The Somali Civil Conflict
The Somali conflict has been continuing since 1991(BBC News) where the then president was overthrown. This paper mainly focuses on this conflict by analyzing its cause, effects, and appropriate conflict management that has been utilized. The conflict has been unresolved for 20 years now and has been present in the headline news all over the world. The civil war has led to the humanitarian crises and an increased number of refugees seeking asylum in the neighboring countries (Licklider 115).
The Beginning of the Somali Conflict
According to the BBC Africa news, the Somali Civil War is one of the longest conflicts. It developed out of resistance to Siad Barre administration in the 1980s. In the 1988–1990, the Somali Armed Forces started co-operating with different rebel groups, among which were the Somali Salvation Democratic Front in the northeast, the Somali National Movement in the northwest, and the United Somali Congress in the south. The clan-formed armed opposition group finally succeeded to overthrow Barre from his governmental position (BBC News).
Different armed groups started seeking power, which led to bloody chaos, especially in the south. Among the impacts of the 1990-1992 battling was the breakdown of customary law. This hastened the landing of the Unified Task Force (UNITAF) and United Nations Operations Somalia (UNOSOM) peacekeeping force in December 1992 (Kieh). Factional battling remained in the south. With the lack of the central government, Somalia started to be described as a “fizzled state” (BBC News). The UN withdrew in 1995 after suffering many casualties, yet no central power was reinstated. After the breakdown of the government, there was the introduction of religious and customary law in most regions. In 1991 and 1998, two self-sufficient local governments were founded in the northern part of the country. This prompted a relative lessening in the battling’s force, when Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) expelled Somalia from its lists of the main armed clashes for the years 1997 and 1998 (Kieh).
The conflict in Somali later led to the formation of Al- Shabab, which is an afiliated terrorist group of Al-Qaeda militia. It took control of Somalia, thereby executing ‘justice’ to those who went against the Islamic law (Sharia) to an extent of slaughtering the ones who opposed their rule. The group became dormant in the area making the country one of the most dangerous in the world (Guha-Sapir, Debarati, andRuwan 27).
The New York Times
- SEP. 9, 2015
United States Mission to Somalia will operate out of Nairobi, Kenya, as American diplomats work to stabilize the war-torn country. MORE
- SEP. 2, 2015
Fighters from Shabab militant group take African Union military base in southern Somalia. MORE
- JUL. 27, 2015
At least 12 people are killed, and many more are wounded after the vehicle packed with explosives detonates outside Jazeera Palace Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia; Islamist extremist group Shabab claims responsibility for the attack. MORE
- JUL. 23, 2015
Somali military officials report African Union forces ousted Shabab militants from Bardhere, one of their last major strongholds; 24 militants and two Somali soldiers were killed in battle, part of campaign by multi-African nation army to rid Somalia of Al Qaeda-affiliated, Islamic extremists. MORE
- JUL. 17, 2015
American drone strike in Somalia kills Shabab commander and other members of Islamist extremist group. MORE
Type of Conflict
The conflict in Somalia is becoming diverse as it emerges as being more than a civil war, because the war has attracted different parties with their unique interests to take control of the country. Some have opposed those changes that affect their daily activities and, as a result of the lack of common ground, the conflict shifted from civil and acquired its other forms.
Somali conflict can be classified as civil, since it began as the inter-clan front, whereby they collaborated to overthrow Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991(BBC News). It is also a regional confflict, since it extended beyond the borders of Somali into neighboring countries in the form of terror, where there were gun attacks on the citizens of Uganda and Kenya by the Al-Shabab militia. The conflict also affected international shipping, particularly due to the ships passing through the waters of the Red Sea. The terrorist group that had taken control of the entire Somalia seized the waters as pirates were kidnapping the ships that used Somali sea route when going to Europe (Kieh).
Moreover, the conflict in Somali can further be described as religious, since the terrorist group (Al-Shabab militia) is against any religious groups apart from the Muslim. They want to create Somalia as a purely Islamic state. The religious conflict in Somalia has extended into the other neighboring countries, whereby the militia group is attacking particular people deemed to be Christians. This has made the conflict morph from being a civil war in Somalia into a religious conflict as it has an aim of protecting religious interest of the Muslim people.
Resolving the Conflict
Several efforts have been made by the Unites States to end the Civil War, but the attempts did not prove to be successful. The US intervention in 1993-1994 (BBC News) led to death and injuries of many US marine soldiers leading to their withdrawal without accomplishing the mission. Currently, the conflict in Somalia is solved through the intervention of neighboring countries. The efforts are through the combined team of the armed forces from Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia in collaboration with the United Nations where tremendous efforts are implemented to end the conflict that has torn the country into pieces. The efforts taken by the international community, the UN and the AU has reduced the intensity of the conflict that was heavily fueled by Al-Shabab militia. Since terrorist groups are present in the Somali conflict, the main initiative taken to resolve the conflict was through the use of armed forces (BBC News). In addition to combat approach, the regional heads of state have over the years searched for an amicable solution, where they helped the country form a government.