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Somalia
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  • 1. Somalia Horn of Africa
  • 2. history
    • 1991 Military dictator Siad Barre ousted
    • 1992 Unified Task Force (UNITAF) led by US with an aim to open supply lines to famine stricken interior
    • UNITAF left too early, subsequent operations failed
    • Raided what was thought to be Somali warlord Aidid’s home
    • Public opinion: why were we involved in a place peripheral to US interests?
  • 3. History
    • Lack of governance led to the formation of Islamic Courts throughout Somalia, served legal needs of various clans
    • UIC developed in 2000 set up its own militia
    • Transitional Federal Government (2004) internationally recognized government
  • 4. Geography
    • Longest coast in Africa
    • Somaliland along the Gulf of Aden (across from Yemen)
    • Bab al-Mandeb strait connects to Red Sea
    • Puntland in the north (the tip of the horn)
    • Mogadishu is on the coast in the south
    • Baidoa is inland from Mogadishu
  • 5. politics
    • 2006 the US supported Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia (to deny Somalia to Al Qaeda as a base of operations)
    • Invasion was meant to drive the Union of Islamic Courts from power because they were trying to oust TGF from Baidoa
  • 6. military
    • Should we engage in Somalia and how?
    • The hook for intervention comes when we capitalize on American’s fears of radical Islam
    • Lower threat of Al Qaeda setting up shop because there is so little infrastructure
    • Clan-based militias
    • Our presence exacerbates their problems and prevents them from creating stability through the UICs
  • 7. military
    • Clan/tribal unrest
    • Horn of Africa has local goals regarding regional conflicts fueled by tribalism
    • Not goals like launching Islamic terrorist attacks on the US
    • The historical parallel does not exist that Somalia would turn into another Afghanistan
    • Should the US engage diplomatically since the conflicts of the region are deeply intertwined (i.e., Eritrea/Ethiopia)?
  • 8. economic
    • Prevent piracy on land though building civil institutions and capitalizing on pods of success (ie Somaliland)
    • Horn of Africa is not an economic interest to the rest of the world, which deters us from engaging
  • 9. Fight piracy on land through pods of success
    • Ransom seeking cartels with sophisticated financial backers
    • Naval presence reduced # of attacks
    • Pirate capacities have increased
    • Poverty and lawlessness
    • Economics of piracy and expansion into human trafficking
  • 10. piracy
    • What are your ideas on recommended approaches to reducing the rampant piracy by Somalis? Discuss:
    • The use of force, nation building, diplomacy and other techniques. Indonesia, for example, reduced piracy from 2000-2009 in the straits of Malacca and the Singapore Strait by employing piracy mitigation techniques but multinational naval efforts to combat pirates hijacking civilian and commercial vessels are not working off the Somali coast.
  • 11. piracy
    • The information minister of Somalia claims that Multinational taskforces -- including warships from France, Germany, the United States and China -- currently patrolling the waters off Somalia are wasting "billions" and are not addressing piracy at its source, which lies on land and not at sea.
  • 12. piracy
    • It is reported that Al Qaeda corroborates Somali piracy in some instances, discuss the dangers in Al Qaeda getting into the piracy business.
    • Financial backers
    • Piracy is like poppy cultivation in Afghanistan and Myanmar
    • multinational taskforces should reassess their efforts to focus on fighting piracy on the land
  • 13.
    • Greater legitimization for Somaliland:
      • declared independence in 1991
      • Establish an official presence in Hargeisa, Somalialand and allow Somalialanders to do the same in the capitals of the governments involved
      • multinational taskforces should reassess their efforts to focus on the land. The Harbor of Berbera is a good place from which to try this to reverse the trend of piracy
    • Greater legitimization for Puntland
      • declared autonomy in 1998
  • 14.
    • Discuss the extent to which the US must work with existing partners in the regions of the world with failed states. Which partners could help in Somalia?
    • US should call on regional and multinational bodies –such as the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, Arab League
    • Diplomacy will be the best way to respond to failed and fragile states
  • 15.
    • Discuss the similarities between Somalia compared to Afghanistan in terms of:
    • The Taliban versus al-Shabaab
    • The cities of Kandahar versus Mogadishu
    • Consider the statement from the aforementioned article: “Mogadishu is a stark reminder of how much worse the situation in Kandahar could get.”
    • Please discuss the notion of failed states. Robert Gates states, “…Because terrorist attacks are most likely to emanate from weak states, ‘ Dealing with such fractured or failing states is, in many ways, the main security challenge of our time.’” (Foreign Policy article page 82).
    • The video guests remarked that a historical precedent is not there for Somalia to be another Afghanistan. Discuss with your why not?
  • 16.
    • June 9: After months of feuding, Somalia ’s bickering leaders on Thursday agreed on a compromise that extends the transitional government for one more year but, at the same time, led to the dismissal of the popular prime minister, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed . Riots ensued.
    • Somalia has been mired in uninterrupted civil war since the central government collapsed in 1991. The transitional government controls only a few square miles in a country nearly the size of Texas. In the past few months, African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu have been pushing back Islamist insurgents and reclaiming neighborhoods. But the political bickering at the heart of the government seemed to be imperiling these gains, and many analysts think that despite this accord, the government will be unable to pacify the country.
  • 17.
    • If the US normalizes relations with Sudan, it would involve lessening pressure for the war crimes indictment of President Bashir to give him a one year deferral of his indictment by the International Criminal Court for genocide charges. It would facilitate the following:
    • A successful succession of South Sudan following the referendum to create the world’s newest state
    • Avoiding the popular uprising against the government to mimic other revolts in the region