By Ali Mohamed
For decades, the international community made more than 16 attempts, including foreign military interventions, to establish a central government in Mogadishu — the ground zero of the failed state of Somalia. None of those interferences achieved success. In fact, America gave up on Somalia after the death of 18 US Rangers in the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” tragedy. After 9/11, everything changed, including America’s decision to limit involvement in Somalia to a narrow focus on counter-terrorism and more recently, combating piracy.
Somali clans are not religion-based. With their nomadic lifestyle and strong clan-based system, they are more interested in controlling scarce resources: grazing land and water, and political power. The majority of Somalis practice moderate forms of Islam; they are not jihadists and they have little interest in the ideology of the militant Islamist group, al-Shabaab.
In addition, Somalia has become the graveyard for massive aid and many untenable UN political initiatives, including the “road map.” In these international efforts, little attention was paid to the most pressing issues for ordinary Somalis: the need for a sustainable and pluralistic political framework that would satisfy all stakeholders, including the Islamists. A more inclusive and organic peace not only has a better chance of success than political fixes imposed from the outside, but might also lead to long-term stability and good governance.
I have met no Somalis who believe a credible and functioning government would emerge from the “road map,” as it is presently drafted. Most Somalis would view such a new government as a puppet, beholden to foreign governments with its security and survival dependant indefinitely on African troops.
Instead of imposing on Somalis the hopelessly corrupt and incompetent Somali government or its replacement, President Obama should do the right thing: support and recognize the one source of strength, Somaliland. Diplomatic recognition would allow Somaliland to engage the international community, and would offer it increased opportunities for investment, trade and economic growth.
For the rest of the former Republic of Somalia, the best hope seems to be for the international community to support more robust Turkish intervention, including the immensely difficulty mission of fixing Somalia. Somalis view Turkey as a neutral and positive force that could manage the Somali conflict better than the proxy African countries.
Ali Mohamed is co-founder of the Horn of Africa Freedom Foundation, a grass roots organization located in Lewis Center, Ohio, that advocates for the advancement of freedom and democratic values for the indigenous people of the Horn of Africa.
Source: Global Post