Since 1990, when the Cold War came to anend, the state formation in Somalia was one of the biggest project. AlthoughSomalia is somehow functioning as a state, it is considered the second mostfragile state in the entire world. Considering 70 percents of the population isunder 30 years old and the states has been considered failure for over 25years, 75 percents of the population have no living memory of what state lookslike and how it functions.
This made the state forming extremely challenging.Charles Tilly argued how the states are formed and made an analogy ofwar-making and state-making with protection rackets. Tilly defined states”are relatively centralized, differentiated organizations the officials ofwhich more or less successfully claim control over the chief concentrated meansof violence within a population inhabiting a large, contiguous territory.”Somalia partially meets the description given by Tilly, however, it challengeshis argument by the process of state formation; meaning of ‘protection’; andthe foreign aids for states that went through decolonization. In his argument,Tilly considered state is formed in the process of war. In order to protect thestate from enemies as well as expanding the territory and monopolize in largerscale, state would have 4 characteristics while the formation take places: War-making State-making Protection ExtractionFor War-making, states would eliminatethe external enemies by yielding their armies and supporting services.
Contrary, for state-making, states would eliminate the internal rivals byproducing rules and some controls over the territory. While taking thoseactions, states also protect itself by creating courts and assemblies andextract from its population in order to raise funds for the war-making,state-making and protections. Therefore, Tilly is considering the process ofstate formation rather natural action to accomplish the common goal: protect andmonopolize. On the other hand, state formation in Somalia was rather forceful.The United States as well as the United Nations treated the state building ofSomalia as one of the big projects. Especially the southern part of theSomalia, including Mogadishu, saw non-stopping violence and no regulation.
TheUS and the UN sent peacekeepers and troops to abate the war and reestablish thebeautiful tourist place, which once called ‘the pearl of the Indian Ocean’, butit did not go as successful as they expected. There was no government untilthree to four years ago, but it was formed by people who realized the need ofregulations and authority. Thus, the action of state-making was taken in orderto avoid further consequences and international problems. Tilly comparedstate-making to an organized crime. He stated that the ‘protection’ given andguaranteed by states are like the protection bought from rackets, in the sensethat people pay for protection in order to avoid damage caused by state itself.The states do not cause damage as obviously, personally, and directly as theprotection rackets did.
However, the threat, which government protect itscitizens from, are “imaginary or consequences of the government’sactivities.” And whether we want the protection or not, government would sellthe protection. whether we buy it or not is our decisions to make, but therewould be harsh consequences if we choose not to buy. In Somalia, selling’protection’ is considered the fastest way to make money and it is not onlygiven by the government, but many companies and organizations too.
Some ofthose companies are small and some are well-established and have website forthemselves. There are six brigades who received training and are receivingsalary and weapons from abroad, but they are “clan paramilitaries.” They areroyal to the particular clans and do what is best for their community, not forthe entire state.
Those protection given by companies and organizations also dowhat is best for the company or organization they belong to. These protectionssell by companies and organizations are considered illegal, but in reality,some politicians do these business for extra cash as well. Especially thoseforces supported by government and abroad are quite aggressive and ruthless innature, which provide no protection but increase the need for protection. Tilly concluded when statesrecently go through decolonization or reallocation of territory then outsidestate would supply military goods and ask commodity or alliance in return.Somalia is one of the country that went through decolonization andreallocation.
It used to be a colony of Italy and England. After gettingdecolonized and the president Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown, countriessuch as the US and the UN provided military goods and forces, but they did notask anything in return. In addition, the US and the UN peacekeepers both leftthe country before the state was successfully formed which are bothcontradicting to what Tilly said. State formingtakes time and efforts.
Some people argue the state forming is ongoing processin Somalia, and other argue the state is already formed but unstable. There arecollision and collaboration between different groups of companies, organizations,and religious groups with unshared goals and minds which make the creation ofuniformed state difficult. This is also the reason why the state is unstable, ifthere is a state, because collision and collaboration between those groupshappen constantly and inconsistently. Somalia is the place where peculiarstructure if society exist and thus challenge Tilly’s argument.