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Views on foriegn army deployment, capital city, and disarmament examined

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Views about foreign army deployment in Somalia examined

Written by Zailici( real name Samatalis Haille, a recent graduate from University of Minnisota, USA, with degree in Philosophy and Social Sceinces)

Somalis passionately express different views on the question of foreign army deployment in Somalia. They tend, with some regularity, to emphasize what is reasonable about their views and refrain from addressing what is unreasonable ; this selective emphasis, or some would say this ethnocentrism, predominates Somali political discourse. This paper, therefore, aims to expose this predominant feature of Somali political discussion as it pertains to the foreign army deployment in Somalia. Moreover, the paper contends that each view hitherto advanced has both reasonable and predatory (exploitative) consequences. To achieve its ends the paper is organized in the following fashion: In section I, I will cover some general characteristics of prevailing conditions in southern Somalia; In section II and III, I will survey different views people advance with regard to the foreign army deployment and their legitimate and exploitative consequences. Finally, I will suggest and justify what the Somalis and the international community can do to ameliorate or aggravate volatile human conditions in this precarious Republic.


Section I


a) Current prevailing dynamics


While opposing views with regard to the foreign army deployment are advanced here and there, Somalia remains in anarchy: there is no common power capable of providing collective goods and services such as security provisions and arbitrations of disputes. Consequently, groups, supply their own resources to secure themselves from others and resolve disputes. Somalia’s prevailing anarchy, however, is entering a new stage, a stage where two major changes are about to unfold1: 1) possible shift of politico-military power (this shift is likely if biased army such as Ethiopia is deployed in Somalia, we will discuss this point farther in section 1, part c ; 2) Period of possible disarmament and demobilization of armed millitia.


These likely impending changes generate a high degree of uncertainty and fear as well as an opportunity for triumph and defeat. These fearful and uncertain times incline people to assume worst-case scenario and thereby adopt various strategies that aim towards gaining more security from impending calamities; these strategies can range from radicalization of political discourse to preparation of preventive and preemptive attacks. Under such conditions, where the worst case scenario is expected, slightest accidents, banditry acts, extremist operations can easily drag the entire groups into sustained armed conflict. It is under such background conditions, that we examine the opposing views hitherto advanced with respect the foreign army deployment in Somalia. Moreover, we will repeatedly assume the worst-case scenario( as folks finding themselves in fearful and uncertain times do) to determine what is reasonable and what is not so reasonable.


Section II


a) TFG position towards the deployment of peacekeeping force


President Abdulahi Yusuf Ahmed made a proposal to the Peace and Security Council of the African Union in October, 2004 consisting of three points: 1) First, AU, he asserted, must deploy a peacekeeping force ranging from 20, 000 to 30,0002 ; Second, AU must recruit, train, and equip 20, 000 to 30,000 national security force, including an army and police3; Third, Until the TFG( Transitional Federal Government) develops into a sustainable institution capable of generating revenues through taxation and resource mobilization, the international community should bear the financial burden of brining peace and security to Somalia4. Some of the aforementioned requests had already been granted.5


To ensure the plans of the TFG are attained, it pursues a politico-military strategy that emphasizes three factors : 1) deployment of foreign army , including an army from neighboring countries6; 2) recruitment of national security force from a population other than clan militia; TFG officials have indicated in numerous times7 that they desire to disarm and demobilize current armed militia rather than train, equip, and nationalize them to take part in the stabilization process ; 3) relocation to a city other than Mogadishu .8


b) Legitimate objectives of the TFG


The demands of the TFG for foreign army deployment, excluding Ethiopian army deployment, is, I believe, a reasonable one, because deployment of neutral peacekeeping force is likely to change the prevailing conditions, which currently favor conflict and exploitation rather than cooperation and reconciliation, by monitoring and reinforcing cease fire and other broadly reached agreements. More neutral peacekeeping force will also encourage formation of regional administrations where they do not exist, encourage amicable resolution to the question of land and clan in the southern Somalia, train security forces, protect the TFG and key infrastructures such as ports and airports. Moreover, a neutral peacekeeping force, above all, would enable TFG members to express and advance their own ideas without fear of their own safety. However, such freedom is unlikely, if the government relies its safety on particular clan based militia, for they( TFG members) will be inclined, out of common sense, not to pursue or endorse whatever policies that may upset their protectors: if they do, they will be annihilated. TFG is likely, under these conditions, to degenerate into an institution dominated by particular groups. It is for these reasons, and perhaps many others, that TFG is reasonable in demanding a peacekeeping force that protects itself and key government installations .


c) Predatory objectives of the TFG


The objectives, however, that the TFG pursues, are in another respect predatory, for they (some TFG members) endorse the deployment of known biased army: Ethiopia. The critic may suggest that Yusuf, and his collogues in the TFG, do not only advocate for the deployment of Ethiopian army, but also advocate for the deployment of any army willing to be deployed in Somalia including Igad armies; Since Igad states are willing to deploy their own troops in Somalia, the critic suggests, we have no reason to reject them, if they are willing to help us stabilize the country. The critic continues, since many people are concerned about Ethiopia's biases to its friends, we believe that these biases would be neutralized by the biases of other Igad countries such as Sudan, Djibouti, and Eritrea. I respond to the critic : Sudan is in the midst of civil war, it is not likely, therefore, that it will send large troops that are capable of neutralizing Ethiopian army biases. In fact, Sudan wants a foreign army for itself to resolve its problems in Dafur region. Djibouti is small country, which cannot match in terms of numbers and firepower to its Ethiopian counterpart; Eritrea is hesitant and remains undecided as of this day of my writing. AU-Arab force is likely not to be deployed in the nearer future( simply they are not ready yet). Now, Granting that in the end AU-Arab force would neutralize Ethiopian biases, Ethiopia, however, in the mean time would have the opportunity to crush its opponents in the south before more neutral force is deployed( we shall fully discuss this point in the next paragraph). Moreover, if biased peacekeeping force ( IGAD peacekeeping force) are brought to Somalia shall they not, I ask, side with their respective friends and inflame the civil war rather than assist in its resolution ?.


On the other hand, TFG aims to recruit, train, and equip a new national security force rather than transform clan based militia into national security force. Now, If militia are disarmed and new security force is established under the command of the TFG and if Ethiopia is allowed to deploy its troops in southern Somalia, then it is likely that TFG and its friends, Ethiopia, would acquire immense power that can be used to dictate the destiny of southern Somalia and perhaps its adjacent territories; this can happen even if Ethiopian army is deployed in southern Somalia as temporary army until more neutral AU-Arab force can be deployed. How so ? Ethiopia is likely, under worst case scenario, to aid Yusuf to pacify areas south of Mogadishu, such as Juba and shebele valley, while simultaneously enabling TFG to build a strong army based in Baidabo, or else where in the South. As time goes by, Ethiopia and its friends would be better positioned to carry out military operations( under the pretext of stabilization, disarmament and terrorism) so as to eliminate their opponents and further consolidate their power in the country. This scenario, on one hand, will enable the TFG to rule the fertile areas south of Mogadisho , on the other hand, it will enable Ethiopia, in theory, not to worry about insurgent movements in southern Ethiopia, such as Ogeden National Liberation Front and Oromo Liberation Front, for they, in this new period, will be besieged( subsequently, it is hoped that they will die due to lack of military supplies and other necessities to continue the resistance) by Ethiopian army in one side and its friends on the other side. Under this scenario, Ethiopia would be able, if it succeeds, to shift more military and financial resources from the periphery to the center to deal with more numerous and more threatening opposition.


Section III


a) Position of the Mogadishu group


There are many groups who qualify the notion of foreign army deployment in Somalia; however, they share one thing : they all oppose the deployment of Ethiopian army. They argue that Ethiopia 1) is a traditional Somali foe who has long historical and strategic interest in Somalia9 2) a state that is not neutral about Somali conflict, in fact it is state that have actively participated in the conflict10; 3) would not contribute to peace but rather would undermine peace efforts and enflame the civil war by siding with its friends and weakening its opponents11. It is not surprising, therefore, that some have called for armed resistance against them12 others have called for a holy war to defeat them if deployed in Somalia.13


Most of the groups that oppose Yusuf and his colleagues in and outside of the transitional authority, let us call them Mogadishu group( this name is reasonable because those who oppose and show their opposition towards Ethiopian army deployment were highly visible in and around Mogadishu), also espouse, with the exception of Mohamed Dhere faction, other objectives: They believe that TFG should be relocated to Mogadishu and they also believe that clan-based militia should be transformed into national security force.14 .


b) Legitimate objectives of Mogadishu group


If TFG attains its objectives,( deployment of Ethiopian army , relocation to a city other than Mogadishu, say Baiydabo, and creation of national security force other than clan based militia) then TFG as well as Ethiopia would have a center of military power in the south that can be used to pursue narrow military objectives. Moreover, Ethiopia would have a legal means to transfer large army and military hardware from its center to the Southern Somalia. Under worst-case scenario, Ethiopia may itself attempt to isolate or attack Mogadishu under the name of terrorism to draw the attention of Washington; So that it can acquire the resources needed to continue to sustain its gains and put down the subsequent armed resistance, while at the same time enabling its friends to rule the pacified land and populations in the south. Such scenario, for Mogadishu groups, and to be sure for many Somalis, is fundamentally unacceptable. Now, if one were to expect the worst-case scenario , which is not unreasonable when one’s survival is stake, then the opposition to Ethiopian army deployment would be legitimate and reasonable concern to be expressed and advanced by concerned groups.


c) Predatory objectives of Mogadishu groups


If, on the hand, the wishes of Mogadishu group were granted, namely 1) relocation to Mogadishu; 2) non deployment of foreign army; 3)and nationalization of militia rather than disarmament and demobilization, Mogadishu groups both within and outside TFG would be better placed not only to defend themselves but also to dominate the TFG itself . The TFG, under such conditions, is likely to degenerate into an institution dominated by Mogadishu factions because the primary force protecting and serving the TFG would be drown from Mogadishu factions who dominate the city, and because of this reason, TFG would be wise enough not to infuriate its protectors: if it does inhalation cannot be ruled out. Thus, without foreign army deployment, relocation to Mogadishu, and nationalization of militia is, under worst-case scenario, recipe for the continuation of anarchy( with its far reaching consequences, many of the neighboring countries regard the southern anarchy as source of the regional instability ) and degeneration of the TFG into dependent institution rather than an independent institution capable of stabilizing the country. For these reasons, and perhaps many others, such policies advocated by Mogadishu groups, viewed from this perspective, do not seem to be reasonably acceptable. Like wise, areas south of Mogadishu, if above wishes are granted, would continue to be under the domination of H/Gidir clans. Some groups challenge H/Gidir domination in the areas south of Mogadishu, for they argue that this domination in the south deprives native clans an opportunity to rule their own territories; This is reasonably legitimate concern that needs to be addressed. However, the argument becomes circular and unconvincing if non “native clans†advance similar proposition. I will discuss the land question and clans in another forthcoming paper.




So, as you can see TFG has legitimate point in rejecting the demands of the Mogadishu group, if , however, TFG concedes to Mogadishu demands, then its fear of degenerating into Mogadishu dominated government is very plausible, but on the same reasoning, if TFG is granted what it wishes: Igad army deployment, relocation to a city other than Mogadishu and creation of national security force( recruited and equipped under the command of the TFG), TFG too would degenerate into an institution dominated by those who are friendly to Ethiopia ; it would do so because Ethiopia is likely to aid its friends in Somalia to crush their common opponents. What therefore, TFG and Mogadishu groups reject would turn out to be the same :Each one of them pursues policies that would not only guarantee their safety but also would enable them to pursue predatory objectives such as domination and exploitation.


Recommendations I


1-Support the deployment of more neutral AU-Arab force and exclude neighboring states particularly Ethiopia.


Recommending II


2- AU-Arab force may assist: 1) in training, equipping and nationalizing clan based armed militia such as Digil & Mirifle Militia In Bay region, ***** Militia in Jubba provinces and ****** Militias in Mogadishu; 2) in establishing regional administrations where they do not exist.




Nationalizing clan militia and establishing strong regional administrations would dissipate fears that many groups display with respect to certain elements of the TFG, for they, under this arrangement, would have a necessary provision to protect themselves from worst case scenarios : such as degeneration of the TFG into clan or group dominated institution, a military coup facilitated by local or foreign entities, or some other conditions that expose some disarmed groups to their armed opponents. The potential consequences of such worst case scenarios are easy to guess: unarmed former adversaries are likely to be exploited, dominated and, in the worst case scenario, annihilated. Thus, Powerful clans and regions are, therefore, necessary to prevent abuse of power. Moreover, establishment of more strong clan based regional administrations are also consistent with the constitution of the Federal Republic.


The policies of Transforming clan-based militia into national security force and creation of regional administrations where clans dominate is not an invention or new idea, it is rather a working idea in Somaliland and Puntland. We therefore, believe it should be replicated in the south. The use of clans to recruit armed forces and create regional administrations with the facilitation of more neutral peacekeeping force is promising policy, because it is simply a familiar policy that has been used to build a governments and regional administrations in Somalia; it is also a policy that is not strange to the Somali public. likewise, this policy pursued under conditions that favor cooperation and reconciliation, rather than exploitation and conflict, is likely dissipate fears and, consequently, provide conditions that are favorable to political development.


Opponents of nationalization of clan militia and use of clan, in general, as basis of politico-military arrangements are likely to argue that a sustainable government cannot exist or survive where clans or regions are still powerful. What about, I ask, powerful government and weak clans and regions? Isn’t a recipe for massacre, tyranny and another cycle of power abuse? TFG leaders, for instance, cannot guarantee that they will not abuse power, if they say they will not honestly abuse power, they still cannot guarantee that they will not change their mind in the future; lack of commitment and uncertainty about the future would naturally pressure clans and other organized groups to trust no one other than themselves. Consequently, this would necessitate creation of an arrangements guarded by clans and groups themselves to check the tendencies of federal authority to abuse power.


Finally, regionalism and the use of clans to recruit, train, equip national security force, and to form regional administrations is plausible policy to be pursued during the transitional period, and perhaps until more acceptable framework can be worked out to settle the land and clan question in southern Somalia. End of the discussion.












1- For an excellent discussion on the conditions that generate uncertainty and fear see the following book : Barbara F. Walter and Jack Synder Civil Wars, Insecurity, and Interventions, Ed.(New York: Colombia University Press, 1999). 4-8. This section have also benefited from security dilemma theories.


2- Peace and Security Council. “Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the support of the African Union to the Transitional Institutions of Somalia†January, 25, 2005. . ( Accessed on January 30, 2005). 2.


3- See Report of the Chairperson, 2, cited in number 2.


4- See Report of the Chairperson, 2, cited in number 2


5- ReleifWeb, “Communiqué: Peace and Security Council - Twenty- fourth meeting, 7 Feb 2005â€. Part of the statement reads :“ Authorize IGAD to deploy a Peace Support Mission in Somalia to provide security support to the TFG, in order to ensure its relocation to Somalia, guarantee the sustenance of the outcome of the IGAD peace process, and assist with the reestablishment of peace and security, including the training of the police and the army.â€` ( Accessed February 16, 2005).


6- Report of the Chairperson, 2.


7- President Yusuf and his collogues, have several times indicated to the media that they prefer to disarm the armed militia rather than integrate them to the national security force, see the interview: Waraysi( interview with spokesman of President Yusuf Ahmed, Yuusuf Bari-Bari- Feb 14, 2005 at,. See also the interview of Yusuf Azhari with this website At February 15, 2005. (Accessed also February 16, 2005).


8- See number 7 with respect to the position of Yusuf with regard to the relocation to Mogadishu.


9- Shabelle Media Network, “Big Rally against IGAD at Mogadisho,â€14, February 2005 .


10- Ethiopia’s partiality has been confirmed by a report of an independent experts commissioned by the United nations :rnst, Jan Hogendoorn, Mohamed Abdoulaye, and Brynjulf Mugaas, Report of Panel of experts on Somalia Pursuant on Security Council resolution 1425( 2203). 25mar.pdf. Ethiopia, 20-25.


11- This propostion follows from the evidence cited in number 10, above.


12- Reuters. “Somalis must fight Ethiopia peacekeepers – warlordâ€


Wed February 9, 2005. <;:4209fcfd 71dd1d db?type=topNews&localeKey=en_ZA&storyID =7578936>. ( Accessed February 17, 2005).


13 Reuters. “Somalia clerics reject African troop deployment†Feb 11, 2005 (Accessed February 17, 2005).


14 Almost all ****** factions espouse these views: relocation to Mogadishu, non-Igad army deployment, and nationalization of armed militia rather than disarmament see an Interview of Muse Sudi Yalahow at Waraysiga Muse Sude. Farxiyo C. Qaajo, BBC Somali service section, interviewed Yalahow.

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Yes I did, In fact you can go ahead and visit, my current website where the author's full information is exposed.

I have been working on this paper for two monthes; I have went through a lot of pain and recurring nightmare reflecting upon the current state of our Republic. Enjoy and critique it.

Thanks Valintino.

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Excellent article. Thanks Zaylici.



You said,

The demands of the TFG for foreign army deployment, excluding Ethiopian army deployment, is, I believe, a reasonable one, because deployment of neutral peacekeeping force is likely to change the prevailing conditions, which currently favor conflict and exploitation rather than cooperation and reconciliation, by monitoring and reinforcing cease fire and other broadly reached agreements.


I really concur with this viewpoit of yours and i have often conceived the possibility of lesser ethnic conflict and chaos if AU is given the chance to deploy troops into Somalia. I know there are many disagreements over their deployments in which many authors based their viewpoints as nothing but conspiracy between our leaders and outside forces. Of course, Most of our people are going through hard transition of psychological and social problems such as severe animosity, distrust, family feuds. Do you think this government has the means to heal this unfortunate trend in Somalia?

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Forget about this frenzied analysis of future events and worst-case scenario proceedings; Think of what is at stake? And think of what this thuggish and factional warlord president with the aid of the "useful i.d.i.o.t.s " of Jowhar and his docile and untried PM had already brought into the theatre of Somali disunity and distrust.

Bro, Mark my word, as a reluctant Somali partisan ( for the time being ); we will, inadvertently, all(regardless of what clan you hail from) wind up being caught on the long awaited second civil war that will, for good, end the antagonistic fantasies of some Somali circles.

and to melez and his collaborating cronies, all we got for them is 'bring it on' for I am confident that the belligerent militants of the "Presumably Alienated" prevailing folks of Mogadishu and surroundings are geared up for the ultimate obliteration of enemy stooges.


-- Black hawk down should be sufficient to being an indication of past heroism -- ( i am really animated here for i care less of what others think and fed up with being an optimist )


If what is at stake is our unity, if we want is to recuperate from this Machiavellian rivalry of clannish ascendancy then the optimal solution is an sincere attempt to engage in peace and reconciliation ..if not , the let the " animosities reign and bloodshed prolong, let the fiefdoms multiply and new warlords emerge, ...

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Mr Caamir, thanks for the question.

The answer is yes. But I am believer of incentives, in politics particularly Machiavellian politics what matters is incentives, so long there is incentives for peace all leaders would pursue peace, if however, there is incentives for conflict, conflict would be pursued. What do I mean by incentives, I mean reason ( such as fear of prosecution or consequences) to pursue peace. So long as peace is more profitable than war, peace would be pursued, the opposite is also true. That is why I advocate of more neutral peacekeeping force, and more international involvements, so that spoilers of peace could face an international court and some other consequences. Thus, if there are incentives to peace, warlords would be inclined to negotiate peace rather than pursue confrontational policy. Moreover, the question of land and clans in the south, under the circumstances favoring peace, would have a genuine chance to be resolved by body of experts and concerned populations.

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what can I say if we are soomaalis we are in dissagreement 14 years. The new generation is hopless, and homeless.


everyone has Qabiil in their miand how can we come together and share the life?


We became free nation 1960 after that we had two great leader. Adan cade and c/ rashiid sharmaake. Then we had Maxamed siyad Bare alaha unaxariistee wonderfull leader build the country. What hapen after that we all know. Ali mahdi, Abdiqaasim. These two leader try to bring their nation but they fail becouse of power. and now c/yusuf and geed us our new leaders lets watch waxba waxbaa dhaamo bay soomali tiraahdaa.


their is an english pharse that says "little education is too dangerous"


hadaan nahay soomaali this is the problem that we are facing. If guy has some money and labo tikniko ah he can hold the nation us hostage :confused:


somali baa horay u tiri dagaal wiil kumadhashtee wiil baa kudhinta.

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