I find specific summaries that cover decades and quickly ground in order to speak more specifically about current tragedies very helpful. I came across one such paragraph in an article by Paul Salopek titled "The War is Bitter and Nasty" in the May 29, 2009 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. Click on the title to read the full article.
"More than three million people, close to half of Somalia’s population, are currently homeless and facing starvation. Much of this vast panorama of suffering is due to the worst drought in the Horn of Africa in a decade. But the late-2006 invasion of Muslim Somalia by Christian-dominated Ethiopia—an attack tacitly supported by the Bush administration, which had hoped to crush a growing Islamist movement in Mogadishu—destroyed what little stability was left in Somalia. Bloody fighting between the Ethiopians and Somali rebels scattered at least 750,000 terrified people into the desert. Today the Ethiopians are gone, having declared victory after leaving behind at least 17,000 dead civilians and more anarchy, Islamic radicalism, and, yes, piracy, than Somalia has ever known. Not that many Americans would have made these connections while watching the fulsome coverage of Navy SEAL head-shots on CNN or Fox."