Articles by Abukar Arman:
January 8, 2013 by Abukar Arman
Just as the temperature of a ‘security threat’ slowly declines in Somalia, it increases in other parts of East Africa. Elements of political, religious, and clan/ethnic nature continue to shift and create new volatile conditions. Though not entirely interdependent these conditions could create a ripple effect across different borders.
Depending on one’s perspective, there is anxiety in the Horn of Africa—especially in the area that I would refer to as the triangle of threat – Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. These three countries are bound by complex web of history, geopolitics, and kinship which became the foundation of transnational fault lines which snake through them. Though the same could be argued in relation to Djibouti, the absence of certain clan dynamics and any flammable residual mistrust (active or dormant) makes it an anomaly.
September 17, 2012 by Abukar Arman
Exhausted by prolonged anarchy, chronic dependency, cancerous corruption, and humiliating subjugation, the Somali people demanded change. Not just a change of guards or principled actors, but a total overhaul of the political order of the day. On September 10, 2012, the newly appointed parliament heeded the calls of its citizens and elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the President of post-transition Somalia.
That historic date will be remembered as the one that underscores two significant realities: the resilience of the Somali people as they demonstrated their unwavering commitment to reclaim their nation, and how the will of the people enhanced with consolidated political objectives changed the course of national history. The former would not have been possible without the persistence that motivates the Somali nomad to overcome adversities and to survive severe drought by migrating to greener pastures, and the hope that motivates the farmer to plow the field and sow the seed and have faith in the germination process that takes place beneath the earth.
May 25, 2012 by Abukar Arman
Two decades have passed since the collapse of Somalia. Twenty one years to be exact. According to Lee Cassanelli, Professor of African history at the University of Pennsylvania, this exact number matters in Somali politics – perhaps in a subconscious way.
In August 2007, during one of his presentations at the Somali Studies International held in Columbus, Ohio, Cassanelli anecdotally argued that every twenty one years, Somalia has a collective experience or an itch of a sort that causes significant changes. These cycles extend from Sayyid Mohammed Abdulle Hassan’s anti-colonial movement which started at the dawn of the 20th Century that came to an end in 1920; to the Somali Youth League (SYL) founded in 1948 and the democratic government born out of that movement that was overthrown by a military coup in 1969; to the military government which lasted from 1969 till the end of 1990; to the fratricide and division era that started in 1991 and continues albeit faintly in 2012.
I don’t know if this falls in the realm of political astronomy or political astrology, or whether or not the cycle at hand would bring about a positive change, lasting peace, and reconciliation. All I know is that the expectation of the upcoming Istanbul Conference is very high, because Somalia cannot afford another year of systematic self-destruction. And, because this marks the first conference in which Somalis from every social and political sector (300 Somalis from the homeland and the Diaspora including this one) would gather to discuss, negotiate, and jointly develop a blueprint to ending the current political stalemate that has been corroding the social fabric and the essence of Soomaalinimo or Somaliness.
May 9, 2012 by Abukar Arman
For more than two decades, Somalia’s sovereignty has been in limbo- or in an utterly defunct status. Though there are many causes, a particular one stands out exponentially: volatile security. For no nation can claim, or (like in Somalia’s case) reclaim its sovereignty while dependent on another country, coalition, or a peace-building force for security. And though road-based security has been a top priority, it has been an objective made difficult by the many hurdles along the way!
March 27, 2012 by Abukar Arman
For a number of years, Nairobi (Kenya) has been the de facto capital of Somalia after the State has disintegrated into anarchy. It has been where Somalis sought refuge, re-started their lives, and networked with the rest of the world. By the same token, it has been where almost all of the eighteen or so failed “reconciliation” conferences were concocted, and Somalis found the funding and the nourishment for the indigenous political demons that kept them divided and at war with one another for over two decades.
Yet, to this day—at least from the international community’s point of view—all initiatives related to peace, security, humanitarian, and development must be conceived, crafted, and executed via Nairobi; through a network of international institutions and organizations with sullied reputation of money squandering, laundering, and rewarding corruption with more contracts. And so long as this continues, so too will the status quo.
February 28, 2012 by Abukar Arman
If there is any consensus on the nature and the outcome of the London Conference on Somalia – that brought together representatives of over 50 nations, including a number of Muslim nations, it must be the fact that it was a puzzling event that raised much speculation. Now that the fanfare has ended, it is time for an objective appraisal.
However, I must confess it would not be easy to remain steadfast in that quest when most—nations, groups, and individuals—already espoused one preconceived notion or another. Skepticism was fueled by British and Italian position papers that made their way into the public domain.
Whether by design or otherwise, the conference’s, would be communiqué, was subsequently leaked days before the actual event, an act that surely defused any potential for drama. Was the conference a success? Will it go down in history as the “turning point” in the seemingly endless Somali crises?
February 2, 2012 by Abukar Arman
At this dreadful moment in its history—when the obituary of a nation on life support is being written—political correctness is a luxury that Somalia cannot afford. Yes, Somalia is a failed state. But, failure is not a permanent condition, unless people choose to make it so by retiring their dignity and spirit of resilience.
Since the collapse of the military government 21 years ago, Somalia went through various levels of problems perpetuated by clan militias, warlords, economic-lords, religious-lords, regional-lords, and a group that I would refer to as the Ghost-lords.
All except the latter were domestic phenomena, and as counter-intuitive as it may seem, the Ghost-lords is the most elusive and perhaps the biggest obstacle to the reconstitution of the Somali state. Yet it remains the highest international authority that oversees every aspect of the political process in Somalia.
December 19, 2011 by Abukar Arman
In every society there is a small group of people who possess adequate authority to influence positive (or negative) change. This group—often referred to as The Elite—could come from any sector of a society from military, economic, political, social, spiritual, to the intellectual. In one way or another, every one of these circles of authority has participated in the failure of the Somali state. However, none has rejected that notion more than the Intellectual Class, whether religious, secular, or in-between.
Of course, contrary to the common misconception, not all intelligent persons, high achievers, or academically credentialed people who become experts in one field or another are intellectuals.
Unlike the segment often referred to as experts and technocrats whose function is often focused on the micro level of structure and governance, intellectuals, by and large, focus on the macro. They produce ideas that influence powers that be and shape history by moving societies towards one direction or another.
June 16, 2011 by Abukar Arman
The worst thing that could happen to Somalia at this critical juncture — in its recovery from two decades of bloodshed and chaos — is to disrupt the momentum of security improvement and to derail the reformation process lead by Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and his cabinet. And that is exactly what the Kampala Accord has inadvertently done. But, who would have ever thought that the torpedo factor would come in the form of an accord, its inadvertent nature notwithstanding! The Kampala Accord is the byproduct of the International Contact Group for Somalia’s 19th meeting held in Kampala, Uganda.
On one hand, the accord endorses a one year extension to all the Transitional Federal Institutions and endorses the postponement of elections from this August to August 2012; on the other hand, it forces the Prime Minister and his government out.
March 30, 2011 by Abukar Arman
It goes without saying that the Somali political problem can only be solved if and when all those actors who are in contention are willing to engage in serious peace negotiation and reconciliation. And, as in all wars and protracted conflicts, there are those elements that perpetuate status quo for their own interests. These elements have both domestic and foreign components. Sometimes they work in a concerted effort, other sometimes they undermine each other. Be as it may, currently, any potentiality for lasting peace in Somalia is sandwiched between these forces.
The domestic ones are militant extremists, clan militias, sleazy politicians, shady business men and women, pirates and other forces of anarchy and disorder that clearly benefit from the status quo. And, the foreign one, at least at this juncture, is none other than a political powerhouse known as the International Community (IC) – the very IC that spearheaded a number of worthy causes in many parts of the world since the term came into the lexicon of international politics that also carries the burden of the Rwanda genocide.