The Plagues of Somalia

Last week, the president and parliament speaker of Somalia’s struggling “Transitional Federal Government” (TFG) signed an accord to temporarily paper over their differences, agreeing to a one-year extension of each other’s term of office as well as the dismissal of the prime minister, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who objected to the deal. By and large, this milestone passed without much notice. After all, in the twenty years since the dictator Muhammad Siyad Barre fled Mogadishu as the last entity that could plausibly be described as the government of Somalia collapsed around him, the country has seen no fewer than fourteen attempts to reconstitute a central authority in what is the world’s most spectacularly failed state. The TFG is the fifteenth such internationally backed effort and, until this latest shakeup, was limping towards an August expiration date with no better prospects than its predecessors, so why should anyone care?

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