I. KONOVALOV, First Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Smysl magazine
Since 1991, after the fall of Mohammed Siad Barre's regime, the Somali State as a whole has been virtually non-existent. Two years ago, a significant part of the country came under the temporary control of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC). Washington saw this as a direct danger of the emergence of a Taliban-style regime in Africa. Therefore, the United States supported the invasion of Ethiopian troops, who, after the defeat of the Islamist detachments, remained in Somalia to support the Transitional Federal Government of the country. However, the ICU fighters did not lay down their weapons. The guerrilla war continues.
The analogy between the Union of Islamic Courts and the Taliban movement, which is obvious at first glance, should still be considered superficial. Traditional Somali society is based on a clan system that is extremely complex and complex. Somalis are divided into five clan families or unions, also often referred to as tribes-Dir, Hawiya, Isaac, Darod and Rahanwein1. The latter is considered low-born, since it traces its ancestry to agricultural communities, and the first four come from "noble" nomads2.
Clan unions consist of clans that are divided into sub-clans and then down to individual families. Hostility, which dates back to ancient times, during the fierce struggle for water sources and pastures, is one of the main characteristics of inter-clan relations in Somalia. Moreover, hostility is common both between clans and within clans. A local proverb says: "Me and Somalia against the world, me and my clan against Somalia, me and my family against the clan, me and my brother against the family, me against my brother." And in the current endless Somali war, the Islamist factor, although it plays a significant role, is still far from decisive.
Dictator Siad Barre (Marehan clan), although he fought against tribalism, still relied on the clans that were part of his darod clan union. After hi ... Read more