Assessing Political Instability in Somalia

At the political level, the present Somali government emerges to have a working cabinet. In reality, though, the cabinet has no actual departmental support and no civil servants serving in staff positions. Most significantly, the cabinet lacks almost any funds. Also deficient are some of the services that working governmental departments typically offer. Next, the merely describing characteristics of the Somali government are corruption and criminality. The lack of central governance has also helped the arrangement of small fiefdoms. Intrinsically unbalanced, the fiefdoms frequently experience rapid transitions in leadership. For instance, in the capital city of Mogadishu, multiple groups compete and have competed politically and militarily for neighborhoods and even particular streets. (Mersiades, 2005)

Economic Instability in Somalia

Economically, Somalia also fits the model of a failed state. Somalia is one of the world’s poorest nations, mainly ensuing from civil war and the decades-long absence of a functioning national government. No agency exists to gather data on Somalia’s financial performance. Fundamentally no industry or infrastructure of any type exists, and as a consequence, Somalia relies heavily on finances from abroad to supplement local agricultural movements. Almost forty percent of Somalia’s GDP and sixty-five percent of its export profits come from livestock. Somalia has one of the lowest GDPs in the world. The movements of various warring factions strictly undermine the attempt to standardize the financial system and give help to Somalis. (Feldman, 2003) In addition, the environmental stress on Somalia’s resources inhibits it from completely understanding its monetary potential and additional contributes to its failed state status.

Humanitarian Challenges and Societal Instability in Somalia

Somalia can also be observed as a failed state from a societal viewpoint. Human rights abuses, indiscriminate aggression, and uninformed arrests and detentions in Somalia have produced a humanitarian catastrophe. On March 28, 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council expressed severe apprehension concerning the infringements of humanitarian and human rights law in Somalia. Human trafficking of young women and children for the reason of prostitution, as well as male slave workers, is as commonplace as piracy and presents another symptom of prearranged crime in Somalia. (Hoehne, 2009) Moreover, Somalia is not a party to either the Protocols Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air or the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, which are both supplements to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The humanitarian situations in Somalia are both a consequence and a reason of the country’s failed state status. For instance, the Ethiopian intervention guided to further chaos and instability in Somalia, as well as the weakening of humanitarian, political, and security situations in the country. In the last two years, additional than 22,000 civilians have been killed; an anticipated 1.1 million people have been displaced; and 476,000 Somalis have fled to neighboring nations. (Hoehne, 2009)

Security Threat for Entire World

Somalia is frequently considered an archetypal failed state and terrorist safe haven. Since the overthrow of long-time Somali leader Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has experienced failed international involvements, large-scale refugee flows, and the ongoing deficiency of even rudimentary state services and institutions; Somalis exist in surroundings of predation and pervasive insecurity and deprivation (Menkhaus, 2006). There is no actual central authority, and neither is there numerous of the other characteristics usually linked with a sovereign state. This does not mean, however, that entire anarchy has existed. Instead, existing religious and social/familial (clan-based) structures have effort to fill some of the space left by the government’s collapse. For instance, Koranic schools have taken on a social purpose in addition to their religious role, while a structure of sharia-based Islamic courts has evolved since 1991 to become the major judicial structure. This was the origins of the ICU, which, over the course of 2006, take or consolidated control of the country from the incompetent, opportunistic, and externally built Transitional Federal Government (TFG). The ICU’s main petition was that it brought stability and preventability to regions under its control, even managing to reopen Mogadishu international airport, which had been closed since the UN withdrawal in 1995. (Menkhaus, 2006)

It is therefore interesting that the failed state rhetoric which has been utilized to explain Somalia for years only became actionable when a unifying Islamic force brought some amount of statehood back to the nation. The Ethiopian and US proceedings against the ICU in December 2006 and January 2007 were planned to remove the ICU, shore up the TFG, and take out some top US terrorist targets.


There is no law and order of any type in Somalia because of the lack of a central government and severe poverty. As a consequence, criminal activity is rampant throughout the nation. While some connect in criminal behavior for fundamental survival, others have formed a professional criminal enterprise, particularly in the form of piracy. Those who participate in criminal activities characteristically resist any attempts to found a secure and steady Somalia, because stability impedes their criminal activity and long term interests.

Although the international community has not forever taken the problem of piracy critically, current proceedings have guided to further extensive international concern. It has become obvious that unless piracy is contested, it will spiral out of control, intimidating the sea lanes that transport almost half of the world’s cargo and efficiently underwriting terrorist activities. Somali piracy has been a main trouble since 1991. However, the occurrence of such piracy has developed considerably in current years both in conditions of scope and scale. Since 2008, it has expanded to cover the whole maritime area. In addition, pirates have become masterful at recognizing vessels that are susceptible because of slow sailing speeds, small crews, poor security, and ineffective counter-piracy processes. (Jones, 2008) The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports that by May 2009 the number of events of Somali piracy, comprising 114 efforted hijackings and twenty-nine successful hijackings, had already exceeded all attacks in the prior year. Pirate operations, while growing into further sophisticated and professional undertakings, have also become further violent and ruthless. Since 1990, the total number of pirates has augmented, according to some reports, from the hundreds to the thousands.

Actions Taken by the United Nations

Part VII of the Law of the Sea Convention deals with matters of piracy on the high seas. Article 100 states that repression of piracy is a combined responsibility for every state, even in their non-jurisdictional waters. Article 105 states that any military vessel has the right to seize a pirate ship and its property on board, arrest the crew, and put them on trial under their national jurisdiction, as long as such a seizure takes place on the high seas or in any waters outside the jurisdiction of that particular state. Under international law, however, a ship may only fire at another ship in self-defense. (Webersik, 2004) The Security Council has also adopted resolutions to specially tackle the matter of Somali piracy.

Actions Taken by the International Community

Thus far, numerous nations, comprising of the European Union (EU), China, India, Russia, and the United States have sent their warships to the vicinity of Somalia to combat pirate attacks, with France taking the strongest stand against such piracy. Lately, India started to take a superior interest in Somali piracy, in part because of its wish to have greater control over the African side of the Indian Ocean Rim in an attempt to compete with China’s extraterritorial and regional influence. In December 2008, the Indian Navy reportedly arrested twenty-three Somali pirates. In February 2009, the U.S. Navy arrested sixteen suspected Somali pirates, and the Russian Navy has also arrested a number of suspected Somali pirates. In addition, in early 2009, the United States and the United Kingdom signed agreements with Kenya that permit for the extradition of suspected pirates for prosecution to Kenya. (Hoehne, 2009) Although such agreements are a step in the right direction, the Kenyan judicial system requires further international assistance in order to bring such pirates to trial.