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Characteristics Of Conflicts In Somalia

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Chapter Summary

This chapter evaluates the extent to which the features of the current hostilities in Somalia are attributable to traditional, Somali-specific elements. It examines both the immediate causes of the current conflict and their resulting conduct. In order to comprehend the character of the conflict, it is necessary to understand the segmentary lineage system, in which the clan has always occupied an important position. The invocation of culture as a framework to explain the characteristics of the current internal armed conflict in Somalia takes on a number of attributes. Resource-based conflicts relating to amenities such as pasture, water and land are, and have been the root causes of clan conflicts throughout the history of Somali society. The chapter also describes the traditional forms of warfare including offensive raids, and the current form of conflicts involving heavy fighting.

Keywords: contemporary Somalia; resource-based conflicts; segmentary lineage system; traditional clan rivalries



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