It is impossible to ignore the interests of the world and regional superpowers in the events going on in the Horn of Africa. Indeed, there is a strong correlation between the interests shown and the events taking place on the ground.
The battle against terrorism is perhaps the most evident indication of this interest with the focus of the state-building effort having been tightly hitched to that of defeating ‘terrorist forces’. In the period after the 9/11 New York bombings, the crisis in Somalia – in the eyes of several international policymakers – shifted from being one of state-failure to one of combating terror. This shift in focus has since then led to many mistakes in mislabeling the conflict in Somalia as one primarily driven by insurgent groups and has weakened and undermined the potential and possibility for reconciliation between and within the dueling factions. Indeed, maintaining a ‘terror’ label has legitimized adventurism and attracted interventions on Somali territory by foreign forces with consequent loss of civilian lives and destruction of property and destabilization of lives and livelihoods.