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Somalia, Somaliland and the US Dual Track Policy

Somalia, Somaliland and the US Dual Track Policy

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Published by David Shinn
Remarks on the US Dual Track Policy towards Somalia and Somaliland - Remarks at Somaliland Convention on 18 May 2012.
Remarks on the US Dual Track Policy towards Somalia and Somaliland - Remarks at Somaliland Convention on 18 May 2012.

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Published by: David Shinn on May 18, 2012
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12012 Somaliland ConventionHilton Hotel at Washington Dulles Airport18 May 2012Somalia: U.S. Dual Track PolicyDavid H. ShinnAdjunct Professor, Elliott School of International AffairsGeorge Washington UniversityOver the years, I have addressed several Somaliland conferences. It is always a pleasure.On this occasion, I have been asked to speak on the U.S. dual track policy towards Somalia andSomaliland. While you would receive a more authoritative presentation on this subject fromsomeone who represents the U.S. Government, which I no longer do, I will do my best to addressthis important subject. Perhaps one of your other speakers will say something about thedevelopment implications of the U.S. dual track policy.What Is the Dual Track Policy?
Let‟s be sure we understand what the United States means by the dual track policy
towards Somalia and Somaliland. In October 2010, Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carsonannounced the dual track approach. Track one involved continuing support for the DjiboutiPeace Process, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), its National Security Forces and theAfrican Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Track two recognized that there were largepockets of stability in Somalia that merited greater engagement. These areas includedSomaliland, Puntland and regional and local anti-al-Shabaab groups throughout south/centralSomalia. Track two included additional support for Somali civil society groups and clan leaders.Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Don Yamamoto testified before Congress in mid-2011 that track one remained critical to political and security progress in Mogadishu andultimately the rest of Somalia. He said the United States would continue to support
the TFG‟s
political progress in the coming year. He added that the United States expected the TFG would
 bring into the political process Puntland, Galmudug, Ahlu Sunna wal Jama‟a
(ASWJ) and otherSomali stakeholders.Concerning track two, Yamamoto said Washington had expanded its diplomatic outreachwith regional authorities such as those in Puntland, Galmudug and other districts. In addition, ithad increased travel by U.S. officials to Somaliland and Puntland, which reinforced the U.S.
commitment “to Somalia, the Somali people, and the Dual Track policy.”
 
2Under track one, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) emphasizedcollaboration with the TFG and Transitional Federal Parliament on transition issues such as thedrafting of the constitution and development of an electoral framework for elections leading to apermanent government. It also funded quick impact projects such as street lighting, marketrehabilitation and government capacity building in Mogadishu and TFG-held areas of Somalia.Under track two, USAID launched a Partnership for Economic Growth in Hargeisa thatincluded rehabilitation of community infrastructure and technical assistance to improve livestock and agriculture. In Somaliland, Puntland, Galmudug and some emerging administrations,USAID began to identify projects in the areas of education, maternal health, democratization,elections support, local governance capacity building and youth engagement.Following agreement in September 2011 by representatives of the TFG, Puntland,
Galmudug and ASWJ on the “Road Map for Ending the Transition in Somalia,” the United
States endorsed that effort. It continues to be supportive of the Road Map.Somali Reactions to the Dual Track PolicySomalis do not have a unified position on the composition of their future government.Consequently, it should come as no surprise that Somalis have reacted in very different ways to
Washington‟s
dual track policy. Generally speaking, the TFG and most Somalis fromsouth/central Somalia have been critical of the policy. They see any support for entities otherthan the TFG or some future national government as a reduction in central authority. Somalisfrom Somaliland, Puntland and other local jurisdictions have been more supportive of the dualtrack policy but they are by no means universally in favor of it.It is instructive to look at a few Somali reactions. Abukar Arman, the TFG SpecialEnvoy to the United States, commented earlier this year that while domestic factors keepSomalia divided, the balkanization policies of the United States and Ethiopia have exacerbatedthe problem. He argued that the U.S.
dual track policy “provides political legitimacy and
financial incentives to any political actors so long as they stand opposed to al-Shabaab, even if those actors are on a path that makes the reconstitution of the Somali state more difficult. As it isthere are now several semi-autonomous mini-states that are given some degree of support andlegitimacy by the policies of non-Somali
actors.”
More senior TFG officials have been lesscritical, at least publicly, of the dual track policy.Writing for
Foreign Policy in Focus
, Abdinur Mohamud stated late last year: “Instead of 
empowering the legitimately and internationally recognized government of Somalia to establishthe necessary political, economic, military and social institutions and infrastructure of 
governance, the United States adopted what it called a „dual track policy‟. While assisting the
central administration, the United States was also planting the seeds to encourage the sproutingof quasi-
independent local and regional administrations within and outside the government.”
 
 
3Somali analyst Afyare Abdi Elmi
is quoted in Kenya‟s
The Nation
 
that “the dual track 
policy only pro
vides a new label for the old (and failed) Bush Administration‟s approach. It
inadvertently strengthens clan divisions, undermines inclusive and democratic trends and mostimportantly, creates a conducive environment for the return of organized chaos or warlordism in
the country.”
 In even stronger words, Somali freelance writer Said Liban commented earlier this year
that the U.S. dual track policy “has produced conceivably unintentional disaster, resulting in an
explosion of mini-states that have undermined even the relatively peaceful areas in Somaliland
and Puntland.” He argued that the communique from the London Conference
earlier this year
constitutes the same policy because “it focuses on an all
-out war against Islamist militants, andinvites new reg
ional or local tribal warlords to join in the campaign.”
Soon after the United States announced the dual track policy, the government of Puntland
said “it welcomes
, supports and endorses the new U.S. Dual Track Policy which is based onrealities on the ground in Somalia.
The Puntland government also called for a conference tospeed up national reconciliation. Puntland authorities have generally remained supportive of thedual track policy.Speaking in London in November 2010, Somaliland President Ahmed Silanyo said:
“We
also hope to secure stronger ties with individual donors, not least the United States, whichrecently announced its dual track policy that will see direct aid and cooperation with Somalilandincreased. I very much welcome this as a positive step in keeping [with] the realities on theground.
Somaliland officials subsequently
became more cautious in their public comments onthe U.S. dual track policy.Status of the Dual Track Policy
The director of the State Department‟s Office of 
East African Affairs, Deborah Malac,
commented in January 2012 at a conference on Somalia at Ohio State University: “We would
argue that there is demonstrated progress and success for the dual-track policy. But as we dowith any policy . . . we look at the situation on the ground and make determinations on when andwhether we need to make adjustments to that policy. It is going to be a painstaking process to
move things forward in a positive direction.”
 Speaking at a press briefing in London following the February conference on Somalia,Secretary of State Clinton emphasized the need to create by August 2012 a new Somaliparliament and constitution that take into account the interests of all Somalis
 — 
not from oneregion, one clan, one sub-clan, but all Somalis.
She also argued for a “unified Somalia” that
takes into account the legitimate constituencies that exist throughout the country.The United States has never expressed support for an independent Somaliland. It haseffectively left that decision to the African Union. An independent Somaliland was not part of 

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