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A Case Study of Somalia. A Critical Analysis of the Elements Considered in a Conflict

©2020 Hausarbeit 19 Seiten

Zusammenfassung

Armed conflicts are as old as man. This is true for Somalia which shall be discussed in detail in this paper. Understanding the nature and definition of armed conflict, dates to the Conference of the National Red Cross held in 1946, the precursor to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 that specified the essence of armed conflicts. According to one definition of armed conflict based on the Doctrine of International humanitarian law, it is ‘the use of weapons as an instrument to harm persons and /or property in order to overcome the opposing party’. Arising from this doctrine is the understanding is that an armed conflict is one in which there is intervention by armed forces. Arising from this brief definition of an armed conflict, this paper, in the next section, we will examine and evaluate the elements of an armed conflict with a special focus on Somalia- a nation that has been in the throes of armed conflict for about three decades now. In the next section, an assessment of the elements of armed conflict in the Somalia civil war will be attempted.

Leseprobe

Inhaltsverzeichnis

INTRODUCTION

ARMED CONFLICT AND THE CASE OF SOMALIA

SOMALIA

THE ELEMENTS OF AN ARMED CONFLICT

REFERENCES

INTRODUCTION

Armed conflicts are as old as man. This is true for Somalia which shall be discussed in detail in this paper. Understanding the nature and definition of armed conflict, dates to the Conference of the National Red Cross held in 1946, the precursor to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 that specified the essence of armed conflicts1 According to one definition of armed conflict based on the Doctrine of International humanitarian law, it is ‘the use of weapons as an instrument to harm persons and /or property in order to overcome the opposing party’2 3 Arising from this doctrine is the understanding is that an armed conflict is one in which there is intervention by armed forces.4

Arising from this brief definition of an armed conflict, this paper, in the next section, we will examine and evaluate the elements of an armed conflict with a special focus on Somalia- a nation that has been in the throes of armed conflict for about three decades now. In the next section, an assessment of the elements of armed conflict in the Somalia civil war will be attempted.

ARMED CONFLICT AND THE CASE OF SOMALIA

Various descriptions have been advanced as to the type of armed conflict happening in Somalia. There exist two general viewpoints of armed conflict. An armed conflict can either be a international or non- international. Under international law in specific the 1949 Geneva Conventions, an international armed conflict (IAC) is a confrontation of two or more states5. In such an armed conflict, regular armed forces of the two nations may be active. However, under this law, it still remains an international armed conflict where organized armed groups other than regular armed forces are engaged in combat against each other6. In this context, the Ethiopia-Somalia conflict of the years 2006-2009 constitutes an example of an international armed conflict.7

By contrast, a non-international armed conflict (NIAC) is a confrontation between ‘existing governmental authority and groups of persons subordinate to this authoritycarried out by force of arms within national territory and reaches the magnitude of an armed confrontation or a civil war.8 Implicit in this definition is the fact that for there to be an non-international armed conflict, there must be a territory in which the confrontation occurs. A NIAC occurs within a state.9

In another perspective, it is possible to have armed groups within a failed state or one with a weak government, operating beyond the state’s borders, that is , attacking another State.10 A good example of such include the incursions by armed groups in Somalia into Ethiopia and Kenya11. These nations, Kenya and Ethiopia would later invade Somalia in ‘hot pursuit’ of these armed groups leading to the evolution of the Somalia non-international conflict into an international conflict. This therefore means there exists a fine line in evolution of the two types of conflicts with the possibility of an international conflict (IAC) evolving into an non-international armed conflict (NIAC) and back again into an IAC12. In short, armed conflict has two characteristics (i) there exist organized armed groups, and (ii) these organized armed groups are engaged in a fighting of some intensity13. Let us now focus our attention on Somalia.

SOMALIA

According to Abdulahi Osman, the roots of the Somali conflict can be traced back to the aftermath of the Berlin conference in late nineteenth century in which the Somali people were divided into five colonial units.14 These were, (i) French Somaliland which forms todays republic of Djibouti, (ii) British Somaliland- this region gained independence in 1960 and joined Italian Somaliland, (iii) Italian Somaliland- colonized by Italy until 1960 when she gained independence and merged with British Somaliland to become the Republic of Somalia, (iv) the Northern Frontier District which was part of the Kenya Crown colony and lastly, (v) the Ogaden region-conquered by Ethiopian Emperor Menelik between 1887 and 1895 to later become part of present Ethiopia.15 The Republic of Somalia broke up in late 1960 when British Somaliland became the self- declared independent state of Somaliland16.

The effect of this division of one people into five different and distinct colonial groups had the undesirable effect of creating five sovereign territories. To date, this colonial division affects the Horn of Africa politics in the form of nationalist aspirations by post-independent Somali leaders keen on uniting the Somali people in the region to form a Greater Somalia.17

In 1964, Somalia opposed the the OAU Cairo Declaration on the sanctity of colonial borders18. Somalia attacked Ethipia in 1977 in an irredentist war in which she lost the fight for the Ogaden region.19 This ‘Ogadeen War’ gave rise to new indigenous secessionist rebel movements in Ethiopia such as the WSLF (Western Somali Liberation Front) in which the Ethipian state extensively used armed force to crush uprisings20. Of the Somali living outside the Republic of Somalia, some scholars have argued that:

‘The most unfortunate consequence of Somali history for current politics is the fact that a significant percentage of those who are part of the Somali tradition do not live within the boundaries handed to Somalis by the colonial powers. Many of them still live as second class citizens in Kenya and as unwanted subjects in 64 Ethiopia. Many straddle the borders and rely on water holes and grassland on both sides. This difficult situation has added to the pathos of the story of contemporary Somali politics [because of] the significance of this issue of boundaries, and a deep desire of so many Somalis to be united under the flag of a single state’21.

In addition to this, is the fact that colonialism introduced in Africa centralized state systems mirroring those in Europe ignoring African cultural governance structures. For example, in Somalia, religious and clan-based political structures were replaced by a dominant state central to all political and economic life of the Somali people. This in effect gave rise to a conflict between the two systems22. The role of clans was changed thus becoming an actor in subsequent struggles between clans and the Somali government. In one perspective, the central government became ‘competition’ to the clans instead of being a means for political and social progress.23

Another justification for the current malaise affecting Somalia lies with different colonial traditions introduced by the different colonial occupiers in specific, French, British and Italian administration leading to different political traditions and tensions held by the elite in the different regions after independence. These elites would occupy vantage positions in the government enabling them control power and state resources to the disadvantage of other clans through inequality24 25.

Under the first civilian government in Somalia, under Adan Osman as provisional President, a Prime Minister and 13 ministers were appointed and the country divided into eight regions with 47 districts each headed by a governor26. However, as stated above, one of the problems the new State faced included administrative language. There did not exist any Somali script to use in government. In the South, Italian was used whereas in the North, English was widely used. In the South, customary and Islamic laws were used, whereas in the North, English common law was in place27.

By 1964, under President Adan Osman and Prime Minister Dr. Sharmaake and thereafter Adbirisaq Haji Husein, Somalia started enhancing her military capacity with the view of exerting her regional influence with the aim of liberating other Somalis especially those in Ethiopia and Kenya.28 A few benefits attributable to this first government included an independent judiciary, a free press and multi-party politics. There was however, slow social and economic progress for a majority of the people leading up to the 1967 elections in which President Osman lost to Dr. Sharmaarke who was in turn assassinated in October 1969 and a military junta led by General Muhamad Siyaad Barre came into power through a ‘bloodless coup’29

Siyaad Barre’s government went on to replace the regional governors with young army officers, banning clannism in 1971 and establishing a large paramilitary force called the Guulwadayaal or the Victorious Pioneers to act as a watchdog for his regime and crushing any and all dissent30. The right to assembly was cut, citizens were to compulsorily attend state orientation, arbitrary arrests increased ripening the stage for civil warfare. Barre’s state policy favored clans supporting him and victimized those opposing him. Soldiers accused of betrayal were executed leading to formation of armed resistance groups such as the Somali Salvation Front (SSF) in 1979 led by Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, the Somali Democratic Action Front (SODAF) led by Mustafa Haji Nuur.31 An insurgency was started by these groups based in Ethiopia against Barre’s regime32.

By this time, the Somali people were impoverished, Barre’s government was repressive and rapacious, dependent on foreign aid, corrupt and heavy handed in crushing people considered critics33. In 1990/1991, Barre’s government fell following an onslaught by multiple clan-based militias in the capital Mogadishu triggering armed conflict. Barre proceeded to draft a deal with Ethiopia’s Mengistu Haile Mariam that sparked attacks by the Somali National Movement (SNM) in northern Tanzania against Barre. In response to this insurgency, the government proceeded to murder thousands of northern civilians and producing up to half a million refugees who fled into Ethiopia34.

Owing to the reliance on foreign aid to fund a huge military during the Cold war era, once the Cold war waned, the Somali government could not afford to hold together her forces leading to factional wars among her armed officers some of whom through force, had claimed prime real estate in the country inclusive of fertile river valleys at the expense of clans35. The unpaid militias would then proceed to loot government properties, consulates as well as civilian properties. Primarily, militias were now fighting for control over areas to loot- gunmen looting to earn a living as well as for top warlords36. These armed groups were diverting anything they were able to lay their hands for the sake of money in a war economy including relief aid meant for starving Somalis.

With a large pool of jobless youth and a region saturated with cheap arms, the armed militias in Somalia kept growing. These armed militias were clan based and a law unto themselves seeing as the Somali state had already collapsed37 38. In fact, it is argued that the attack against Barres’s government in Mogadishu, led by General Muhammad Farah Aideed led to the death of more than 4000 Somalis39. General Aideed’s forces would then engage in armed conflict with those of Ali Mahdi Muhammad in which it is reported that over 14000 people died in Mogadishu40. Both Aideed and Mahdi belonged to the same clan.41 This fight between the two warlords, is considered the start of the long-running Somalia civil war.

In 1993, the U.S. government declared war on General Aideed. In October of that year, a manhunt to capture Aideed was unsuccessfully initiated leading to the death of at least eighteen U. S troops and up to a thousand Somalis42.This defeat prompted the departure of U.S. forces from Somalia- an exercise completed in 1995 leaving her with no functional government or law and order43. Islamic Sharia courts held sway in these years, funded majorly by businessmen in Mogadishu and supported by loyalist court militias44 who would later transition into the Islamic Courts Union or Union of Islamic Courts.

[...]


1 BASIS OF THEORETICAL DETERMINATION OF ARMED CONFLICT Ivan Petrović University of Defence, Belgrade Saša Antanasijević Air Force and Air Defence Training Centre, Republic of Serbia Milan Kankaraš, 2017, p. 50

2 Ibid, p. 50

3 Geneva, Convention. “Commentary III Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war.” 1960.

4 Op, cit. p. 50

5 Armed Conflicts and Parties to Armed Conflicts under IHL: Confronting Legal Categories to Contemporary 10th Bruges Colloquium 22-23 October 2009, p. 22

6 Ibid, p.22

7 Ibid

8 C. Greenwood, ‘Scope of Application of Humanitarian Law’, in D. Fleck (ed.) The Handbook of Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2d ed. 2008), p.54. See also R. Arnold, ‘Terrorism and IHL: A Common Denomination’, in R. Arnold (ed.) International Humanitarian Law and the 21st Century’s Conflicts: Changes and Challenges (Lausanne: Editions Interuniversitaires Suisses – Edis, 2005) 3, 11-12; R. Arnold, The ICC as a New Instrument for Repressing Terrorism (New York: Transnational Publishers, 2004), p.116; J. Peijic, ‘Terrorist Acts and Groups: A Role for International Law?’ in British Yearbook of International Law, 71 (2004) p.75, citing M. Sassòli, ‘The Status of Persons Held in Guantanamo under International Humanitarian Law’, in Journal of International Criminal Justice 96, 100 (2004) p.2; L. Moir, The Law of Internal Armed Conflict (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002) pp.30-52.

9 Op cit, p. 23

10 Ibid, p. 23

11 For details of the conflict, see, S. Bloomfield, ‘Somalia: The World’s Forgotten Catastrophe’, in The Independent, 9 February 2008, available at www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/somalia-theworlds-forgotten-catastrophe-778225.html

12 Op cit, p. 24

13 Ibid, p. 26

14 This the time when the European colonial administrations of Britain, Italy and France were established in Somalia following the notorious Berlin Conference of 1984–85 at which European colonial powers arbitrarily partitioned Africa into 18 The Somalia Conflict - ISS Paper 198 - September 2009 colonial units. Abdulahi A. Osman, Th e Somali Confl ict and the Role of Inequality, Tribalism and Clanism, in Abdulahi A. Osman and Issaka K. Souare (eds) Somalia at the Crossroads: Challenges and Perspectives on Reconstituting a Failed State, London: Adonis & Abbey Publishers Ltd, 2007, 92.

15 Solomon Dersso, The Somalia Conflict - ISS Paper 198 - September 2009, p. 2

16 Ibid, p. 2

17 Ibid, p. 2

18 Sadiki Koko, Whose Responsibility To Protect? Refl ections on the dynamics of an ‘abandoned disorder’ in Somalia, African Security Review, 16 (3) (2007) 6.

19 Op cit, p. 2

20 Bjorn Moller, 2009, The Somali Conflict, The Role of External Actors, p. 9

21 Said Samatar and David Laitan, Somalia: Nation in Search of a State, p.129.

22 In the African context, as many scholars argue, this led to the emergence of a patrimonial system. As Osman explains, under this system the state occupies a central role, from which it commands the largest portion of all economic activities in the country. Osman, The Somali conflict and the role of inequality, tribalism and clanism

23 Op, cit

24 Ibid, p. 3

25 Osman, Abdullahi A. 2007. "Cultural diversity and the Somali conflict: Myth or reality?" African Journal on Conflict Resolution 7 (2) 93-134.

26 The Collapse of The Somali State: The Impact of the Colonial Legacy ───────────────────────── Abdisalam M. Issa-Salwe, p. 66

27 Ibid, p. 66

28 Ibid, p. 69

29 Ibid, p.71

30 Ibid, p. 76

31 Ibid, p. 87

32 I.M. Lewis, A Modern History of the Somali (4th edition) (Oxford: James Currey Press, 2002), pp. 248-54

33 WORLD DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2011 BACKGROUND CASE STUDY SOMALIA AND THE HORN OF AFRICA Ken Menkhaus* Davidson University, 2011, p. 2

34 Ibid

35 Lee Cassanelli, “Explaining the Somali Crisis,” in The Struggle for land in Southern Somalia: The War Behind the War, edited by Catherine Besteman and Lee Cassanelli (Boulder: Westview, 1996)

36 7 Ken Menkhaus, “Somalia: State Collapse and the Threat of Terrorism.” Adelphi Paper 364. (Oxford: Oxford University Press for the IISS, 2004

37 Op cit, p. 3

38 Op cit

39 Solomon Derrso, The Somalia Conflict - ISS Paper 198 - September 2009, p. 6

40 Ibid

41 Somalia: A Nation Without a State, 2008, p. 9, A Report from four public seminars on the conflict in Somalia, held during October and November 2007 in Stockholm, Sweden with Nuruddin Farah, Somali Novelist, Roland Marchal, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre d’Études et de Recherches Internationales, Paris, Asha Hagi, member of the Somalia Transitional Federal Parliament and civil society activist, Jens Odlander, Swedish Ambassador for the Somali Peace Process, Shane Quinn, Programme officer at the Life and Peace Institute, Sweden, and Sahra Bargadle and Hayan Ismail from the swedish-somali Diaspora. Marika Fahlén, Special Advisor for the Horn of Africa at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs acted as moderator for the panel discussion. The seminars were jointly organized by the Life and Peace Institute, The Nordic Africa Institute and ABF Stockholm.

42 The Somali Conflict: The Role of external Actors, Bjorn Muller, 2009, p. 12

43 Ibid, p. 10

44 Ibid, p. 15

Details

Seiten
19
Jahr
2020
ISBN (eBook)
9783346491190
ISBN (Paperback)
9783346491206
Sprache
Englisch
Erscheinungsdatum
2021 (September)
Note
A
Schlagworte
case study somalia critical analysis elements considered conflict
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Titel: A Case Study of Somalia. A Critical Analysis of the Elements Considered in a Conflict