9/25/2018
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Intervening in Protracted Conflicts: A Case study on Somalia

by Abdirahman Gutale

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In the wake of recent developments in Somalia, the need for military intervention to solve security is voiced again.Whatever your position may be, it is clear that the circumastance necesitate thoughtful consideration of all relevant questions.

Are Military Interventions relevant?

Opponents emphasize that intervention: 1) encourages the sanctity of sovereignty; 2) "remove[s] war’s self-destructive mechanisms"; 3) is failing enterprise and; 4) is not a priority. On the other hand, the proponents assert: 1) sovereignty is a responsibility and not a right; 2) internal conflicts are stalemates by nature; 3) past failures can be corrected and; 4) success depends on the competence, capability, and determination of intervening forces, the involvement of locals, and the leadership ability of local political cadres.

First, William Zartman famously proclaimed, "in the absence of law-based world rule", nations have reason to be nervous about intervention into internal affairs. He adds, "for good reason: Relaxing the inhibitions on internal interference leaves power unrestrained and invites the strong to overrule the weak" (2003, 7). Indeed, the absence of legal bases under which to intervene in the sovereign territory of another state makes intervention a difficult undertaking, since a Westphalian sanctity of sovereignty has been the guide of world order. For the most part, states have respected the notion of nonintervention that resulted from this understanding. However, while the sanctity of sovereignty is important, it is imperative to examine to whom does it protect. Is it the people or the land? As Hoffman argues, the people must precede the government (2005). The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) put forth two criteria for intervention: "large-scale loss of life and ethnic cleansing, underway or anticipated" (qouted in Weiss 2004, 138). The report is closest legal base on which to intervene, despite objections from government, when conditions necessitate. Such a condition would hold, for example, if a government were committing egregious violations against its own people or was in tacit agreement with such actions committed by groups inside its borders. However, some states, such as those in the developing world, are suspicions about intervention. Thomas G. Weiss notes, the vehement criticism and fear of opponents that intervention will be a "Trojan Horse to be used by great powers to intervene is fundamentally incorrect" (137). He rightly points out that the worry should be limited intervention not its abundance and intrusiveness because the international community lost interest (2004). To placate the worries of weak states and to create international consensus, interventions "should be undertaken only in exceptional circumstances" ( Hoffman, 2005, 281). In failed nations where there is no authority and a myriad of parties to the conflicts, political solutions alone will not ameliorate antagonistic attitudes of belligerents until the foundation of the problem – the lack of trust – is addressed. Thus, competent and adequately supplied interveners are necessary in protracted conflicts.

The proliferation of protracted conflicts necessitates an increase in international interventions. Contrary to the arguments that war introduces "self-destructive mechanisms" and the conditionality of "ripeness" for intervention (Luttwak 2005; William Zartman quoted in Spear and Keller 1996) giving "war a chance" is not, to say the least, a humanistic solution to protracted conflicts. Protracted conflicts do not conform to conventional wars that are fought on battlegrounds, where the victor is determined by casualties and territory captured. Internal conflicts are stalemates characterized by low casualties on part of fighters and readily available cash commodities that can be exchanged for more armies ( Luttwak, 2005).

Second, one reason for this continuation is the symmetrical bargaining power that enables even the weakest forces to fight another day. Dynamic coalitions sustain the balance of power between belligerents. Warlords have readily available sources of fighters, due to lack of educational and employment opportunities for young adults. The recruitment of these young men (and in rare instances young women) is, contrary to general perceptions, mostly voluntary in that some are enticed by the possibility of gaining of war booty while others join to avenge for the sufferings they have endured at the hands of warlords.

Another factor that impairs war’s self-destructive mechanism and enfeebles possibility for deadlock and strengthens illusions of unilateral solutions is external support. The continued muddling of neighboring and regional actors in internal affairs negates the possibility for a "hurting stalemate" as Zartman put it (quoted in Spear and Keller, 1996). The recent U.N.- commissioned report examining the violations of the U.N. arms embargo on Somalia that will soon be discussed by the Security Council reveals damning evidence of double standards among many neighbors and regional actors. Aside from its validity, the report brings to the fore a long disguised reality – regional actors are a menace to Somalia (Reuters on 11/13/06). Djibouti President Ismael Omar Guelleh blamed external interventions for the failure of the last 14 attempted Somali reconciliation conferences. He rightly states, "each time there are external and internal factors that come into play, to impose their ulterior interests and each time we failed" (AFB 11/14/06). Guelleh points out the long-ignored double standard of "peace spoilers" disguised as "mediators"; Mr. Guelleh knows this well as the 2000 Transitional Federal Government (TNC) that he orchestrated and hosted in his country was rendered null and void by no other than his IGAD colleagues who called for a new conference as to weaken the TNC’s chances for success. The 2002 conference in Kenya resulted in an ever-weakening Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

Contrary to past interstate conflicts, the majority of casualties in current conflicts are innocent victims caught between belligerent groups. While the perpetrators send most of their families to a safe part of the country or abroad, the public bears the brunt of the evils perpetrated by "warlords". These war profiteers rise in prominence because of war and have much to lose by ending it. As John G. Fox explains, these warlords owe "their standing in society and, increasingly, their wealth, to the war itself." He adds, "Most Somali warlords, therefore, [have] no interest in peace and [have] an increasingly large stake in the continuation of the war" (2001, 155). Since his writing, scores of new warlords have entered the Somalian political scene. In fact, the current contenders for Somali power - TFG President Abdulahi Yusuf, Prime Minster, Gedi, Parliament Speaker Sharif; ICU head Aweys and his second in command, Sherif - are either newcomers to the political scene or have been only locally prominent since the fall of the military government in early 1991. As familiar faces fell out of favor with external backers as well as internal supporters, new faces suddenly appeared, thus ensuring the continuation of cyclical and low-intensity violence in Somalia.

In the absence of a self-destructive mechanism and the impossibility of ripeness in protracted conflict due to involvement of countless actors; symmetrical bargaining power, low casualty rates coupled with high recruitment possibility, and naked and unchecked external support, protracted conflicts will continue endlessly as in Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Liberia, just to mention few cases. Calls for a different tactic than hoping that one side will eventually triumph is therefore a must.

Third, failed intervention missions such as those in Somalia are used as an example to discredit future interventions. Although assessing interventions is critical, it is erroneous to draw conclusions from a single or even from a few cases. Every mission must be considered in its context; each offers opportunities and challenges to improve the conduct of future missions. Past experiences provide many good lessons; for example, from the failures of U.N. peacekeeping forces in Somalia, Rwanda, and Srebrenica, we have learned that "current peacekeeping mission require unlimited resources, flexible and clear mandate, competent leadership, and well trained and disciplined troops" (Wall Street Journal, 10/1/2003, this position is supported by most of intervention literature as will be discussed below). The resounding message from these missions was the avoidance of casualties even at the cost of appeasing "the locally stronger belligerent, accepting its dictates, [and] tolerating its abuses;" this, however, is a losing proposition because it destroys credibility and trust in peacekeeping forces and increases the probability of more casualties at later point in time (Luttwak 2005. 269).

One such lesson is the horrific death of twenty-five Pakistani soldier in Somalia. Initially, the UN troops avoided, wisely, entanglement in local politics. However, they failed to assert themselves forcefully, which in turn emboldened Somali fighters who thought of themselves equal if not better than Blue Halmets after the incident. Before this tragic incident, Somali militias had been cautious about tangling with UN forces, fearing their stronger firepower would overpower them. After the incident, UN forces became fair game; they were no longer seen as a superior force; many Somalis dug out their buried guns. With the news of arriving US forces, many militias and their bosses hastened to hide their weapons in fear that they would be taken away because it was widely rumored among Somalis that Americans had detection equipment so powerful it could identify weapons. Others traveled to the countryside to hide their technicals (anti-aircraft guns mounted on cars). In spite of failed nation-building undertakings from Vietnam to Somalia, inaction is no longer an option; successful cases of intervention from Namibia and Cambodia to Mozambique has revived optimism in regard to the promise of interventions (Crocker 2005).

Fourth, Crocker rightly asserts that protracted conflicts are no longer fought in a vacuum; they easily spread out and engulf immediate regions and distant nations alike (Crocker 2005). As global interdependence increases, a country’s "essential interest" cannot continue to be calculated in terms of protection of the home front. As the tragic events of 9/11 evidenced, distant conflicts, if left alone, have a propensity to endanger any nation no matter how far from the local theater. Indifference to distant conflicts and the suffering of millions of humans cannot be sustained on the grounds of self-interest. It is not only that the world has a moral duty to prevent egregious atrocities occurring under their noses, but it is in one’s "national interest" because once conflict escalates and occupies living rooms all over the world, public opinion will force governments to act. As Crocker rightly put it, " proponents of a hands-off, non-intervention stance have an obligation to measure the price of doing nothing at all and to compare it to the ‘least bad’ form of preemptive intervention" (2005, 236).

Despite the uneasiness of international actors to become entangled in local quagmires, the suspicion among weak states that intervention is a disguise used by stronger powers to overcome weak, and the perception that outsiders are not equipped to deal with internal crises even when well-intentioned, failed states and semi-failing states will not be able to reconstruct vibrant states without genuine and positive external support. Thus, the vital questions which remain are how to make intervention viable, what kind of intervention is effective, and what capacities are necessary for success? It is to these discussion that we turn now.

What are the key determinants for success?

In the intervention literature, there exist a myriad of variables that have been identified a key for success in resolving conflicts. Evaluating all of them is beyond the scope of this paper. Instead, the purpose here is to focus on the most important variables and to attempt to strike harmonic balance between them. Explaining these variables and shedding light on their effectiveness is imperative if interventions are to succeed. Other authors have added several other determinants for success. Michael Olisa suggests that for external intervention to be successful they must take into account internal players into account; and they must be neutral (Nyong’o, 1998).

Success: What is it?

The first vital factor in any successful intervention is having a clearly defined mission. Definitions should be based on knowledge about the context of the conflict as well as the culture, history, and the people to be aided. This is necessary in order to anticipate possible roadblocks and develop pragmatic approaches that can address complication as they arise. One needs to be vigilant in regard to the local "political culture" in order to avoid sending conflicting signals about the mission, its means, and its end goal.

In some circumstances, success can legitimately be defined as the avoidance of major setbacks or disasters. In others, success may mean a marginal improvement in stabilizing, containing, and checking the human price and territorial spread of a volatile struggle, Or, success may mean the creation of building blocks for a settlement or even obtaining a fully implemented one, complete with resolution of the underlying issues. In short answer to the question what connotes success is that it depends. (Crocker 2005, 238)

In any case, strategic planning is not only a crucial means of achieves success; it is also ruler against which progress can be measured and plans adjusted according to issues on the ground. Flexibility is, thus, an indispensable tool that must be a major component of any intervention mission. "Those who decide to intervene (in whatever manner) have an obligation to develop their own definition of success and to keep it firmly in mind while laboring to avoid making things worse" (Crocker 2005, 238, emphasis added).

According to Crocker, successful interventions can be measured by their ability to "meet challenges of implementation after an agreement has been reached and a peace operations decided upon" (2005, 241). While understanding between intervening troops, regional actors, and local players is a necessary prerequisite for interventions, success hinges on exerting pressures on all parties to honor agreements. Preventing spoilers requires putting in place mechanisms to punish those who break agreements. Therefore, a short-term commitment to bring parties together is bound to fail if any actor(s) who is dissatisfied with an outcome can, with impunity, spoil prospects of peace. As Crocker notes, "implementing mechanisms are essential to keep things on track, to sustain the political chemistry that produced the deal, and to maintain the linkages and pressures that led to the breakthrough" (2005, 241).

CC: Capacity & Competency

The second factor is a combination of resources and competency. A strategically defined mission is not enough. No matter how well-planned, it stands no chance of success without adequate resources and competent leadership. A scarcity of resources can impair the effectiveness of a mission because the concerns to conserve resources or avoid atrocities can limit the ability of intervening forces to carry out their mission, thereby eroding the trust local populations have in them. U.N. peacekeeping troops in Srebrenica, French forces in Rwanda, and, more recently, U.N. troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo serve as examples of the backlash which comes when one aims to save human lives with meager resources. However, it is imperative to note that no amount of advanced military equipment and resources can substitute for competent leadership and well-trained, disciplined troops. They are an indispensable factor in securing success. Given that ground forces are the face of mission, they must be held to the highest ethical standards, even more rigid than those required of them in their homelands. Commanders need to keep an eagle eye on their troops, punishing any wrongdoings promptly. The credibility of any mission can be seriously tarnished by misconduct of a few troops. Political sensitivity, thus, requires a well-defined hierarchy of leadership. To ward off petty missteps, interveners must appoint the right individuals with the right talents and background to decision-making teams. (Crocker 2005).

"The Buck Stops Here"

The third factor is an unambiguous leadership structure. Unless there is an explicit agreement on where the buck stops, implementation will remain "rocky" at best. Creating a command structure facilitates the type of communication that is vital for success. Given the disparity between participating troops in regard to their level of training, discipline, and skills as well as the sometimes conflicting interests of the volunteering nations, there is a need, as Crocker notes, for a "lead actor" to coordinate communication and the approaches of all parties. Decision-making is complicated by the sheer number of participants with differing view points regarding what is the best decision in any given situation. Since success in interventions necessitates unity and cohesive purpose among intervening forces, conflict among intervening parties must be minimized. At best, it confuses local belligerents and at worst, it encourages belligerent groups to "engage in maneuvering, shop for the most sympathetic outsiders, or simply play for time" (Crocker 2005. 243). Acknowledging that there are many conflicting interests, agendas, and philosophies as to the best methods of solving conflicts, military-politico-diplomatic unity and purpose is imperative or success will remain illusive. To placate the confusion, "someone must be in placed in charge, held accountable, given the requisite mandate and resources, and steadily supported or else replaced" (Crocker 2005, 245).

"Pol-Mil"

The fourth factor is marrying the political and military processes. Although saving lives is important, it will be elusive without a political framework creating an environment conducive to resolving and transforming conflicts. Imposed political solutions that ignore indigenous factors and actors should be avoided. The root cause of war, according to Betts, is the same for interstate and intrastate wars; it is the dispute over "who rules" after fighting stops. Groups resort to war because they cannot settle their differences through politics. Wars are not accidents but rather calculated and rational mechanism to satisfy groups needs. Reaching a lasting settlement in protracted conflicts where no group has the upper hand and cyclical fighting continues endlessly necessitate that interveners determine "who rules" (2005). In such a formidable task, it is important to recognize the existence of informal rules that govern day-to-day interactions. These latent phenomena, informal rules, must be recognized in any political solution. African representatives at the UN, for example, have insisted on the return to the roots of traditional African which involved consulatations among elders, chiefs, religious leaders and not exclusively politicians (Marry & Keller, 1996). Traditional leaders must be given a role in reconciliation; these revered and supreme leaders will make more use of "soft power" as opposed to the "hard power" of warlords. Empowering traditional leaders positively weakens the untenable and rigid position of warlords. Traditional leaders, given that most societies have only one clan leader, can serve as mediators with final say when conflict arises between political leaders. To compensate for their lack of "modern" administrative skills, civil society groups can be introduced while intervention troops serve as the ultimate administrative mechanism during the reconstruction period. Thomas Barnett argues that "SysAdmin" should constitute 80% on intervening forces (2005, will discuss this in details in suggested solutions section). The importance of involving in local actors is echoed in most of the literature (Hoffman 2005; Marry & Keller 1996; Crocker 2005 ). A solution to internal conflicts requires a collaboration between internal and external actors. While the former are "capable of creating the institutions and inclusive habits of governance that inhibit civil war" the latter are capable of influencing and shaping environment and "the options available and choices made by local actors" (Crocker 2005, 238).

It is impossible and counterintuitive to be party to both peace and war

The fifth factor is avoiding the double standard of being an advocate for peace and war simultaneously because it is counterintuitive. Granted that nation-states are driven by national interests if such interest leads to competition among neighboring and regional states in undoing each other and continuously worsening the crises in their spheres, their actions amount to criminal atrocities. In the long runt, it serves no state to have a volatile state next door or in the region. The international community must break its silence and prevent neighboring and regional actors from continuously muddling in the affairs of failed nations. Such egregious undertakings must be condemned for what they are. The international community must hold transgressors accountable.

Intervening troops must avoid being drawn into taking sides in conflicts; they must familiarize themselves with ‘cultural warrants’; they must resist neighboring or regional influence to favor one side for another, and cooperatively work with all local parties. No immediate neighbor or states with a favorable or unfavorable interest should be part of any intervention. Intervention should be led by states with no interest in the outcome other than the reconstruction and rehabilitation of a failed nation. However, neutrality, as Richard K. Betts argues, does not mean that intervening troops must treat all sides impartially. He explains that although limited intervention and impartiality may have been effective in "old-fashioned UN peacekeeping operations" to safeguard an agreed-upon peace, they become destructive in the realm of "peace enforcement" where there is no agreement and belligerents are still convinced that they gain more by continuing the war (2005, 286). In this "turbulent" world, intervention cannot be both impartial and limited lest it prolong the conflict at the cost more lives and resources than necessary. "Limited intervention may end a war if the intervener takes sides" and assists one side against other in consolidating power "that is, if it is not impartial". "Impartial intervention", on the other hand, "may end a war if the outsiders take complete command of the situation, overawe all the local competitors, and impose a peace settlement – that is, if it is not limited" (2005, 286).

These variables are mutually inclusive; they strengthen each other but they are not exhaustive by any accout. Their interaction is key because to achieve success requires resources and competence while clarity of leadership facilitates coordination, the marriage between a military and political solution depends on involvement of local leaders and identifying informal rules and preventing states with determined outcomes from participating in interventions.

Who is better equipped in intervening - international or regional troops?

Evaluating the debate about intervention, in general, and its possible role in protracted conflicts in particular, as well as explaining the key variables that define its success leads to another complex question: is a regional intervention or international intervention the better way to end protracted conflicts? Although ideologically most may already know their answer based on historical perceptions and the belief that the cleaning of a house is best left to its owner, philosophical debates about effectiveness are necessary if the goal is finding a panacea to protracted conflicts. A philosophical debate should be guided by open-mindedness, be inclusive, and be open to "uncommon" solutions because the problem is anything but common. Analyzing and synthesizing literature on this topic is beyond the scope of this paper, yet its aim is to rekindle serious and thought-provoking discussions about intervention – the regional versus international approaches.

Although, as Hoffmann explains, some critics see regional organizations as the "least objectionable formula." regional organization with the exception of NATO are either weak, as in the case in African Union, or dominated by a power like the Organization of American States. Hoffmann, in explaining the weaknesses of regional organizations, points to the problems that plague the African Union (formerly Organization of African Unity). The African Union, he asserts, "has shown itself both too divided and too devoid of resources to take the lead" and has become passive in regard to conflicts in the region. (2005, 279). Regional actors realize their inadequacy to prevent, manage, or transform conflict as several diplomats testified in the interview Marry and Keller (1996). Thus, leaving them in charge impairs any "reasonable chance for success" (Hoffman 2005, 277). Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o notes that the regional approach to conflict management is a failed proposition (1998). Regional actors, realistically speaking, cannot undertake and sustain effective intervention. Darfur is current case where African leaders are realizing that they bit off more than they could chew as they are incapable of maintaining their presence effectively because of a shortage of resources and a lack of strategic capability to coordinate the mission. Effective intervention requires resources, competence, strategic coordination, and a joint political-military approach, all of which are absent in most regions.

Notwithstanding their incapacity to intervene military and to prevent bloodshed, regional actors often seek a strictly political solution through mediation. Unfortunately, and to the detriment of suffering people, bickering between African heads of state often becomes the first hurdle in the conflict-resolution process. To make matters worse, regional countries are often a party to the conflicts, supporting one side or another. Indeed, the only thing "internal" about internal conflicts is that unfortunate citizen of countries in the conflicts bearing the brunt. "The warring factions have their allegiances not only to those whose interests they claim to represent domestically but also to their paymasters who provide the guns, ammunition, missiles, tanks, and, in some instances, airplanes" (Cecil Blake 1998, unpaged). The partisan role that most regional actors play in the dynamics of conflict in neighboring state renders them ineffective to be a party to the peace, which they often spoil before the ink is dry.

It begs the question, then, to ask – why so much focus on the debate about the regionalization of intervention.. Mary and Jon (1998) explain that the support that representatives at the UN grant regional (AU) and sub-regional (ECOWAS or IGAD) actors is based on the notion that they represent a ‘cheaper’ way to deal with conflicts in Africa. The diplomats admit the inadequacies of the regional troops but they shy away from admitting such painful facts as the lack of impartiality of regional troops and their consequent tendency to support one warring faction over the other. As Crocker points out, the "regional options" remain impractical since there are no institutions capable of playing a dominant role in conflicts other than NATO which has problems of its own.

In spite of the many pitfalls regional players face, they can still play an effective role as a hub for internationally planned, supplied, and led interventions. Regional actors have better knowledge and understanding of the crises in their neighborhood. In most cases, they are familiar with the local issues and actors, they have better personal relationship with parties to the conflict, and they understand the ‘cultural warrants’. Blake (1996) argues, "there are serious credibility problems with supranational organizations, largely because of the approaches they use in efforts to bring about peace" (unpaged). Regional actors, thus, can bridge this gap by lending their local expertise and legitimizing international intervention.

Internationally organized, resourced, and led interventions will be a pivotal step in preventing, managing, and transforming protracted conflicts because it provides the necessary resources, competence, leadership, and coordination. Inevitably, the absence of any one of these variables stagnates progress and derails the prospect of reaching a lasting solution as evidenced by the recent U.N. peacekeeping missions where rich state donate the funds while poor nations provide the troops. "Since 1995, no major power has put any of its combat troops under the U.N. flag. Instead, countries with bloated armies such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria lead the U.N. peacekeepers ranks, lured by cash, on-the-job training and international prestige" (Wall Street, 10/1/2003). Rather than subcontracting a difficult task, Crocker suggests that "UN-mandated coalitions led by a strong global power or a regional lead nation" (Crocker 2005, 240). Strong leadership and well-trained and disciplined army are necessary. Intervention is a task that is only effective when conducted with military and diplomatic competence.

Is Intervention a viable option for Somalia?

A decade and half after the failed United Nations intervention to feed starving Somalis and to stabilize that country, new discussions have sparked arguments both for and against military intervention in Somalia. Proponents evidence the prolonged conflict and weakness of the Transitional Federal Government to perform basic governance without the backing of some military might, while opponents evoke the grim and vivid memories of the infamous UNISOM failure and the belligerent nation it left behind.

The literature about foreign intervention as a solution to manage conflict in Africa has been well studied since the failure of UN Somali mission. Somalia was in many ways seen as an experiment – unfortunately a failed one - which has left visible scars. The lessons learned in Somalia were later echoed in all the peacekeeping plans. It was also (arguably) cited as the reason why the world failed to stop the genocide in Rwanda. But can those lessons be applied to the current IGAD plans to deploy peacekeeping force (although there is, in the first place, no peace to keep) to Somalia? Are the Sudanese and Ugandan troops capable of undertaking peacekeeping in Somalia? Do they meet the criterion for success listed above? These are a few questions which need to be asked in the face of another experiment in Somalia. It is the purpose of this brief case study to examine the feasibility of the purported plan to strengthen Somali Transitional Federal Government .

The IGAD purported mission to strengthen Somali’s weak Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was riddled with contradictions from its inception. The infamous scene of Somali parliamentarians beating each other with chairs should have cautioned IGAD to scrap its plans. Unfortunately, the insistence of some IGAD members and TFG leaders enfeebled the government and escalated tensions between factions. The indifference of IGAD members was due to the inability of the planners to foresee the consequences of their ill-conceived and utopian plans. The blind conviction of some IGAD members to continue with the mission despite the failure to define success, the lack of capacity, and the absence of competent leadership coupled with the political rift between IGAD member and the unchecked meddling of certain members will result in disastrous consequences that will undeniably engulf the Horn in crises of unseen proportions.

IGAD members proclaimed that their goal is to strengthen TFG, but what this means and how it will be achieved is left unanswered. In this case, success is not measurable unless it implies the creation of another strongmen who dictates the definition of success from the barrel of the gun as most IGAD leaders do in their countries. If success is meant to be reconstructing administrative apparatus, retraining civil servants, rebuilding infrastructure, rehabilitating militias, supporting economic development, and bringing about reconciliation between groups that fought over decade and half, the result is clear.

The ambiguity may, thus, be the only wise action on part of IGAD, and rightly so. Their combined military budget of 2005 was close to one-third that of South Africa. IGAD’s intervention plan to support Somali TFG ignores that the organization lacks "rudimentary command structure and has no assigned, let alone organic, military forces of their own" although with good intentions on part of some members consequences are all predictable (Crocker 2005, 269). IGAD as a whole does not posses the requisite capability and competence to carry out its purported mission. Paradoxically, the two countries offering the troops are not able to stabilize their own backyards. Sudanese and Ugandan troops are incapable of solving problems in their own countries; the former has foreign troops on its soil while the latter is incapable of reaching a political solution or achieving military victory in its northern regions. The plan remains wishful thinking only if one looks the failures of more organized and resourceful undertakings in the region – the African Union’s current mission in Sudan, a country pledging troops to IGAD’s mission to Somalia (my comments and examples with authors ideas).

Internal division among IGAD members will also impede any cooperation that their outdated equipment may have allowed. These division were behind establishing TFG in order to make TNG null and void. Certainly, this is not lost in the minds of Djiboutian leaders who were behind TNG as well as Ethiopia which is now behind TFG. These division also go beyond IGAD members as the competition is joined by League of Arab Nations with the advent of the Islamic Court Union.

The continued fighting among Somali leaders shows their incompetence, thus failing the leadership condition. The best way to describe it is that there is leadership bankruptcy in Somalia. The current President and Prime Minister are horribly short of leadership skills; they have not shown any willingness to compromise and have not built a consensus. At the same time, the insistence of IGAD members to send frontline troops proves the ‘continentilization’ of the conflict, and the dependence of the outcome in terms of meeting not only the Somali interest, but regional actors’ interest as well.

Suggested Solutions

Military interventions are necessary and feasible mechanisms for solving protracted conflicts. To be successful, military interventions must be clearly defined; must be conducted by competent and capable actor(s); must be legitimized (preferably by local parties, regional organization, and international organs such as the United Nations; must permit consultation and collaboration with local actors; its mandate must include options for the forces to use prudent force against spoilers; and its leadership must be unambiguous (Crocker 2005; Hoffman 2005; Lutwakk 2005; Betts 2005). Serious intervention requires both capacity and competence that regional forces, except NATO, are incapable of at this juncture. Thus, IGAD’s planned military intervention in Somalia will doom the prospects for peace in Somalia for the foreseeable future; it is incapable of providing necessary resources; it is incompetent in terms of directing logistics and communication; it lacks legitimacy; and is too divisive and therefore part of the problem.

A possible answer is to create a collaborative effort between "security exporting" states, regional organizations, local actors and international institutions. While it is necessary to develop regional capacity, in the short term it is imperative to coalesce the manpower of the regional organization with the well-trained, disciplined, and equipped troops of "security exporting" states and donor states and international institutions to create a capable and ready force. Such a force should be legitimized by both the United Nations and any given regional institutions as well as local leaders . While forces must be battle- ready, such a collaborative effort should allocate most of its resources to institution building, not only in the capital of the country but to all regions. Contributions should be equally distributed to all regions and dispersed in a manner that helps local governments. This will alleviate pressures often exerted on the political base when the interveners isolate themselves in the capital and draw in more people who are in search of jobs.

Intervening in protracted conflicts is an imperative. As Barnett argues global stability and interconnectedness demands that the "Core" shrinks the "Gap"; this relationship must be based on "rule sets" laid out by the Core. Along with the above suggestions, intervention, can be formulated in Barnett’s "A to Z" rules. These rules, with some adjustments to each case, provide strategic guidelines for undertaking intervention. The rules provide benchmarks for each step of interventions; these can provide guidance for adjustments and readjustments to ensure success as defined by the interveners.

As for current IGAD mission to Somalia, it is doomed before it materialized. The recent UN Security Council deliberations on lifting Somali arms embargo, which only exists by name, are only cunning maneuvers to worsen the crises already in motion. A side from IGAD, AU, UN fiasco on arms embargo, the solution for Somalia should be sought in: 1) eliminating the internal meddling of regional and neighboring states; 2) initiating political dialogue between Transitional Federal Government, Islamic Court Unions, civil society groups, and diaspora leaders in neutral territory (Norway, Australia, and the like countries who have no negative history and may bring credibility to the process) or preferably in the Somali captial if all groups are willing to sacriface for what they claim to believe in - "Somali future"; 3) and intervening to implement agreements and reconstructing the polity. Such intervention, however, must be competent, capable, resourceful, and impartial.

Somalia is at historic juncture and it is upto Somalis to make most of this opportunity. The window of opportunity is too short as attention span is short. Next 90 days may be all that Somalis have to change their course. If people see the government business as usual with no tangible changes, they will not afford the government the benefit of doubt that it may be able to make changes. The government needs the Somali peoples' support. It needs the diaspora support. It need civil society groups. It needs traditional leaders. It cannot function in vacuum. Somalia needs Somalis - ALL SOMALIS. As a great Somalian once prophetically stated:

"Markay is wada doooxdaybuu daad usoogaliya; duul walaala haday tahooy duunka ka heshiiso; dadka kama yaraateen ways dabajaraysaaye; Soomaalidaay day'daya wanaaga idinka doorsoonye" (Cabdilahi Timacade in Dugsi maleh qabyaaladu waxay dumiso mooyaane).


Abdirahman Gutale
E-mail: [email protected]



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