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POLI 227 Lecture Notes - Puntland, Northeast India, Sub-Saharan Africa

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 227
Rex Brynen

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FEBRUARY 15, 2012:
Sectarian religious tensions only because as severe after America presence begins.
How can you end up with a regime that is disproportionately Shi-ite, disliked by
Sunnis, but has a leader who doesn’t see things in sectarian ways? Hussein
appointed people he trusted to power, and he disproportionately appointed Sunnis
because they had other links to him (family ties, religion ties, etc.). The elite have
also been disproportionately Sunni. This causes the sectarianization of an anti-
sectarian regime. A similar situation is happened in Syria.
Highlights how ethnic divisions can intensify over time.
Ex) INDIA. 800 languages and dialects exist (60 of them are unrelated to Hindi) and
there are more than 1600 identifiable ethnic groups and sub-groups. Hindi is the
main language of only about 30% of India’s population. Another 8% speak Urdu or
Punjabi (which are unrelated). Another 8 languages are each spoken by 4-8% of the
population each (eg. At least 30-60 million people). It is likely the most multi-
cultural country on the planet.
India is an exception that confounds political science.
Political effects:
o Partition from (Muslim) Pakistan in 1947. It was violent. Populations on the
wrong side of the division fled.
o Democratic, federal system. It designed a federal system because there is
some local autonomy for regions and it allows minorities who are majorities
in local areas to exert some local autonomy.
o Extensive minority guarantees: some personal status laws vary depending
on whether you are a minority or majority.
o Periodic localized ethnic tensions/violence (Muslim/Hindu riots, Kashmir
which is under Indian occupation but both Pakistan and India claim it,
Punjab [Sikhs], North East India)
o It has a Hindu nationalist party that plays on ethnic identities and issues for
political benefit.
o Because you have ethnic pluralism does not automatically mean that you get
conflict, and India proves this because of their abilities to hold onto
democracy with their ethnic diversity.
Ex) SOMALIA. Somalia is 85% Somali by language/ethnicity, but there are
substantial clan differences, with four major clans, many minor clans, and many sub
clans within each of these. They have been in civil war since 1991, and a peace deal
in January 2004 resulted in parliament with 61 members from each of four major
clans, 31 from coalition of smaller clans. The government (TFG) still lacks control of
the country. There are also breakaway areas such as Somaliland and Puntland. It is
the most homogenous country ethnically in sub-Saharan Africa.
Political Effects:
o Unitary dictatorship of Mohamed Said Barre overthrown in 1991, civil war
o Country fractures across clan and regional lines
o 3 failed US/UN interventions (1992-1995)
o Transitional Federal Government (2004-present) controls little more than
parts of Mogadishu, backed by troops from the African Union.
o Conflict with Islamist groups
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