Somalia Troops

By | December 15, 2021

The independence of Somaliland

After suffering a bloody repression by the Siad Barre regime, in May 1991 the largest opposition party in the North, the Somali National Movement (Snm), had proclaimed the independence of the Republic of Somaliland within the borders of the former British Somaliland.. The new Somaliland refused to participate in international peace initiatives for Somalia, with the intention of affirming its autonomy and underlining the process of social and institutional recomposition underway in the north of the country. Under the leadership of then President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, the transition leaned on the major clans of the region and successfully combined elements of Western statehood and customary institutions of Somali pastoral society. In 1997 the new Constitution was launched, then approved in 2001 by a popular referendum: the bicameral parliament is made up of a lower house of elected deputies and an upper house or Guurti (‘Council of Elders’). The judicial system has been restored to its operational and decision-making autonomy, using ajuridical corpus that combines customs and rules of Islamic law with those of Western derivation (common law British). After the death of Mohamed Ibrahim Egal in May 2002, the presidency was assumed by the then vice president Dahir Rayale Kahin, who, at the head of the United Peoples’ Democratic Party, won the first elections in 2005. Consultations (delayed) of 2010 marked the defeat of the outgoing president in favor of Ahmed Mohamed Mahamoud ‘Silanyo’, the candidate of the Peace, Unity and Development Party. The elections recorded an acceptable degree of transparency and competition between the three major parties that include multiple clans in the same political representation. The independence of the country still awaits the recognition of the international community.

The autonomy of Puntland

Northeast region with a majority daarood, the former Italian Migiurtinia, proclaimed its autonomy in the Conference of Garowe (24 July 1998) with the name of Puntland. However, there has not been a real secession as it did for Somaliland, with which relations remain tense due to some border disputes. The Puntland government formally recognizes membership in the Federal Republic of Somalia, although relations with Mogadishu and the rest of Somalia have been increasingly loosening.

In 2004 the president and founding father of Puntland, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, took over the leadership of federal institutions, becoming president of Somalia. He was replaced by Mohamed Abdi Hashi, who remained in office until January 2005, when he was defeated by General Mohamud Muse Hersi ‘Adde’. In the 2009 elections, which stood out for their lack of competitiveness and limited credibility, Abdirahman Mohamud Farole was elected president. He was succeeded, in January 2014, by Abdiweli Mohamed Ali.

The Puntland government is based on a strongly authoritarian and corrupt regime, colluded with the trafficking linked to piracy. Attacks against international ships have grown exponentially, to the point of forcing the main Western countries to set up a multinational naval force to defend merchant ships, whose action has had positive effects. Attacks peaked in 2010 (217 in total) with an estimated $ 60, possibly $ 80, million in loot or ransom paid by companies. Today, piracy actions have been significantly reduced thanks to the deterrent action of the joint programs of the international navies.

Puntland executives have pursued an institutional and social stabilization strategy which, as in neighboring Somaliland, has enjoyed the important contribution provided by the elders who make up the upper house (Isimada) of parliament. Unlike Somaliland, in Puntland there are in fact no political parties and the logic of government refers directly to the division between the different subclans of the dominant group Maxamuud Salebaan (Daarood).

The long struggle of al-Shabaab

The al-Shabaab (‘Young People’) group represents the Somali cell of the transnational terrorist organization al-Qaida. Born in 2006 as a youth offshoot of the Union of Islamic Courts, the group now numbers between 7000 and 9000 fighters and has been included in the list of terrorist organizations by the US and the UK. The total collapse of Somali state institutions that followed the long civil war created the ideal climate for the proliferation of fighters. A strong proselytizing action, combined with the provision of essential social and security services in a climate of total anarchy, have ensured that the movement acquired a growing popularity among the population, following the model of many other Islamist movements present in areas weak statehood.¬†For Somalia military, please check

The main goal of al-Shabaab is the establishment of an Islamic state, based on Sharia law, in the Somali area. A secondary objective, linked to the main one, is the expulsion of foreign soldiers from Somali territory, first and foremost Amisom’s soldiers, but also numerous US military advisers and Ethiopian troops allied to the central government. However, al-Shabaab’s range of action is not limited to Somalia: even before the movement’s birth – in 1998, on the occasion of the terrorist attacks on the US embassy in Kenya, and in 2002, on the occasion of the attacks on Israeli targets in Mombasa – Somali citizens who enlisted in the ranks of al-Qaeda were held responsible. However, the formal connection to al-Qaida only occurred in 2012, when the leadership of al-Shabaab, in a video, swore allegiance to the leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Kenya remains one of the prime targets for al-Shabaab’s terrorist action. The involvement of Kenyan troops in the stabilization action of the fragile Somali Federal Republic makes Nairobi a particularly exposed target: in September 2013 the jihadist group attacked the Westgate shopping center in the Kenyan capital, causing the death of 67 people and the wounding of a hundred. The gravity of the act provoked harsh reactions from the international community and a response from the USA, which identified and killed a leading exponent of the jihadist group with the help of drones. Some militiamen were then injured during the preparation of an attack, never completed, at the stadium in Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia.

However, the organization’s international activity did not translate into an abandonment of hostilities at home. During 2014, al-Shabaab was responsible for two attacks against the highest leaders of the state: in May the target was Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, while in July the Islamist organization attacked the residence of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Mogadishu.

After the killing of leader Moalim Aden Hashi Ayro, who died following a US airstrike in 2008, the leadership of the movement was assumed by Ahmed Abdi Godane, who led the group until his death in September 2014. following a US air raid. According to various observers, the killing of Godane would have dealt a very serious blow to the organization, suddenly deprived of a charismatic leader capable of placing itself above the clan logic that divides Somali society.

Somalia Troops