Tackling the Security Crisis in Somalia

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As Somalia continues to suffer from ongoing violence and a possible famine in the near future, the international community is working together to address the country’s poor state of affairs.

On Wednesday the UN Security Council met in New York to discuss the deteriorating security situation in Somalia. Earlier that morning three bomb disposal experts were killed by a car explosive near the capital of Mogadishu. While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, Islamist extremist group al-Shabaab is known to frequently carry out similar attacks in the city.

DW spoke with Laura Hammond from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London about the situation in Somalia and possible outcomes of the meeting in New York.

What outcome can we expect from the Security Council meeting in New York?

Well I suspect that the discussion of the Security Council will be to review and lend support to the outcomes of the London Somalia Conference which was held last Thursday, in which all of the major donors to Somalia agreed to a common approach towards their collaboration with Somalia.

So it’s important that the Security Council members get behind that communiqué which came out of the meeting and that it bares the strength of the UN commitment in addition to the bilateral commitments that were made by independent states. I wouldn’t expect very much of a new direction coming out of the meeting. More of a strengthening and resolve around the communiqué from the London conference.

Somalia has been locked in conflict for decades. Several possible solutions have been laid out including the presence of AMISON troops, but the situation keeps bouncing back. Is it time to change approach?

I think there have been quite a lot of successes that Somalia can point to in the last couple of years. There is now a new administration which has not been popularly elected because it’s still not possible to have popular elections, but they have a very strong commitment to tackling corruption and improving governance structures and to take very seriously the current challenges placed by the drought and the impending famine. I think that there are a lot of successes that can be pointed to, but clearly there are also a lot of challenges.

The rebel movement al-Shabaab remains in control of many of the rural areas and it’s not been possible to achieve a military success there. One of the main outcomes of the meeting in London was to agree to a common, coordinated approach to a security architecture on Somalia that should really help to strengthen the formation of a strong national military presence in parts of Somalia.

So far we’ve had a security situation in which the multiple clans and regional leaders have pledged their individual militias to work in the common interests of the national military, but there hasn’t been a single command structure for a national military. I think that’s what they are trying to work towards

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