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Somalia: A State Restored? Not So Fast

January 6, 2007
Somalia: A State Restored? Not So Fast

by William S. Lind
For more than a decade, Somalia has been Exhibit A in the Hall of Statelessness, a place where the state had not merely weakened into irrelevance but disappeared. Somalia's statelessness had defeated even the world's only hyperpower, the United States, when it had intervened militarily to restore order. Fourth Generation war theorists, myself included, frequently pointed to Somalia as an example of the direction in which other places were headed.

Then, over the past several weeks, a Blitzkrieg-like campaign by the Ethiopian army seemed to change everything. A Fourth Generation entity, the Islamic Courts, which had taken control of most of Somalia, was brushed aside with ease by Ethiopian tanks and jets. A makeshift state, the Transitional Federal Government, which had been created years ago by other states but was almost invisible within Somalia, was installed in Mogadishu. The Somali state was restored – or so it seems.

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