Somalia: we need Somali National Army not internationally armed clan militia?

Published: January 25, 2010

It is very important to arm a ‘Somali government’ to restore the law and order and create some kind of stability in the country. Surely, the only way to stop the current pointless bloodshed is to outweigh militarily the insurgents and fully arm a force that can be accountable to the nation not necessarily to the government.
Over the last twenty years Somalia was a critically sick patient that sometimes goes into deep coma and sometimes become conscientious briefly, but not fully recovering at all. Unfortunately, all the medications that have been prescribed by the foreign volunteer doctors fail to heal the patient. Interestingly, the patient has no terminal illness and he is treatable as all the vital organs are healthy and functioning. The main problems of the patient’s saga are; the foreign volunteer doctors never receive the patient’s file to understand his medical history, and they don’t have any magic devices to identify the malicious actual bugs that has been agonizing the patient over the years.
Furthermore, most interpreters that the foreign doctors heavily rely on to understand the patient, either don’t speak enough English to help the English speaking doctor to understand his patient or because of cultural and vested interest they can not convey the message accurately.
Regrettably, the last prescription that our foreign volunteer doctors prescribed for the patient (Somalia) is to supply the latest conventional antibiotics to kill and eliminate the malicious bugs that we have discussed earlier. Nevertheless, the doctors have not yet identified definitely the actual strand and the part of the body that hosts, because vital information has lost in the interpreting process.
Furthermore, to attempt to destroy certain bugs by using strong dose of antibiotics will impact the rest of the body and could cause a quick death to the patient, unless one ascertains to address the side effects immediately. Therefore, among other methodology, as a prevention and protection exercise, it is the doctor’s responsibility to supply other secondary medication to safeguard the healthy organs.
To use layman’s language, the current plan to arm Mogadishu based militia may create more problems in the future than it solves. The East African based ‘experts’ who interpret the Somali saga and propose plans-after plans for the International Community to end the Somali calamity should avoid prolonging the problem inadvertently. Every policy aimed to end the current chaos in Mogadishu and its surroundings should be analyzed and executed carefully. The recent history of the Somali clan dynamics should be used wisely as a guide. The international community should chose viable and durable policy not convenient one.
First, in my view, which can be challenged, any future Somali National Army should be drafted from all Somali clans from south to north. This kind of mixture will give the army the legitimacy that they need desperately today. The opposite practice will make them clan militia and could end up in failure or worse.
Second, the international community has to put in place some provisions to monitor the training, funding and operations of the newly recruited and armed forces, at least until they achieve tangible success on the ground and accepted by the public.
Finally, the international community should devise and explore ways and means that the functioning States, such as Puntland and Somaliland, are brought onboard in all matters concerning security programs. Otherwise, the excruciating pain of the patient will continue and more plans will be devised in the future with no success.
Omar Farah (Dhollawaa)

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