laborers or rural bandits.
In 1989, when General Aidid and the USC arrived in the central rangelands to begin the armed struggle, they found a de facto insurrection already in place. After the collapse of the state in 1991 and following a brief period of conflict, most of the former interclan conflicts over pastoral land were stabilized. With no state power to intrude, a relative equilibrium returned. The herders reestablished workable boundaries between their grazing lands and collaborative arrangements for access to water and markets. Conflicts have recurred but never to the devastating extent of the late 1980s up to 1991.
In the 1990s the leading export traders of Berbera played a key role in establishing and stabilizing the Somaliland state, while those in Puntlands Bosaso played a similar role. Most Somali livestock is now owned or controlled by these trading networks.
3. Remittances: The remittance sector of the economy has become vibrant and vital across the whole country and forms the backbone of a growing financial services sector as well as offshoots such as telecommunications. Somalia has been a major labor exporter since the 1970s. By the 1980s, analyses of the survival of the Somali economyand its perplexing prosperity in certain sectorsconcluded that a huge unrecorded inflow of remittances was a key economic factor. Foreign exchange was in fact plentiful in urban Somalia, and those with access to it were able to survive lean times and even invest in housing and consumer goods. The breakdown of the financial service sector, already well under way in the 1980s, was completed by 1991. Thereafter, private sector international brokers established an extremely effective and efficient money transfer system, enabling Somalis working in East Africa, the Gulf, Europe, America, and elsewhere to wire money back home. By 2001 the leading Somali finance houses were multimillion-dollar operations, diversified into telecommunications, trade, and light industry.
In the 1980s state power in Somalia was controlled by a cluster of military officers and businessmen associated with President Siad Barre and his Marehan clan. As it was not a traditional elite, this group made persistent efforts to insert itself into the different sectors of the Somali economyagricultural, pastoral, and commercial. Beyond some engagement with pastoralism in the Gedo region (adjacent to Kenya and Ethiopia), it lacked an established niche in Somalias economy. So it embarked upon a decade-long attempt to concentrate power in its own hands, and use that powerparticularly control of the army and security forcesto control a greater share of national resources.
But what was of particular importance
for the emerging conflict was that this economic strategy coincided
with a shift in Somalias geopolitical position. Somalia had
become a prime target for foreign aid, both because of its unresolved
conflict with Soviet-backed Ethiopia and its position adjacent to
the sea lanes that brought oil from the Persian Gulf to Western
markets. This rapid expansion of foreign economic and military assistance
made the size and strength of the state grotesquely disproportionate
to the national economy and social fabric. Two-thirds of the national
budget was aid money, and the U.S. General Accounting Office found
that more than 80 percent of U.S. assistance intended for refugees
was being diverted (i.e., stolen) by the government
and army. With aid and arms flowing in, the ruling group was interested
not in fostering economic development but in self-enrichment. Although
its efforts to break the hold of its major competitor (the northern
livestock merchants) failed, Marehan control over the instruments
of state power enabled it to acquire control over large areas of
agricultural and pastoral land, as well as siphon off foreign aid.
This strategy of seizure was economic madness that directly attacked
the productive sectors of the economy, but it could be sustained
so long as the flow of assistance continued.This experiencein
which the struggle for control of resources became a struggle for
control of the statehas played a decisive role in shaping
Conflict between landowners and liberators
has dominated the Jubba and Shebelle valleys over the last 14 years.
The landowners anticipate a return to their land when
they produce their land titles for a new government, and the liberators
fear this. Neither group has any intention of returning the land
to the dispossessed farmers. Each area has its particular complexities
of alliance across class and clan, but the general pattern of dispute
is remarkably constant. Resolving these will require much legal
archaeology into the provenance and status of land titles.
Finance acquired from the state under
the Siad Barre regime continues to play an important role in the
viability of the contending factions. Behind each faction is a business
network with branches in Somalia and abroad. Many of these were
built up under state patronage. Most importantly, competing political
elites continue to expect that they will be able to use state power
for economic advantage in the manner of their predecessors. So the
stakes in the struggle for state power extend well beyond officeholding.
The creation of the TNG at the Djibouti
conference of 2000 indicated just how little had been learned about
the political economy of Somalia in the intervening decade. The
TNG essentially promised a return to a rent-seeking patrimonialism,
in which clans would turn shares of political power into resource
claims. The viability of the TNG is premised on international assistance
and coercion, rather than a mutually beneficial relationship between
the state and the productive sectors. Businessmen from the livestock,
agricultural, and (especially) the financial services sectors were
undoubtedly influential in the process of forming the government.
But they were unable to envision a government that would act as
a servant to them rather than a parasiteperhaps anticipating
major inflows of aid and sovereign rents. In addition, the business
class was unable to impose such a mode of governance on the militia
leaders. It has not proved possible to organize the productive sector
into an effective political force sufficient to gain control over
the state. Widespread rent-seeking, in search of diminishing rents,
has proved more attractive than the more long-term prospect of building
up a political economy based predominantly on productive activities.
This conflict over the imaginary resources of a restored state has
been sufficient to disable the establishment of an effective government.
Order and Fragmentation since
the roots of the Somali conflict lie in the struggle to control
resources and the expectation that state power is the key to such
control, clan divisions help to account for the ways that the conflict
plays out in different places: in particular, its relative intractability
in the south and the greater prospects for solutions in Somaliland
For much of Somali history, clan ties
had a primarily social significance. Clan militarism emerged only
with the creation of a police state in the 1980s under Siad Barre.
Its effects were compounded by the destruction of civic organizations
such as trade unions, which left the clan as the only basis for
social organization and trust. The clan-based mobilization strategy
adopted by the SNMfollowing the loss of nearly half its forces
in the 1988 battlesintensified the shift toward clan militarism.
Until 1988, the SNM was a multiclan army; thereafter it was a federation
of clan militias, and its non-Isaak members and recruits were mostly
encouraged to create or join other movements (notably the USC).
As a result, as the war reached its
crescendo in 1990, the contending armies consisted of large clan-family
coalitions. Artifacts of the political-military conflict, these
alliances were inherently unstable and fought one other as soon
as the government had collapsed. When each failed to win control
of the central state, the locus of conflict shifted to major strategic
resources such as cities and ports, fragmenting the clan alliances.
Thus the major battles of late 1991 and early 1992 were intra-USC
and intra-SPM. These conflicts also remained unresolved, producing
still further fragmentationand also realignment, as fractions
of each clan alliance allied with fractions of the other.
Two years of political turmoil deflated
the value of controlling the central state. But this process was
interrupted by the 1992 military intervention, which sharpened the
political conflict (and later the military one) by re-increasing
the stakes. The UN also tried to freeze the fragmentation of the
factions by awarding representation to these existing factions.
The rationale was to simplify the political process and create a
stable basis for negotiation, but the effect was to preserve and
give added weight to inherently unstable political entities. With
a seat at the UN conference table came resources. Political organizations
therefore coalesced around very weak socioeconomic bases used as
vehicles to compete for external recognition and the resources that
In the case of Somaliland, this impasse
was broken, partly because the U.S.UN intervention never reached
the area. In 1991 the process of fragmentation there was more rapid
and more complete than in the south. But the conflicts were resolved
and a regional order finally reestablished with the 1993 Boroma
Conference. The resulting national Somaliland government was founded
on cooperation among the Berbera-based livestock traders, who were
terrified by the commercially disastrous implications of an outbreak
of fighting in Berbera port. They even extended credit to the government
to finance a police force. Thus the Republic of Somaliland emerged
as a profit-sharing agreement among the dominant livestock traders,
with a constitution appended.
No such stabilization has emerged in
southern Somalia. While most people want to see a stable and representative
Somali government, each military faction fears that it will lose
heavily if state control goes to a rival faction. So each has an
interest in opting out of any proposed agreement. Until a government
built on civic principles (rather than clan-faction agreement) is
created, external pressure will be needed to form a minimal consensus.
Its a classic prisoners dilemma.
Meanwhile commerce progresses. Somali
businessmen have proven themselves capable of continuing successful
commerce without a state or regulatory authority. Moreover, in commercial
districts such as Mogadishus Bokara market, merchants of different
clans are ready to collaborate in providing joint security. In the
wider Somali context, however, such local agreements have not
enabled the consolidation of a dominant class that can stabilize
the state. Mercantile interests remain divided. In particular, the
issue of real estate ownership in Mogadishu is unresolved. Before
1991 Mogadishu attracted investment from all sections of the business
class. Many businessmen aligned with the USC are in possession of
property claimed by others (mainly Darood associated with the former
regime). A parallel issue is the possession of farmland by Hawiye
liberators, which Darood landowners want
It is very unlikely that any future
central government will have the same power to dispense resources
that the Siad Barre government enjoyed. Far-reaching governmental
intrusion into the economy has gone out of fashion, and Cold Warera
distribution of resources to military allies can no longer keep
regimes afloat. But this needs to be made clear to the factions.
If the roots of the conflict lie in the struggle over resources,
then authority over economic dispensationcontrol of the monetary
authority, mechanisms for contracting, land tenure systemshould
be established prior to a political settlement. This would take
some of the heat out of the current political competition in Mogadishu.
Operation Restore Hope and Its
international intervention in Somalia revived the dream of a centralized
state that would be a major recipient of foreign assistance. Accustomed
to interpreting international interest in their country on the basis
of its geopolitical standing and to conspiratorial realpolitik in
the conduct of foreign relations, Somalis were reluctant to believe
the humanitarian rationale for President Bushs intervention.
Most supposed that America had rediscovered a strategic interest
in Somalias position at the tip of the Horn of Africa, or
that vast reserves of oil had been identified beneath its sands.
More immediately, Somalis assumed that international engagement
in their country would revert to form, namely the generous sponsorship
of a strong centralized ruler.
The intervention therefore sharpened
factional conflict by increasing the rewards anticipated from controlling
the state. This conflict initially took a political rather than
military form, as none of the factions dared challenge American
military power. But when forces under General Muhammad Said
Hirsi Morgan of SPM captured Kismayo from Aidids USC and its
allies in February 1993, with American and Belgian troops standing
idly by, the factional leaders learned that the international forces
were not ready to risk casualties. The war was therefore reignited,
and in due course U.S. and UN forces themselves became party to
The intervention also brought immense
external resources into the country in the form of aid and commercial
contracts. Those resources were destabilizing in several respects.
In 199293, the flow of money resulted in major inflation and
then depreciation of the otherwise stable Somali shilling. At the
same time, the intervention recentralized the principal locus of
conflict, with new attention focused on such increasingly valuable
strategic resources as ports, airports, and roads. Even before the
first Marines landed, the United States had inserted itself into
the economic equation and thus into the political struggle. Aspirations
to being a neutral, honest broker were naïve.
American and UN forces arrived armed
with a simplified, clan-based analysis of the political crisis.
Their formula was to get the clans to agree on power sharing. But
this mechanical approach simply ducked the question of the nature
of power in Somalia and why groups were fighting for it. Confused
by the proliferation of factionsespecially their ever-expanding
numberthe United States and the UN insisted on a moratorium
on new political forces. They announced that they would award seats
at the conference table only to a limited number of preexisting
factions, all of them based on clan. These artificial entities,
frozen at a particular moment of political evolution, suddenly gained
huge and unanticipated significanceboth as legitimate political
actors and as conduits for international resources. The clan factions
represented constituencies, but only insofar as those constituencies
were candidates for external patronage.
Ultimately, Somalias political
infrastructure proved too weak to sustain the claims and expectations
laid upon it, and the United States and the UN were too slow and
inept to make political progress. The intervention vanished, just
as Siad Barres state had vanished a few years earlier.
In retrospect, the intervention, which
cost billions of dollars, has left remarkably little political imprint
on Somalia. From the outset, the intervention was based on a misunderstanding
of the crisis in Somaliaand partly a deliberate misrepresentation.
The initial humanitarian focus led to missed political opportunities,
and by the time the American government recognized the need for
a political engagement, it was too late. The political dynamics
in the country, substantially altered and intensified by the intervention
itself, were running ahead of the U.S.UN capacity for response.
Above all, the United States failed
to understand its own history as a major player in Somalia, though
that history strongly influenced the way it was perceived and the
role it could play. Unwittingly, the intervention worsened the underlying
pathologies of Somalias political economy. But after the disastrous
military confrontation with General Aidid, the United States focused
its inquiries on command and control procedures, while blaming the
UN for what was almost entirely a U.S.designed debacle. The
real lessons were not learned, and the wrong lessons were appliedeven
more disastrouslyin Rwanda in 1994. For Somalia itself, the
lessons remain unlearned.
Somalia is still living in the aftermath
of the state looting of the 1980s, an unprecedented exercise made
possible by a grotesquely overpowerful state. This in turn was the
outcome of American political and financial patronage during the
Cold War. The more the state and its coterie of businessmen and
army officers intruded into local political and economic relations,
the more difficult it became to reestablish local peace. Central
state power in Mogadishu, precisely molded by this encounter, has
yet to be reestablished at all. More than a decade of strategies
meant to address the Somali problemby settling on a power-sharing
formula as a prelude to the formation of a national governmentare
leading nowhere. Imaginary resources, in the form of sovereign rents
and aid flows, lie at the heart of the impasse. The U.S.led
intervention, with its unparalleled military and economic power,
was unable to achieve peace and stability. Its political naïveté
rendered it an impotent colossus. Attempts on the same template
are similarly doomed to fail.
When Operation Restore Hope forces
landed, skeptics asked whether the Marines represented the vanguard
of the humanitarian international or the storm troopers of a new
philanthropic imperialism. For Somalis, they represented another
bewildering encounter with a powerful but ignorant Americaan
encounter that only reinforced a tendency toward a pathological
political economy based on the illusory promise of an all-powerful
central state. It was a waste of hope. <
Alex de Waal, director of Justice
Africa and a member of the African Civil Society Governance and
AIDS Initiative (GAIN), has been a writer and activist on issues
of famine, human rights, and peace in northeast Africa for 20 years.
This special section on Rebuilding after
Violence is sponsored by MITs Center for International Studies.
1 See Mohamed Sahnoun,
Somalia: The Missed Opportunities (United States Institute
of Peace, 1994); Refugee Policy Group, Hope Restored? Humanitarian
Aid in Somalia 19901994, 1994; W. Clarke and J. Herbst,
eds., Learning from Somalia: The Lessons of Armed Intervention
(Westview Press, 1997).
Originally published in the December
2003/January 2004 issue of Boston Review