The continued humanitarian abuse and absence of adequate governance have transformed Somalia into a deeply dysfunctional state in the present day. With ongoing acute food scarcity, the displacement of millions of its citizens and the current dominance of Islamist group Al-Shabaab throughout the state, corruption continues to persist. To restore Somalia as a successful state in 2021, formulated implementations are needed to be established through aided United Nations interventions. These newly developed interventions can transition this failing state and terrorist breeding ground into a stable nation with the support of the first world.
To establish successful interventions, analysis of the successes and failures from previous interventions within Somalia must be acknowledged to cater to the nation’s needs. The eight-month intervention of UNOSOM I, United Nation’s Operation in Somalia I, between April to December of 1992 appears to have made matters much worse for the sanctity of the state. Although this intervention appeared to initially be well designed to protect humanitarian convoys and distribution centres for food through resolution 775, the unclearness and ineffectiveness of such truly shone. This can be seen through the lack of preparation and resources desperately needed for the missions to be carried out.
To add, the delayed deployment of only 500 Peacekeepers supplied by the United Nations Security Council was hardly enough for a country as large as Somalia. Although these Peacekeepers were deployed throughout the country to contain violence and use force if necessary, only short-term solutions came as well as the increase of violence itself. As a reflection of UNOSOM I, the true failure of such an operation can be seen due to the lack of understanding of Somali norms and practices. The United Nations appeared to share no common idea of the state, no common attitudes towards what goals should be gained to be effective in moderating the divisions and demands of the politicians who would have to form a working and successful state.
Within two years between March of 1993 to 1995, UNOSOM II, United Nations Operations in Somalia II, was set up with a more collective goal within the Security Council. The overall goal of the mission had changed from one that was focused on the provision of humanitarian aid to a focus on nation-building. On paper, this intervention was looking positive to establish security and a working state with a clear focus on the disarmament of clan factions and leaders throughout the nation of Somalia, via the deployment of 28,000 military personnel led by the United States and the Security Council. However, the negative consequences of such an aggressive intervention appeared to further collapse the status of the state. Once the United Nations temporarily led executive authority within the state, those leading it appeared to adopt a strict approach towards the enforcement provisions of the mandate, including those related to the disarmament of the population. As a result, United Nations troops mauled down crowds of women and children who were used as human shields, creating strong uprisings nationwide. And so, in October of 1993, a devastating massacre occurred when 19 United States army ranger was shot down by the Somalis, causing the U.S. to pull out of the operation, showing no long-term commitment from one of the world’s biggest powers.
Following these two main interventions, the world saw a long history of unsuccessful attempts at brokering Somali peace settlements which were initiated by various external groups and other forces. From 2007 until today, AMISOM, the African Union Mission in Somalia, has intervened in Somalia when at the same time, a Jihadist breakaway group from the Islamic corps called Al-Shabaab would advance into Southern and Central Somalia. The prison presence of Al-Shabaab in Somalia has taken a very heavy toll on civilians in those parts of the country and has engendered various human rights and humanitarian crises. One important exception to all of the negative effects of interventions and social defeats in Somalia is through the region of Somaliland in the North West of the state. This area has enjoyed order as well as internal cohesion and the clan system has been operated and been able to provide an alternative form of governance which has provided the degree of stability and order and cohesion for the inhabitants of that part of the country.
Reflecting on the positive and negative outcomes of the many interventions that have occurred throughout Somalia over the past century, the majority of such has come as a complete loss of humanitarian success to the citizens of the state. One of the possible factors of the overall failure of interventions is that these missions forgot about Somalia and its people and had not been based on a thorough and good understanding of the clan system in Somalia. As such, this lack of understanding could have exacerbated the situation there. Further, the deathly issues of famine and droughts can be a result of the conflict between the United Somali Council and remnants of the Siad regime which called for an order of state-wide hierarchy which has since led to the death of hundreds of thousands of Somalis. And so, members of the current day United Nations Security Council must take into consideration all of the outcomes of these implementations to establish one strong, long-term successful intervention to restore stability for the future of Somalia.
First, policymakers most importantly need to analyse the failed structure of the government which has led to such rebellion within the state. A new and in-depth constitution should be developed to organise a well-structured nation. In Somalia specifically, the clan system can be unified with the aid of the UN Security Council to form a secular, socialist constitution for the promotion of social equality throughout the state and move past prior authoritarian regimes for the progression of a democratic future. The clan system makes up an important cultural representation of the nation’s history and so should be allowed to remain active in Somalia. Each clan should have the same and an equal number of representatives in parliament as one another, with the allowance of expression of opinions to resolve issues and conflict within the state.
With a centralised unitary system and leadership of a president elected by the population of the country, the advancements of ethnic diversity, freedom of religion and securing the prosperity of the state are established. This unitary system will enable the protection of sovereignty and inclusion of the distinct ethnic and cultural groups the country is home to. To further succeed as a state, any remnants of the Siad regime should be removed. When Somali politician, Siad Barre, established his regime, he hoped to create a hierarchical structure in Somalia, attempted to abolish the clan system and establish a socialist state. As a result, clans were divided causing a great deal of oppression and mass violence. This approach seems to be a very authoritarian one which undermines poorer citizens. And so, with the removal of such a detrimental regime, Somali’s have the opportunity to be treated as equals to one another with less opportunity to compete against one another and their clans.
Secondly, the importance of retaining resources will enable the resurgence of a thriving economy nationwide. The overwhelming impact of famine and droughts was caused by the conflict between the United Somali council and the remnants of Siad’s regime which led to half in farming and the production of food. And so, the Security Council must enforce the importance of farming and agricultural work to make Somali’s want to join the agricultural workforce. To establish high levels of food production and consumption, global aid and initiatives are needed to set up more farms, crops and the cultivation of products. Any extra land in the nation should be used to grow edible products as well as the implementation of water facilities to produce drinking water that can sustain the lives of citizens, therefore reducing the impacts of both famine and droughts. If there is any small decrease in resources, the Security Council should provide on-call peacekeepers who are well equipped with essential items including medicine, seeds to plant food and large amounts of water when needed. Further, peacekeepers should be permitted to use violence as an intimidating mechanism because this has shown in the past that violence has a very negative consequence, creating anger and rebellion throughout the nation.
Arguably, the most important initiative in which the United Nations can use is taking into account what members of Somalia’s society want for a maintained structure of government and country. This territory occupied by 14.7 million inhabitants today, shares a common relationship of languages, religion, lifestyle, and culture. This commonality comes from the majority following the Islamic religions and speaking the major languages of Somali, Arabic, Italian and English. And so, it is important to take into account Somali practices and norms so that society will not be foreign to the culture that is normal to Somalis. Adding to this, many may find Somaliland as a successful and liberal region that has benefited many Somali’s, and so may want the whole country to follow this path.
When reviewing the long history of interventions within Somalia’s failed state, it can be seen that generally the effects of these interventions have been negative. In particular, UNOSOM I and II, driven by the Security Council of the United Nations in the 20th century, emerged as the main interventions within the country. These two interventions, which ultimately aimed to restore peace throughout the country but failed to do so, can reflect the key factors for Somalia’s failure as a state. And so, as policymakers, we need to reflect on the positive benefits and negative impacts of global implementation of interventions in such failed states in the Global South, most importantly in Somalia. In the hope of a developed and stable nation, policymakers must first change Somalia’s government to create a more equal and just system that allows its people to have a say in how society should be run. Similarly, the most detrimental problems of famine and droughts should be declined by advancing a large number of farms being built as well as working water facilities that will allow the retention of resources for the future success of the state. In conclusion, initiatives undertaken by already established states can be a huge success for Somalia and the Global South when a mutual objective of stability and humanitarian sovereignty is communicated and sought out jointly.