Somalia War- Important Terms


Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs)

The Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) are the three key foundations of the central government of Somalia. Created in 2004, they include the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC), the Transitional Federal Government, and the Transitional Federal Parliament. The Transitional Federal Charter outlines a five-year mandate leading toward the establishment of a new constitution and a transition to a representative government after national elections.

Transitional Federal Government (TFG):

The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is the current internationally recognized federal government of Somalia. It constitutes the executive branch of government. The TFG is the most recent attempt to restore national institutions to Somalia after the 1991 collapse of the Siad Barre regime and the ensuing Somali Civil War. It has been largely an impotent government to curb menaces such as piracy and domestic peace.

Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP)

The Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) is the parliament of Somalia. Formed in 2004, it constitutes the legislative branch of government. The TFP elects the President and Prime Minister, and has the authority to propose and pass laws. It is also in charge of governance and administration of Mogadishu. Each of the four major clans hold 61 seats, while an alliance of minority clans hold 31 seats. After an alliance with the Islamic Courts Union and other Islamist groups was formed, the Islamists were awarded 200 seats. Representatives of citizens’ groups and representatives of the Somali diaspora hold 75 seats. By law, at least 12% of all representatives must be women. Members of parliament are selected through traditional clan leaders or shura councils.


Somalia has been mired in anarchy since rebels toppled military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. In August 1992 the first contingent of U.N. troops under the United Nations Operation in Somalia, or UNOSOM, had arrived to monitor a ceasefire in Mogadishu after the fall of Siad Barre. In December 1992 the United Nations authorized member states to form the Unified Task Force (UNITAF) led by the United States to deploy troops to deliver humanitarian aid. UNITAF deployed some 37,000 troops. In May 1993 a second U.N. force, UNOSOM II, took over from the U.S. troops. On June 5, 1993, 23 Pakistani soldiers were killed in fighting with warlord Mohammed Farah Aideed’s forces. The U.N. mission was dealt a fatal blow when 18 U.S. rangers sent to hunt down Aideed were killed in Mogadishu. Remaining U.S. forces withdrew and UNOSOM II was withdrawn in March 1995, leaving the local warlords to fight on. Some 150 U.N. personnel were killed during the mission.


In June 2006, Islamist militia loyal to the Somalia Islamic Courts Council seized Mogadishu after defeating U.S.-backed warlords. With tacit U.S. approval, Somalia’s neighbor Ethiopia sent troops to defend the interim government in December 2006. The Ethiopian force advanced rapidly, taking Mogadishu and driving the Islamists to Somalia’s southern tip. AMISOM, an African Union peacekeeping force, was deployed in early 2007. It is now made up of Ugandan and Burundian troops and has been largely responsible for keeping the interim authority, the Transitional Federal Government, in power. Since Ethiopian troops withdrew in January 2009, the biggest threat has come from al Shabaab which controls much of southern and central Somalia.

Beginning of Somalia war from 1991

Military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was in power for 22 years before he was overthrown by warlords in 1991. There has not been an effective government since then. It was 88 months from May 1993 before there was even a prime minister. Somalia government runs backed by Ethipia and UN and without elections.

Current Civil War

Began in February 2009, with the conflict between, on the one hand, the forces of the Somali Transitional Federal Government assisted by African Union peacekeeping troops, and on the other, various militant Islamist and factions. The violence has displaced thousands of people in the southern part of the country. The conflict has also seen sectarian violence between the moderate Sufis ASWJ, and the Islamists Al-Shabaab.

Al Shabaab

The militant Islammist group, al Shabaab, still occupies much of the country despite recent reverses, notably losing the capital, Mogadishu, and the southern town of Baidoa, which was taken by Ethiopian troops recently. The United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea reported last July that al Shabaab generated between $70 million and $100 million in revenues per year. These came from duties and fees levied at airports and seaports, taxes on goods and services, taxes in kind on domestic produce, "jihad contributions," checkpoints and various forms of extortion justified in terms of religious obligations. The report said that the movement has continued to consolidate its control over multiple sources of revenue, which are used to pay for the salaries of its fighters, and for arms and ammunition to sustain military operations.

What is Al Shadaab? : Al Shabaab, which means "Youth" in Arabic, has taken control of large areas of south and central Somalia. The Horn of Africa nation has been mired in anarchy since warlords toppled military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. The interim government’s attempts to restore central rule have been paralysed by infighting and the Islamist-led insurgency. The chaos has also helped fuel kidnappings and piracy offshore. Al Shabaab’s militia helped push U.S.-backed warlords out of Mogadishu in June 2006 and ruled for six months before Somali and Ethiopian forces ousted them.

Operation Linda Nchi

In October 2011, in a coordinated operation with the Somalian military, Kenyan troops crossed the border into southern Somalia in pursuit of Al-Shabaab militants that were alleged to have kidnapped several foreign tourists and workers inside Kenya. On 12 November, the Kenyan government agreed to rehat its forces under the AMISOM general command. Analysts expect the additional AU troop reinforcements to help the Somalian authorities gradually expand their territorial control.