Thursday, June 30, 2016

Somalia Independence Day

Image result for Somalia Flag

The Independence Day of Somalia is a national holiday observed annually in Somalia on July 1. The date celebrates the union of the Trust Territory of Somaliland (the former Italian Somaliland) and the State of Somaliland (the former British Somaliland) on July 1, 1960, which formed the Somali Republic (Somalia). A government was subsequently formed by Abdullahi Issa and Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal and other members of the trusteeship and protectorate governments, with speaker of the SOMALIA ACT OF UNION Haji Bashir Ismail Yusuf as President of the Somali National Assembly, Aden Abdullah Osman Daar as President of the Somali Republic, On 20 July 1961 and through a popular referendum, the people of Somalia ratified a new constitution, which was first drafted in 1960.

History of Somalia

Somalia was an important centre for commerce with the rest of the ancient world, and according to most scholars, it is among the most probable locations of the fabled ancient Land of Punt.

During the Middle Ages, several powerful Somali empires dominated the regional trade, including the Ajuran Sultanate, Adal Sultanate, Warsangali Sultanate, Sultanate of the Geledi and Majeerteen Sultanate.

In the late 19th century, through a succession of treaties with these kingdoms, the British and Italians gained control of parts of the coast, and established British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. In the interior, Mohammed Abdullah Hassan's Dervish State successfully repulsed the British Empire four times and forced it to retreat to the coastal region but the Dervishes were finally defeated in 1920 by British airpower. Italy acquired full control of the northeastern, central and southern parts of the territory after successfully waging a Campaign of the Sultanates against the ruling Majeerteen Sultanate and Sultanate of Hobyo. This occupation lasted until 1941, when it was replaced by a British military administration. Northwestern Somalia would remain a protectorate, while northeastern, central and southern Somalia by agreement became a United Nations Trusteeship on 1 April 1950, with a promise of independence after 10 years. On 1 July 1960, the two regions united as planned to form the independent Somali Republic under a civilian government. The Somali National Assembly, headed by Haji Bashir Ismail Yusuf, approved the act uniting former Italian Somaliland with British Somaliland, establishing the Republic of Somalia.

Colonialism: 1840-1960

Between 1840 and 1886, the British East India Company established a series of trade treaties with various Somali chiefs. Italy also had a hand in the early establishment of Somalia and marked out the boundaries of Italian Somaliland in the south between 1897 and 1908. Ethiopia claimed the Ogaden region of western Somaliland in 1897.

The first uprising against colonialism occurred when Somalis sought to push the Ethiopians out of the Ogaden region but then expanded to target European colonists as well. The Dervish State, headed Mohammed Abdille Hassan, an Ogaden himself who the British referred to as “Mad Mullah,” conducted a religious-based war of resistance against the Ethiopians and British from 1899 to 1920, resulting in the death of nearly one third of northern Somalia’s population. Great Britain defeated Hassan in 1920.

Italy maintained control of Italian Somaliland as a part of its African empire (including Ethiopia and Eritrea) until 1941. During WWII Great Britain also took over these areas and ruled them as military protectorates until 1949, at which time the newly formed United Nations granted Italy a trusteeship over most of present-day Somalia. The British maintained a trusteeship over what is today the self-declared state of Somaliland.

While the Italians dedicated significant effort towards developing their colony, Great Britain took a more hands-off approach to governance, leaving more responsibility in the hands of local leaders but also providing less by way of infrastructure. These distinctions are often cited as underpinnings of the incompatibility that would arise between the two areas. This colonial history, in addition to other dynamics, is also seen to play a role in the subsequent, contrasting levels of stability of Somalia and Somaliland.

Independence and Early Years, 1960

After the 10-year interim period, on June 26, 1960, the northern protectorate of Somaliland gained independence from Britain. Five days later on July 1, 1960, the two former colonies united to form the United Republic of Somalia under President Aden Abdullah Osman Daar, Prime Minister Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, and a 123-member National Assembly representing both territories.

Daar ruled Somalia from 1960 until 1967. Shermarke succeeded him and led the country for two years until his assassination in 1969. Though northern and southern Somalia were united under one government, they operated as two separate countries, with different legal, administrative, and educational systems.

Beginnings of Dictatorship, 1969-1976

On the day of Shermarke’s funeral, the Somali army, led by Mohamed Siad Barre, staged a bloodless coup. Barre, a charismatic dictator who fostered a cult of personality and called himself “Victorious Leader,” served as president and military ruler of Somalia from 1969-1991 and renamed the country the Somali Democratic Republic.

Under Barre’s leadership Somalia sided with the Soviet Union in the Cold War. Though Barre outlawed clan loyalties and promoted his own “scientific socialism,” he supported clan elders to maintain control of rural areas. The new government, dominated by the only legal political party, the Supreme Revolutionary Council, or SRC, formed a guiding ideology based on a combination of Marxism and the Quran and led a “reeducation” campaign to eliminate opposition.

In 1976, the SRC officially marked the end of military rule by dissolving itself and ceded power to its own creation, the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party, or SRSP.

In 1977, with Ethiopia in chaos after the fall of Haile Selassie, Somalia attacks Ethiopian garrisons in the Ogaden. Soon a Somali army is even besieging the city of Harar. But President Siad is betrayed by his chosen superpower. The Soviet Union sees a more important potential client in the new Ethiopia.

Early in 1978 the Ethiopian army, using Soviet equipment and reinforced by troops from Cuba, recaptures the Ogaden. The result is the mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees over the borders into Somalia.

In the aftermath of this disaster guerrilla groups, clan-based and regional, are formed in and around Somalia with the intention of toppling Siad's repressive and centralizing regime. By 1988 the result is full-scale civil war, resulting in the overthrow of Siad in 1991. He withdraws to the safety of his own clan, becoming one warlord among many in this increasingly chaotic nation. In 1991 the faction controlling the former British Somaliland confuses matters by declaring its independence as the republic of Somaliland.

Famine, the UN and continuing chaos: 1992-1999

The conflict destroys Somalia's crops during 1992 and brings widespread famine. Food flown in by international agencies is looted by the warring militias. By December 1992 the situation is such that the UN actively intervenes, sending a force of 35,000 troops in Operation Restore Hope.

The UN briefly calms the situation, persuading fifteen warring groups to convene in Addis Ababa in January 1993 for peace and disarmament talks. These seem at first to make progress, but the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate. In March 1994 American and European units in the UN force withdraw, finding the level of casualties unacceptable. Troops from African countries and the Indian subcontinent remain in site.

During the rest of the decade the situation gets worse rather than better. From late 1994 the capital, Mogadishu, is divided between the two most powerful of the warring factions. In each a leader declares himself the president of the nation and organizes a supposedly national government. In March 1995 the remaining UN forces are evacuated from the coast under the protection of an international flotilla.

At the end of the decade the only remotely stable region is the breakaway republic of Somaliland, in the northwest. An interim constitution is introduced here in 1997 and a president is elected. But the would-be republic fails, as yet, to win any international recognition.

Under the auspices of the UN, AU, Arab League and IGAD, a series of additional national reconciliation conferences were subsequently held as part of the peace process. Among these summits were the 1997 National Salvation Council in Sodere, Ethiopia, the 1997 Cairo Peace Conference / Cairo Declaration, the 2000 Somalia National Peace Conference in Arta, Djibouti under the newly established Transitional National Government, the 2002 Somali Reconciliation Conference in Eldoret, Kenya, the 2003 National Reconciliation Conference in Nairobi, Kenya when the Transitional Federal Government was established and the Transitional Federal Charter was adopted, the 2004 Nairobi Conference, and the 2007 National Reconciliation Conference in Mogadishu.

Following the outbreak of the civil war, many of Somalia's residents left in search of asylum. According to the UNHCR, there were around 975,951 registered refugees from the country in neighboring states as of 2016. Additionally, 1.1 million people were internally displaced persons (IDPs). The majority of the IDPs were Bantus and other ethnic minorities originating from the southern regions, including those displaced in the north. An estimated 60% of the IDPs were children. Causes of the displacement included armed violence, drought and other natural disasters, which, along with diverted aid flows, hindered the IDPs' access to safe shelter and resources. IDP settlements were concentrated in south-central Somalia (893,000), followed by the northern Puntland (129,000) and Somaliland (84,000) regions. Additionally, there were around 9,356 registered refugees and 11,157 registered asylum seekers in Somalia. Most of these foreign nationals emigrated from Yemen to northern Somalia after the Houthi insurgency in 2015. However, the majority of emigrants to Somalia consist of Somali expatriates, who have returned to Mogadishu and other urban areas for investment opportunities and to take part in the ongoing post-conflict reconstruction process.

A consequence of the collapse of governmental authority that accompanied the civil war was the emergence of piracy in the unpatrolled Indian Ocean waters off of the coast of Somalia. The phenomenon arose as an attempt by local fishermen to protect their livelihood from illegal fishing by foreign trawlers. In August 2008, a multinational coalition took on the task of combating the piracy by establishing a Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA) within the Gulf of Aden. A maritime police force was also later formed in the Puntland region, and best management practices, including hiring private armed guards, were adopted by ship owners. These combined efforts led to a sharp decline in incidents. By October 2012, pirate attacks had dropped to a six-year low, with only 1 ship attacked in the third quarter compared to 36 during the same period in 2011.

A reconstituted Somali National Army (SNA) and Somali Police Force (SPF) have worked toward expanding their influence. In October 2011, a coordinated operation, Operation Linda Nchi between the Kenyan and Somali military and multinational forces began against the Al-Shabaab group of insurgents in southern Somalia. The intervention was announced by the Kenyan government, initially without the support of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government, but following talks in Nairobi on 30 October, a joint communiqué was issued saying Somali forces were leading operations. By September 2012, Kenyan, Raskamboni, and Somali forces had managed to capture Al-Shabaab's last major stronghold, the southern port of Kismayo. In July 2012, three European Union operations were also launched to engage with Somalia: EUTM Somalia, EU Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta off the Horn of Africa, and EUCAP Nestor.

The Federal Government of Somalia, the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the civil war, was later established in August 2012. By 2014, Somalia was no longer at the top of the fragile states index, dropping to second place behind South Sudan. UN Special Representative to Somalia Nicholas Kay, European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton and other international stakeholders and analysts have also begun to describe Somalia as a "fragile state" that is making some progress towards stability. In August 2014, the Somali government-led Operation Indian Ocean was launched to clean up the remaining insurgent-held pockets in the countryside.

Federal Government of Somalia

The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) (Somali: Dowladda Federaalka Soomaaliya, Arabic: حكومة الصومال الاتحادية‎‎) is the internationally recognized government of the Federal Republic of Somalia.

The Federal Government of Somalia was established on August 20, 2012, following the end of the interim mandate of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

It officially comprises the executive branch of government, with the parliament serving as the legislative branch. It is headed by the President of Somalia, to whom the Cabinet reports through the Prime Minister.


The national constitution lays out the basic way in which the government is to operate. It was passed on June 23, 2012, after several days of deliberation between Somali federal and regional politicians and ratified by the new federal parliament.

Under the new constitution, Somalia, now officially known as the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a federation.

Executive branch

The President is elected by the Parliament. He or she serves as the head of state and chooses the Prime Minister, who serves as the head of government and leads the Council of Ministers. According to Article 97 of the constitution, most executive powers of the Somali government are vested in the Council of Ministers. The incumbent President of Somalia is Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke is the national Prime Minister.

Council of Ministers

The Cabinet is formally known as the Council of Ministers. It is appointed by the Prime Minister with consent of the President and approved by the Federal Parliament.

Federal Parliament of Somalia

The Federal Parliament of Somalia elects the President and Prime Minister, and has the authority to pass and veto laws. It is bicameral, and consists of a 275-seat lower house as well as an upper house capped at 54 representatives. By law, at least 30% of all MPs must be women. The current Members of parliament were selected by a Technical Selection Committee, which was tasked with vetting potential legislators that were in turn nominated by a National Constituent Assembly consisting of elders. The current Speaker of the Federal Parliament is Mohamed Osman Jawari.


The national court structure is organized into three tiers: the Constitutional Court, Federal Government level courts and Federal Member State level courts. A nine-member Judicial Service Commission appoints any Federal tier member of the judiciary. It also selects and presents potential Constitutional Court judges to the House of the People of the Federal Parliament for approval. If endorsed, the President appoints the candidate as a judge of the Constitutional Court. The five-member Constitutional Court adjudicates issues pertaining to the constitution, in addition to various Federal and sub-national matters.

Federal member states

Local state governments, officially recognized as Federal Member States, have a degree of autonomy over regional affairs and maintain their own police and security forces. However, they are constitutionally subject to the authority of the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia. The national parliament is tasked with selecting the ultimate number and boundaries of the Federal Member States within the Federal Republic of Somalia.

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