Although it is challenging and sometimes hard to imagine bringing back the peace in Somalia considering the current political turmoil, young Somalis must be given a voice and opportunities to participate in decision-making. Somalia, perhaps the world’s most emblematic and archetypal “failed state”, has had a dysfunctional central government since 1991, and the current political turmoil reveals nothing but hopelessness. Most of the Somalis are going through difficult circumstances; frequent droughts and starvation. Facing decades of civil war and chaos, violence and terrorism became part of their daily life.
The jihadist fundamentalist group, Al-Shabaab, remains as the major dilemma for Somalia and the international community as it continues to indiscriminately attack their own citizens. Al-Shabaab, meaning “The Youth” in Arabic, has frequently carried out several attacks in Somalia and neighboring countries. Until today, it still controls a vast amount of land in the South and carries the potential to recover territories or regain the impaired reputation as a social service provider to ordinary civilians. It is believed to have between 7,000 and 9,000 fighters, who are heavily armed with advanced weapons. According to CNN, in October 14, 2017, the massive suicidal truck bombing in Mogadishu, killing at least 500 people in a massive, “was already the deadliest in Somalia’s modern history.
” As long as Al-Shabaab exists, the cycle of jihadist terrorism in East Africa will continue until Somalia becomes a society based on a strict version of the Sharia Law. Somalia has been torn by conflict and prolonged instability for almost all of its 48 years of independence, which has created an opening for terrorist groups, such as Al-Shabaab. In 1969, Muhammad Siad Barre assumes power after a coup, declares the country to be a socialist state and nationalizes most of the economy. With the political situation deteriorating, Barre’s long-standing government in 1991 eventually collapsed when a power struggle occurs between the clan warlords Mohamed Farah Aideed and Ali Mahdi Mohamed, which results in the death and wounding of thousands of civilians, in which motivated the UN to send troops to stabilize the country. Arriving at 1993, UN underestimated the seriousness of the political turmoil, and eventually in 1995, the UN troops were forced to leave the country.
Very different from what was expected and intended the UN admitted that the issue was aggravated by the late 1990s. Somalia’s economy was in ruins, largely on account of the civil war that began in 1988. To make matters worse, a massive national debt and a series of droughts, some particularly severe-did considerable damage to the country’s economy even before the state collapsed. As the bloody civil war seemed to everlast, the notorious jihadist fundamentalist group, Al-Shabaab, founded in 2006, gathered its power and seized vital territories of Somalia.
Ever since, the group enlarged its size and control economically and politically and now became out of control.Most attempts of the international community to deal with this issue had shown poor outcomes, in which Somalia should be prompted to enter into the room of negotiation with Al-Shabaab. The UN has intervened in the fighting against Al-Shabab for over a decade. However, it has failed to root out the power base.
In order to achieve the stability, it is essential to support the new Somali government, lead by president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. He has expressed a desire to engage in peace talks and negotiations with Al-Shabab. Whilst the environment for this may not be ideal, the provision of support for and encouragement of the idea may be a way to resolve the conflict. By all means, negotiation will only take in place if Al-Shabaab would be agreeing to enter into dialogue. Negotiating with an enemy does not signify surrender or weakness.
In fact, Al-Shabaab is the one who faces a more unfavorable situation as it lost control of cities and power within Somalia. In addition, Al-Shabaab withdrew from the vital port, Kismayo, in 29, September 2012. Al-Jazeera reported that, “Kismayo is the backbone of the funding al-Shabaab; it is also the location from which the group bring in their arms and supplies.” In conclusion, “right now” is the golden time to start the negotiation. The ideal road map of the dialogue would be for reach a compromise, with Al-Shabaab promising to stop destroying the infrastructure and taking away innocent lives.
The process of negotiation would be painstaking, but it is worthwhile to chatter new channel of solutions, and open the possibility of a better future. (in order for people to return to the country as many live the country).