Why The UN Security Council Is Wrong On Somalia – OpEd

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The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) was created on 19th, January 2007 for an initial stay period of 6 months. AMISOM was a regional peacekeeping mission approved by the United Nations Security Council. It was mandated to support the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia then, implement a national security plan, train Somali security forces, and to assist in creating a secure environment for delivery of humanitarian aid (United Nations Security Council Resolution 1772. S/RES/1772(2007) page 3).

Today, we are 190 months and one day, i.e. almost 16 years from that date into the lifespan of AMISOM, and the mandate was again extended to June 2024 under its new name of ATMIS, just about a week ago. Is UN the security Council serious about its missions or is there another agenda on Somalia not being published for the world to see?

AMISOM today carries a different name, one of the tricks to maintain such missions irrespective of whether they are successful or not, which AMISOM, most definitely, is not. AMISOM itself replaced what used to be called the IGAD Peace Support Mission in Somalia (IGASOM), which was created by Ethiopia and Kenya using the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a regional organization based in Djibouti whose members include 8 countries in the region including Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea and, of course, Somalia, in name only. IGASOM became effective on September 14, 2006, and it was then approved by the African Union. It was the instrument through which Ethiopia carried out its unwarranted invasion of Somalia in that year 2006 and through which the terror group that currently troubles Somalia was created by foreign forces.

Through resolution 2628 of the United Nations Security Council, AMISOM was renamed ATMIS effective from April 1st, 2022. ATMIS stands for the African Transition Mission in Somalia, implying the idea, that AMISOM is on its way out. However, the latest renewal of November 15th, 2023, denotes otherwise, and that the continuation of the mission would be for a longer and unspecified periods into the future. Naturally Somalia’s Federal Government is used to seeking such extensions for those who hold the purse for it, determine what happens to Somalia’s governance issues.

Somalia is capable of bringing its military prowess to the fore. Perhaps, one should know it is one of the best in the African continent, being a nation of warriors but the countries that contribute to the AMISOM/ATMIS missions seem not to want to lose the incomes their soldiers receive from those donor countries that contribute to the financing of the mission, namely the United States, the European Union, and the United kingdom. Indeed, some of the dictators that contribute these forces keep their generals and armed services busy on other matters such as the so-called peacekeeping in Somalia, instead of looking at their overstays in power.

Somalia has in the past requested an end to the mission, but the current leadership of Somalia, as insecure as it is, and as corrupt as it is, has perhaps also contributed to the continuing extension requests on the UN Security Council and the African Union for the most recent extensions. The current leadership seems to have dismantled the armed forces that were trained to take over from AMISOM and/or ATMIS. They appear to have prepared the ground for such extensions. Perhaps the UN Security Council and the African Union and the finance contributing countries should just stop financing these useless missions which have failed for over sixteen years. Why should they be funding such failed institutions unless they are, perhaps, part of the corruption in Somalia.

The Somali Federal Government leadership, whose roots mostly go back to corrupt NGOs, should be told in no uncertain terms to prepare the national army that should take over from AMISOM/ATMIS within a short span of time. Somalis do not need to be trained, they are already trained but they need honest and good leadership, not corrupt leaders that have been anointed through fractious clan processes.

Those who do not wish the country and nation well have been pushing the wrong notion that Somalis are incorrigible, corrupt and that it would take years to remove the clan gridlock and clan-based infrastructures. This is as untrue as anything can be. Somalis although organized as clans are also all very proud of their nation and country. To tell a Somali that he is not a Somali is the biggest insult anyone can throw at a Somali.  It is a proud nation that enjoys a long history, and if left alone, they would find solutions for their own problems faster than most can imagine.

The foreign-troop presence is now pushed more by foreign interests and troop contributing countries and not by Somalis or by Somalia’s Federal Government. It is where it becomes necessary for the UN Security Council not to accept any ATMIS extension anymore, even if it is for one day. It is the only way stakeholders would realize that it is the end of the road for corruption and irrationality in the Horn of Africa State.