When U.N. peacekeepers withdrew from Somalia in early 1995, a brief era of concerted international pressure aimed at bringing stability to the embattled Horn of Africa nation ended in defeat. The U.N. mandate to restore law and order in the Somali capital failed dismally: A shattered Mogadishu was abandoned, and prevailing wisdom deemed the country too difficult a challenge.
Today, Somalia remains the globe’s archetypal “failed state,” plagued by pervasive poverty and endemic lawlessness. But faint glimmers of hope are now emerging. As Somalia prepares to draft a new constitution and end its period of transitional governance, indicators on the ground suggest the best prospects for peace in years, even as international confidence in a resolution to the country’s crisis appears at its highest.
In recent days, the global community has rallied behind the effort to stabilize the country with a unity unseen in more than a decade and a half. During a conference last week in London, world leaders including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon promised unparalleled material and diplomatic support for the restoration of peace and humanitarian assistance in the country.