Item description for Somalia at the Crossroads: Challenges and Perspectives in Reconstituting a Failed State by A. Osman Abdulahi...
Since the fall of the Siad Bare regime in Somalia in 1991 and the fratricidal war that it unleashed in its wake, Somalia has been without an effective central government. Instead, warlords and their armed bandits have been controlling different parts of the country, with the former British colony of northern Somaliland unilaterally proclaiming its independence. Developments in the country since the recent transitional government was set up in 2004 have, however, presented both opportunities and challenges for the country. While much has been reported about the prevailing situation in the country, there has been a paucity of research articulating the various perspectives and challenges in the efforts to reconstitute Somalia's failed state. This book hopes to contribute in filling this gap. Contributors to the volume examine the various issues that lie behind the current situation in Somalia, seeking answers to a number of crucial questions: Why did the Somali state fail? What role did external actors and the internal configurations of the Somalis' socio-political structure play in the state collapse? Did the various peace and reconciliation conferences really achieve anything? Should Somalia be reconstituted as one state or should more than one state be allowed to emerge from the ashes of the collapsed state? What is the way forward out of the current imbroglio in Somalia? ________________________________________________________ Dr Abdulahi A. Osman currently teaches comparative politics and African politics at the Department of International Affairs and African Studies Institute, at the University of Georgia, USA. His teaching and research interests include African politics, governance, regional and international studies, peace and conflict, internal security and wars, comparative governments in the Third World. He has published several book chapters and articles in scholarly journals, including African Renaissance and Journal of Ethno-Development. Issaka K. Souar is a PhD candidate in the department of political science at the Universit du Qubec Montral (Canada). A Contributing Editor to the London-based review journal, African Renaissance, he is the author of numerous publications relating to Africa, including Africa in the United Nations System, 1945-2005 (London, 2006); Civil Wars and Coups d'tat in West Africa (Lanham, 2006), and the novel, Samassi (London, 2004).
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Reviews - What do customers think about Somalia at the Crossroads: Challenges and Perspectives in Reconstituting a Failed State?
Authors have not failed, interesting perspectives on Somalia's failure May 20, 2008
To review an edited volume is always tough task, I'll deal with the most interesting contributions.
Brock Tessman presents interesting quantitative comparison of Somalia with other states of Horn of Africa, putting the state collapse into it's logical context. Then follows text of A.Abdullahi and A.Osman, first is discursive analysis of academical work dealing with Somalia's failure, showing various points of view - colonial heritage, clanism or moral decay among others. Osman then bring in his opinion about collapse, emphasizing the role of inequality, which is in my opinion probably the best contribution in the publication.
M. Eno, G. Stewart, M. Mukhatar provides sound insights about the role of government in the state failure and the grotesque process of forming of government. Some hints on Somalia's recovery are offered. The volume is closed by various case studies - UN intervention in Somalia, question of Somaliland's recognition and role of Somali Diaspora.
- with the exception of Gerrie Stewart, the topic of Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) is not covered, which is a pity, because many questions connected to this actor are very important when it comes to Somalia's governance - could Islam be the panacea? Is reconciliation between the government and UIC possible? And so on.
- maybe the topic of mediated state and non-state security providers could be touched (see Andersen, Møller, Stepputat ed.), but it is more a question of my preference.
+ every contribution is interesting and relevant to the topic, which is unfortunately not the common experience in edited volumes.
Somalia at the Crossroads is the single most up to date work on Somalia statehood, but because of recent the turbulent dynamics in Somalia is in fact some aspects slightly out dated. If searching for some information about UIC, look somewhere else. On the other hand the edited volumes presents interesting ideas and opinions about the topic, very refreshing when compared to many western authors.