The Lawless Horn


November 20, 2008: The article describes how piracy in Somalia is only a symptom of the real problems of Somalia - the overall breakdown of government and widespread anarchy. It also mentions the support of the Bush Administration for an invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia in 2006 to fight Islamic insurgents and to re-establish the legitimate government. Unfortunately the reinstated government proved unstable and impotent, allowing the insurgents to gain even more territory.

Not, of course, that Somalia was ever particularly stable … the British Empire maintained a reasonably stable protectorate in the north of the region and the Italians made some progress in the rest but before and since chronic tribal warfare has been more the norm than the exception, as has religiously motivated warfare against Ethiopia. Pirate and slaver dhows operated out of the horn long before any white man sighted it, and Arab and East African pirates were a persistent plague to the trade of the Honourable East India Company … perhaps only a lack of resolution on the part of the developed world in the modern age has caused the piracy to flare up again.


2. All the trouble in the World P J O'Rourke visits Somalia during the Clinton administration's ill fated adventure in country in the chapter "All guns, no butter" and discovers interesting things about the nature of famine, Somalia and people in general…

Game and Story Use

  • Somalia is a good case study of a collapsing nation turning anarchic, and is thus useful to study for anyone wanting to create a similarly anarchic region.
    • Also a good example to take if you happen to be creating an inherently unstable region.
  • Go to Somalia any time you like - whether to the "Big Mog" with the rangers in the Black Hawk Down era or with the Redcoats in the Dervish war… it won't have changed much.
  • Good campaign territory for a Military/Intelligence Ops/Private Military Contractor campaign - sneaking around the Somali coast and badlands mopping up pirate bases and bumping off liasons from Al-Qaeda.
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