Somalia has not been a unified country since 1991 when the dictator was overthrown. The 1990s were a time of battling warlords in the south and political seperation in the north. The 2000s have seen an attempted rebooting of the country and a Jihad. The situation is grim and can possibly turn into Taliban Afghanistan bad.
The geopolitical situation is like so:
- Puntland is trying to reboot the federal republic. It has done a good job at securing the peace in its zone but has been unable to export the idea of a unified, peaceful Somalia.
- Somaliland has long been part of Somalia in name only. While Somalia had been a Italian-colony, Somaliland was owned by the British. Somaliland continues the British-style of governance by combining local tribal councils with western-style parliamentary government. Somaliland could care less about Somalia as they seek their full independence.
- Islamic Courts Union is straight-up bad news. Imagine if the Taliban were in Africa. These guys have executed people for watching the World Cup on television! These people have used Islam as a weapon and are sweeping the south after capturing Mogadishu. They are currently focused fighting the loose alliance of warlords, the official Somali-government in exile, and Ethiopia.
- Everyone else is composed of the Somalia government in exile with some presence in Southwestern Somalia, warlords, the rapidly collapsing Jubaland. These are being by Ethiopia who has declared its opposition to the Islamic Courts Union.