Selected Op-Eds and Analysis
The recent attack of al-Shabaab on Villa Somalia in February 21 is a message that spells out the weakness of security in Mogadishu, at least. One critical question is: who is at fault on the security lapses despite the fact that there is a presence of almost 20 thousand "strong AMISOM forces in Somalia"? Even though no ones talks about it, Abukar Arman states that in theory, AMISOM has the absolute authority in daytime (macro) security, and armed ghosts control the skies and grounds at night. The former Somali Envoy continues asserting that virtually all monies donated to stabilize Somalia go to AMISOM and its multifaceted support security apparatus. Each component of this apparatus enjoys its own lucrative contract. So, if this is the case, who is really responsible for the security in Somalia? As long as rebuilding the national security sector is not taken seriously, it seems that the security will remain as Arman rightly puts it, "everybody's business is nobody's business."
Political Infighting Threatens Somalia's Government
January 13, 2014
This report by irinnews provides a comprehensive analysis on how the political infighting takes down the Somali government. The agency states that as Somalia’s new prime minister, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, gets ready to announce his new cabinet, analysts warn that the fragile Somali administration could come unstuck if further conflicts hit the executive. Ahmed assumed office on 26 December following a no-confidence vote against his predecessor Abdi Farah Shirdon 'Saa'id' on 2 December.
“The removal of the former PM [Prime Minister] Shirdon has, in fact, created a loss of credibility, because internal political crisis has been a norm for Somalia's transitional governments since the year 2000,” Abukar Sanei, the director of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research, a Somali think-tank, told IRIN by email. “The expectations of the people from this ‘permanent government’ was to avoid internal political clashes, and move the country forward in the peace-building and state-building processes.”
By Abukar Arman and Afyare Abdi Elmi
December 11, 2013
CfPAR's Editorial Note
Anyone who follows the Somali politics is more or less confused on the way the "politics" is maneuvered. This has been the case due to, among other factors, the leadership, and the lack of cohesiveness/clarity of the document is used as a guideline for a scrambled country like Somalia. The political woes that result the "no confidence vote" against outgoing prime ministers, and the appointment of new prime ministers have been the case for the last twelve years. And in fact, there is nothing grantees that this will not be the case in the near future.
However, in their co-authored piece, Abukar Arman, the former Somali Envoy to the United States, and Professor Afyare Elmi, who teaches at Qatar University, attempt to propose an alternative for "the endless cycle." The authors assert that the root cause of the government's short lifespan is a systemic dysfunction deeply embedded within the constitutional structure and political culture of the elite. There are two options that the authors suggest. One, change the endless cycle by strictly following the parliamentary system that the constitution prescribes, and two, change the parliamentary system and create with one that is consistent with the prevailing political culture that embraces a presidential system.
With four reasons to back their position, Arman and Elmi embrace the second option, which is to reverse the gear and adopt a presidential system.
By Mohamud Ulusow
December 9, 2013
CfPAR's Editorial Note
Contrary to Arman and Elmi's proposal of changing the form of government into a presidential system, Mohamud Ulusow's take is that the mixed parliamentary and presidential political system is good for the Somali society on the condition that the Somali intellectuals, civil society activists, and politicians put together the best processes and practices for the implementation of the adopted system.
The problem, for Mr. Ulusow, is the parliament that lacks any established procedures to perform its duties. The author asserts that the constitution provides the necessary checks and balances needed in the political system of Somalia. For Mr. Ulusow, there are "four equal branches of government" in Somalia: Parliament, Presidency, Council of Ministers and Judiciary. On the same lines, the author states that the defunct United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) and former leaders of the Transitional Federal Government, particularly the minister for constitutional affairs, principal actors in the constitution making process, have let down the Somali people by not even proof reading the constitutional document.
In whichever way one frames the Somali crisis, the condition is in a deep trouble as political crises are not helpful for the peace-building process. However, as long as the crisis continues nationally, legitimacy diminishes locally and internationally, and that is what the leaders in place may need to put into account.
By Dr. Abdinur Sh. Mohamud
The former minister of education, Dr. Abdinur Sh. Mohamud contributes some thoughts on how the Somali education system can be revived. This scholarly paper provides the history of the education system, formal and informal, of Somalia. However, during the last two decades, some of the challenges faced by many parents were the unbearable fees that private schools used/still charge to students despite the fact that those private school used to be funded/still funded by international NGO/charities. This, among other reasons, is what hindered many of the generation of the civil war to forgo from school. As long as the alternative of public education is not there, the private education system that is only open for those who can afford will continue. One unfortunate fact that the former minister states is that there is little evidence of policy collaboration and coordination between the Somali Federal Ministry of Education and other regional education authorities as a consequence of languishing social and political differences and the absence of genuine national reconciliation. On quality and relevance education, the author asserts that the quality of education currently provided throughout Somalia seems to require long-term vision that can articulate comprehensive education policy that is relevant to the lives and modes of development of the Somali people and that can guarantee a better future for the Somali society.
There are some thoughtful and very important recommendations that Dr. Mohamud concludes in his article. Among these recommendations are: enacting compulsory education law, right to education for all, provision of free and affordable education, education for the disabled, literacy education for children and adults and equal access to educational opportunities for both boys and girls. And finally, the former minister asserts that the Federal Government of Somalia and regional educational authorities must keep politics out of education and collaborate in order to devise a national education framework that allows for the development of a quality and relevant education for all that will lead to better curricular comparability, national authentication and certification in all levels of education.
Abdinasir Ali Mohamed
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Clan may be defined as a social group that brings together kin groups who either have a common patrilineal ancestor or have been incorporated into the clan for other purposes. From a functional perspective, a clan group provides its members a unified social identity, social status, wide support network, a degree of ‘public liability insurance’ and a so called defense system. However, for others, clan is the source of negative stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination and social conflicts. This paper explores, from a social psychological perspective, how competition and identity lead to inter-clan prejudice, and conflicts. In addition, the paper invites social science scholars to open a debate on the motives of deliberate activities to stoke up inter-clan/state/national/religious tensions as a political means to an end.
By their nature, humans live in social groups that provide them efficient survival mechanisms. For example, cooperating social groups can produce more food products, defend their territory and resources and can provide moral and material support to their members in difficult times than fractured and divided social groups. In some cases, social groups arise out of survival needs; however, in most cases such groups emerge from historical and blood ties. For instance, Sherif , one of the founding fathers of social psychology, demonstrated that, when provided with a competition task, individuals who had no prior relationships instantly formed two distinct and hostile social groups, simply because only one of them could win the competition for a trophy and penknives. Therefore, if individuals who had little in common (and who did not know each other prior to the experiments) formed such powerful social groups with immediate intragroup cooperation and intergroup derogation, it is conceivable that clan members with a common patrilineal ancestor and a shared history are more likely to form distinct social groups to maximize their potential of winning competitions for scarce resources. Hence, the source of inter-clan prejudice and social conflicts in the current Somali context can partly be attributed to inter-clan competition for access to power in order to exploit scarce public resources. Read more...
Press Statement John Kerry
Secretary of State Washington, DC
June 30, 2013
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to extend my warmest congratulations and best wishes to the government and people of Somalia as you celebrate your 53rd Independence Day this July 1.
Somalia has seen incredible progress in the past year, and the United States is proud to support the people of Somalia on your path towards stability and prosperity. The June 19 terrorist attack on the United Nations Common Compound in Mogadishu was a desperate attempt to disrupt Somalia’s recovery. The United States remains determined to stand by the people and Government of Somalia as you work to bring peace to your country.
The United States wishes you a safe and festive Independence Day. I look forward to our continued friendship and a democratic, safe, and secure Somalia.
The EU High Representative Catherine Ashton Condemns Fighting in Kismayo
July 1, 2013
The EU High Representative Catherine Ashton condemned Sunday’s fighting in Kismayo, Somalia which caused the death of 80 people.
On 30 June, the spokesperson of Ashton issued a statement saying, “the High Representative deplores the outbreak of fighting in Kismayo that appears to have caused the loss of innocent civilian lives. She urges all parties to immediately refrain from violence, exercise restraint, and let political processes be used to resolve outstanding differences….Alongside the African Union and United Nations, the EU stands ready to support Somalia in reestablishing security, peaceful, balanced and accountable government, and in restoring economic growth.”
The Somalian federal government has accused the African Union forces in Somalia (AMISOM) of taking sides during the heavy fighting in the southern port Somalian city. Read more..
Security Threats to Mogadishu
The storm of al-Shabaab members on the Villa Somalia in February 21, and the car bombing in last Thursday are part of the alarming security condition that Somalia, in general and the capital Mogadishu specifically is going through. However, three days after the storm on the Villa Somalia, al-Shabaab spokesman vowed to make a comeback to Mogadishu.
All these horrific actions by the terrorist group must push vigilance and pro-activeness from those who are responsible for the security issues at the government level. Rebuilding a disciplined and efficient national army is the only way to defeat al-Shabaab.
Soma Oil and Gas receives $50 million investment
Sabahi Online reports that a private investment firm Winter Sky has made a $50 million equity investment in the UK-based Soma Oil and Gas Holdings Limited. Soma Oil signed an agreement with the Somali government in August 2013 to conduct onshore and offshore surveys. Soma Oil announced this agreement with Winter Sky on January 13, 2014.
"Securing this funding agreement is a significant step forward for Soma Oil and Gas as it will enable us to finalise a contract for the seismic survey programme," said the company's chief executive officer Robert Sheppard. "We are in advanced negotiations with a contractor and expect to be able to make a further announcement in this regard shortly. Further, according to Sabahi, Soma Oil and Gas officials say that the equity investment will also enable the company to meet its commitment to the Somali government under its exploration agreement.
January 10, 2014
The Washington Post reports that the U.S. military secretly deployed a small number of trainers and advisers to Somalia in October, the first time regular troops have been stationed in the war-ravaged country since 1993, when two helicopters were shot down and 18 Americans killed in the “Black Hawk Down” disaster.
A cell of U.S. military personnel has been in the Somali capital of Mogadishu to advise and coordinate operations with African troops fighting to wrest control of the country from the al-Shabab militia, an Islamist group whose leaders have professed loyalty to al-Qaeda, according to three U.S. military officials.
Read the full article here.
December 17, 2013
CfPAR's Editorial Note
Despite the United Nations Security Council's ban on importing/exporting charcoal, this news item reveals that the business still continues. The report by the Associated Press states that despite the Security Council ban imposed in February 2012 , total exports of Somali charcoal have risen to 24 million sacks a year valued at up to $384 million, according to a July report by a U.N. monitoring group. And the market for the charcoal is the Gulf, with al-Shabab and others in the supply chain sharing the benefits, the monitors say.
The AP report continues stating that Al-Shabab takes a $2 "tax" on each of the estimated 600,000-1 million bags of charcoal loaded every month onto ships at the southern Somali port of Barawe, which the group controls, according to the monitors report. In September 2012, the UAE told the UN inspectors that it impounded a shipment of 100,000 sacks of Somali charcoal, though the loaded ship later left port and sailed to Saudi Arabia, according to the U.N. However, Emirati agents stopped another ship, the Energy 3, and seized its cargo of charcoal in August, according to traders.
December 15, 2013
The Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is a sub-regional organization, appointed a new envoy to Somalia. The newly appointed Special Envoy is H. E. Mohamed Abdi Affey, a former Kenyan ambassador to Somalia.
However, welcoming the newly appointed envoy the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Ambasador Mahboub Maalim emphasized the critical significance of Ambassador Affey's role in consolidating the peace in Somalia and wished him well in this important assignment.
Wednesday September 11, 2013
The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has appointed Yussur A.F. Abrar as the country’s first female Central Bank Governor.
Ms. Abrar, who is highly regarded in international financial circles, brings over 30 years of experience in banking, insurance, and risk management to the Central Bank of Somalia.
A former Vice-President at Citigroup and American International Group (AIG) in New York, as well as an entrepreneur in both telecommunications and financial consulting, she will likely prove an effective resource for the nation, which is facing serious economic challenges. Read more.
Al-Amriki alive, severs ties with al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda
UNSOM Signs Agreement with the S. Government
UNSOM Signs Agreement with the Somali Government An agreement between the Somali Government and the United Nations was signed in Mogadishu on 26th of February, 2014.
The agreement, which contains eleven chapters, is a guideline that defines the relationship between the United Nations and the Somali Government. Such agreements like this one, if it is well defined and every entity knows the do's and don'ts, may further help the state sovereignty. As some foreign officials who are now based in Somalia may take for granted to engage with everyone, it is very crucial for the Somali Government to have clear guidelines on this issue so that the actions of those foreign officials may not cause any damage to the state sovereignty.
AMISOM Supports the Government's Position
AMISOM Supports the Somali Government's Position As the undefined "federalism" continues, and will continue to take Somalia into more deep political crisis, the Somali Government disassociated itself from the process of the formation of another regional administration in southern Somalia.
Among the basis of the argument of the Somali Government is that "the federalization is a government-led process." However, AMISOM supports the position of the Somali Government on the issue. A Press Release issued by AMISOM states that the likelihood for rival leadership emerging with the potential to cause conflict and undermine the Government and AMISOM military expansion and stabilization activities is real.
Somali Militants Moving into Kenya
January 15, 2014
The Somali Parliament Approves the New Prime Minister
MOGADISHU, Dec 21, 2013
Somalia´s parliament on Saturday approved as the new prime minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, a political newcomer and economist who faces tough challenges in the war-torn nation.
All but three lawmakers in parliament voted to approve President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud´s nomination of the economist who has worked with several international organisations and banks.
Three abstained from voting, and none opposed.
"A total of 243 out of the 246 gave a vote of confidence to the new prime minister," said parliamentary speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari.
Ahmed, 54, faces a giant task to rein in corruption, crush Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents battling to topple the central government, and rebuild the troubled Horn of Africa nation.
"I´m very grateful with parliament for endorsing my nomination," the new prime minister said after the vote.
"I promise to work for the development of the country, and to form a cabinet of high quality soon."
December 17, 2013
Many Somali refugees in the refugee camps in Kenya "fear forcible return home," according to this news article. Even though the triangle agreement (Kenya, Somalia and UNHCR) notes that the "return is voluntary," Kenya's cabinet Secretary for the interior visited the refugee camps last month, and told the refugees to "start thinking about returning as the conditions of Somalia were improving."
On the other hand, last week, Nicholas Kay, the secretary-general’s special representative for Somalia, told the U.N. Security Council that UNHCR will offer assistance initially to an estimated 10,000 Somali refugees opting to repatriate during a six-month pilot phase.
16 September 2013 –
The international community and Somalia begin a new partnership today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said urging parties to align their political and financial support begin a ‘New Deal’ to drive the country’s economic and political recovery.
“Today we take forward that commitment by endorsing the Somalia New Deal Compact and aligning international support to implement its principles and priorities,” the Secretary-General said in his message to the High-Level Conference on a New Deal for Somalia delivered in Brussels by his Special Representative Nicholas Kay.
Finalized today, the New Deal is seen as a roadmap for promoting statebuilding and peacebuilding over the next three years by focusing on the Somali political processes, security, legal system and economic foundation.
During the one-day meeting, hosted jointly by the European Union and the Somali Federal Government, the Somali leadership set out its priorities and plans on a course to deliver on them, while the international community laid out future support for those priorities.
“The New Deal is about the people, for the people, and with the people of Somalia,” Mr. Ban stressed. “Our meeting today is a milestone, the beginning of a new partnership based on mutual commitments and accountability that bind all of us in support of Somalia.”
Some 200 Government delegates attended today’s meeting, along with aid groups and global finance institutions, and representatives of the UN.
“The United Nations stands ready to assist the Government to coordinate international assistance in line with Security Council resolution 2102,” said Mr. Ban’s statement, highlighting the UN Multi-Partner-Trust Fund.
The UN will continue to support the Government’s efforts to bring the political process, security needs, human rights protection and development activities together under one framework, according to the statement. The Organization will also continue to improve its own operations in Somalia, promoting international coordination and working progressively towards strengthening national systems.
The UN Assistance Mission to Somalia (UNSOM) is also working to enhance the Government’s capacity to provide basic services, justice and the rule of law. Read more..
May 29th 2013
FATUMA (not her real name) was at home in Eastleigh, a Somali-dominated suburb of Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, when the police called on her. She showed them her refugee permits but they took the 23-year-old outside and loaded her onto a waiting truck. Along with four other women they were driven to a disused building where they were separated and raped. When they were taken back to the truck, bleeding and with their dresses torn, nobody spoke.
“We didn’t have to say anything to each other because we all knew what had happened to all of us,” she said. Her ordeal was part of a systematic campaign between last November and January this year of torture, rape, extortion and arbitrary detention of Somalis living in Kenya, under the guise of responding to terror threats. The abuses are documented in a new report released on May 29th by Human Rights Watch, a New York-based monitor.
“Kenyan police unleashed ten weeks of hell on communities close to the heart of Nairobi, torturing, abusing, and stealing from some of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people,” said Gerry Simpson, one of report's authors. It is the fourth study into the abuse of refugees by Kenyan police in four years. So far no action has been taken against the officers or officials involved. The UNHCR, the UN's refugee body, has been notably silent.
The violence and intimidation is the rough edge of a campaign to drive tens of thousands of Somali refugees out of Kenya's cities and into the crowded and often lawless refugee camps on the border with Somalia and Sudan. Kenya's High Court is due to rule in June on the legality of a government plan to forcibly relocate 55,000 Somali refugees out of the cities and into camps. Continue reading.
UNITED NATIONS ASSISTANCE MISSION IN SOMALIA (UNSOM)
On 2 May 2013, the UN Security Council passed a unanimous resolution 2102 (2013) establishing the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). The new mission will replace the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) which will complete its mandate on 3 June 2013.
What is UNSOM’s role?
UNSOM’s core role will be to act as an enabler, helping to create and galvanize the political and strategic environment in which stabilization and peacebuilding can proceed, including by leveraging other parts of the UN system and international partners. UNSOM will support the Federal Government of Somalia’s agenda of peace, security and nation-building and will help move the country forward towards free and fair elections in four years time. It will exercise its mandate guided by the principles of Somali ownership, flexibility, collaboration and partnerships. In close cooperation with key partners such as the African Union and the InterGovernmental Authority for Development, it will also fulfill the Government’s wish for "a single UN door to knock on" and be guided by the President’s Six Pillar Policy and the Busan Principles for Aid Effectiveness. Please read the full UNPOS update here.
Somalia: President Hassan Sheikh - Illegal Fishing Will Not Happen Along the Somali Coastline
By Maalik_eng, 1 May 2013
Mogadishu (sh.M.Network) Mr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the president of the federal republic of Somalia who today visited the factory of the Somali National fishing company stated that illegal fishing will not be allowed in the Somali coastlines. The president also said that the Somali public was not taking the opportunity to explore the abundant resources that is found in the coastline. The president urged the people of Somalia to take an advantage and explore these God given resources in their country.
In a raised voiced, the president repeated that from today onwards, illegal fishing will not be existing in the country.
The president finally said that his Government has forwarded its complaints to the international community of big ships which conduct illegal fishing and dumping of waste along the Somalia Coastline.
It is believed that big foreign ships conduct illegal shipping and dumping of waste along the Somali coastline, taking advantage of the long civil war the country has experienced for the past 21 years.
President Hassan hails accession to the Cotonou Agreement as an opportunity for the recovery of Somalia
Source: Office of the President of Somalia
Monday, May 10, 2013
The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, expressed his gratitude for Friday’s decision at the European Union to allow Somalia to be a signatory to the Cotonou Agreement, the EU – African, Caribbean, Pacific States Partnership Agreement.
Speaking of the benefits, the President said, “The benefit of the Cotonou Agreement is that Somalia will be eligible to receive development projects from the EU, which will help us to rebuild our country. These development projects will bring provide jobs to our young people so that they can take part the in the reconstruction of their nation prosperity to Somalis in their country.
“We have placed considerable effort into improving our international relations and this represents a great step in our return to the community of nations.
The recent EU-ACP ministerial meeting in Brussels between 3rd to 7th June 2013 Co-Chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Botswana, Mr Phandu Skelemani, and the State Minister of Commerce and Development of Ireland, Mr. Joe Costello, approved the request from Somalia and after the meeting in a press conference Mr Joe Costello said "Today’s agreement for Somalia to be a member of Cotonou Agreement opens a new door for the Federal Government of Somalia and the European Union, which is sign that Somalia has reclaimed membership of the international forum.”
Mr Nur Hassan Hussein (Nur Adde), Somalia Ambassador to Belgium, Italy and EU was present in the meeting representing the Federal Government of Somalia.
Somalia has been granted observer status immediately, with subsequent accession to full membership next year. Somalia was part of the then LOME Agreement before 1991, which became Cotonou Agreement in 2000.