SOMALIA: Birth Pangs

High and dry on the sun-blasted northeastern horn of Africa hangs a backward, poverty-stricken strip of land inhabited by leopards, crocodiles and some 1,300,000 camel-and goat-herding nomads. Back in the19th century after the British, French and Italians helped themselves in imperial fashion to slices of the coast bordering Ethiopia, this desert patch was known as Italian Somaliland. In Mussolini's heyday it became a bridgehead for his conquest of Italian East Africa. Now after years of somnolence, it is back in the news—once again as a trouble spot. The Italians, who kept...

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