Country Listing

Somalia Table of Contents


Other Foreign Relations

The former colonial powers, Italy and Britain, both maintained an interest in Somalia. Italy was more influential, perhaps because it had provided extensive development aid to Somalia during the 1980s. Italy was instrumental in getting preferential treatment for Somali exports to the European Economic Community. Italy also made considerable, albeit unsuccessful, efforts to resolve the conflict between Siad Barre and his opponents. The last Italian effort, in cooperation with Egypt in November and December 1990, failed because the USC and SNM refused to meet with any representative of the Siad Barre regime. In 1986 Somalia and the Soviet Union reestablished diplomatic relations, broken during the Ogaden War.

In mid-1991 Somalia was a member of the United Nations and its specialized agencies, the Organization of African Unity, the League of Arab States, and the World Bank (see Glossary).

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Although no books deal comprehensively with Somali politics since the 1977-78 Ogaden War, chapters in several different studies provide an analysis of this important period. A History of Modern Somalia by I.M. Lewis is an indispensable starting point for gaining a deeper understanding of Somali politics. Chapters nine and ten of the 1988 revised edition deal with the Siad Barre government and are particularly helpful. Parts of chapters four, six, and seven of Somalia: Nation in Search of a State, by David D. Laitin and Said S. Samatar, provide insight into Siad Barre's political style, the formation of opposition movements, and the conduct of foreign relations. Chapters six, seven, and eight of Ahmed Samatar's Socialist Somalia examine the impact of the Ogaden War on the country's domestic and foreign relations.

Information on recent and current Somali political affairs can be found in several periodicals, including Africa Contemporary Record, Africa Today, African Development, Asian and African Studies, Current History, Horn of Africa, Journal of Modern African Studies, and Revue franšaise d'Útudes politiques afrišaines. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)