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War is Boring: Somaliland Advocate Vies for World Focus

Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009

There was a time in the 1960s and 1970s when Somali clans across East Africa imagined a "pan-Somalia" encompassing former British, Italian and French colonies, in addition to portions of eastern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. The former British and Italian colonies -- Somaliland in the north, and the southern U.N. Trust Territory of Somalia, respectively -- had taken a tentative first step towards realizing this greater Somali state, when they merged in 1960 to form the Republic of Somalia.

But the greater union was not to be. The former French colony declared independence, as Djibouti, and Ethiopia and Kenya each held onto their Somali regions. The Republic of Somalia began to fracture in the late 1980s, following decades of clan favoritism and repression under dictator Siad Barre. In 1991, the Somali National Movement (SNM), founded in 1981 to resist Barre's regime, ejected the last of Barre's troops from northern Somalia, and Somaliland declared its independence. ...

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