Early European writers called Somalis a mixed race of Arab and African origins but more reasonable accounts suggest that Somalis are related to other ethnic groups in the Horn of Africa. In other words, Somalis, as an ethnic group, are African in race and Muslim in faith. Moreover, Somalis are largely homogeneous even though there are groups of Arabs, Bantus and Caravans. Within the Somali ethnic group, there are many clans and sub-clans that are based on patrilineal kinship. Prior to European colonial arrival, Somalis did not have a central state in the sense of a Western, Weberian bureaucratic state. However, they used home-grown conflict resolution mechanisms of Heer (traditional law) and Islam for resolving disputes among individuals and groups. Socioeconomically, Somalis have depended on livestock and farming and many are pastoral-nomads.Colonial countries partitioned Somali into five parts. Great Britain took two parts while France,Italy and Ethiopia divided the remaining three among themselves. In response to the partition and the colonisation that followed, Somalis fought back. Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan led a long struggle against Great Britain while several groups resisted France, Italy and Ethiopia in other parts of Somali. Besides Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan’s protracted struggle between 1899 and 1921, the most significant organisation was the Somali Youth League (SYL), which was established in 19431.
After the downfall of the military government of General Siyad Bare in 1991 by rebellion clan based factions led by warlords and politicians, Somali has been in a failed situation. The groups that overthrew the military government started fighting between them for resources and power. Consequently, the country and the people of Somali entered decades of protracted conflict civil war (Elmi and Barise, 2006: 33-35). Three major factors have been explained by most scholars as the root causes of Somali’s conflict and the followed breakdown and statelessness of the country. These are the A) colonial legacy, B) economic factors and C) politicized clan system. Similar to many other conflicts in Africa. Somali’s conflict is related to the colonial eras. The colonial powers of Somali (Britain, France and Italy) divided the Somali inhabited territories into five segments. Britain took two regions, (the British Somaliland, and
*Executive Director at The Horn of Africa Center for Strategic & International Studies,INC.
**Dean.Faculty of Social Sciences,KakatiyaUniversity,Warangal-Telangana-India
Northern territory of Kenya) while Italy colonized one part (The Italian Somaliland) whereas France took one part (The Northern coast, currently the republic of Djibouti) and the rest was occupied by Ethiopia (The Ogaden region) (Mulugetta, 2009: 9)2.
Problem Formulation Somali has been without functioning state for over two decades. The country has not experienced any government that has the capacity to maintain the rule of law in its entirety after the overthrow of the military government in 1991 by clan based militia factions. Over two decades of anarchy, violence and widespread humanitarian problems followed the downfall of the military government. Consequently, the country has fallen into the hands of warlords, clan militia and other interest driven actors. However, the northern and north-eastern regions of the country have enjoyed a relative stability and formation of autonomous administrations (Somaliland and Puntland) after successful negotiations and reconciliation processes led by traditional leaders and politicians in those regions (Afyare and Barise, 2006: 33). Efforts and engagements of different forms have been made by the international community to bring peace back in the whole country. For example, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has approved unilateral UN humanitarian intervention in resolution 751 of 1992 (Harper, 2012: 60). Similarly, the African Union (AU) has with the help of international community made fifteen peace initiatives to create a functioning state in Somali.
The Somali Civil War is an armed conflict in Somali that started in 1991, following the overthrow of the dictator, SiadBarre. The former British Empire of Somaliland, which had merged with Italian Somali in 1960, declared unilateral independence in 1991, but has not attracted international recognition. However, the rest of the country descended into anarchy as clan-based warlords competed with each other with no one controlling the nation as a whole. Effectively, Somali has lacked a government since 1991. As a large scale humanitarian crises developed, the international community responded, sending aid and a UN peace-keeping mission to oversee food distribution and to protect relief workers. The UN mission was soon extended to include restoring law and civil governance. This proved to be a daunting task. The death of UN troops, including 31 United States soldiers during street fighting in Mogadishu, resulted in the total withdrawal of foreign peacekeepers by March 1995. U.S. troops had withdrawn in March 1994. The UN has subsequently looked to African leaders to take the initiative in restoring governance, law, and order in Somali. Although no effective government has yet emerged from this process, a degree of stability has been achieved as various smaller entities have declared autonomy3.
This article analyses critically that the involvement of external actors, most notably Kenya and Ethiopia in the Somali conflict. It also aims to discuss peace prospect for Somali in consideration with regional interest. Adopting Mary Kaldor’s “New War” theory that explains the changing
context and transnational character of wars in the new era, and Michael E. Brown’s concept of causes and Regional Dimensions of Internal Conflict in combination with applied peace and conflict research method, the study finds that the involvement of neighbouring states, particularly Kenya and Ethiopia, in the Somali conflict is necessitated by the “spill-over” effect of the internal conflict coupled with transnational threats posed to their national security by various local and international actors. Furthermore, the study reveals that Somali’s conflict hosts a variety of politically, religiously and militarily motivated external actors, who also openly vowed to internationalize their activities. As a result, the connections between local actors in Somali and terrorist groups operating elsewhere, but cooperating with them, have become a source of continuous instability to Somali, the eastern African region and beyond. This situation makes an international action imperative as the prospect for peace in Somali is still in place. Thus, in order to end wars and create a durable peace in Somali, this study suggests Michael E. Brown’s ‘co- optation’ and ‘neutralization’ strategies along with an extensive international efforts including humanitarian assistance and local institutions building, which may help to restore peace4.
Somaliland, Jubaland, Rahaweynland, Marihanland, etc.,most of which had little. The Somali Republic gained independence on 1 July 1960. Somali was formed by the union of British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland, while French Somaliland became Djibouti. A socialist state was established following a coup led by Major General Muhammad Siad Barre. Rebel forces ousted the Barre regime in 1991, but turmoil, factional fighting, and anarchy ensued. The Somali National Movement (SNM) gained control of the north, while in the capital of Mogadishu and most of southern Somali, the United Somali Congress achieved control. Somali had been without a stable central government since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre fled the country in 1991.
The collapse of Somali’s international relations system i.e. self-serving embassies that have no defined national external policy to support. Their remaining functions are renewal of Somali passports and issuing new fake travel documents in addition to begging for scholarship to their own clan/sub-clan children, etc. The seat of Somali capital, i.e. Mogadishu, was in the hands of warlords and wrecked by clans claiming to the city as a property of their own tribe. This kept making the restoration of Somali all the more difficult because there was no capital equal to all Somalis. Somali disintegrated into a number of poorly defined tribal territories, i.e. Puntlandcapacity to provide bare minimum services to their own constituencies with the exception of ego-boosting clan identity. The intention of the formation of these territories were not based on ideology other than clan supremacy.
Somalia: Fall of Siad Barre and the civil war
While Somali is ethnically, religiously, and linguistically homogenous, the country’s population is divided into clans who can draw their lineage back to a common ancestor. During the colonial period under Italy and Great Britain clans became a central feature of state administration and political competition. Colonial administrators established a patrimonial system of resource distribution, employed tactics of divide and rule along clan lines, and engaged in collective punishment of clans. All of these tactics would be employed during later periods of violence. Somali gained independence after a ten year period under a UN Trusteeship from 1950 to 1960. The northern and southern regions were united under multi-party democracy that lasted from 1960 to 1969.
In 1969, a bloodless coup resulted in the installment of President SiadBarre. From 1969 to 1978, the Barre Regime enjoyed relative popularity and financial support from both the Soviet Union and Western institutions. While projecting an image of Somali as a constitutional state to international actors, Barre cultivated a patrimonial state that increasingly revolved around clan identity. Clan-based paramilitaries were funded and armed by the government, a practice that exacerbated relations between communities that had previously lived adjacently and intermarried with little conflict. Rather than completely excluding particular clans, Barre co-opted key actors in certain sub-clans, causing divisions within the larger clans. During this time, the regime passed legislation giving the state wide powers of detention and execution. A number of paramilitaries, militias, and security agencies were founded, including the National Security Service and the Victory Pioneers. While there were several incidents of political violence, this caused relatively low numbers of civilian deaths; no single incident from 1945 to 1975 seems to have caused more than 100 civilian deaths5.
The Barre regime became increasingly oppressive and violent in the late 1970s through the 1980s, although mass atrocities did not begin until later. In 1977 Somali entered the Ethio-Somali or Ogaden war with Ethiopia. After a number of initial victories, the Soviet Union withdrew support from Somali in favor of Ethiopia, and Somali lost the war in 1978. Discontent with the SiadBarre regime began to spread after the military loss against Ethiopia. SiadBarre had eighty- two high level military officers executed in Ethiopian territory for their opposition to the way the war was handled. The military failure and execution of military officers prompted a 1978 coup attempt. Despite somewhat diverse clan participation amongst the coup leaders, Barre portrayed the coup as orchestrated by the Majeerteen clan. In a pattern similar to what would be used later against the Isaak clan in 1988, Barre responded by purging the government and military of Majeerteen, and committing reprisal killings against the Majeerteen civilian clan members that left roughly 2,000 dead.
The 1980s saw the rise of opposition armed movements, the largest of which was the Somali National Movement (SNM), drawn principally from members of the Isaak clan in northwestern Somali, which developed in response to state marginalization and abuse including the purge of Isaak from civil service posts, confiscation of businesses, arrests, detention, and violence against Isaak civilians. Throughout the 1980s, the Siad Barre regime responded to oppositional militias by employing increasingly violent and restrictive measures on various clan populations. Beginning in 1982, the state imposed curfews in certain areas that were used as a pretense for the detainment and extortion of civilians. Detainment and looting became a lucrative source of funding for state forces and paramilitaries that were referred to as the ‘meat market’. The government employed Mobile Military Courts (MMCs) to combat opposition militants and their associated civilian populations. MMCs were superficial judicial proceedings conducted by military officials, and followed almost immediately by executions. Although wholesale targeting and decimation of the Isaak population did not begin until the SNM offensive in 1988, a confidential report from General Morgan to President Barre that was leaked in February 1987 revealed a government intention to “liquidate” the “Isaak problem” through violent tactics.
As Barre fled, the ‘external’ branch of the USC declared Ali Mahdi Mohamed president. The “internal” branch of the USC led by General Mohamed Farah Aydeed contested this decision, and civil war between the two factions enveloped Mogadishu shortly after Barre’s departure with significant civilian casualties as a result of heavy artillery being used within the confines of a densely populated urban environment. While some of the fatalities were undoubtedly accidental, Amnesty International reports the intentional shelling of neighborhoods known to be associated with opposing factions and Prunier describes a situation in which prisoners were executed and ambulances routinely fired at.
While violence raged in Mogadishu, other parts of the country were also enveloped in fighting between clan based militias, none of which is reflected in the above death tallies calculated for Mogadishu. In 1992, both the USC and SNF committed atrocities against civilian populations in the Gedo region of Somali. Amnesty International recorded the testimony of survivors, who described tactics that included massacres of up to thirty or forty people at a time, cutting off and burning of body parts with acid, and the widespread use of rape. The SNF under General Morgan and SPM under Colonel Omar Jess battled over the port area around Kismayo6.
Kapteijns categorizes the violence used during this time as “clan cleansing as a tactic to capture the state.”Civilians were intentionally and brutally targeted, and sexual violence, which had not previously been a prominent feature of the violence in Somali, became pervasive. Kaptejins cites a breakdown of law and order following the collapse of the Barre regime, the erosion of cultural scripts, and increased impunity as causes for the escalation in tactics. She further describes deliberate targeting of Daarood as the USC gained ground. She writes:
“when Mogadishu passed into its hands, the leaders of the USC, followed by USC fighters and civilian supporters, adopted a politics that defined as mortal enemy all Somalis encompassed by the genealogical construct of Daarood, which also included the president. Although the vast majority of these individuals had not been associated with, or benefited from the regime—in many cases as little or even less than those now hunting them down—they were nevertheless targeted for elimination and expulsion not only in Mogadishu but also, over a period of two years, in central, south-central, and southern Somali. This is the violence that is central to this study. It did not just represent violence against civilians based on clan, which is in itself not new in Somali, but a shift to a new kind of collective, clan-based violence, namely that of clan cleansing, in a new political context and with a new dominant discourse” (Kapteijns, 2)7.
Massive displacement and disruption of the livelihoods of agro-pastoral communities resulted in a famine beginning in 1992. Although famine deaths can be viewed as a direct result of violence, they are not included in the casualty numbers of this paper, which reflect only intentional deaths violently inflicted on the civilian population. Various ranges emerge to capture the number of deaths resulting from the famine. Hansch et al. estimate 250,000-300,000 deaths while the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) estimates 500,000 may have died. Famine in Somali paved the way for an international military and humanitarian intervention in Somali.
On September 9, 1993, a U.S. helicopter fired on an unarmed crowd killing roughly 60 civilians. Anywhere from 60 to 500 Somali deaths resulted from the October 3, 1993 “Black Hawk Down” incident. After the “Black Hawk Down” incident, the United States declared a de facto truce with Gen. Aideed and the fighting diminished, and thereafter UNOSOM troops shifted their mission to a more defensive strategy, and as a result, civilian deaths caused by tensions between Somali and international troops dropped off. UNOSOM forces were gradually withdrawn throughout 1994 and made a final exit in February of 1995. Before departing, some UNOSOM forces are reported to have sold military equipment to Somali militants, potentially causing an increase in the amount of heavy weapons on the ground.
Humanitarian Intervention 1992-1995
The failure of the UN mission in Somali, which withdrew having completed very little of its mandate, resulted in reluctance to intervene in the Rwandan Genocide and in other subsequent conflicts, especially when the main parties involved have not invited the UN’s presence or committed themselves to a peace-plan. Internationally, what has been called “compassion fatigue” has also resulted in a lack of public support for such intervention, which appears to be risky, unwanted, and unworkable. Some even suggest that the best solution is to let one party win, regardless of the death toll. With reference to Somali, a nation-state that was created by the departing colonial powers, the unitary nation state may not be the best of the ideal system of governance unless all segments of the population can be guaranteed fair treatment. A system that delegates more responsibility to the local level might be more effective in governing a country where clan-links are important aspects of people’s identity. Economic and social equity across the clans will end envy that another clan has a greater share of the national pie. Analysis of the causes of the Somali Civil War and of the problems faced by the international community in its response suggests that better mechanisms need to be developed to deal with similar situations, or else world peace will remain a dream.
The civil war from 1988 was first discovered‘ by the international media in 1992.84 The end of the Cold War and the freeing‘ of the political agenda meant a much stronger focus on humanitarian issues. Therefore the chaos and 350,000 causalities in 1992 from civil war, inter- clan fighting and famine, became a media focus.85 The UN mission restore hope‘ or United Nations Operation in Somali (UNOSOM) however turned out to be disastrous as the UN (mainly the US) did not understand the local clan-structure and further aggravated the conflict instead of alleviating it. This is partly because they treated the warlords as legitimate actors, made deals with some and fought others. This lead to The famous Black Hawk Down‘ incident in 1993 which led to the end of the humanitarian intervention‘ in Somali8.
Governance without Government
Somali society has often been described as ordered-anarchy where political order is maintained through family allegiance (kinship system) operating through a collective institution and through reciprocal rule based behaviour defined in Somali Customary Law (Xeer).105 The Social Contract, that in the Western tradition is a (centralised) contract between subjects and sovereign (Hobbes) is, in the Somali culture, a social contract without a sovereign.106 It can rightly be called security by deterrence as the enforcement is through negotiation between the Dia Paying Groups who are obligated to take revenge for a crime committed against a member of the group if blood money/camels (Dia) is not paid.
Militias and Warlords
The clans often field their own militia to ensure protection. Somalis society is therefore (traditionally) a mosaic of clans in constantly shifting alliances each with their own militia to ensure security. There are also several free-lance militias (warlords), more or less tied to a clan, who make their livelihood through booty and pillage. In a structural perspective warlords raison d‘etre is to take advantage of the lack of a state-structure to enrich themselves, while state- structures militias have the political goal of securing security, welfare and representation for its citizens .Therefore these are under the control of the clan elders. Order and security is primarily based on this clan structure, with clan elders co-operating and negotiating with militia to ensure local police functions and external relations with other clans. This setup is interesting as the anarchy among clans resembles, and is basically a small-scale version of, the (realist) anarchy among state system.
The 1990 battle for Mogadishu resulted in high casualties. The US based NGO, Physicians for Human Rights, indicated that about 4,000 civilians may have died in the USC offensive on Mogadishu, and up to 500 may have died in only a two day period during the height of the USC takeover. These numbers are supported by Clodfelter who places the number of civilian casualties from 1990 to 1991 at 5,000. Based on Mogadishu hospital records, Africa Watch estimated that the factional fighting between Aideed and Ali Mahdi’s USC factions caused 14,000 deaths between November 1991 and February 1992. Bradbury calculates that during all of 1991 and 1992, 25,000 people died in the factional fighting in Mogadishu.
The economy also played a big role. “The scarcity of Somali’s resources is one of the driving forces of the conflict, as different groups compete for these limited resources” (Afyare, Barise,). Somali has always been a poor country and is still undeveloped today. The Somali people have relied on foreign aid for many years and when that was taken away, it had troubled a lot of people.
International intervention (1992-1995)
United Nations Security Council Resolution 733 and Resolution 746 led to the creation of UNOSOM I, the first mission to provide humanitarian relief and help restore order in Somali after the dissolution of its central government.UN Security Council Resolution 794 was unanimously passed on December 3, 1992, which approved a coalition of United Nations peacekeepers led by the United States to form UNITAF, tasked with ensuring humanitarian aid being distributed and peace being established in Somali. An estimated 300,000 died of starvation during the first year of the civil war. The UN humanitarian troops landed in 1993 and started a two-year effort (primarily in the south) to alleviate famine conditions. U.S. President George H. W. Bush had reluctantly agreed to send U.S. troops to Somali on what was
intended to be a short-term humanitarian mission; they were to “end the starvation and leave.” His successor, Bill Clinton, was persuaded by the UN Secretary-General to extend the mission in order to re-establish civil governance in Somali. U.S. troops remained as the “backbone of the UN mission” alongside smaller contingents. Somalis and Australian Army soldiers wait near the loading zone of a US Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion delivering Australian wheat9.
Critics of U.S. involvement pointed out that “just before pro-U.S. President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991, nearly two-thirds of the country’s territory had been granted as oil concessions to Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips. Conoco even lent its Mogadishu corporate compound to the U.S. embassy a few days before the Marines landed, with the first Bush administration’s special envoy using it as his temporary headquarters.” The cynical assertion was that, rather than a purely humanitarian gesture, the U.S. was stepping in to gain control of oil interests. Somali has no proven reserves of oil, but there is considered to be possible reserves off Puntland. Even today, oil exploration remains a controversy. The Transitional Federal Government has warned investors to not make deals until stability is once again brought to the country.
For many reasons, not least of which were concerns of imperialism, Somalis opposed the foreign presence. At first, the Somali people were happy about the rations the UN and U.S. troops brought them but soon came to believe that the latter were out to convert them from their religion. This idea is thought by some to have been introduced by the warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. His capture was the main objective of the U.S. contingency. In the period between June and October, several gun battles in Mogadishu between local gunmen and peacekeepers resulted in the death of 24 Pakistanis and 19 U.S. soldiers (total U.S. deaths were 31), most of whom were killed in the Battle of Mogadishu, October 3, 1993. 1000 Somali militia were killed in that battle. The incident later became the basis for the book, Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden and of the Jerry Bruckheimer-Ridley Scott movie of the same name, and for William Cran-Will Lyman PBS documentary, Ambush in Mogadishu. Two U.S. Blackhawk helicopters were shot down and U.S. soldiers were chased through the streets of Mogadishu. These scenes were broadcast across the world. Public reaction in the U.S. led to the total withdrawal of U.S. troops on March 25, 1994.Public opinion in the U.S. could not tolerate military casualties in a war people did not understand in a place about which they knew very little. U.S. troops suspected that Italian soldiers were tipping off Somalis in advance of U.S. attacks. Much of the humanitarian aid was looted, diverted, and sold, failing to reach those who needed help. By controlling how the food was distributed, the various warlords were able to strengthen and maintain their power in the regions they dominated. As U.S. troops tried to track down and capture Aidide, they were unaware that former President Jimmy Carterwas engaged on
President’s Clinton’s behalf in peace negotiations with the same warlord. The whole UN mission left on March 3, 1995, having suffered more significant casualties. Order in Somali still had not been restored. No government was in place that could claim to be able to control the state.
Somaliland and Puntland, two regions in the north, broke away from the country and set up regional, semi-autonomous governments. They were not internationally recognized. Unlike Somaliland, however, which has opted to reassert its independence, Puntland’s constitution simultaneously supports the notion of a federal Somali and asserts the region’s right to negotiate the terms of union with any eventual national government. Other less developed political entities are also emerging out of processes currently at work elsewhere among the Somali. In the central regions of Galguduud and Mudug, for example, the local residents set up several years ago something they call the “Galmudug State,” complete with its own website. In 2009, they elected a veteran of the old Somali military, Colonel Mohamed Ahmed Alin, to a three-year term as the second president of what described itself as “a secular, decentralized state.” An analogous process was taking place in Jubaland along the frontier with Kenya10.
Post-intervention: Conflict Trends
Armed conflict continues to plague much of Somali, but since 1995 the nature, duration, and intensity of warfare have changed significantly. With few exceptions, armed conflicts today are more local in nature, pitting sub-clans against one another in an increasingly fragmented political environment. This devolution of clan warfare means that armed clashes tend to be much shorter and less lethal, in part because of limited support from lineage members for such internal squabbles, in part because clan elders are in a better position to intervene, and in part because some clans have successfully consolidated their occupation and control over territory and for the moment meet little resistance. Money and ammunition are more scarce as well, limiting the duration of conflict.
Atrocities against civilians still occur but are less common than in the past, as combatants and their clans are more likely to be held accountable for such crimes via blood compensation payments. Pillaging and looting are less common as well, mainly because most assets are in the hands of businessmen with paid security forces protecting them. Warlords are much less of a factor since 1999, when Mogadishu-based businessmen, emboldened by their growing wealth and dissatisfied with the lawlessness caused by militias, bought militiamen away from militia leaders and handed them over to local Sharia courts to serve as police. Armed clashes in Somalis now are increasingly difficult to distinguish from armed criminality––many of the worst clashes
in recent years began as acts of robbery or murder that produced a counterattack, leading to a cycle of violence between two clans11.
While armed conflict has changed significantly since the mid-1990s, Somali remains without a functional central government. But even its systems of governance have evolved in interesting ways in the past decade. Local polities, generally comprised of Sharia courts or municipalities, have sprung up in towns and neighbourhoods’ across much of southern Somali, providing sporadic and variable levels of law and order. Even modest levels of law and order tend to reduce armed conflicts by minimizing retaliation and revenge killings as a source of justice. The most ambitious attempt to revive formal government in southern Somali was the Transitional National Government (TNG) (2000–03) formed at the conclusion of the 2000 Arta Peace Conference. Despite initial promise, the TNG faced considerable opposition from both internal factions and neighboring countries. The Arta process was not a comprehensive peace – key actors, including Puntland, Somaliland, and a number of militia leaders in the Mogadishu areawere not brought into the talks, ensuring a large collection of rejectionists at the outset. Making matters worse, the TNG leadership devoted most its attention to securing foreign aid and external recognition, rather than engaging in the arduous process of rebuilding a central government. Funds it did secure – mainly from Gulf States – were being lost to due corruption by people at the helm, further reducing public and international confidence in the TNG. As a result, the TNG was never able to extend its authority beyond parts of the capital Mogadishu and eventually became largely irrelevant.
To the north, the self-declared state of Somalilandhas succeeded in maintaining what appears to be a durable internal peace, despite a crisis over contested national elections in 2003. It has introduced, via a constitutional referendum, a multiparty democratic system of governance. Parliamentary elections are tentatively scheduled for March 2005 in Somaliland and, if held in relatively free and fair conditions, will consolidate a shift to multiparty democracy.Badly flawed or manipulated parliamentary elections, however, could push Somaliland closer to levels of political instability it has not witnessed in nearly decade. Somaliland also faces a potentially dangerous standoff with Puntland over control over disputed areas of Sool and Sanaag regions. For its part, Puntland suffered its first serious instance of armed clashes in 2001–02 over control of the Puntland state, but has since maintained a tenuous peace between the regional administration and opposition groups.
Although armed conflict in Somali is less lethal and pervasive than in the past, one worrisome trend has been the increased involvement of external actors in support of local Somali clients. Regional states have intermittentlyengaged in proxywarsin Somali and have the potential
to both create or worsen tensions and violence inside Somali in pursuit of their own goals. These states have also shown the capacity to support peace-building efforts.
Somali Peace Process
The latest attempt to broker a peace and revive a central government in Somali began in October 2002 and was undertaken by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), with the Kenyan government hosting the effort and external partners such as the EU providing support. The framers of this round of talks came up with several innovations, including an initial phase, which pledged parties to a cessation of hostilities, and a second phase devoted to reconciliation, which required the participants to address key conflict issues. The second phase was to provide a blueprint for whatever government emerged from the talks.Over the ensuing two years, the peace process encountered numerous obstacles and lengthy delays. Long-standing disputes over the size and composition of representation in the talks, and disagreement over who controlled the selection of members of parliament, created crises that prompted walkouts and boycotts by some key political leaders12.
The third phase of the talks centered on power-sharing negotiations. It encountered predictable problems initially––disputes over allocation of seats by sub-clans, control of the nomination process, and selection of individual members of parliament––leading to delays in the inauguration of a 275-member parliament for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).By mid-September a full parliament was selected, followed by theelection of Abdullahi Yusuf as President of TFG on October 10.President Yusuf has selected Professor Ali MuhammedGedi to serve as Prime Minister.The cabinet composed by the Prime Minister in December 2004 was subsequently rejected by the Parliament but a new cabinet based on different clan quotas was approved in January 2005.
The establishment of transitional institutions represents a significant step towards reconciliation and stability. However, the consolidation of stability and afunctional central government in Somali will take time.In thecoming three to five years, the general security environment throughout Somali is likely to remain fragile and prone to armed conflict and criminality whether or not a government of national unity is maintained.
Rise of the ICU, war with the ARPCT, TFG, and Ethiopia (2006–present)
In 2004, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was founded in Nairobi, Kenya. Matters were still too chaotic inside Somali to convene in Mogadishu. In early 2006, the TFG moved to establish a temporary seat of government in Baidoa.During the early part of 2006, the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) was formed as an alliance of
mostly-secular Mogadishu-based warlords. They were opposed to the rise of the Sharia-law oriented Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which had been rapidly consolidating power. They were backed by funding from the U.S. CIA.This led to increasing conflict in the capital.
Height of ICU power
By June 2006, the ICU succeeded in capturing the capital, Mogadishu, in the Second Battle of Mogadishu. They drove the ARPCT out of Mogadishu, and succeeded in persuading or forcing other warlords to join their faction. Their power base grew as they expanded to the borders of Puntland and took over southern and middle Jubaland.The Islamic movement’s growing power base and militancy led to increasingly open warfare between the Islamists and the other factions of Somali, including the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), Puntland, and Galmudug, the latter of which formed as an autonomous state specifically to resist the Islamists. It also caused the intervention of Ethiopia, who supported the secular forces of Somali. The ICU allegedly obtained the support of Ethiopia’s rival, Eritrea, and foreign mujahideen, and declared Jihad against Ethiopia in response to its occupation of Gedo and deployment around Baidoa.
Ethiopian intervention and collapse of the ICU
In December 2006, the ICU and TFG began the Battle of Baidoa. Fighting also broke out around the Somali town of Bandiradley in Mudug and Beledweyn in Hiran region. The ICU aimed to force the Ethiopians off Somali soil. However, they were defeated in all major battles and forced to withdraw to Mogadishu. After the brief final action at the Battle of Jowhar on December 27, the leaders of the ICU resigned.Following the Battle of Jilib, fought December 31, 2006, Kismayo fell to the TFG and Ethiopian forces, on January 1, 2007. Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi called for the country to begin disarming.Ethiopia and Kenya had their own reasons for manipulating the peace conference. They had concerns about the notion of a greater Somali since they both control Somali regions. So in this venture, they wanted to install a regime that was opposed to the idea of a greater Somali. Besides, Ethiopia is a large landlocked country, and it is interested in gaining access to a sea corridor. The current Addis Ababaregime, therefore, wants to create several mini-states that are hostile to each other and have good relations with Ethiopia. It prefers to deal with different clans that populate the areas in which it has an interest rather than dealing with a strong united Somali state13.
Ethiopia and Kenya imposed this transitional government on the Somali people, and for the first time in history they had a charter, a parliament and a government of their design in Somali. Without a national debate or referendum, Ethiopia and Kenya, while using their proxy warlords, also forced an undefined and obscure form of federalism on Somali. Interestingly, the argument here was that the state was not federal but the government was federal – the
Transitional Federal Government of the Somali Republic. This logic was strange because the confusion it created is still with the new Government of National Unity.
Islamist insurgency and reappearance of inter-clan fighting:
No sooner had the ICU been routed from the battlefield than their troops disbursed to begin a guerrilla war against Ethiopian and Somali government forces. Simultaneously, the end of the war was followed by a continuation of existing tribal conflicts.To help establish security, a proposed African Union Mission to Somali (AMISOM) was authorized to deploy as many as 8,000 peacekeepers to the country. This mission widened the scope of countries that could participate over the earlier proposed mission led by the Horn of Africa-based nations of IGAD. The Islamist group leading the insurgency, known as the Popular Resistance Movement in the Land of the Two Migrations (PRM), vowed to oppose the presence of foreign troops.
The loss of life of UN and U.S. soldiers, together with the lack of an obvious solution to the internal problems of Somali, led many critics to conclude that peacekeeping can only be effective in situations where “all parties to a conflict sought to end it and needed the good offices of a neutral force to reinforce mutual trust or verify the fulfilment of obligations.” Post Mogadishu, the U.S. in particular has been very reluctant to commit troops to situations where there are multiple competing forces. Instead, an unofficial policy of standing back while one side begins to emerge as the victor appears to have informed subsequent U.S. and UN approaches to several conflict situations. Muravchik suggests that in Bosnia during the Bosnian War, the UN and the
U.S. thought that the “shortest path they could see to … an outcome was for the weaker party to surrender. The problem with this approach in Somali is that there are far too many competing parties for anyone to emerge as the overall victor. Boutros-Ghali called it “a war of all against all. An immediate result of the “Somali misadventure” was international reluctance to intervene during the Rwandan Genocide. The Clinton administration even instructed official spokespeople to avoid using the word “genocide,” because recognition of this would trigger intervention under treaty obligations. In Rwanda, Bosnia, and Somali, the conflicts were attributed to “ancient animosities.” Brown suggests that governments dealing with conflict between different communities also play the “ancient animosity” card because it gives “communal violence … the appearance of a natural phenomenon which outsiders have no right to condemn and no hope to prevent. Kieh says that ancient animosity is overplayed as an explanation for conflict in Somali and elsewhere in Africa, that the colonial legacy played a role as did Barre deliberate provocation of community conflict in Somali Colonial powers often pursued divide and rule policies that pitted communities against each other, sometimes building on rivalries that did exist but often
finding ways of creating these. Their continued role as peacekeepers could therefore be justified, or so they thought14.
What has been called “compassion fatigue” has also had a negative impact on international response to the ongoing humanitarian crises in Somali. There are “just too many catastrophes happening at once” so people, the media, and governments switch off. The debacle in Somali has also led to a more jaundiced view of humanitarian intervention. Many people now say why help when the effort is not appreciated. Indeed, as a result of U.S. soldiers going to Somali, many Somalis now regard the U.S. as another colonial power and are suspicious of U.S. motives. Former President Carter stated,“the United States has become the hated enemy”. On the one hand, there is no doubt that warlord and clan rivalry was part of the way of life in the Somalis region for many centuries before European rule began. On the other hand, these clans lived in much smaller political polities, under their local Emir or chief. Under colonial rule, these different communities did not need to cooperate or consider the good of the whole nation; governance was in the hands of the colonial power. By choosing to focus on ancient animosities and on inter-clan rivalry as the cause of conflict, the Western analysis “obscures the more long- term failure of the Western model of the nation-state to take hold in the region.” There is no doubt, however, that clan loyalties are strong.
Role of Foreign Powers in the Somalis conflict:
The first two points indicate that the regime’s foreign policy was more in tune with Soviet global strategy. The Soviet Union wanted to use Somali as a proxy state through which it could extend its influence to other parts of Africa, in the same way as it wanted Cuba to extend its influence to Latin American countries. Through Somali the Soviets supported liberation movements in Africa, such as Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau and South Africa. Somali was not expected to vote against any proposal put by the Soviet in the UN and in other International Organisations, as was the case in all countries in the Soviet satellite orbit.
The Soviet Union helped to build the Somali army forces. In 1970 The Somali national army became one of the most well trained with the most sophisticated weaponry in black Africa, next to the Egyptian army, also equipped by the Soviets. The Russians were given almost a free hand to use Somali territory for their military purposes, including base facilities in Berbera port, facing the Arab Gulf countries to counterbalance the American military base in Asmara on the Red Sea. East Germans took the responsibility to re-organise the regime’s security Service along the lines of their oppressive security model.
British foreign policy in the Horn Africa was always more focused on Kenya. The British colonial administration left British settlers with a huge investment in the country. Kenya achieved its independence from Britain in 1964 and afterwards kept a strong relationship with
Britain. Most Kenyan institutions, such as courts and the military were staffed with British experts and advisers.During the Cold War, Nairobi became the main centre for Western intelligence agencies in east and central Africa to counterbalance Soviet presence in Egypt and Somali. Next came Ethiopia with whom Britain cemented strong relationships, particularly with Menelik and Haille Selassie. The British presence in Somali after the Independence was minimal, particularly after 1962 when Somali cut off diplomatic relations, because of the question of NFD. This diplomatic relationship was only restored in 1967 when Mr.Egal became Prime Minster. But when the military seized power, they closed the British consulate in Hargeisa and nationalised the few British institutions in the country.
The most effective civil servants running the Somali government after independence were mainly British trained Somalilanders. SiadBarre was not comfortable with any British role in Somali affairs. The first and last British parliamentary delegation was led by the former liberal leader David Steel who visited the country in 1972, after first visiting Kenya. David Steel met SiadBarre and raised the importance of democracy and civilian rule and wished peace and prosperity for the Somali people.
Two crucial dangers for this mission was the very nature of Somali society. Ethnic and clan separatism is a fact of life and cannot be “intervened”-away. In the MV Hohne article, the argument is made that the local tribes have little in common and see one another as foreign. One, the Issaq, is very oriented to Great Britain and has adopted many English mannerisms. The other major one, the Dhulbahante, is extremely anti-English and saw the Issaq as exceptionally collaborationist and even profiting from the older British rule. These two should have been permitted to maintain their own governments, as they did prior to the American involvement (Hohne, 2002, pg 398ff).The Dhulbahante tend to support SiyadBarre, the former military dictator of the country, due to ethnic affiliation. Indeed, his was the last stable government in the country’s history. Since the US banned Barre’s movement and his own involvement in politics, an unnecessary schism opened with this large tribal organization15.
Be prepared for political struggle around state-building. The process of state-building consistently seems to exacerbate instability and armed conflict in Somali.This is especially significant in the south-central region. The revival of a state structure tends to be viewed as a zero-sum game, creating winners and losers over potentially high stakes. Control over a central government by specific clan groups would offer them opportunities to accrue economic resources
at the expense of other groups, as well as to use the law and security forces to dominate politically. The political manoeuvring and violent clashes in southern Somali that preceded the 2002 peace talks in Kenya provide a reminder of the potentially high stakes linked to such a process. Whatever formula is used to establish the cabinet and other transitional institutions, one should expect a difficult and possiblyextended bargaining process among the different office holders to clarify and demarcate roles, responsibilities and potential resources.
While the country needs state institutions, and a successful peace process puts the building of such institutions higher on the agenda for north-eastern and South-central Somali, it is important to distinguish between state institutions that, if controlled, can provide opportunities for specific groups to access increased economic and political power, and those that offer fewer or no such opportunities. While political institutions and public service institutions can be seen to represent opposing ends of such a spectre, careful thought needs to be given to mechanisms that can provide nonpartisan oversight of institutions responsible for key functions such as customs, taxation, and other revenue collection, and those in the judiciary, law enforcement, and internal and external security.
Given the country’s modest revenue base, any future central government needs to be minimalist and focus on the most essential functions, while leaving other tasks to local authorities and the private sector.While national reconciliation demands that a new central government has a broad and inclusive base, it should be encouraged to resist the temptation of inflating the cabinet with ministerial posts for everyconstituency,which it will clearly not be able to afford and which does not help effective governance. Instead of cabinet posts, it should be encouraged to consider other mechanisms for providing key political constituencies with influences on important decisions16.
Build clan-neutral governance functions: All parts of Somali need institutions that can provide functions such as maintenance of basic law and order, revenue collection, management of natural resources, and provision of essential public goods and services. As pointed out earlier in this report, even modest levels of law and order tend to reduce armed conflicts by minimizing retaliation and revenge killings.Fledgling and nascent public institutions in Somaliland and Puntland need to be strengthened, and in South-central carefully built when politically possible.
Even if government functions do not contribute directly to preventing conflict escalation, they would benefit the population and provide a framework within which stability and social cohesion may develop if they were based on sound principles for governance in which strong and appropriate accountability measures feature. The Bank and other development agencies can and
should contribute to this end by helping to build institutional capacity and provide technical advice.
The critical issue, especially in South-central Somali, is that any such structure or institution supported by external aid needs to be clan-neutral with a civil service cadre recruited on the basis of merit, not on clan or political affiliation.If government is hijacked by groups for political or economic objectives, Somali may revert to a situation of anarchy and violence resembling the post state collapse in 1991.As recently as June 2004, nearly 60 people were killed in clashes between rival clans in the south-western town of BuloHawa over control of the local administration17.
Learn from and build on the institutions that work: Both Somaliland and Puntland have developed some level of state governance (strongest in Somaliland), and South-central Somali has social and economic services provided by CSOs, religious organizations, and commercial entities. Religious and traditional structures, especially Sharia courts and councils of elders, play important roles throughout the country, and most successfully at local levels. The Bank and its partners should take note of why some organizations work and others fail, and build on the ones that work rather than creating completely new structures. There is evidence from the studies that low-key institutions (low-status and low-profit) are effective when perceived not to represent any special groups’ narrow interests.
Support institutional structures that are representative: While there is not a one-to-one link between democracy and absence of violence, there is a positive correlation. Specific groups, such as clans, are less likely to control democratic institutions and use them as tools to pursue their interests against those of other groups. The more government institutions reflect common objectives of the population, the less likely they are to be instruments in conflict. To consolidate peace in the event of a successful peace process, assistance that support and strengthen representative institutional structures should be prioritized. Forms of structures that encourage power-sharing and minority representation should be adapted to the Somali context. Furthermore, it may be wise to support the development of electoral systems that require political parties to forge cross-clan electoral alliances to receive support from multi-clan constituencies.
Demobilize and reintegrate combatants and militiamen: The German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), which has carried out studies on the level of militarization in all regions, estimates that there are 70,000 to 80,000 active militia personnel across Somali in at least 53 different groups, with the highest concentration in Mogadishu. While some of the militiamen are recruited on the basis of lineage loyalties, most seek militia affiliation to earn an income. The majority are of rural origin, with a poor educational background and no formal professional skills. Somaliland has come quite far in demobilizing its militia groups by absorbing them into its national army. Puntland plans to reduce its security forces through demobilization. Spontaneous demobilization has taken place across Somali.
Given the fragmented nature of the militia groups in South-central Somali, the practice of sequential demobilization and reintegration employed in most disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programs may not be the best option. There is evidence from the GTZ studies that the majority of militiamen viewthis as employment of last resort and would give up armed activities if more gainful employment alternatives existed.They are reported to request access to education and training as means to change occupations. These findings are encouraging, and agencies may want to focus more than usual on early implementation of programs that provide opportunities for market-related technical and vocational trainingand jobs. CSOs would be good partners in such endeavors. Menkhaus has made the point that the demobilization taken place so far in Somali has been quite successful because the efforts have been locally owned and locally driven18.
Conflict monitoring would have two aspects: monitoring indicators of change and monitoring impact of reconstruction and development interventions on the conflict situation. The first aspect would be the simpler one and should start first. The second aspect would require a detailed selection of indicators related to the specific activities and locations covered byeach intervention, and should be built into the design of each project or program. The monitoring of indicators of change could build on the findings presented in Section 4 of this report, and could include factors such as politicization of clan identities; disputes settled by customary law; existence of cross-clan associations; implementation of governance functions; inclusiveness of political institutions; public and private revenue collection; links between private sector groups; control of key economic resources; (re-)acquisition of valuable property; control of key natural resources; competition over land and water; cost and availability of small arms; militia activities; demobilization; human rights violations; (sub-)regional hotspots; and external influences. Conflict monitoring would yield the best results if conducted at regional or sub-regional levels19.
Conclusion and Lessons Drawn:
Clarke and Herbst (1996) argue that the mission was a failure for several reasons. First, there was no firm sense of mission. Humanitarian crisis intervention is a far cry from nation building. Second, there was no attempt to disarm local warlords, though, in fairness, this would have been a bloody affair. As nation-building and wars against Islamic fundamentalism took over motivation from the earlier humanitarian purpose, American financial commitments were not sufficient. Finally, there was no clear vision for how the parties would begin to cooperate.They conclude their analysis: “Somali, as more and more are now recognizing, was not an abject failure” (Clarke and Herbst, 1996). Part of this was due to a lack of a defined goal. As mentioned, the distinction between humanitarian aid and building a state are radically different. In Somali, the lack of government meant the lack of law. The lack of law meant the poor performance of an economy where uncertainty was paramount. The US wanted peace enforced quickly, concluded by a quick exit. The UN, on the other hand, spoke of longer-term commitments dedicated to rebuilding. The US had neither the will nor the money for such an undertaking (Kapteijns, 2013)20.
The broader point is that the intervening power cannot do anything but respect local institutions, since these are the cells of rebirth. When these are violated out of hand, it changes a humanitarian mission into an imperial one. This might also corroborate Somali suspicions that the engagement is about American security, not local growth. Finally, it is the clarity of mission, a distinct time- frame and manageable goals that make a successful mission. UNOSOM I and II had none of these.
The economy also played a big role. “The scarcity of Somali’s resources is one of the driving forces of the conflict, as different groups compete for these limited resources” (Afyare, Barise, 12). Somali has always been a poor country and is still undeveloped today. The Somali people have relied on foreign aid for many years and when that was taken away, it had troubled a lot of people.Political, Economic, and Social problems are some of the root causes of the Somali civil war21. Somali is a county who has known war after war and famine after famine. If you ask most Somalis today, they will tell you that they want peace. It’s time to put down the gun and pick up the pen. The international community has held countless peace conferences, provided millions of aid, but still has failed to bring peace. The only people who can bring peace to themselves are the Somali people. Maybe they can finally learn lessons from the past and start thinking about the future. The Somalis in the diaspora is using education to fight back right now. This young generation today can maybe store hope one day.
1.Pike, John. “Military.” Somali Civil War. Global Security, 20 Apr. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012. 2.James, George. “Somali’s Overthrown Dictator, Mohammed SiadBarre, Is Dead.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 Jan. 1995. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.
3.Maclean, William. “Somali Group Fights Tribalism in Diaspora.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 08 Dec. 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.
4,Elmi, Afyare A., and AbdullahiBarise. “The Somali Conflict: Root Causes, Obstacles, and Peace-building Strategies.” Institute for Security Studies. African Security Review, n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2012.and also see Maclean, William. “Somali Group Fights Tribalism in Diaspora.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 08 Dec. 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.
5.Bruton, BE 2010 Somali: A New Approach. Council Special Report No. 52
Clarke, W and J. Herbst 1996 Somalia and the Future of Humanitarian Intervention.Foreign Affairs
- Höhne, MV 2006 Political Identity, Emerging State Structures and Conflict in Northern The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 44(3) pgs 397-414
- Heinze, E 2009 Waging Humanitarian War The Ethics, Law, and Politics of Humanitarian SUNY Press
- Hehir, A 2010 Humanitarian Intervention: An Palgrave
- Hurwitz, A and Huang 2008 Civil War And The Rule Of Law: Security, Development, Human Rights. Lynne Rienner Publications
- Kapteijns, L 2013 Clan Cleansing in Somali: The Ruinous Legacy of Penn State Press 12Medani, K.M. 2002 Financing Terrorism or Survival?: Informal Finance and State Collapse in Somali, and the US War on Terrorism. Middle East Report, 223 pgs 2-9
13.Pham, P 2012 The Somaliland Exception. Marine Corps University Journal, 3(1) pgs 1-33 14.Swan, J 2007 United States Policy in Somali. Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio April 21, 2007
16.United Nations 2003 Handbook on United Nations Multidimensional Peacekeeping Operations. Peacekeeping Best Practices Unit. Department of Peacekeeping Operations 17.UNCTAD (2012) Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes, 2012
18.United Nations (1993). Mandate of UNOSOM II.Security Council Resolution 814 19.http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/past/unosom2mandate.html
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