The causes: Aggravated by the famous colonial deception “divide and rule” which colonist nations exploited as the best ammunition concept, in conjunction with artificial boundaries within the homogeneous societies, like Somalia’s to disable their unity so as to govern. Tribalism is in fact one of the most agitating factors in Somalia’s senseless civil-war. Unlike other colonial victim-nations, Somalia has yet to recover from pre-existing condition of tribal divisions, the most important ingredient of their identity. Despite the unyielding values that the Somali people share such as: historic territory, common ethnicity, culture, language, and religion which could be an outstanding basis for cohesive understanding. But realistically, the Somali people are wildly divided by clan affiliations, where solidity only exists within the clan but not at the national level and that is why conflict exists in a vicious circle with no end in sight.
However, apart from the above mentioned chronic trauma (tribalism), Somalia’s long anguish is indeed wretched failure by the international community in general‒and here is why:
- After the 1993 “Operation Restore Hope” the United States and its allies have largely limited their active diplomacy in Africa to efforts ending the long war in Sudan, devoting little attention to Somalia’s deteriorating security situation, apart from a comparative generosity for the Somali refugees meet emergency requirements or offering resettlement for those eligible.
- The unvarnished history of the U.N. role in Somalia was and still is one of tragic missed opportunities and strategic and operational blunders not justified by the situation’s realities.
- Neither the current unjustified civilian carnage in Mogadishu by AMISOM nor the conflict-arbitration efforts of U.N. diplomats were undertaken with discernible professionalism. Let alone the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006.
- United nations emissaries for Somalia and other disingenuous actors in the region, known as IGAD exacerbated the Somali crisis in order to execute their strategic interests or protract their own broker-ship presence and deeply flawed performance, factors which in turn contributed significantly to the very circumstances of anarchy, violence, and starvation that might caused the loss of a generation.
1. Due to cultural uniformity and geopolitical landscape of the country; Somalia is, and must always be an inseparable unit. Therefore, given the uncertainty of the situation in Somalia, where the Sovereignty of the country hanging in the balance, the international community must not open a Pandora box in harmonizing any tribe ululating for secession; as this will certainly create (a) uncontainable border dispute between rival tribes, (b) invalidate the new world order and, (c) ends to nowhere other than increasing violence to the already volatile situation.
2. Because of decades of ferocious civil war, the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world and the longest period any country has gone in modern history without a functioning government. Somalia’s conflict is no longer a civil war per se; rather, it’s a serious global threat and a moral imperative that requires a quick and comprehensive multilateral cooperation to restore law and order and rebuild the nation from naught. Hence, as real as this threat is, the United States in conjunction with other members of the international community, has to practically confront this threat with a different set of policies rather than supporting neither unbiased nor skillful approach of the last two decades of the UN, the AU and IGAD.
3. Once the military super power in Africa; the Somali national force has to be reorganized, rehabbed, retrained and reequipped by the international community to fill the void, quell the chaos and restore a long lasting peace throughout the country. Perhaps, with less costly manner than being spent onto AMISOM contingent which controls only view premises in Mogadishu with the expense of enormous civilian casualties!
External military assistance however, might still be a necessity to safeguard the feeble institution for a short period of time; but that has to be a transition to long lasting solution, not as an open ended-mission as its now!
4. Finally, the US and its allies have to help just the Somalis invent a comprehensive strategy for transforming the way in which the country is governed without external brokers.
With that, I come to conclude this article with the old saying “a friend in need is a friend indeed”
Farah H. (Kolley)