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Stable Somalia Requires Grand Strategy

Rashid Husien
Tuesday May 30, 2017

As a country, Somalia requires a bold initiative in order to achieve long-term objectives for the stability of the country thus ultimately returning the pride of nationhood. This requires series of complex planning towards the fulfillment of a long-term objective.

The true patriots of Somali nationalist need to formulate and implement a grand strategy that require the identification of a national goal with a thorough assessment of the state's future, its resources, political stability, and the aspiration of its citizen. The people of Somalia are tired of being stateless. They have suffered various forms of humiliation over the past two decades through the ongoing clan warfare while the rest of the world looks on.

The Somali people have brought these demise to themselves by putting clannism and now regionalism before nationhood. By now they (Somalis) should have learnt or seen the destructiveness tribalism perpetuates and the lack of empathy shown by the rest of the world. However, there is a window of opportunity today and the pride of nationhood is returning or at least being realized.

With this new hope and enthusiasm shown by Somalis at large by both the diaspora and the locals, it is crucial for the political establishments to capitalize this new phenomenon and ultimately marshalling the aspirations of their citizen in a highly-organized manner in order to achieve the ultimate goal of one nation, one people.

Although a grand strategy is concerned with national affairs both in times of war and in times of peace, national strategies historically have been predicated on the existence of an enemy that needs to be overcome. To that end, policy makers should attempt to develop the best possible way of coordinating military prowess, political leverage, diplomatic ability and economic might within a cohesive national strategy. Many may see this as an elusive ideology due to scholars, politicians and military leaders alike have the tendency to define it in considerably different ways.

However, most people do agree that the formulation and execution of a grand strategy can be an extremely complex process, incorporating a wide array of political, economic, military and even psychological dimensions. A wartime strategy is said to become grand when it is concerned not only with winning the war, but also with securing a comfortable lasting peace. A grand strategy provides a national vision for the future and a precise plan for the fulfillment of said vision.

Achieving these goals of a grand strategy presupposes more than the successful prosecution of a war or the economic development of a country. It also requires a concerted effort on the part of a significant segment of society.

In other words–upon its formulation by policy makers—a grand strategy requires a measure of national consensus or at the very least, the absence of general resistance to its goals. In addition, a grand strategy needs to exhibit some flexibility while balancing means and ends, setting realistic goals and then devoting all the necessary resources to achieving those goals.

Today when drafting a national strategy for Somalia, the decision makers need to carefully consider several historical and psychological factors such as the country's foreign policy, its traditions, and its tolerance regarding different levels of confrontation. The policy makers need to determine those who they can depend and heavily rely upon when creating multilateral defense alliances.

For the country to run its affairs in accordance with its strategy that relies on the successful prosecution of the war, the country leaders need to emphasize building a cohesive force and draw a budget that can devote to the armed forces. When leaders are making military choices, they need to decide between offensive versus defensive operations, wars of attrition versus surprise attacks. Somalia today is facing various wars in different levels, both internally and externally.

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Thus, requiring the urgency of national leaders to adopt and accommodate new national goals. Leaders need to refocus Somali strategy on foreign alliances and extensive alliance making in order to reconstruct one greater united Somalia.

The country has adopted a form of federalism by carving regional states and Somali leaders need to refocus how the map of the country is divided to avoid future instability. Currently, the map of Somalia is mainly engulfed by two states (Somaliland and Puntland), and if Somali leaders blindly ignore this projection of the country, it will obliterate the existence of the Somali nation reducing it into small mini states swallowed by Kenya and Ethiopia. This is the ultimate goal of these two countries. 

To avoid this scenario the country leaders, the generals, and the civil society needs to abandon the short-term selfish gains and adopt a bold and a solid grand strategy such as carving the map of Somalia into the following federal states: Galmudug, Hirshabelle, South West, Banadir, Jubaland, Somaliland, Puntland, and fully recognize Khatumo and Merkhir as one state—thus having eight states in all.

Furthermore, there shall be free unabated movement of people and goods within all federal states. Majority of the population in all eight states will welcome this inclusion through federalism and expect the federal government to take such bold move. The current federal government is enjoying a huge support of Somali people and should capitalize this goodwill by undertaking bold measures. There will always be some small sabotages by traitors who will be in cahoots with the enemy as history reminds us. However, such challenges can be overcome by mobilizing and educating the citizen for the greater good of the nation. 

The current political atmosphere in all federal states—including those not yet formed or recognized yet—does not reflect the will of the people but rather small elites who use the state’s law enforcement and para military to subjugate the citizen for their short-term ill sighted gains.

These elitist very often uses the illiterate masses to incite violence against their fellow citizen for their own selfish gains. It is time the religious or secular scholars, the civil society, the patriotic generals and politicians put aside their differences for the sake of rebuilding the nation. Recall that Somalia was once a great nation with great people respected by their enemies. Moving forward, we must let comrades come together and unshackle the chains of tribalism/clannism and envision that “big tent” (Somalia) that can accommodate us all. Long Live Somalia.

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