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Somalia: Resilience in the Face of Relentless Assaults

Borama (HAN) June 9th, 2021 – 4 parts – Academic paper – In many ways, the state of Somalia has become synonymous with resilience and fortitude unparalleled anywhere else in the world, despite harsh forces and ceaseless attacks aligned against it for decades. Somalia has survived unending assaults by those who do not wish it well and this was compounded by forces of nature beyond Somalia’s ability or any other country’s ability to cope with alone, such as droughts, famines, floods and now the corona pandemic. This report analyses the forces stacked against the country and adds on to the thoughts that may help the state overcome them in the days ahead. Many have tried to keep Somalia out in the cold in a state of conflict, undermining of the authority of the state and the legitimacy and capacity of its state institutions.


Somalia’s history is old and dates to beyond written history. The most recent one is marked by the end of colonialism, the reshaping of the Somali state through the union of two distinctly different administrations from Europe and forging a new Somali state. The new Somali state soon after attracted stiff antagonism intent on keeping it away from its goal of reuniting the Somali people under one flag and in one geographic Somali space, which forces eventually led to its collapse and recovery only, after some twenty-one years in the wilderness, in 2012, when a new infrastructure unknown and undigested by the Somali people in the form of a polarized federal system was put in place. Since this is a foreign-inspired structure, designed not to help the country, it only continued, as it was so designed, to exasperate the situation, but Somalis being Somalis, they are slowly but surely adopting it with a stride. Being nomadic and always exposed to constant changes in their environment, they are adept in surviving difficult situations, other nations may not survive.

Major Issues Somalia faces

See Next Academic – Part II (Click )- Dr. Suleiman Walhad

Somalia’s main internal strength lies in the fact that Somalia’s people are ethnically one people with minorities reaching not near enough levels, where they can cause disruptions in the society, be it political or otherwise. Although the Somali organizational infrastructure of clans and sub-clans is one of its main weaknesses, it is also one of its main strengths and this is what has made the Somali people survive the harsh and malevolent attacks the country has been exposed to. Basically, Somalis are families, small or large, and families look after each other across the globe. Somali diaspora across the globe has financially sustained their brethren and kinsmen back home through this period of tough times, to which the country was exposed. The same clan structure also enabled the society to reorganize itself at community levels and regional levels such that those who belonged to the same clan groups found shelter and peace in the regional enclaves where they lived. The clan relationships have also allowed Somali people to recover/repay and recompensate each other of robbed/stolen properties to each other hence lessening antagonisms among the population. The same relationships have also allowed people to travel to each other throughout the country despite the terror groups implanted in the country and the clan warlords that soon after the collapse of the state appeared in the country. Business and trade grew up in these communal and regional groupings and these intrepid business people soon moved to cover the country in its entirety. One would find money transfer companies and telecommunications companies operating in each and every village of the country and beyond. The stable and tranquil regions then became oasis for providing services such as education. Hospitals whether private or public started to operate in these regions and schools opened. Both services went beyond what the previous Somali governments were able to provide in the old days of central authority. Schools from elementary to higher institutions opened in many of the regions of the country and specialized hospitals were also instituted in some of the larger regions. Road building, port building and operations, airports and many other lifelines of a modern society were put in place by intrepid Somalis throughout the country, sometimes with the help of foreign bodies but with truly Somali management in place. Amoud University, the first community owned university in the world was opened up in Awdal region in 1997 and this was followed by a plethora of universities in many of the country’s main cities. The main ports of Berbera, Mogadishu, Bosaso and Kismayo are all operating at better levels with better equipment than they ever were before the collapse of the state and the airports are also faring much better. Both Berbera and Hargeisa now enjoy international airports and so do Mogadishu, Kismayo and Bosaso. Basically, the clan infrastructure became one of the main strengths of the state instead of leading it to disintegrate as was hoped for by those who do not wish the country well. One must not ignore the fact that the health services could be much better under better circumstances and the educational services could be much better co-ordinated than they actually are, but the seed of a thriving population is fully in place Somalia has one of the longest coasts in the world and the longest in Africa and Somalia looks forward to becoming a giant blue economy involving not only fishing, but also scopa-diving, ship building, elegant beachfront real estate, thriving tourism enjoying the country’s warm blue sea. The country’s economy also has many other factors which can propel it forward to a thriving one. Its agricultural base is strong, and its livestock industry is both a source of meat and milk, while new industries are expected to add onto the existing riches of the country such as the oil and gas industry, which is now generally assumed to be just over the corner. The most destabilizing factors that Somalis would need to watch are among others the continued presence of foreign forces that are no longer needed and the continued presence of intelligence organizations in the country as ambassadors of their countries. Somalia would need to improve its foreign policy priorities and its foreign policy in general. It should be dealing with the ministries of foreign affairs directly and the foreign ambassadors in the country should be asked to behave like ambassadors duly enjoying their ambassadorial privileges. No country can ever assure itself of its security without a national army and Somalia is one of the few countries in the African continent that developed a fairly viable national army, that was able not only to assure Somalia’s security but also helped many African countries develop their own security services and the liberation of many African countries from the European colonialism that they were subjected to. Somalia’s roles in South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Eritrea and Djibouti cannot just be pushed under the carpet. The Somali National Army is one of the pillars of the Somali society and allowing it to play its rightful role in the recovery of the country would be a great achievement. With the Somali National Army growing now at the current pace, there would be no need for AMISOM or any other force to assure it of its safety or security. The so-called disharmony among the federal member states and the federal government is but an illusion created by foreign parties to prolong their presence in the country. Every African soldier in the country feeds some 10 people, which means that some 206,260 Africans (Ugandans, Kenyans, Burundians, Djiboutians, Nigerians and Ethiopians) now live on income from Somalia (currently some 20,626 African soldiers work in the country). There are also some 5,000 NGO staff who, on a per capita, spend over US$50,000 per month. Those thousands of people operating in the country at the cost of Somalis would all join the unemployed in their countries, should the stability of the country be assured and the need for them would no longer be necessary. Accordingly, one of the major problems that the country faces now, is this unemployable force that are parasitically living off the backs of Somali people and enjoying lavish lifestyles their countries could not afford them. No wonder any report that comes from the NGOs and the international community in Halane paint the country in a bleak outlook, hoping that they would continue to live off the Somali people’s already broken backs. Kenya’s continuing interference in Somali affairs is another destabilizing factor in Somalia. Fear of a strong Somalia appearing in the Horn of Africa and Somali irredentism drives Kenya to unsustainable aggression that could only lead to Somalis reclaiming the Somali space in Kenya, which is practically a third of the country. The Somali space in Kenya often referred to as the Northern Frontier District was subject to a referendum in 1963 and as is well known 87% opted to join their brethren in Somalia only to be denied by Great Britain, the colonial power of the time. Should Kenya continue in the current path, it would lose more than it is bargaining for. Our reading of the state of Somalia is that the internal tensions which were exploited, by and large, by many of the foreign parties involved in Somalia, are dying away. Only politicians with personal agendas are competing in the Somali political map. The recent events in Mogadishu amply demonstrated that the people of Mogadishu despite being from one clan, were not ready to go into a new strive and clan fighting. The electoral impasse was settled through Somali solutions and the country is heading for elections in the months ahead. The irony of the whole matter now is that most of those vying for political positions are competing on their national patriotism instead of their clans as was the case in the past and this bodes well for Somalia, though the ravens using them still abound. Somalia has yet to develop a coherent foreign policy on its relations with West Asia, which to date and other than Qatar, has been very disruptive of Somalia. West Asian countries are neighbours of the Horn of Africa, including Somalia. The two regions need each other, and no region can be strong without the other. Somalia, because of its religious ties to West Asia, is one of the countries closest to them, but West Asia played rough with Somalia and Somali people that was not necessary in the past three decades. Although it would be difficult for Somalis, yet one must always weigh issues seriously. Somalia would need to develop a forward looking and diplomatic policy in its relationships with these countries of West Asia.








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