SOMALIA has been a mess for two decades. The most recent functioning
government was swept away in 1991. The state has failed utterly and
rival militias vie for control. A drought earlier this year quickly
turned into a full-blown famine that has hit 4m people and already
killed tens of thousands. Somalia’s misery also threatens the outside
world. Unconstrained by a coastguard or police force, growing numbers of
Somalis are turning to piracy, threatening foreign seamen and costing
the rest of the world anything from $7 billion to $12 billion a
year—including extra spending on fuel, security and $400m in ransom
payments over the past five years.
A solution to Somalia’s problems will not be found on the high seas
or on the country’s barren farmland, but only in the capital, Mogadishu.
A thorough political settlement, rather than yet another piecemeal fix,
is needed to end its civil war—and, by backing one faction, foreigners
are not helping.
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