The Most Dangerous Place in the World

Somalia is a state governed only by anarchy. A graveyard of foreign-policy failures, it has known just six months of peace in the past two decades. Now, as the country’s endless chaos threatens to engulf an entire region, the world again simply watches it burn.

Beyond the airport is one of the world’s most stunning monuments to conflict: block after block, mile after mile, of scorched, gutted-out buildings. Mogadishu’s Italianate architecture, once a gem along the Indian Ocean, has been reduced to a pile of machine-gun-chewed bricks. Somalia has been ripped apart by violence since the central government imploded in 1991. Eighteen years and 14 failed attempts at a government later, the killing goes on and on ... Full Story »

Posted by Kaizar Campwala
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Posted by: Posted by Kaizar Campwala - Feb 18, 2009 - 9:26 AM PST
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Edited by: Derek Hawkins - Dec 22, 2009 - 7:45 AM PST
Derek Hawkins
4.4
by Derek Hawkins - Feb. 24, 2009

This comes with one of my highest ratings. Foreign Policy paints a dark, lucid picture of the anarchy that has racked Somalia in the past two decades and convincingly shows why the international community has failed to pull it out. The author, who has deep knowledge of the subject, maintains a critical tone without sacrificing fairness. Excellent story.

It’s crunch time for Somalia, but the world is like me, standing in the doorway, looking in at two decades of unbridled anarchy, unsure what to do. Past interventions ... More »

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Kaizar Campwala
4.6
by Kaizar Campwala - Feb. 19, 2009

Beyond giving us the facts the despair and chaos in Somalia, this well-written piece captures the feeling through powerful images and blunt language. Recommended read.

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Peter L. Combs
4.7
by Peter L. Combs - Feb. 24, 2009

Has it all. Content, Context, history. Best look at this nightmarish country I've seen in print. Read it twice..

Clans, Warlords, Islamic Fundametalists...mixed with Wahhabi School..money...and you have a country the world would do well without. Might be Pakistan's future as well, could this be a heads up for us all?

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Gary Clark
4.7
by Gary Clark - Feb. 24, 2009

Jeffrey Gettleman lays out a smooth flow of historical fact and his interpretation of the forces of geopolitical meddling, Islamic sectarianism, and lawlessness for survival and profit in the pitiable land of Somalia. Be not timid about the 5 pages, for they slip by easily, and inform mightily.

This is a picture of anarchy, exacerbated by world powers, pursuing their own advantages, flooding Somalia with free weapons and futile attempts at outside governance. Not mentioned is the "civilized" nations' dumping of hazardous waste, some nuclear, off their undefended coast.

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Tshiung Han See
4.0
by Tshiung Han See - Feb. 24, 2009

It's useful to know what's going on in Somalia. Not a great deal of sources. But Gettleman being East Africa Bureau Chief of NYT, he knows what he's talking about. The mix of viewpoints is also useful. Gettleman shifts from one aspect of the problem to another, from history to politics, with ease. A few personal anecdotes that are devastating.

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