The international community had facilitated and led more than 15 peace processes without much success in resurrecting the state of Somalia. The United States, United Nations and the African Union have deployed many peacekeeping and peace-enforcement missions in south-central Somalia since 1991.

After decades of warfare, starting with the collapse of the state in 1991, Somalia has remained without an established state structure or a functioning central government. It has fragmented into many regions and autonomous states. The north-western region of Somaliland seeks recognition as an independent state and since 1998 the north-eastern Puntland has proclaimed autonomy within a future federal Somali state. While these two regions are relatively stable and have had successive peaceful transfers of power, south-central Somalia is mired in multiple conflicts at various levels.

In addition to complex and fluctuating clan rivalries and alliances, the Somali conflicts have gained a wider regional dimension and, since 2001, the country has been one of main theatres in the global ‘war on terrorism’. In 2008, the main armed opposition group—al-Shabab—was listed as a designated terrorist group.

The international community had facilitated and led more than 15 peace processes without much success in resurrecting the state of Somalia. The United States, United Nations and the African Union have deployed many peacekeeping and peace-enforcement missions in south-central Somalia since 1991. Yet, the goal of a peaceful and stable Somalia remains distant in the absence of a broad-based, inclusive and comprehensive political settlement.

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