Geography and Natural Resources

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 264–270 | Cite as

The political-geographical aspects of problematic statehood (exemplified by Somalia)

  • F. L. Brazhalovich
  • M. I. Klyuchnikov
  • A. I. Lukyanov
Geography Abroad


We examine the phenomenon of “collapsed” states by using, as an example, Somalia that is being faced with a vast array of problems: collapse of state institutes, civil war, separatism, terrorism, radical Islamism, and piracy. It is found that clannishness and tribalism of Somali society are complicating the process of political settlement and national reconciliation. It is pointed out that some of the tribes and groups, including under the action of external forces, are actually forming the country’s political space. It is shown that the pseudo-state entities in Somalia are unstable, and their boundaries of “flowing” so that they are incapable of exercising a full control over the territory. It is emphasized that the problem of Islamic extremism can be treated as deriving from failure of the state institutes; the peak of activity and territorial expansion of Islamist groups in the country is now in the past, and the area of their activity is bounded by the area inhabited by the Somali ethnos. It is found that the piracy problem is determined by the geographical location of Somalia, and its solution is impossible without the reestablishment of the state institutes and the economic system of the country. Two potential cores of reestablishment of Somali statehood have been revealed: Federal Government in Mogadishu as well as the Autonomous Republic of Puntland. It is forecasted that the international community will be gradually recognizing the Republic of Somaliland. It is concluded that the federalization of the country as declared by authorities is formal in character but yields first results implying that the negotiation process between the groups of clans has been led into a political channel.


Somaliland Puntland collapsed states separatism Islamism terrorism 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Klyuchnikov, M.I., Geography of Separatist Movements in Countries of Northeastern Africa, Proc. Int. Youth Sci. Forum “Lomonosov–2013” (April 8–12, 2013, Moscow), Moscow: MAKS Press, 2013 (CD-ROM) [in Russian].Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Klyuchnikov, M.I., The Types of Separatist Regions in Countries of Northeastern Africa, Proc. Int. Sci. Conf. “Modern geographical Science: A View of Young Scientists” (April 11–13, 2014, St. Petersburg), St. Petersburg, 2015, pp. 187–193 [in Russian].Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sebentsev, A.B. and Kolosov, V.A., The Phenomenon of Uncontrolled Territories in the Modern World, Polis. Politicheskie Issledovaniya, 2012, no. 2, pp. 31–46 [in Russian].Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Popov, F., Spatial Aspects of Failure and Collapse of a Sovereign State, Mirovaya Ekonomika i Mezhdunarodnye Otnosheniya, 2014, no. 7, pp. 78–86 [in Russian].Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Rotberg, R.I., The Failure and Collapse of Nation- States: Breakdown, Prevention, and Repair, in When States Fail: Causes and Consequences, R.I. Rotberg, Ed., Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2003, pp. 1–50.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Asymmetry of the World Sovereignty System: Zones of Troubled Stateness, M.V. Ilyina and I.V. Kudryashova, Eds., Moscow: MGIMO-Universitet, 2011 [in Russian].Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Zayats, D.V., Territorial Conflicts on the Contemporary Political Map of the World: Foci and Risks of Separatism, Extended Abstract of Cand. Sci. (Geogr.) Dissertation, Moscow, 1999 [in Russian].Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Popov, F.A., Geography of Secessionism in the Modern World, Moscow: Novyi Khronograph, 2012 [in Russian].Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Aleinikov, S.V., The Political Situation and Problems of National Reconciliation in Somalia, Moscow: Institut Blizhnego Vostoka, 2012 [in Russian].Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Somalia. CIA Factbook. URL: html (Accessed October 1, 2015).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Aleinikov, S.V., Somalia Today: Autonomous Territories, State Structures, Military-Political Groups. URL: (Accessed October 1, 2015) [in Russian].Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Valetskii, O.V., War in Somalia: History and the Present, Art of War. URL: (Accessed October 1, 2015).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Zayats, D.V., Jamhuuriayada Somaliland, Geografiya, 2002, no. 21, pp. 3–9 [in Russian].Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Somalia Profile. BBC News. URL: com/news/world-africa-14094503 (Accessed October 1, 2015).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Konovalov, I.P., Somalia: The Endlessness of War, Pushkino: tsentr Strategicheskoi Kon’yunktury, 2013 [in Russian].Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bahadur, J., Deadly Waters: Inside the Hidden World of Somalia’s Pirates, London: Profile Books Ltd, 2011.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Transnational Organized Crime in Eastern Africa: A Threat Assessment, Vienna: UNODC, September 2013.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    UNODC, Global Synthetic Drugs Assessment: Amphetamine-Type Stimulants and New Psychoactive Substance, Vienna: United Nations Publication, Sales No. E.14.XI.6, pp 16–17.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kudelev, V.V., Somalia: Are the Plans of Al-Quaeda Defeated? In The East and the Present: Collection of Papers, Moscow: Izd-vo Instituta Blizhnego Vostoka, 2007, Issue 31, pp. 250–257 [in Russian].Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Al-Shabaab. The National Counterterrorist Center of the USA. URL: shabaab.html (Accessed October 1, 2015).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    UAE Ambassador Reaches Kismayo. Goobjoog News. URL: (Accessed October 1, 2015).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Provisional Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia, United Nations Political Office for Somalia. URL: aspx?fileticket=RkJTOSpoMME=(Accessed October 1, 2015).Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Dahl, J., Political Situation in Somalia (Map), Wikimedia Commons. URL: https://www.commons.wikimedia. org/wiki/File:Somalia_map_states_regions_districts. png (Accessed October 1, 2015).Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Global Terrorism Database, University of Maryland. URL: (Accessed October 1, 2015).Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Pavlyuk, S.G., Somaliland. Walks in Hargeysa, Zhivoi Zhurnal. URL: (Accessed October 1, 2015).Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Are Kenyans Seeking a Buffer Zone in Somalia? BBC News URL: 15499534 (Accessed October 1, 2015).Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Drazen J., Former Islamist Warlord Elected President of Somali Region, Reuters. URL: com/article/2013/05/15/uk-somalia-security-jubalandidUKBRE94E1AS20130515 (Accessed October 1, 2015).Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    “Al-Shabaab” Promised Terrorist Acts in Shopping Centers of the USA, Canada and Great Britain. URL: shtml (Accessed October 1, 2015) [in Russian].Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. L. Brazhalovich
    • 1
  • M. I. Klyuchnikov
    • 1
  • A. I. Lukyanov
    • 1
  1. 1.Moscow M. V. Lomonosov State UniversityMoscowRussia

Personalised recommendations