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Who will do the disarmament job in Somalia?

By Abdi-Noor Haji Mohamed



During the cold War, Somalia received arms from the two super powers. Now that there is no central government to control the weapons, every family is armed to the teeth and we are using them to kill each other. It is worth mentioning that weapons have been pouring into our country over the past 15 years of no law and order in Somalia. An arms embargo was imposed on Somalia in January 1992 but warlords and unscrupulous businessmen were importing arms secretly into Somalia making unimaginable cash at the expense of the dying masses. No indigenous authority has ever emerged in Somalia who had the capacity to collect weapons from the Somalis. Even the ill-fated mission of the United Nations UNOSOM did not make any significant progress in weapons collection exercise.


In the Gambia talks of the African leaders, The Somali Federal Government requested the African Union to push the UN security council to lift the arms embargo which is a pre-requisite condition before African troops are deployed in Somalia. But the Islamic Courts who recently took over Mogadishu from Secular warlords have sternly declared that they do not accept foreign troops in the Somali soil.  The Security Council has eased the arms embargo on Somalia and declared that they will closely look into the matter. 


Let's have a glimpse at how these weapons have found their way to Somalia and how the present scenario has evolved to its current shape. In those days of the cold war, there were two powerful superpowers in the world. They were two elephants who contested for the control of world affairs politically socially and economically. The two elephants kept fighting both openly and secretly in a number of ways using the most sophisticate means of espionage.


Though the grass has suffered the world has had some balance to maintain and if one elephant scored the other made a draw. They divided the world into two camps:  Capitalist and Communist blocks with far too many nations revolving around the center. This has led to the emergence of dictators in countries of the Third World who traded between the super powers. Some were military dictators in civilian dress while others were civilians with stiff military mentality.  Those days one had to be loyal to one partner although many were found sharing beds with the wong partner although political prostitution was no big shame these days.  They milked the golden opportunity as they entertained their masters with promises ranging from "Use me as a base" to " I am faithful to this union".


The satellite nations requested only one thing in exchange of  what they had offered: "Keep me in power till I die". Somalia has been among the clever ones. We gave out our seas to the Soviets. In return we received heavy weaponry. Then we brought the Americans to replace the soviets after they sided with the Ethiopians the in 1977 war. And again we received millions worth of weapons from The United States.

 As the ball kept on rolling the world had come closer to the end of cold war era as the then Soviet leader Gorbachev made a series of reforms on the political and economic super structure of the soviet union much to the chagrin of the soviets.  One of the Elephants has then been defeated.


After that historic downfall of the communists, many dictators in the world, especially Africa found themselves in the grip of rebel movements who later removed them from power.

Ours was dislodged in a popular uprising which saw him retreat to his tribal settlements before he was finally chased out. All weapons owned by the nation had then fallen in the hands of the general public. People were allowed to get into the stores of the military barracks to collect weapons as they wished or take as much as they were able to carry.


Since the downfall of the dictator, Somalia was plunged into a sea of strife, conflict and bloodshed. Warlords came into being but none of them was able to fill the political vacuum created by the military regime. When these warlords brought so much of misery to the country and its people, Islamic courts came upon the scene. They fought with the warlords and finally defeated them, forcing warlords to flee the capital city of Mogadishu. But defeating warlords alone is no complete victory. The people are still armed and they need to be disarmed. Who will do the disarmament job in Somalia? AU troops or Islamic Courts? I'm afraid both of them can't do that job.


By:Abdi-Noor Haji Mohamed
, Somalia

E-mail: [email protected]


The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "Hiiraan Online"



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