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The Rise and Fall of the Somali State

Dec 8, 2016 | 09:30 GMT
Somalia is far from self-sufficient in economic or security matters
(MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images)

Somalia is often perceived as the quintessential failed state, perpetually ripped apart by internal conflict and competing clan structures, but this has not always been the case. The country's civil war, which has been raging for almost three decades, was preceded by an era in which Somalia was, in fact, a strong regional actor. However, the Somali state eventually fell victim to its own regional ambitions and broader Cold War competition, leading to the disintegration of its institutions. Even now, as the country rebuilds basic governing structures and struggles to establish physical control over its territory, Somalia is far from self-sufficient in economic or security matters. The damage incurred during the collapsing reign of its longtime strongman, Maj. Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre, continues to undermine Somali stability, exposing significant deficiencies in the state that have yet to be repaired....

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