Somalia and Piracy

Ioan Lewis, Understanding Somalia and SomalialandIn a recent post on Comment is Free, part of the Guardian’s excellent Web site, Jeremy Sare discusses the continuing chaos in Somalia. He argues that the recent incidents of piracy off Somalia’s coast is yet another reminder of the chaos that engulfs the nation.

However, as Sare points out, in the northern half of the country, known as Somaliland, there is much greater stability. To understand the dynamic between the two regions and what differentiates them, Sare points to Understanding Somalia and Somalialand: Culture, History, and Society by Ioan Lewis, whom Sare considers “the leading authority on the region since the 1950s.” Lewis’s book concludes that “in comprehending the unending enigma of the Horn, one course is clear—the peaceful north must be allowed to declare independence from the endless chaos of the south.”

And for those interested in reading more about the recent resurgence in international piracy, Martin N. Murphy’s forthcoming Small Boats, Weak States, Dirty Money: The Challenge of Piracy scrutinizes recent incidents of maritime terrorism and locates the commonalities between pirates and maritime terrorists that enable them to commit their extensive crimes.

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