You are on page 1of 7

AFRICA MATTERS A Joint Summit with Members of the European Parliament and US Congress on Africa US House of Representatives June

! "##$ Somalia: Prospects for Lasting Peace %& 'avid H( Shinn Ad)unct Professor! Elliott School of *nternational Affairs +he ,eorge -ashington Universit& * than. the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and ,lobal Health for inviting me to address prospects for lasting peace in Somalia( * also commend the members of the US House of Representatives and the European Parliament for organi/ing a )oint summit on developments in Africa and especiall& the Horn of Africa( *t is a clich0 to sa& that the situation in Somalia is at a crossroads! but it is( +here is still an opportunit& to restructure the government in Somalia in a manner that will permit the +ransitional 1ederal ,overnment 2+1,3 to complete successfull& its mandate( %ut time is fast slipping awa&( *t is essential that both the +1, and its opponents sei/e the opportunit& now and ma.e the necessar& compromises that will serve the Somali people rather than the interests of current politicians and aspirants for power( +he focus toda& and over the past &ear and a half has been e4cessivel& on maintaining or gaining personal power both b& the Union of *slamic Courts and the +1,( TFG Tenure Is Winding o!n *n the relativel& brief time that remains in its mandate! the +1, could perform an enormous service to the Somali people b& creating a true government of national unit& that paves the wa& for a popularl& elected parliament in "##5( +he +ransitional 1ederal Charter states that the +ransitional 1ederal Parliament shall remain in office for five &ears( +he tenure of parliament commenced from the date of the oath of office! which occurred in September "##6( +he current parliament will finish its term in September "##5( +he +ransitional 1ederal Charter also states that the President shall hold office for a term of four &ears beginning from his date of swearing7in! which occurred in 8ctober "##6( +his means that President Abdullahi 9usuf will complete his tenure in 8ctober "## ( Parliament elects the president b& secret ballot on the basis of two7thirds of its members supporting the winning candidate( Presumabl& parliament could reelect Abdullahi 9usuf! but the +1, still ends in September "##5( *n an& event! the +1, has )ust over two &ears left in its tenure unless it e4tends itself( "S Interests in Somalia

" * approach this issue from the standpoint of what * believe is best for US polic& based on American interests in the region( +hese interests include the establishment of a stable and peaceful Somalia with a widel& accepted national government that re7 establishes the rule of law! a functioning econom&! and cordial relations with its neighbors( 1rom an American perspective! political stabilit& in the region is essential( *t is also in the interest of the US to see that humanitarian disasters in Somalia are eliminated or! at least! minimi/ed( +his is not onl& good for Somalis! but it puts fewer burdens on the American ta4pa&er who provides much of the emergenc& assistance( 1inall&! the US see.s to counter e4tremism and terrorism that has! on occasion! been aided and abetted in Somalia( *n the past! terrorist acts with lin.s to Somalia have directl& impacted US interests in :en&a and +an/ania( Some Assumptions M& remar.s are based on several assumptions( +he +1, is the onl& Somali government recogni/ed b& the United ;ations! African Union! Arab <eague! and international communit& generall&( *t is important to help the +1, succeed so long as it is willing to become a trul& inclusive government( So far! it has not demonstrated that it is serious about significantl& broadening its base( +he +1, remains wea.! is not sufficientl& representative! and continues to be highl& dependent on the presence of Ethiopian troops for its survival( * strongl& doubt that an& Somali government will succeed unless it includes representation from virtuall& all elements of Somali opinion and societ&( +his will re=uire sharing power at the highest levels of the +1, with some persons who are now e4cluded( 1rom m& perspective! the onl& groups that should be e4cluded from a Somali government are those that> 77urge war or support terrorist acts against neighboring countries? 77have indisputable lin.s with terrorist or criminal organi/ations? and 77hold views so e4treme that the& will prevent a national government from functioning successfull& and peacefull&( * also assume that *slam has become an even more essential component of Somali societ& in recent &ears and that what is sometimes called political *slam is now a permanent feature of Somali politics( Even the +ransitional 1ederal Charter sa&s that @*slamic Sharia shall be the basic source for national legislation(A SomaliaBs neighbors! the US! and the -est generall& must learn to live with this situation and be supportive so long as Somali *slam remains tolerant and see.s to solve problems peacefull&( +he Sufi beliefs in Somali *slam have resulted in a tradition of moderation( *n spite of some recent radicali/ation among a small minorit&! usuall& encouraged b& foreigners! this continues to be the case( Somali Lin#s to Terrorism A comment on Somali lin.s to terrorism and al7Caeda is in order! particularl& since countering it has become the focus of American polic& in the region( +he Harmon& Pro)ect Combating +errorism Center at -est Point recentl& completed a massive stud& that relied heavil& on declassified al7Caeda documents! most of them from the mid7

F D55#s( +he evidence is overwhelming that al7Caeda wor.ed hard in the D55#s to establish operatives in Somalia( Al7Caeda did achieve some success! especiall& b& sending foreigners to the region who subse=uentl& too. refuge in Somalia( Al7Caeda also recruited a small number of adventure7driven! &oung Somalis who had largel& abandoned allegiance to their clans( ;evertheless! the frustration these foreign terrorists e4perienced in contacts with Somalis was palpable( Al7Caeda clearl& wanted to establish a franchise in Somalia and assumed it would be a low cost recruiting ground where disaffected people in a failed state would readil& )oin its ran.s( 1or al7Caeda! Somalia seemed to be another Afghanistan( +he Harmon& Pro)ect concluded that the realit& was =uite different( Al7 Caeda underestimated the cost of operating in Somalia( Poor securit& in the countr& increased its costs and al7Caeda constantl& e4perienced e4tortion from Somali clans and losses when bandits attac.ed their convo&s( Al7Caeda failed to understand the importance of traditional Sufi doctrine in Somali *slam( *n some cases! al7Caeda operatives appeared stunned at the depth of resistance the& received from Sufi clerics( ;or did al7Caeda appreciate the Somali attachment to clans and sub7clans( Al7Caeda overestimated the degree to which Somalis would become )ihadis! especiall& if there was no financial incentive( 'evelopments in the past several &ears suggest that al7Caeda has had somewhat more success! but there is still a tendenc& b& al7Caeda! the +1,! the US! and Ethiopia to e4aggerate both al7CaedaBs role and its influence in the countr&( +his onl& pla&s into the hands of al7Caeda( Role for a Peace#eeping Force +he +1,! African Union! United ;ations! and the international communit& are attaching considerable importance to the standing up of an !### member African Union peace.eeping mission in Somalia to maintain law and order( So far! onl& about D!E## Ugandans have arrived in the countr& and there is no indication other African contingents plan to come an&time soon( More importantl&! * thin. the peace.eeping mission misses the point( *t can achieve ver& little unless t$ere is first ma)or progress on a political settlement in Somalia( 8nce there is general agreement among Somali clan leaders! business representatives! moderates from the *slamic Courts! civil societ&! and even the warlords! an outside peace.eeping force can then ma.e a positive contribution( -hile this is happening! there must be an effort to train Somalis to ta.e over the functions of the police and securit& forces( Even a peace.eeping force that is much larger than !### will not be able to maintain order if .e& opponents of the +1, continue to oppose it( +he E5th meeting of the African Union Peace and Securit& Council issued a communi=u0 on D5 Januar& "##$ which stated that the AU peace.eeping force shall be deplo&ed for si4 months @with a clear understanding that the mission will evolve to a United ;ations operation that will support the long term stabili/ation and post7conflict reconstruction of Somalia(A +he Ugandan troops arrived in Mogadishu in earl& March( Although the full !### member AU force never materiali/ed! the Ethiopian troops filled the void( Arguabl&! the AU commitment is about half finished with its si4 month term

6 and! in the view of the AU! the U; should be read&ing its force to replace the Ugandans in earl& September( +he U; never agreed! however! to ta.e over the peace.eeping operation after si4 months( Securit& Council Resolution D$66 adopted on "# 1ebruar& "##$ did @ta.e noteA of the communi=u0 of the African Union Peace and Securit& Council of D5 Januar& "##$! which stated that the African Union shall deplo& for a period of si4 months a mission to Somalia that will evolve into a U; mission( +he U; did not e4plicitl& state that it would ta.e over the AU operation and it clearl& is reluctant to do so( +he April DF U; staff report to the U; Secretar& ,eneral on the situation in Somalia stated that @it is difficult to offer a definite recommendation at this point with regard to the possible deplo&ment of a United ;ations peace.eeping operation in support of the peace process(A +he report commented that U; personnel in the region e4pressed concern about deplo&ment of a force and that it would encounter significant logistical challenges( +he Ugandan and Ethiopian forces can certainl& vouch for that( +he U; seems to have no intention of establishing a peace.eeping force in Somalia b& earl& September( +his leaves either the Ugandans andGor the Ethiopians stuc. in Mogadishu( 8ther than the +1,! most Somalis have made it clear the& want the Ethiopian force to leave( *t is also obvious that D!E## Ugandans are not able to provide securit& in Mogadishu( Role for Et$iopia * suspect that even the government of Ethiopia would li.e to remove its soldiers from Somalia( *t is creating a financial burden and probabl& having a negative impact on militar& morale( *f the Ethiopians departed immediatel&! however! that would leave onl& the Ugandans and the +1, militia in Mogadishu( Even a wea. opposition force on its home turf could defeat this combination( *n a March "6 al-Jazeera interview! Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Henawi stated that Ethiopia had completed the first phase of its troop withdrawal from Somalia and he added the second phase will ta.e place in a few da&s! leaving less than a third of the original contingent in Somalia( *t has never been clear to outsiders how man& troops Ethiopia had in Somalia originall&( Hence! it is impossible to sa& whether Ethiopia has met that schedule( %ut * doubt it( +he securit& situation in Mogadishu is )ust too tenuous for Ethiopia to draw down two7thirds of its original force( Although there has been no ma)or fighting in recent wee.s and most of the conflict remains confined to the Mogadishu area! violent incidents including suicide attac.s and roadside bombs continue on a regular basis( An Ethiopian scholar in Addis Ababa! Medhane +adesse! who supported the sending of Ethiopian troops into Somalia and on occasion has advised the Ethiopian government! was =uoted in the Washington Post in late April that EthiopiaBs militar& victor& in Somalia @was not complemented b& a political victor&(A He added that @long7 term stabilit& in Somalia re=uires a long7term social strateg&! but Ethiopia and the US onl& had a militar& strateg&(A +hat conclusion is worth about(


Po!er S$aring is t$e %e& Most observers agree that political reconciliation among Somalis is the most urgent tas.( +he recent ,7 resolution on Somalia this point( +he April report to the U; Secretar& ,eneral said there is a broad agreement within the international communit& that without an all7inclusive political dialogue and reconciliation process! no peace.eeping force is li.el& to bring sustainable peace to Somalia( Prime Minister Meles ac.nowledged in the al-Jazeera interview that large numbers of peace.eepers in Somalia are not the answer( He said progress will be determined b& @the reconciliation process among the Somalis(A +he situation cries out for an urgent political solution( +he =uestion is how one achieves reconciliation( Plaintive calls for political dialogue! which are common in -estern capitals! will not result in a solution( Somalis will dialogue the process to death( +he initial +1, solution was a F!### member conference for political dialogue in Mogadishu( +he idea of holding the conference in Mogadishu is admirable! but the securit& situation there probabl& precludes it( +he +1, has postponed the conference several times and now reduced the number of participants to about D!F## persons! allegedl& because the international communit& has not provided ade=uate funding for the larger event( Hawi&e Abgal leader Ali Mahdi Mohamed is in charge of the conference( 8ther Hawi&e clan elders in Mogadishu recentl& said three conditions must be met before the& will participate( +he demands included a ceasefire between insurgents! on the one hand! and Ethiopian and +1, militia! on the other! so that there is no more .illing of civilians( Second! the& called for the deplo&ment of the full !### member AU peace.eeping force and the withdrawal of all Ethiopian troops from Somalia( +hird! the& demanded the sharing of the conference chairmanship with a representative from opposition groups( ;one of these conditions will be met =uic.l&! if at all( *n addition! Shei.h Sherif Shei.h Ahmed! former chairman of the e4ecutive committee of the Council of *slamic Courts! and Sharif Hassan Shei.h Aden! former of the Somali +ransitional 1ederal Parliament! both of whom are now in e4ile in Asmara! called for a bo&cott of the conference( +he current scheduled date for the conference is June D6Isi4 da&s from now( +he situation hardl& seems ripe for a reconciliation conference( *t will li.el& be postponed again( -hile it is true that large conferences and months of discussion are part of Somali culture and tradition! the current situation calls for something different( +ime is running out and * doubt that an&one has the patience to wait for a reconciliation conference that ma& never happen an&wa&( *t is time for the +1, to reach out to its moderate opponents and bring them into the government( *t ma& be possible to convince enough of them to accept responsible positions so that the political factions in Mogadishu can then begin the real process of reconciliation and the isolating of hard7line spoiler groups(

E -hile * agree that the departure of the Ethiopian troops would enhance the prospects for a successful power sharing arrangement between the +1, and moderate opponents! this would pose a securit& challenge! at least in Mogadishu( *t probabl& means the Ethiopian force will have to remain until there is some progress on the political front( Ethiopia could announce a schedule for the departure of its troops from Somalia( +his would put pressure on the +1, seriousl& to begin the process( ealing !it$ t$e Spoilers +he spoilers in MogadishuIthe e4tremist remnants of the *slamic Courts! the Shabaab militia! and whatever is left of the foreign )ihadisIwould see a schedule for Ethiopian withdrawal as an opportunit& to simpl& wait out the departure of the Ethiopians( %ut Somali clan leaders and moderates from the *slamic Courts in Mogadishu! if the +1, has seriousl& begun the process of them an important part of the government! ma& well decide this is an opportunit& to participate in a government of national unit&( *f the& follow this course! which admittedl& is a gamble! the& are in a position to neutrali/e the spoilers( +here is no wa& to convince the spoilers that the& should serve the interests of the Somali people( +he& have their own! selfish )ihadi agenda( +he onl& wa& to deal with them is to ta.e steps that will encourage most Somalis! especiall& clan leaders! to isolate the e4tremists and eventuall& remove all foreigners with a political agenda from Somalia( T$e 'ottom Line Achieving a satisfactor& solution to the current crisis in Mogadishu will not be eas& even if all the ma)or Somali parties finall& agree to act in the best interest of the Somali people and put their personal ambitions aside( %ut a good result is not impossible( +he first step should be the immediate initiation b& the +1, of serious power7sharing with elements now e4cluded from power( As soon as that process has begun! the Ethiopian force should =uic.l& begin its final and complete departure from Somalia( *n the meantime! the U;! not the African Union! should be organi/ing a peace.eeping force consisting largel& of African units( *t should be read& to move into Mogadishu as it becomes clear that the political reconciliation process is ;one of this will happen! however! until t$e TFG engages in serious po!er s$aring with disaffected Somali parties( *f the +1, fails to begin this process! there is no reason wh& the international communit& should support it other than to provide emergenc& assistance to the Somali people( *n fact! lac. of +1, willingness to share power should cause the international communit& to signal the +1, that the time has come to leave it to its own devices( Ethiopia! because of its militar& support of the +1,! has more leverage over the +1, than an& other countr&( +1, actions in recent da&s are not encouraging following the closure of three radio stations and the arrest of several important Hawi&e clan leaders( +he +1, is narrowing the political space in which Somalis can operate and reducing! not e4panding! its potential support among Somalis(

$ *f! on the other hand! the +1, an immediate and sincere effort to share power and its political opponents refuse to reciprocate! then it is up to the Arab <eague! its members! and other friends of the opposition li.e Eritrea to pressure them to do what is right for Somalia(