To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
In Majerteenia in the nineteenth century, violence – once the exception in inter-state relations in the region – evolved into a diplomatic strategy that could be instrumentalised for political and financial gain. Chapter 2 reconstructs a series of confrontations between British colonial officials and the rulers of north-eastern Somalia over Somali attacks on seaborne and wrecked ships. The Majerteen coastal elites engaged in a cycle of attacking shipwrecks and signing treaties with the British colonial rulers in Aden to increase regional recognition for their rights as coastal rulers. As the nineteenth century wore on, the British reneged on their promises, relied on duress in negotiations, and engaged in double-dealing with Sultan Uthman’s political rivals, especially a regional governor named Yusuf ‘Ali. Their treaty relations with the British echoed but modified existing agreements with other port-rulers in the region, including the Hadhramis, the Omanis and the Ottomans. By the end of the century, the Majerteen Sultanate would be split in two, carved into mutually antagonistic northern and southern spheres which continue to this day to be rivals, as can be witnessed in the tensions over the extent of Puntland and Galmudug federal states jurisdictions.
The first part of this chapter examines deep-rooted, diplomatic traditions of courtly exchange, international coexistence and commercial cooperation centred around the Majerteen Sultanate in north-eastern Somalia. A network of regional diplomacy first emerged for the purposes of managing shipwrecks and facilitating trade during the Egyptian Middle Kingdom. The Majerteen Sultanate emerged in the eighteenth century and played a critical role in the north-east Africa’s foreign affairs, presiding over a cooperative system of international relations which promoted domestic political stability and protected maritime commerce. Having reconstructed the contours of a regional culture of maritime law and international relations, the second part of the chapter tells the story of the first contacts between Majerteenia and British colonists, a few years after the East India Company’s settlement of the port of Aden in 1839. Early Anglo-Majerteen interactions mirrored the well-established regional model of diplomacy, in which regional rulers created alliances and offered one another mutual recognition as sovereigns. But as the century wore on, British officials became increasingly belligerent; the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the increase in steam traffic tested international relations and the regional maritime framework.
The colonial history of the southern Red Sea region is strewn with the bodies of victims of maritime violence. The chapter introduces the three case studies explored in this study: Majerteenia in north-eastern Somalia, the Zaraniq from Tihamat Yemen in the south-western Arabian Peninsula, and Henry de Monfreid in French Somaliland. The chapter further examines the backstory to a more competitive, adversarial approach to international relations and maritime law, observing that the European culture of international law and international relations prioritised private property rights over international cooperation. Strong ideas about private property rights and competition for influence set the stage for conflict with the southern Red Sea’s more cooperative approach to maritime space and international relations.
Today, the countries bordering the Red Sea are riven with instability. Why are the region's contemporary problems so persistent and interlinked? Through the stories of three compelling characters, Colonial Chaos sheds light on the unfurling of anarchy and violence during the colonial era. A noble Somali sultan, a cunning Yemeni militia leader, and a Machiavellian French merchant ran amok in the southern Red Sea in the nineteenth and twentieth century. In response to colonial hostility and gunboat diplomacy, they attacked shipwrecks, launched piratical attacks, and traded arms, slaves, and drugs. Their actions contributed to the transformation of the region's international relations, redrew the political map, upended its diplomatic culture, and remodelled its traditions of maritime law, sowing the seeds of future unrest. Colonisation created chaos in the southern Red Sea. Colonial Chaos offers an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the relationship between the region's colonial past and its contemporary instability.
This chapter examines the nature of modern piracy and its impact on the human rights of seafarers taken hostage. By evaluating some of the key counter-piracy measures of the international community, this chapter shows that significant attention has been paid to the protection of the human rights of arrested pirates while the suffering of seafarers has been overlooked. This has been an inevitable outcome of the emphasis that states have been placing on criminal law enforcement measures. The use of force, arrest, detention and prosecution of pirate suspects entail risks of human rights violations, which the international community acknowledged and sought to prevent. This, however, has detracted attention from the need to protect the victims of piracy whose human rights continue to be marginalised.
In 2013, I traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to meet a senior government minister from Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG). He had recently left Mogadishu and I asked him to reflect on his years working to rebuild Somalia’s government, his successes and failures, the country’s legal development, and what the Islamic Courts Union and a series of failed international humanitarian interventions had left behind. He spoke about his country’s legacies of colonialism, violence, democracy, and authoritarian rule; his political strategies; and his struggle to survive attacks from militants who claimed shari‘a as their inspiration.
In postcolonial Muslim-majority contexts, particularly in areas struggling with political violence, achieving the ideal of the rule of law is straightforward neither in theory nor in practice. Plural and overlapping legal orders – derived from Islamic principles, from the traditions of indigenous communities, and from the laws and institutions imported by colonial administrators or foreign aid workers and managed by postcolonial state leaders – shape how citizens come to understand different values associated with legal order. In these states, common ideals and shared visions of what law is and how it should work are scarce. Litigants may shop around among different legal systems (each one derived from an amalgam of traditions) for a desired outcome of their disputes, as they are pulled in one direction or another by family members, religious and community leaders, and lawyers.
Only in his twenties, Tayyib was already one of Somaliland’s most promising lawyers. I met Tayyib early on a sunny morning, and we sat down on a couple of plastic chairs along the dirt path outside the Hargeisa courthouse. I asked him why he worked in legal aid programs designed to help poor people have free legal representation in court, what cases he was arguing that day, and what events had shaped his career and the broader development of law in Somalia and Somaliland. As we neared the end of our meeting, I invited him to share his professional goals. I wondered if he hoped to enter politics, private practice, or the United Nations system. These paths would provide more stability, renown, and salary than his current position did, and they were often taken by the most prominent professionals. He looked away, toward the dilapidated courthouse and one-story government buildings. Then he turned back to me and said he “would like to stop” being an attorney altogether.
Western analysts have long denigrated Islamic states as antagonistic, even antithetical, to the rule of law. Mark Fathi Massoud tells a different story: for nearly 150 years, the Somali people have embraced shari'a, commonly translated as Islamic law, in the struggle for national identity and human rights. Lawyers, community leaders, and activists throughout the Horn of Africa have invoked God to oppose colonialism, resist dictators, expel warlords, and to fight for gender equality - all critical steps on the path to the rule of law. Shari'a, Inshallah traces the most dramatic moments of legal change, political collapse, and reconstruction in Somalia and Somaliland. Massoud upends the conventional account of secular legal progress and demonstrates instead how faith in a higher power guides people toward the rule of law.
After their failure at Gallipoli in 1915, attempts by the Allies to undermine the Ottoman Empire ranged from the eastern Sahara to the Arabian desert, with the resources of India becoming indispensable to the effort against the Turks, especially in Mesopotamia. Returning to India from South Africa in 1914, Mahatma Gandhi supported the war on the grounds that a strong showing would strengthen India’s hand in its relationship with Britain. Most Indians rallied behind the Allied cause and, thanks largely to T. E. Lawrence, Arabs sustained a successful revolt against the Turks. The British had no intention of giving India the degree of self-government that it wanted, and they and the French had no intention of rewarding the Arab contribution with postwar independence (and especially not with Palestine, which the Balfour Declaration of 1917 promised to the Zionists), but within the context of World War I the ends appeared to justify the means. Just as the wartime movements in India and the Arab world foreshadowed future developments, Turkey’s Armenian genocide presaged subsequent state-sponsored attempts to exterminate specific civilian populations. On the fringes of the war in the Middle East, local conflicts from Darfur to Ethiopia and Somalia likewise pointed the way to a grim future.
The chapter continues the previous chapter’s discussion of the role of Christianity as part of the national narrative and the Ethiopian state’s expansionism, elucidating how the people in the southeast responded to this. In arguing that this heightened the religious dimension of antagonistic relations, the chapter underscores that acknowledging the religious dimension is imperative for the understanding of conflictual landscapes in the Horn. The chapter analyzes how the physical environment of the lowlanders was crucial for the insurgency, wherein their mobility exposed them to different currents of resistance emerging in the Horn of Africa in the 1960s. It subsequently discusses the content and nature of these currents, focusing in particular on the role of the nascent independent Somali state and Somali insurgencies having direct and indirect impacts on the Bale insurgency. A main argument in the chapter is that while the Bale insurgency and others were not directly controlled by the Somalis, the latter played an important role by presenting themselves as liberators of fellow Muslims groups across the Horn.
The chapter analyzes the insurgency’s organizational structure, pointing to how internal fragmentation played an important role for its eventual defeat. It discusses the key leading figures whose authority was based on clan affiliations and traditional structures. The chapter points to how the lowlands – familiar to the pastoralists – were conducive for guerrilla warfare, arguing, at the same time, that the vastness of these areas, the lack of communication equipment, and the distance between the different fronts made coordination of activities highly complicated. Even more so, it demonstrates how the decentered clan system, important in structuring the movement, played a vital role in the continuous fragmentation of the movement. Addressing the assumption that the insurgency was merely a tool of the nascent Somali government, the chapter analyzes the role of Somalia and unveils a far more complex picture. The latter part of the chapter discusses the role of the so-called highland activists, demonstrating the support the movement had across the region. While these activists were not directly involved in the military operations, they remained crucial in sustaining the movement through material and moral support. These highland activists were also instrumental in shaping and articulating the ideological underpinnings of the insurgency.
African animal trypanosomiasis (AAT) affects the livestock of 12.3 million Somalis and constrains their development and wellbeing. There is missing data on AAT in the country after the civil war of the 1990s. Therefore, this study has aimed to assess the prevalence of Trypanosoma spp. in 614 blood samples from cattle (n = 202), goats (n = 206) and sheep (n = 206) in Afgoye and Jowhar districts, Somalia using parasitological and molecular methods. Twenty-one out of 614 (3.4%; 95% CI: 2.1–5.2%) and 101/614 (16.4%; 95% CI: 13.6–19.6%) ruminants were positive for Trypanosoma spp. by buffy coat technique (BCT) and internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR), respectively. Using ITS1-PCR, the highest prevalence was observed in cattle (23.8%; 95% CI: 18.4–30.1%) followed by goats (17.5%; 95% CI: 12.9–23.3%) and sheep (8.3%; 95% CI: 5.1–12.9%). A total of 74/101 (73.3%; 95% CI: 63.5–81.6%) ruminants were shown coinfection with at least two Trypanosome species. The four T. brucei-positive samples have tested negative for T. b. rhodesiense, by the human-serum-resistance-associated-PCR. Trypanosoma evansi, T. godfreyi, T. vivax, T. brucei, T. simiae and T. congolense were the Trypanosoma species found in this study. This is the first study on the molecular detection of Trypanosoma sp. in ruminants in Somalia. Further investigations and control measures are needed to manage Trypanosomiasis spreading in the country. Studies should also focus on the detection of T. b. rhodesiense in the country.
The Ottoman Empire is the most long-lived Islamic polity in world history. It is of particular interest to understanding if kinship is incompatible with or in fact central to stable political order. A long tradition in Western political and social thought argues that the Ottoman Empire terminated hereditary elite groups and established an impersonal despotic state in which all subjects, from the most exulted vizir to the most humble Anatolian peasant, were slaves of the sultan. This is also the image given by Ottoman political theory. Since the Renaissance Western social and political thought has tended to cast the Ottoman Empire as the radical ‘other’ of European realms. The efficiency and seemingly absolute rule of the sultans were originally the envy of European observers. To them, the Ottoman Empire differed from Europe where hereditary lords were essential and without whose support kings were powerless (Machiavelli, 1993:30–1; Çirakman, 2002:62ff; Bisaha, 2004). Later, the image of the Ottomans shifted. In the nineteenth century the weakened Empire was often portrayed as the ‘sick man of Europe’.
This chapter explores how the four East African liberation movements transitioned into governments and begun to negotiate their place within the region. The central argument of this chapter is that the early regional relationships of EPRDF, EPLF and NRM post-liberation elites were dominated by pragmatic, domestic preoccupations, and managing tensions with, and the distrust of, regional counterparts. Revolutionary change, at least at the regional level, was therefore far from being a lodestar. Diplomatically isolated for much of its first decade in power, NRM Uganda found itself in an instantly antagonistic set of relationships with its conservative neighbours, who feared it would seek to replicate its revolution in their own territories. Seeking to allay these concerns, Kampala promoted itself as a regional conflict mediator in Somalia and vacillated in its support for the RPF, which launched its first invasion of Rwanda from Uganda in 1990. In the Horn, EPRDF and EPLF elites focused mainly on settling the question of Eritrean independence and the shape of post-liberation Ethiopia’s political and constitutional order. The elites of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda first came together in the early 1990s around shared security concerns – the perceived threat from Omar al-Bashir’s Islamist Sudan – rather than ideological agendas.
Research on Somali mobility and migration has predominantly focused on forced migration from Somalia and diaspora communities in Western Europe and North America, neglecting other experiences and destinations. This article traces the journeys of Somali traders from East Africa to China, mapping the growth of a transnational trading economy that has offered a stable career path to a few but a chance to scrape by for many others. Understandings of migration and mobility must encompass these precarious terrains, allowing for a richer examination of how individuals have navigated war, displacement, and political and economic change by investing in transnational livelihoods, not just via ties to the West, but through the myriad connections linking African economies to the Gulf and Asia.
Refugee resettlement is accomplished through the intersecting administration of state and non-state actors with competing claims and interests. These competing claims are caught between humanitarian imperatives to rescue the most vulnerable refugees on one hand and security demands to protect national borders from those deemed undesirable and undeserving on the other. Based on ethnographic research with Somali refugees in Nairobi from 2013 to 2015, Balakian examines the ways in which refugees maneuver through an unsynchronized assemblage of institutions to which they are subject; she brings this assemblage into relief through ethnographic accounts of Somali refugees as they attempt to navigate the resettlement system and are simultaneously caught in Kenya’s 2014 anti-refugee security operations. Based on this case, the research demonstrates that being subject to multiple, competing governing bodies is central to the condition of statelessness in twenty-first century Africa.
Host governments have responded to the migration of Somali refugees throughout Africa in recent decades in different ways. Kenyan policymakers have treated Somalis primarily as a security threat, imposing restrictions on them that especially target this group. In South Africa, where economic and political competition fuel xenophobia, Somalis are part of a larger foreign national population that is seen as having disproportionate economic influence. However, Somali Bantus have been welcomed in Tanzania, which granted them citizenship even as it limited the mobility and activities of other refugees. A comparative analysis suggests that the relative balance among security, economic, political, and normative considerations shapes the extent and scope of host government policies.
The labels ‘state fragility’ and ‘civil war’ suggest that security in several African countries has broken down. While people do experience insecurity in some parts of conflict-affected countries, in other areas they live in relative security. Between 2014 and 2018, the author travelled to South Sudan and the Central African Republic during their ongoing civil wars and into Somalia’s breakaway state of Somaliland to gain insights from the people whose security is at stake. He develops the concept of a ‘security arena’, wherein he investigate security as the outcome of actors’ local political-ordering struggles on a fluidity–stability spectrum. He finds that neither stable nor fluid ordering per se creates security or insecurity. Security improves when actors seek to cohabit all parts of arenas by using varying ordering forms in a complementary fashion.