Here’s a superb article on what has led to the current crisis in Somalia. It really is essential reading, and I’d urge everyone to get through to the end.
Somalia has long been of strategic interest to American policy makers. The country sits aside the strait of Bab al-Mandeb, a key oil transit waterway between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean — the second closest point between Africa and the Middle East. Under the Cold War the allied dictatorship of General Siad Barre was the longtime recipient of generous amounts of American military and economic largesse. In 1991, after years of unrest, rebellion, and protracted drought, Barre’s regime collapsed into the famine, war, and chaos now virtually synonymous with the word Somalia. George H. W. Bush ordered American forces into the country a year later in support of the United Nations relief program, culminating in the Battle of Mogadishu and the now-famous Black Hawk Down incident.
It then goes on to discuss the CIA’s role in aiding the Ethiopian invasion, which has led to the humanitarian crisis that much of the world seemed to forget about. Really does highlight the role of foreign governments in destabilizing a region.