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About Harun Hassan

Harun Hassan worked for Associated Press and the BBC in Somalia. He currently works as a freelancer.

Articles by Harun Hassan

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Somalia: between violence and hope

The endemic conflict in Somalia continues to devour lives and divert resources from the reconstruction of the country. Only a political solution that offers Somalis the promise of a better life will bring it to an end, say Harun Hassan & David Hayes.

(This article was first published on 15 July 2009)

Somalia: Mogadishu's ghost days

The future of a country riven by clan rivalries, regional fissures and international ambitions will be decided in its capital city, says Harun Hassan.

Somalia: the way forward

Somalia's people now need leadership and clarity from the international community to help them escape the tunnel of conflict, says Harun Hassan.

Somalia at the crossroads

The Somali government and its Ethiopian allies – now backed by United States military force – have won the battle for Somalia. But the war cannot end without a political settlement, says Harun Hassan.

Somalia's enigmatic conflict has taken yet another dramatic turn. As 2006 ended and 2007 dawned, after six months of political stand-off and military build-up going on side-by-side, the situation exploded into full armed confrontation.

Somalia: diplomacy's last chance

The Horn of Africa is still on course to all-out war. But it is not too late for creative negotiation to prevent it, says Harun Hassan.

Somalia slides into war

The blame for all-out war on Somalia must be widely shared among the country's east African neighbours and regional institutions, says Harun Hassan.

In the horn of Africa, rival Somali sides have failed to narrow their bitter differences. All diplomatic efforts seem to be exhausted. Foreign interference, direct and indirect, exacerbates the volatile situation. The result: an imminent, full-scale war in the already war-ravaged country could start within days.

Somalia's stony path

A regional tussle among Somalia's neighbours is intensifying the domestic standoff, reports Harun Hassan.

Somalia's thorny road

The intervention of Ethiopia and Eritrea marks a perilous new phase in Somalia's civil conflict, reports Harun Hassan.

Somalia's new Islamic leadership

A more nuanced United States response to the success of the Islamic courts militias in Somalia could help the country and save Washington from another humiliation there, reports Harun Hassan.

Somalia twists in the wind

The local clan and territorial battles in Mogadishu are being reframed by the global war. But what is really happening, asks Harun Hassan.

Yahya: death of a peace campaigner

The murder of Abdulkadir Yahya Ali on 11 July is a loss to all Somalis, says his close friend Harun Hassan.

America's two faces in Somalia

Is America its own biggest enemy? In the third of our Letters to Americans series, Harun Hassan, whose life was transformed by American intervention in Somalia, writes to Michael Maren, a journalist he befriended there.

Somalia: exit into history?

The warring factions that have devastated Somalia have signed their latest, fourteenth peace agreement in neighbouring Kenya. A clear-eyed observer of his country’s affairs asks if it can open a space for normal life and politics.

Somalia is justly regarded as one of the poorest and most backward places in the world – the quintessential ‘failed state’.

Iraq: the lesson from Somalia

Before agreeing to any military involvement in Iraqi peacekeeping, the United Nations and its member states should recall the bitter experience of the disastrous United States/UN operations in Somalia a decade ago.

The 'Axis of Anarchy'

If any continent deserves intervention, it is Africa. In the Democratic Republic of Congo and East Africa a devastating human crisis – failed states, ethnic violence, rampant disease and endemic insecurity – presents Bush and Blair with a moral as well as a political challenge.

In Mogadishu objectivity is a luxury most journalists cannot afford

Somali journalist Harun Hassan found himself at the heart of a fatal information war when he worked for the BBC in Mogadishu. His experiences cast a frightening new light on the debate about journalistic objectivity, balance and ‘involvement’ in times of war.

Black Hawk Down: the Baghdad sequel?

If Saddam Hussein seeks to evade capture in the labyrinth of Baghdad, he may try to follow the example of another US enemy: the Somali warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid. In 1993, Aidid survived a four-month American manhunt, and became president of the country after a humiliating US withdrawal. A Somali journalist who closely followed Aidid's hide-and-seek odyssey asks what lessons it might offer Saddam.

'Not housekeepers any more': Somali women of the diaspora

Somali people in Britain have escaped war to endure exile. Now, they face a new challenge: while the women explore their independence, the men hold fast to their idea of Islamic tradition.
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