|| The clan
system, which is the basis of Somali society, is a century-old tradition
of ancestral ties. The Somali people are broken into six major clan
groups, which are each broken down into several sub-clans (2).
Each clan controls a different region of the country (see map).
The Darod clan, which is the biggest group, is mostly located along the
horn of Somalia. A smaller group of this clan is located along the
southern border of the country. The Hawiye clan controls much of
the country’s central region, including parts of Mogadishu. The Issaq
clan is in control of the northwestern region of Somalia. The other
three major clans, the Digil, Rahanweyn, and Dir, all control smaller regions
in the country’s interior (3).
A major reason why a united Somalia failed
is because most Somalis never really saw themselves as a common people,
but as a people broken into to separate clans. “For many Somalis,
clan or lineage was as far as their identity needed to be stretched.
Certainly for everyday purposes Somali was a relatively meaningless term.
Identity was determined by genealogy” (4).
Fighting among clans was the source of much of the conflict that broke
out after the departure of Siad Barre.