Britain withdrew from British Somaliland in 1960 to allow them to join with Italian Somaliland creating Somalia. In 1969, a coup headed by Mohamed SIAD Barre formed an authoritarian socialist rule to maintain stability in the country for more than two decades. After the regime's collapse early in 1991, Somalia descended into turmoil, factional fighting, and anarchy.

In May 1991, northern clans decided on an independent Republic of Somaliland that has the administrative regions of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sanaag, and Sool. Although not recognized by any government, this entity still very real and stable. A constitututional democracy holding municipal, parliamentary, and presidential elections.

Puntland disputes its border with Somaliland as it also claims portions of eastern Sool and Sanaag. Beginning in 1993, a two-year UN humanitarian effort (primarily in the south) helped the famine problem a little, but when the UN withdrew in 1995, suffering casualties, order still had not been restored. A two-year peace process led by the Government of Kenya, under the guidance of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), ended in October 2004. The election ended with Abdullahi YUSUF Ahmed as President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia and the formation of an interim government, known as the Somalia Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs).

Ethiopian military forces had entered Somalia in December 2006 to support the TFG in the face of advances by the opposition Islamic Courts Union (ICU). President YUSUF resigned late in 2008. The United Nations-sponsored talks to the TFG and the opposition about the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) in Djibouti. In January 2009 they made a TFG-ARS unity government. By this time, the Ethiopian military withdrew from the country. The TFA was increased to 550 seats with the addition of 200 ARS and 75 civil society members of parliament. The new parliament elected Sheikh SHARIF Sheikh Ahmed as president on 31 January 2009 in Djibouti. President SHARIF appointed Omar Abdirashid ali SHARMARKE, son of a former president of Somalia, as prime minister on 13 February 2009. The TFIs are based on the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC) outlining a five-year mandate towards the formation of a new Somali constitution and a tranfer to a representative government after national elections. Though in January 2009 the TFA edited the TFC to prolong TFG's mandate to 2011. The TFG's institutions remain weak, but that does not stop them from continuing to reach out to Somali stakeholders and work with international donors to help construct a governance capacity like the TFIs and to move toward the upcoming national elections in 2011.

(All Credit to U.S. Department of State)
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