Article from ROAPE Volume 36 Number 120
Somalia: ‘They Created a Desert

Somalia: ‘They Created a Desert and Called it Peace(building)’
Vol.36 No.120 (June 2009), pp223-233
This article documents the humanitarian, political, and security dimensions of the current Somali crisis and assesses the external policies which are playing an increasingly central role in the conflict. It advances the thesis that in 2007 and 2008 external Western and UN actors treated Somalia as a post-conflict setting when in fact their own policies helped to inflame armed conflict and insecurity there. There was as a result no peace for peacekeepers to keep, no state to which state-building projects could contribute, and increasingly little humanitarian space in which aid agencies could reach over three million Somalis in need of emergency relief. The gap between Somali realities on the ground and the set of assumptions on which aid and diplomatic policies toward Somalia have been constructed is wide and deep.