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Somalia is the Easternmost country on mainland Africa, situated at the tip of the Horn of Africa. The original inhabitants were introduced to Islam by Arabic immigrants from around 7th century CE and the region was ruled for centuries by a succession of dynastic Sultanates, vying for power. The arrival of European colonists in the late 19th century led to the division of Somalia between Britain and Italy. Independence and reunification was achieved in 1960, but the elected government was overthrown just a few years later and an autocratic regime was established. Following the military defeat by Ethiopia, the regime was overthrown and Somalia has since been riven by an ongoing civil war. International and regional interventions have been unable to create a lasting stable government, and Somalia has recently seen the growth of radical Islamist groups.

Early History

Archaeological evidence shows that Somalia has been inhabited since at least the Palaeolithic Era.[i] The ancient civilisation, known as the Land of Punt, is believed to have been located in modern-day Somalia from around 3000 to 1500 BCE. Egyptian documents from the time show that the Land of Punt was a trading partner of Egypt, who would sometimes refer to it as ‘the land of the Gods’.[ii] Using the reconstruction of language, it is thought that the inhabitants of the region from around 1000 BCE onwards were predominantly Cushite and spoke variants of the language. Depending upon their location, they were either arable farmers or raised cattle for food, whilst those in the least fertile regions subsisted on hunting and gathering.[iii] The communities on the coast relied exclusively on fishing until around 300 BCE, when seagoing trade began to introduce wares like iron implements and clothing to the region, exchanged for raw materials like myrrh and frankincense.[iv] Inland communities benefitted greatly from the widespread camel-raising, from around 500 CE, which helped them to more productivelyutilise the sandy, dry soil of southern Somalia.[v] For some groups, a lifestyle of pastoral nomadism developed over the following centuries as result of this use of camels.

Introduction of Islam

From the 7th century CE, migrants from Oman began to arrive on the East African coastline and introduced the Somali inhabitants to Islam for the first time. In 700, an expedition was sent from Hejaz, a region in present-day Saudi Arabia, to conquer Mogadishu.[vi] Islam was gradually spread inland throughout East Africa, aided by the arrival of more migrants from Arab and Persian states to the north. Numerous Islamic sultanates were formed during this period, often warring between themselves. Coastal settlements, particularly Mogadishu and Zeila, became centres of trade for goods from as far afield as China, and were the key points of export for the ivory trade in the region.[vii] Inland clans, such as the Darood and the Isaaq, were now completely nomadic, several times a year packing all their belongings onto animals and moving off to new locations.[viii]

The 14th century marked the beginning of hostilities between Muslims and Christians in the Horn of Africa. The Sultanate of Ifat declared a jihad, or holy war, against the Christian Abyssinians, located in modern-day Ethiopia. Ifat was supported by other Muslim sultanates, and the ensuing conflict lasted for decades until the Abyssinians defeated them in the mid-14th century, virtually extinguishing the Kingdom of Ifat.[ix] The descendants of the Ifat family allied with the Sultanate of Adal and renewed the campaign against the Christians, and at the height of the Sultanate’s in the sixteenth century, the Adal forces led by Imam Ahmed Gurey conquered much of the central Abyssinian highlands.[x] The Portuguese soon intervened to assist their Christian allies and consequently the Abyssinians defeated the forces of the Sultanate of Adal in 1542 and fatally wounded Ahmed Gurey.[xi] Sporadic conflict between the two sides continued for many decades. During the 16th century the Portuguese attacked and occupied many city states along the coast of East Africa, causing the Ajuran Sultanate to form alliances with Ottoman corsairs to fight the Portuguese expansion. A Somali-Ottoman campaign in the 1580s drove the Portuguese from several key ports, but they were soon retaken by a larger Portuguese fleet.

The Geledi Sultanatewas amongst the most significant Somali power to emerge during the 19th century. In 1843 Yusuf Mahamud, Sultan of Geledi, led his forces to the religious settlement of BarderaJama’a, capturing and burning it.[xii] This victory won him security to the north but left the Geledi vulnerable to the Biamaal clan to the south. Yusuf Mahamud was killed in a confrontation with the Biamaal. His son, Ahmad Yusuf, continued the Geledi dynasty for another 30 years until he too was killed in a battle with the Biamaal.[xiii] The continual clan and sultanate rivalry defined Somalia throughout the early modern period. Division and instability were the clearest features of the relationship between the various powers in Somalia.


The divisions within Somali national culture helped to facilitate the imperial partition of the region during the scramble for Africa at the end of the 19th century.[xiv] At first, Britain’s interest in Somaliland as an imperial asset was mostly due to their need for supplies, particularly meat, for the garrison at Aden in Yemen, as well as minimizing French influence in the region. The British used their allies, the Italians, to aid this objective of preventing French expansion.[xv] France had an active interest in the Horn of Africa and was actively seeking to gain more power in the area. Several treaties were signed between the British and Somali clans, ostensibly guaranteeing the independence of the Somalians, but also pledging that they would not allow any influence from other foreign powers over their territory.[xvi] By 1884 three British Vice-Consuls were established on the Somali coast. Both the French and the British quickly expanded their influence and in 1888 they negotiated an agreement that divided the northern coastline into two sections: the region today known as Djibouti became a French protectorate, and the area to the East became a British protectorate.[xvii] Meanwhile, Italy was claiming territory inland from its colony of Eritrea and further along the coast to the east of the British sphere. In 1892 the Sultan of Zanzibar agreed to cede several major ports to the Italians, cementing their control of the region to the south.[xviii] The solidification of British and Italian control effectively divided Somalia into two separate territories and this was formalised in 1894 with the signing of a protocol that defined the respective spheres of influence.[xix] Italy claimed a protectorate over neighbouring Abyssinia, today known as Ethiopia, but a comprehensive defeat in 1896 forced them to abandon their ambitions. This in turn allowed the regionally-powerful Ethiopia to increase its presence in Somalia, and in 1897 a series of agreements were signed that demarcated the boundaries between the European territory and that controlled by Ethiopia.

English camel troopers in 1913, between Berbera and Odweyne in British Somaliland. Image source

The colonisation of Somalia over this period created a backlash against the presence of Europeans in the Horn of Africa. The Dervish movement was born from this desire to drive out imperialist occupiers and remove their influence in matters of religion and culture. The leader of the Dervish movement, Sheikh Mohammed Abdille Hassan, set out to raise an army to recapture land from the British, Italians and Ethiopians, and form an Islamic state. By 1900 Hassan had gathered a sizeable number of adherents and was strong enough to begin attacking Ethiopian encampments.[xx] The following year a joint Anglo-Ethiopian expedition of almost 17,000 men was dispatched to defeat the ‘Mad Mullah’, as the European press had dubbed him.[xxi] The force failed to have any significant impact on the Dervishes, and by 1904 several other British-led expeditions had been defeated, embarrassing the colonial administration but also sapping the strength of Hassan’s forces. Consequently, Hassan negotiated a peace treaty that provided him and his followers a wedge of coastal territory in the Italian protectorate, from which they established a ‘kind of small theocratic state’.[xxii] A period of uneasy peace followed, although the authority of the Europeans continued to be undermined by the Mullah’s teachings. In 1909 Hassan was sent a letter by Sayyid Muhammad Salih, the head of the Salihiya Order, which rebuked Hassan for his reported violations of Islamic Law.[xxiii] This was publicised by the British and Italians and succeeded in damaging Hassan’s influence amongst Somalis. The following year, however, the British decided to withdraw from the interior to concentrate on the coastal regions, providing the Dervishes with the opportunity to expand their power through conflict with other clans. The onset of the First World War reduced the British capability to combat the Dervish campaign. It was not until early 1920 that the Dervishes were confronted by a sizeable British force, which included a squadron of aircraft.[xxiv] The Dervish army was heavily defeated and Hassan was forced to flee with the survivors, pursued by the Europeans. Over the following year many Dervishes were lost to disease and famine, and Hassan eventually succumbed to influenza. Although the Dervish movement ended with his death, their achievements against the better equipped foreigners made Hassan into a national symbol of political and religious revolt against the imperial invaders.

Following the destruction of the Dervish state, Italy sought to extend its influence in Somalia, but was met with fierce resistance by many local clans and tribes. The growing influence of fascism in Italian politics was implemented in Somalia by strongly differentiating the ‘natives’ from their Italian colonisers.[xxv] In 1934, Italian forces invaded and conquered neighbouring Ethiopia, which had long been coveted as a colonial asset. In the early stages of the Second World War Italy also drove the British from their Somaliland Protectorate and unified the territory, creating a short-lived ‘Italian African Empire’.[xxvi] However, as Italy’s fortunes in the war changed it lost control of Somalia and the whole region came under British control in 1941.


After the end of the Second World War, the conditions in Somalia were favourable for the emergence of a modern nationalist independence movement. There were several reasons for this. The resettlement of Somali soldiers and population growth in urban areas helped to create a new political awareness and dissatisfaction with the colonial presence. ‘La Grande Somalia’ created by Italian expansionist fervour also encouraged Somalis to fight for a pan-Somali state that transcended the borders imposed by the colonialists.[xxvii] Nationalist political organisations began to emerge, including the Somali Youth Club (SYC) in 1943 and the Somali National League in 1948. However, the hopes for a unified Somali state were dealt a blow in 1950 when the United Nations granted Italy a 10-year trusteeship over its former colonial areas in Somalia, whilst Britain retained its protectorate, dividing the region once again. The Italian administration was required to ‘foster the development of free political institutions’, so Somalis theoretically had a greater opportunity to participate in the running of their country than at any other time under colonial occupation.[xxviii] This was beneficial in giving some Somalis experience of government, but the re-establishment of Italian authority was heavy-handed and targeted nationalists in an attempt to undermine opposition to the Italian Trusteeship. Somali influence in the trusteeship gradually increased over the decade, helped by the set limitation of the Italian presence to 10 years, but in the British Protectorate, where no deadline had been set for independence, progress was slow.[xxix] A referendum in French Somaliland, today known as Djibouti, was held in 1958 to determine whether the region would join an independent Somali, but the population elected to remain a separate state, associated with France.

Both the Italian Trusteeship and the British Protectorate achieved independence in 1960 and united to form the Somali Republic. The two legislatures formed a new government in Mogadishu headed Aden Abdulle Osman as the first President of the country. A new constitution was ratified by a popular referendum the following year. Although Somalia had finally won its freedom from colonial rule, the newly formed nation still faced many problems. Key amongst these was the friction between the European-style centralised state framework formed after independence and the ‘highly-decentralised nature of traditional Somali political institutions’.[xxx] Tensions between Italian and British-trained personnel, economic problems and clan affiliations added to the difficulties faced by the Republic in the 1960s.

The Pan-Somali struggle was not ended by the formation of the Somali Republic. The government continued to seek unification of all Somali regions, including those which remained under foreign rule in French Somaliland, Ethiopia and Northern Kenya. The five-point star at the heart of the nation’s flag was designed to represent these three areas, along with the two already unified in the new state.[xxxi] The pursuit of self-determination for these regions caused friction between Somalia and Ethiopia, and between Somalia and Britain, who refused to consider the wishes of Somalis living in Northern Kenya. It also damaged Somalia’s standing amongst African nations at the height of Pan-Africanism, in which Kenya and Ethiopia played key roles.

In 1967 a new President, Abdirashid Ali Shermarke of the SYL,was elected and formed a new government under the premiership of Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal. They undertook a fresh approach, putting less emphasis on an aggressive Pan-Somali agenda and instead seeking to improve relations with Somalia’s neighbours. Whilst this had some success, the policy was unpopular in some quarters and was seen as a capitulation. When the SYL won all but one seat in the 1969 election and effectively became a one-party state, the opposition to the government’s growing autocracy became more extreme. On 21October 1969 President Shermarke was assassinated by his bodyguard and a week later the government was overthrown in a military coup. Officials were detained, the Constitution was suspended, political parties were outlawed and rule by a Supreme Revolutionary Council was established.[xxxii] The commander of the Somali Army, General Mohammad Siad Barre, declared himself President and head of the new Supreme Revolutionary Council. The Somali state was renamed the Somali Democratic Republic. Although the military government continued the Pan-Somali policies of the civilian administration, it distinguished itself by adopting a national programme of Scientific Socialism – literally meaning ‘wealth-sharing based on wisdom’ – coupled with a vehement denunciation of tribalism.[xxxiii] Siad Barre worked to present himself as a man of the people, and he was able to develop a form of leadership cult that portrayed him as the victorious leader of a popular revolution. The Somali state became increasingly autocratic as the military consolidated their authority. Programmes were introduced to rapidly improve the literacy and health of the population, achieving some success, but cut short by a devastating famine in 1974.

The Somali foreign policy under Siad Barre’s rule was focused around the reunification of all Somali regions, and the leadership was prepared to move beyond diplomacy to achieve this. The regime was forced to abandon its claims upon new-independent Djibouti in 1977, after the country voted overwhelmingly to remain separate from Somalia, but there was still determination to reclaim the Ogaden region from Ethiopia.[xxxiv] Mogadishu supported the Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF), who were fighting to remove Ethiopian control of the Somali ethnic territory. The WSLF succeeded in defeating the Ethiopian forces and driving them from the region, causing a surge in popularity for the Siad regime. The elation was short-lived, however, as the following year the Ethiopians, with support from Russia and Cuba, re-imposed their rule in Western Somalia, humiliating the Mogadishu government.[xxxv] This caused a huge influx of refugees, estimated at 1.5 million by 1981, making up about 40 percent of the total population and put great pressure on the already-struggling Somali economy.[xxxvi] The defeat severely damaged the authority of Siad’s government and was followed swiftly by an unsuccessful coup attempt by a group of army officers, demonstrating the deep divisions in the military following the defeat.[xxxvii] The organisers of the coup then formed an opposition group, the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) which, along with the Somali National Movement (SNM) and supported by the Ethiopian leadership, undertook armed resistance to the Mogadishu government throughout the 1980s.

In 1988 Somalia and Ethiopia signed a peace accord, bringing an end to their support of each other’s dissidents. This radicalised the SNM, who feared the consequences of facing the Siad regime unaided. As a result they initiated a campaign on military installations in Northern Somalia.[xxxviii] The regime responded savagely and soon Somalia was plunged into a brutal civil war that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands and produced millions of refugees.

The Collapse of the State and International Intervention

By 1991Siad’s forces had been virtually defeated by the SNM advance in the north. The opposition to the regime was bolstered by the recently formed United Somali Congress (USC) under the command of General Aideed, formed predominantly from the Hawiye clan. The USC attacked Mogadishu, deposing the regime and forcing Siad and his remaining supporters to flee. A faction of the USC, consisting mostly of Abgal clansmen, formed an interim government in the city whilst Aideed was occupied with pursuing Siad. This split the capital along clan lines, causing widespread violence and reducing the region to a state of virtual anarchy. SiadBarre continued to fight until his death in 1995, relying on the support of his clan, the Darod. The situation in Mogadishu was mirrored across the country, as many Somalis sought the safety of clan allegiance. Those in the north were distrustful of the south, and the popular support for separatism led the SNM to declare that the region would leave the Somali Republic, forming a separate nation called the Somaliland Republic. Somalia had now reverted to the two colonial territories present before independence, ruled by two interim governments, neither of whom recognised the other.[xxxix]

The chaos engulfing Somalia in the early 1990s had a devastating effect on the population. The bloody conflict, combined with a severe famine, created a humanitarian crisis in which around half a million Somalis died. Compounding the emergency was the seizure of international relief aid by clan factions. The gravity of the situation prompted a response from the international community. On 24 April 1992 the UN established a mission, USOSOM, to safeguard the delivery of aid and by September had deployed a force of 3,500 peacekeepers. This proved insufficient so a further mission, known as UNITAF, was launched consisting of 37,000 personnel, 26,000 of them American. Tasked with the establishment of a secure environment to deliver aid, the influx of armed UN troops quickly led to the capture of all major relief centres and enabled the effective distribution of humanitarian supplies.[xl] The lull in fighting in 1993 allowed the signing of a ceasefire between the major combatants in Somalia that committed the parties to ‘complete disarmament’ and provided UN forces with a strong mandate to enforce the agreement.[xli] The US-led UNITAF mission was subsequently replaced with a more multi-national force known as UNOSOM II, the first UN mission to have been allowed to use force not just in self-defence but to pursue its mission.[xlii] The calm that followed the ceasefire was short-lived, as the agreement was regularly flouted and weapons were still reaching the clan factions. An attack on Pakistani peacekeepers, in which 25 were killed, was attributed to General Aideed’s forces and prompted UNOSOM II to respond militarily.[xliii] Attacks were launched on Aideed’s forces, but these proved ineffectual and caused many civilian deaths, damaging Somali support for the international intervention. When several US helicopters were shot down attempting to capture Aideed, Western enthusiasm for UNOSOM II disappeared and US troops were withdrawn the following year. The remaining UN forces, consisting solely of peacekeepers from Third World states after the departure of French, Belgian and Italian contingents, continued their mission until 1995 when UNOSOM II was ended  and the peacekeeping forces disbanded.[xliv] Following the withdrawal of the international force, Somalia once again returned to widespread conflict along clan lines, no closer to a functioning state than before the UN’s arrival. This continued throughout the remainder of the 1990s. Somaliland largely escaped the worst of the conflict, despite the UN’s lack of support or even recognition for the new state.

Somalians run past UN peacekeepers in an armoured vehicle, 1993. Image source

Recent developments

Most of the significant political developments in Somalia since 2000 have related to attempts to form a functioning government.A peace plan, the brainchild of the President of Djibouti, was launched in 2000 and created a Transitional National Government, with clan representation ensured by quotas. Despite international support for the government, it had little influence over events in Somalia and collapsed just two years later. It was replaced by another internationally-backed administration, the Transitional Federal Government, which was formed in Kenya and moved back to Somalia in 2005. It received financial backing from the EU and UN, who declared it to be the legitimate government of Somalia, despite its lack of electoral mandate and the hostility of the Somali public to its presence.[xlv] The TFG was backed by the Ethiopian government, adding to its unpopularity amongst Somalis. The growth of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) presented a major challenge to the TFG. Beginning as a loose grouping of Sharia Courts, the ICU quickly became a powerful Islamic militia that by 2006 controlled much of Southern Somalia. The group was attractive to many Somalis, as it conflated Islamism with a strong public desire for law and order and presented a challenge to the dominance of corrupt warlords.[xlvi] The ICU gained control of Mogadishu after defeating the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Reconciliation (ARPCT), a US-backed coalition of warlords and businessmen, and were able to restore some semblance of order to the war-torn capital.[xlvii]

The ICU, supported by Eritrea and headed by Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, presented a direct challenge to the survival of the dysfunctional TFG. This concerned Ethiopia and the United States, who considered the ICU a terrorist faction and began funnelling aid to the TFG. The Islamists responded by calling for an international jihad against the Ethiopian leadership, further stoking Ethiopian fears about the situation across the border. By the end of 2006 the Ethiopian army was moving in force into Somalia, supported by US and Ethiopian air strikes, in order to bolster the TFG forces. This coalition succeeded in seizing Mogadishu and forcing the ICU to retreat far into Southern Somalia. The remaining ICU fighters were defeated decisively at the town of Raskomboni and the TFG declared victory. This caused a division between the supporters of the Islamic movement in Somalia, as some became open to reconciliation with the TFG, whilst others became more radicalised and intent on overthrowing the foreign-backed government. African Union peacekeepers, acting under the mission name AMISOM, entered the country to assist in creating a functioning government and to deliver aid. In 2008 a peace agreement was concluded between the moderate Islamists of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) and the TFG, and a political coalition between the two was formed. Sharif Sheikh Ahmed became President of Somalia.

Despite the peace agreement, conflict still raged in the country and the government had little control in the south. Hard-line Islamists within the ICU movement formed radical opposition groups, including Al-Shabaab, and continued to fight. The Ethiopian occupation created a fertile environment for recruitment to Al-Shabaab and others.[xlviii] In 2009 the Ethiopian forces withdrew, giving the Islamist groups an opportunity to seize more territory, including Mogadishu. Fighting between Al-Shabaab and the TFG has continued to the present day, although after the initial successes the radical Islamists have lost some of their strength due to the intervention of AIMSOM and the Kenyan army. Casualties on both sides continue to be reported. Al-Shabaab have claimed responsibility for a number of massacres, including several high-profile attacks on Kenyan civilians as retaliation for the Kenyan intervention in Somalia.[xlix]

Al-Shabaab fighters training for combat. Image source


[i] Robertshaw, Peter. A History of African Archaeology. J. Currey, 1990, p.105.

[ii] Mukhtar, Mohamed Haji. Historical Dictionary of Somalia. Oxford: The Scarecrow Press, 2003, p.xxv.

[iii] Ahmed, Ali Jimale, ed. The Invention of Somalia. Lawerenceville: The Red Sea Press, 1995, p.234-6.

[iv] Ibid, p.241.

[v] Ibid, p.245.

[vi] Mukhtar, Historical Dictionary of Somalia, p.xxv.

[vii] Lewis, I.M. Understanding Somalia and Somaliland. London: Hurst Publishers, 2008, p.2.

[viii] Ahmed, The Invention of Somalia, p.250.

[ix] Lewis, I. M. ‘The Somali Conquest of the Horn of Africa’. The Journal of African History 1, no. 2 (1960): 213–30, p.222.

[x] Lewis, Understanding Somalia and Somaliland, p.2.

[xi] Mukhtar, Historical Dictionary of Somalia, p.xxviii.

[xii] Ibid, p.266.

[xiii] Ibid, p.34.

[xiv] Lewis, Understanding Somalia and Somaliland, p.28.

[xv] Ibid, p.28.

[xvi] Lewis, I.M. A Modern History of the Somali. Fourth. Oxford: James Curry, 2002, p.46-7.

[xvii] Ibid, p.48.

[xviii] Ibid, p.53.

[xix] Ibid, p.55.

[xx] Hess, Robert L. ‘The “Mad Mullah” and Northern Somalia’. The Journal of African History 5, no. 3 (1964): 415–33, p.420.

[xxi] Mukhtar, Historical Dictionary of Somalia, p.4.

[xxii] Lewis, A Modern History of the Somali, p.73.

[xxiii] Ibid, p.75.

[xxiv] Hess, ‘The “Mad Mullah” and Northern Somalia’, p.432.

[xxv] Lewis, Understanding Somalia and Somaliland, p.30.

[xxvi] Ibid, p.31.

[xxvii] Mukhtar, Historical Dictionary of Somalia, p.4.

[xxviii] Lewis, A Modern History of the Somali, p.139.

[xxix] Ibid, p.148.

[xxx] Lewis, Understanding Somalia and Somaliland, p.34.

[xxxi] Mukhtar, Historical Dictionary of Somalia, p.5.

[xxxii] Lewis, A Modern History of the Somali.

[xxxiii] Ibid, p.209.

[xxxiv] Mukhtar, Historical Dictionary of Somalia, p.5.

[xxxv] Lewis, Understanding Somalia and Somaliland, p.44.

[xxxvi] Simons, Anna. Networks of Dissolution: Somalia Undone. Boulder: Westview Press, 1995, p.52.

[xxxvii] Laitin, David D. ‘The War in the Ogaden: Implications for Siyaad’s Role in Somali History’. The Journal of Modern African Studies 17, no. 1 (1979): 95–115, p.95.

[xxxviii] Lewis, Understanding Somalia and Somaliland, p.71.

[xxxix] Ibid, 75.

[xl] United Nations. ‘United Nations Operation in Somalia II (UNSOM II)’. Accessed 23 August 2016.

[xli] Lewis, Understanding Somalia and Somaliland, p.78.

[xlii] Makinda, Samuel M. Seeking Peace from Chaos: Humanitarian Intervention in Somalia. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1993, p.76.

[xliii] United Nations, ‘United Nations Operation in Somalia II (UNSOM II)’.

[xliv] Lewis, A Modern History of the Somali.

[xlv] Lewis, Understanding Somalia and Somaliland, p.85.

[xlvi] International Crisis Group. ‘Can the Somali Crisis Be Contained?’ Review of African Political Economy 33, no. 110 (2006): 752–58, p.754.

[xlvii] Lewis, Understanding Somalia and Somaliland, p.88.

[xlviii] AnchorHansen, StigJarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia: The History and Ideology of a Militant Islamist Group, 2005-2012. London: C.Hurst& Co, 2013, p.49.

[xlix] Mohamed, Hamza. ‘Q&A: Al-Shabab Defends Nairobi Attack’. Accessed 25 August 2016.

• Ahmed, Ali Jimale, ed. The Invention of Somalia. Lawerenceville: The Red Sea Press, 1995.
• Hansen, StigJarle. Al-Shabaab in Somalia: The History and Ideology of a Militant Islamist Group, 2005-2012. London: C.Hurst& Co, 2013.
• Hess, Robert L. ‘The “Mad Mullah” and Northern Somalia’. The Journal of African History 5, no. 3 (1964): 415–33.
• International Crisis Group. ‘Can the Somali Crisis Be Contained?’ Review of African Political Economy 33, no. 110 (2006): 752–58.
• Laitin, David D. ‘The War in the Ogaden: Implications for Siyaad’s Role in Somali History’. The Journal of Modern African Studies 17, no. 1 (1979): 95–115.
• Lewis, I.M. A Modern History of the Somali. Fourth. Oxford: James Curry, 2002.
• Lewis, I. M. ‘The Somali Conquest of the Horn of Africa’. The Journal of African History 1, no. 2 (1960): 213–30.
• Lewis, I.M. Understanding Somalia and Somaliland. London: Hurst Publishers, 2008.
• Makinda, Samuel M. Seeking Peace from Chaos: Humanitarian Intervention in Somalia. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1993.
• Mohamed, Hamza. ‘Q&A: Al-Shabab Defends Nairobi Attack’. Accessed 25 August 2016.
• Mukhtar, Mohamed Haji. Historical Dictionary of Somalia. Oxford: The Scarecrow Press, 2003.
• Robertshaw, Peter. A History of African Archaeology. J. Currey, 1990.
• Simons, Anna. Networks of Dissolution: Somalia Undone. Boulder: Westview Press, 1995.
• United Nations. ‘United Nations Operation in Somalia II (UNSOM II)’. Accessed 23 August 2016.

Last updated : 06-Sep-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 05-Sep-2016