“The Invisible Trace” SomaliaFor 16 years following the collapse of the Siad Barré regime in 1991, Somalia remained the only country in the world without an effective central government. Six months of relative stability under the rule of the Union of Islamic Courts was brought to a rapid close in the final days of 2006, as Ethiopian militia allied to the forces of a transitional government (which was formed in Kenya in 2004, but had never assumed power) took over the capital Mogadishu. In January 2007 President Abdullahi Yusuf entered Mogadishu for the first time since taking office in 2004.
International response to the situation in Somalia has to date been insufficient, from both a political and humanitarian point of view. The principal focus has been a peace process lead by the IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development) in Kenya, which led to the creation of the transitional parliament in 2004. This development was seen as positive for the future of Somalia, and was welcomed by the African Union as progress towards peace and stabilization of the country; but the fact remains that antagonism between clans is still very strong. Deep rivalries between regional states persist, threatening the peace process and aggravating the humanitarian crisis.
Over a million Somalis have sought refuge worldwide, and the conflict has threatened the stability of neighbouring countries. This situation is symptomatic of broader international neglect of Somalia. Financial support from donors has failed to provide the level of political commitment and technical assistance required for success.