News of sea piracy off the coast of Somalia has dominated headlines worldwide. A power vacuum and conflict between warlords and insurgents have displaced over 800,000 Somalis and left millions hungry. Lawlessness and instability are the norm in a country where no functioning central government has existed since 1991.
Earlier this month, Ethiopian troops began withdrawing from the country after a two-year occupation and handed security duties over to a joint force of Somali government officials and Islamic militiamen. The U.S.-backed Ethiopian soldiers invaded Somalia in December 2006 and ousted the Islamist leadership.
Thank you for your questions. Worldfocus.org’s weekly radio show explores the worsening situation in Somalia, taking a look beyond the pirate frenzy offshore and examining the causes of instability onshore, addressing some viewer questions.
Martin Savidge hosts a panel of guests and address viewer questions about the region:
Lynn Fredriksson is a researcher on the Horn of Africa, including Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, for Amnesty International. She co-leads missions to the Horn. Most recently she has traveled to Nairobi, Kenya and Hargeisa, Somaliland to interview refugees from the armed conflict in southern and central Somalia.
Abdi Samatar is a professor and chair of the department of geography and global studies at the University of Minnesota. He was Fulbright Scholar to Ethiopia and Botswana. His research focuses on the relationship between democracy and development in the Third World in general and Africa in particular, and he has written extensively about Ethiopia and Somalia.
David H. Shinn is a former Ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. He is currently an adjunct professor at George Washington University. Amb. Shinn’s research interests include Africa, terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism and U.S. foreign policy in Africa. He also blogs regularly here.