Somalia has been without an effective central government since President Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991. Years of fighting between rival warlords and an inability to deal with famine and disease have led to the deaths of up to one million people.

Comprised of a former British protectorate and an Italian colony, Somalia was created in 1960 when the two territories merged. Since then its development has been slow. Relations with neighbours have been soured by its territorial claims on Somali-inhabited areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.

In 1970 Mr Barre proclaimed a socialist state, paving the way for close relations with the USSR. In 1977, with the help of Soviet arms, Somalia attempted to seize the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, but was defeated thanks to Soviet and Cuban backing for Ethiopia, which had turned Marxist.

In 1991 President Barre was overthrown by opposing clans. But they failed to agree on a replacement and plunged the country into lawlessness and clan warfare.

At a glance

Woman and child at a shelter for Somalis displaced by the 2011 drought
  • Scene of Africa's worst humanitarian crisis: aid agencies warn that millions face starvation
  • No effective government since 1991
  • Islamist militia and UN-backed transitional government compete for control of country
  • The self-proclaimed state of Somaliland and the region of Puntland run their own affairs

Country profiles compiled by BBC Monitoring

In 2000 clan elders and other senior figures appointed Abdulkassim Salat Hassan president at a conference in Djibouti. A transitional government was set up, with the aim of reconciling warring militias.

But as its mandate drew to a close, the administration had made little progress in uniting the country.

In 2004, after protracted talks in Kenya, the main warlords and politicians signed a deal to set up a new parliament, which later appointed a president.

The fledgling administration, the 14th attempt to establish a government since 1991, has faced a formidable task in bringing reconciliation to a country divided into clan fiefdoms.

Islamist insurgency

Its authority was further compromised in 2006 by the rise of Islamists who gained control of much of the south, including the capital, after their militias kicked out the warlords who had ruled the roost for 15 years.

With the backing of Ethiopian troops, forces loyal to the interim administration seized control from the Islamists at the end of 2006.

Islamist insurgents - including the Al-Shabab group, which later declared allegiance to al-Qaeda and in 2012 announced its merger with the global Islamist terrorist group - fought back against the government and Ethiopian forces, regaining control of most of southern Somalia by late 2008.

Ethiopia pulled its troops out in January 2009. Soon after, Al-Shabab fighters took control of Baidoa, formerly a key stronghold of the transitional government.

Foreign intervention in Somalia

  • 1992 - UN troops arrive to monitor ceasefire after fighting which followed fall of Siad Barre. US-led task force delivers aid
  • 1993 - UN mission is dealt a fatal blow when US rangers are killed in incident made famous by Hollywood film Black Hawk Down
  • 1995 - UN troops withdraw, leaving warlords to fight on. UN casualties number 150
  • 2006 - Ethiopia sends troops to defend interim government
  • 2007 - African peacekeeping force AMISOM deploys
  • 2011 - Kenya enters Somalia in pursuit of al-Shabab militia

Somalia's parliament met in neighbouring Djibouti in late January and swore in 149 new members from the main opposition movement, the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia.

The parliament also extended the mandate of the transitional federal government for another two years, and installed moderate Islamist Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad as the new president.

However, the government's military position weakened further, and in May 2009 Islamist insurgents launched an attack on Mogadishu, prompting President Ahmad to appeal for help from abroad.

Al-Shabab appears to have consolidated its position as the most powerful insurgent group by driving its main rival, Hizbul Islam, out of the southern port city of Kismayo in October 2009. They made what they called a tactical retreat from Mogadishu in August 2011.


The long-standing absence of authority in the country has led to Somali pirates becoming a major threat to international shipping in the area, and has prompted Nato to take the lead in an anti-piracy operation.

In 2011, the plight of the Somali people was exacerbated by the worst drought in six decades, which left millions of people on the verge of starvation and caused tens of thousands to flee to Kenya and Ethiopia in search of food.

After the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in 1991, the north-west part of Somalia unilaterally declared itself the independent Republic of Somaliland. The territory, whose independence is not recognised by international bodies, has enjoyed relative stabilit

Warning: set_time_limit(): Cannot set time limit due to system policy in /customers/3/9/9/ on line 8

Sallie Mae Cheated Soldiers On Federal Student Loans, Government ...
Huffington Post
Federal investigators have uncovered evidence that Sallie Mae cheated active-duty soldiers on federal student loans, according to people familiar with the matter. The findings, if eventually made public as part of a lawsuit or settlement agreement, may ...

and more »

Slate Magazine

Forget About Poor Undergrads. Washington Is Really Making a Killing on Grad ...
Slate Magazine
Through 2024, the CBO expects our government to rake in a $149 billion profit on new direct loans to students. Grad school lending will generate about three-quarters of those returns, which fall to $127 billion once you subtract administrative expenses ...

and more »

Huntington profit falls despite making more loans
Columbus Dispatch
Huntington Bancshares' first-quarter profit fell as a growth in loans wasn't enough to offset a slide in mortgage-related income and acquisition and legal costs. The bank reported earnings of $149 million in the quarter that ended on March 31, down $4 ...

and more »

Delinquencies on loans expected to rise
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Bankers are predicting more debtors are likely to fall behind on their auto loans and credit card payments this year, but there may be a silver lining. While rising delinquencies will spell trouble for those individuals who cannot make ends meet, it ...

Boston Globe

Elizabeth Warren decries US college loan profits
Boston Globe
US Senator Elizabeth Warren blasted government profits on student loans in a speech at Suffolk University's Law School on Saturday, firing up a crowd of law students, education researchers, and financial specialists. “This exploding debt is crushing ...

Italian Banks Seen Selling About $69 Billion of Bad Loans
Prelios SpA (PRS), the Italian asset manager studying a merger of two units with those of Fortress Investment Group LLC (FIG), said it expects Italian banks to sell as much as 50 billion euros ($69 billion) of bad loans in the next two-to-three years ...
Italy Banks May Sell $69 Billion of Loans Amid US Interest (1)Businessweek

all 2 news articles »

Rep. Ferri's bill would lower interest allowed on payday loans in Rhode Island
The Providence Journal
State lawmakers heard both views Wednesday as they took up a bill that would change the rules on what are known as payday loans — short-term loans or cash advances that are limited to $500 and must be paid back inside of two weeks. Available with ...

and more »

China Defaults Mount Among Inter-company Loans
Voice of America
Chinese companies granted a net 2.55 trillion yuan ($411 billion) in so-called entrusted loans in 2013, nearly double the 1.28 trillion yuan total in 2012, making them the second-biggest source of domestic credit behind bank loans, according to Reuters ...

and more »

McCullen: Payday loans help some bridge the gap
Shreveport Times
Many residents face financial shortfalls every day — a child needs to see a doctor or a bill comes due before payday. For many with limited credit options, a payday loan is the most affordable option to get through these rough patches. Payday loans ...

$2 million available for potential businesses in Reading
WFMZ Allentown
"This level of investment from Customers Bank would allow us again to provide the vital capital that is needed to be able to lend to those small businesses that are not able to apply and/or get approval for a commercial loan," said Jonathan Encarnacion ...

Google News

home | site map | market | | | |

© 2012