The mercy of neighbours: security and governance in a new Somalia
Roland Marchal , 4 July 2012
Somalia has long been a byword for statelessness and extreme insecurity. However, eight years of transitional rule are set to end in 2012, and expectations are rising that continued military-led stabilisation, changing regional security dynamics and efforts to rebuild the Somalia state might soon enable the country to declare an end to two decades of civil war.
This report places the emerging characteristics of security and governance in Somalia in a regional context marked by secessionism, and by the aspirations to power and economic growth of Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya. While acknowledging that the worst of the country’s internal conflict may shortly be over, particularly in the form of the Islamist armed rebellion of Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahedin, the report warns that continued political schisms, uneven economic growth, extremely weak state capacity and repeated meddling by neighbours mean that Somalia will endure conditions of low-level insecurity over the next five years.
The report foresees that a federal state arrangement, which is supported by much of the international community, may be supplanted by a more centralised state that is able to secure clients across the Somali clan structure. It also warns of the stark risks to normalisation posed by the operations of security services trained in the conditions of war.
This report is part of a series that analyses the future of the state in eight cases. The series is coordinated and co-published by NOREF and the Dutch Institute of International Relations Clingendael. It is coordinated by Clingendael senior researcher Ivan Briscoe.