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Three days ago, I've started this mini-series of posts about Somalia. Unfortunately, yesterday, I did not have enough spare time to post the third and the final part of this mini-series and hopefully, those that really read my previous two posts are not very disappointed. I apologize and please enjoy reading this post too, as you did with the last two parts.
I've started this story with Somalia from the Middle Ages and I presented the country's history up until 1991, when everything collapsed in the country. Thus, Somalia became a failed state. It is the first internationally recognized failed state in the academic circles. I say this surprisingly, because I presented that Somalia did actually very well in the past. Unfortunately, many foreign interests played and still play a significant role in the region and Somalia is caught in the middle.
After everything collapsed in the country, gradually, over the years, the lack of a central enabled the civil war evolve into a jihadist battle-space. Somalia became a safe haven for foreign and regional separatists, jihadists and warlords.
In a twist of fate, the country perished under the weight of its own geopolitical ambitions. At the present, political changes are underway in Mogadishu to install a stable government that is sufficiently strong and organized.
However, progress has been slow and many obstacles still remain. Take the peacekeeping missions. Despite the presence of 22.000 AU (African Union) peacekeepers, East African jihadists groups, such as Al-Shabaab, continue to use Somalia as a launch platform to orchestrate attacks on other nations.
In recent years, one of the primary peacekeeping complications has been the lack of stable hosting and funding. Another obstruction is the irredentist initiative that triggered the crisis. Since ethnic Somalis still populate the borderlands of neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia, many foreign powers prefer a stable, but a weak government in Mogadishu.
Meanwhile, the Isaaq controlled territory has made remarkable progress towards a stable democracy and has proclaimed itself as Somaliland and, thus, remains out of Mogadishu's reach.
One more major obstacle to a stable Somalia is the four-point-five system or 4.5 Formula as it is known worldwide. This system grants autonomy to regional clans. The system is the only structure that survived the civil war. It also allows the central authority to retain political control. Yet, this comes at a cost, as a large portion of the people are denied from participating in the government, while it provides excessive power to some groups. For example, the office of the Speaker of Parliament is reserved for members of the Digil and Miriflec clans, also known as Rahanweyn, while the presidency is reserved for Darod and Hawiye members.
The 4.5 system is institutionalized in every layer of governmental administration. So, instead of skills and merits, governmental officials are qualified and selected by their clan allegiances. This form of identity politics contributes to a culture of corruption and poor leadership.
Foreign missions in Somalia are left equally perplexed since the 4.5 system endorses the decentralization of the country in two segments, every clan has its own flag, border and president. This means that foreign nations in Somalia must open an embassy in the capital, as well as consulates and envoy's in various clan controlled regions.
The institutionalized form of identity politics as well as other security concerns must be addressed if local disagreements are to be channeled into political expression, rather than violence.
2020 was no different for Somalia, than the last 30 years. There is still an ongoing civil war, many small armed conflicts, with different interests and backed by various actors, insecurity level is high and the level of protection offered by the state is almost inexistent. There is a huge humanitarian crisis as well, as long as approximately 2.6 million internally displaced people or IDPs live in improper conditions or have nothing to eat.
This is the end of my mini-series. I really enjoyed doing research on such a topic and I hope you too enjoyed learning about Somalia.
These are the fundamental requirements for a capable government in Somalia.