The Horn of Africa (HOA) is one of the most underdeveloped regions on earth. It is also one of the most conflict-ridden, insecure regions in the world. While Africa as a whole has enjoyed a trend in recent years toward reduction and termination of many of its civil wars, the HOA is the exception to the rule. Indeed, the region's prolonged armed conflicts have spread, engulfing several neighboring states in warfare and partial state collapse. While aspects of the HOA case are obviously unique, and sensitivity to context and complexity must be privileged in both analysis of and policy toward the Horn, the region's crises are not so distinct that they preclude useful comparative analysis. This paper considers conflict dynamics across the entire Horn of Africa, but devotes special attention to the case of Somalia which, because of the depth, length, and significance of its crisis, is a source of particular international concern. Because Somalia's crisis has been so protracted and has gone through several very distinct phases, it provides an opportunity to compare conflict dynamics in a single country over time.