Today from Hiiraan Online:
The Ball Is in Somalia’s Court
Foreign Policy Journal
Friday, August 17, 2012
On July 26, Somalis voted on their new constitution. The country is currently working towards establishing a Parliament, which will in turn nominate a President.
Over the past ten years, Somalia has been riding the wave of international assistance, in the form of Ethiopian forces invading and taking back Mogadishu in 2008, the Kenyan led African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and other forms of assistance and transitional efforts from other major players in the World. Now, we must look to Somalia to defend itself. Based out of Kisamayo, Al-Shabaab is the rebel militant group that currently terrorizes Southern and Central Somalia, however, there is nothing preventing another militant group from creating an uprising against the Government of Somalia. Somalis needs to stand on their own two feet and not rely on ANISOM support. In just under a week, Somalia will have to transition its Government. On July 26, 2012, the National Consituent Assembly met in Mogadishu to vote on a new Constitution. While this is a huge step, it is just one of many to come.
In order to sustain peace and thwart militant activity, the Government of Somalia needs to be able to operate independently and effectively. This has not happened in over two decades. Although the task at hand is daunting and strenuous to say the least, it is a task that must be performed successfully in order to bring both peace and results to the thousands of famished and poor Somalis. Basic human rights are not common, and are altogether not expected for many Somalis. When the UN mandate for the Government expires on August 20, the Parliament must be established, and a President must be nominated. Further, the parliament should stand up and in a unified voice claim their positions, laws, and promises for the people of Somalia. This is the single most important aspect of defeating both piracy in the Indian Ocean and Terrorism by Al-Shabaab or other groups that could make a pass for power in Somalia. The framework and foundation for Somalia’s future has been laid; it is in Somali hands now. Strong Governance is essential in the fight against Al-Shabaab and the fight for the innocent civilians within these hungry cities.
Since the early 1990’s, Somalia has seen nothing but diminished growth, hunger, disease, instability and famine. Regardless of the many attempts at establishing peace in the country, and region, each effort has been stopped short of success. Very few of the efforts were able to even get off the ground. As a result, the people of Somalia suffered. Over the past five years, mainly since the Ethiopian invasion and the ousting of the ICU, we have seen an establishment of Al-Shabaab militants and an enforcement of strict Sharia law in the areas under their control. Varying from mandatory beards for males, to prohibiting smoking, Sharia laws are hurting the innocent civilians inside of Southern and Central Somalia. It is the time for action, both military, diplomatic, and domestic for Somalia. On August 20, the TFG has be restructured to establish a permanent Government; in July of 2012, a new Constitution was voted on. These two items need to empower and strengthen the Governments ability to maintain order and facilitate the elimination of Al-Shabaabn and all sub-groups within. An establishment of military capability to thwart the violence of Al-Shabaab in Somalia and Northern Kenya must be created, based on the lessons learned from the Ethiopian invasion of 2006. Finally, as an International Community, we need to Sanction and halt Eritrean influence and aid. A step in the right direction was taken in the Sanctions imposed on the Eritrean Spy Chief in 2012, but more need to follow; and still more investigations must be conducted. As August 20th comes near, we need to see substantial and adamant changes for the Somali Government. The task is a long and daunting one, but it is something that needs to occur sooner than later
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