Somalia Table of Contents

The authors wish to acknowledge the contributions of the following individuals who wrote the 1982 edition of Somalia: A Country Study: Robert Rinehart, Irving Kaplan, Donald P. Whitaker, Jean R. Tartter, and Frederick Ehrenreich. Their work provided the basis of the present volume, as well as substantial portions of the text.

The authors are grateful to individuals in various government agencies and private institutions who gave their time, research materials, and expertise to the production of this book. These individuals include Ralph K. Benesch, who oversees the Country Studies--Area Handbook program for the Department of the Army. Special thanks are owed to Thomas Ofcansky who assisted in providing data with which to update the various chapters. Graphics support was supplied by the firm of Greenhorne and O'Mara; Harriet R. Blood, who prepared the topography and drainage map; Carlyn Dawn Anderson, who designed the illustrations on the title pages of the chapters; and Wayne Horne, who designed the cover.

Special appreciation is due the Department of Defense for the use of January 1993 photographs from Operation Restore Hope. These pictures, taken by members of the United States Armed Forces with digitized cameras, were transmitted by satellite from Somalia directly to computers in the Pentagon; they represent a technological advance for on-the-scene photographic coverage.

The authors also wish to thank members of the Federal Research Division who contributed directly to the preparation of the manuscript. These people include Sandra W. Meditz, who reviewed all drafts and graphic material and served as liaison with the sponsoring agency; Tim L. Merrill, who assisted in preparing maps; LaVerle Berry who provided background area information; David P. Cabitto, who provided invaluable graphic assistance and supervised graphics production; and Marilyn L. Majeska, who managed editing and production. Also involved in preparing the text were editorial assistants Barbara Edgerton and Izella Watson.

Individual chapters were edited by Vincent Ercolano. Cissie Coy and Catherine Schwartzstein performed the final prepublication review, and Joan C. Cook compiled the index. The Library of Congress Composing Unit prepared the camera-ready copy, under the supervision of Peggy Pixley.


Like its predecessor, this study is an attempt to treat in a concise and objective manner the dominant historical, social, political, economic, and military aspects of contemporary Somali society. Sources of information included scholarly journals and monographs, official reports of government and international organizations, newspapers, and numerous periodicals. Chapter bibliographies appear at the end of the book; brief comments on some of the more valuable sources suggested as possible further reading appear at the end of each chapter. Measurements are given in the metric system.

Place-names generally have been spelled in accordance with those established by the United States Board on Geographic Names and the Permanent Committee on Geographic Names for British Official Use, known as the BGN/PCGN system. The spelling of other proper names conforms to the current usage in the country or to the most authoritative available sources.

Because Somalia has been in a state of virtual anarchy since the fall of the regime of Mahammad Siad Barre in January 1991 (and, actually, to a considerable degree since the outbreak of civil war in the latter 1980s), the lack of functioning government institutions has meant that statistics tend to be unreliable or nonexistent. Therefore, statistics cited in the text or tables in the appendix should be viewed with caution.

The arrival of United States military forces in Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope in the latter part of 1992, together with forces from other United Nations member states, has resulted in detailed Western press coverage of Somalia. However, much background data continued to be lacking.

The body of the text reflects information available as of mid-1992. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated. The Bibliography lists published sources thought to be particularly helpful to the reader.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress