The supposed solution to more than three decades of civil war in Somalia is a tribal-based political scheme sanctioned by the African Union, the international community and the dominant Somali elite. The fundamental political effect of these divisions means that Somalia belongs to Somalis, but Somalis are political strangers to each other.
Somalia became Africa's first failed post-colonial state, but it had a glorious history before this calamity. It had the reputation of running the most democratic elections and the first democratic transfer of power on the continent, while much of the continent was mired in dictatorships and suffered under bloody military coups.
This glorious history is little known. What most people remember is the chaos of the past 30 years and the most retrograde sectarian politics in Africa today. Will the Somali people rise from the ashes?
Morphology of the disaster
In 2006, after a decade and half of a cruel civil war, the Union of Islamic Courts (UICs), a homegrown alliance of religious leaders, terminated 15 years of warlords' terror and tyranny. A United States-led international community reversed this local initiative and empowered a government yet again dominated by warlords. The USA and its allies have spent billions...