Keeping the Peace: Intervention and Security Challenges in Africa The Case of African Union Mission in Somalia (amisom)

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Graduate School of Development Studies

Keeping the Peace: Intervention and Security Challenges in Africa

The Case of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)

A Research Paper presented by:

Tariku Abreha Kahssay


in partial fulfilment of the requirements for obtaining the degree of



[International Political Economy and Development]

Members of the examining committee:

Prof. Mohamed Salih (Supervisor)

Dr. Peter de Valk (Second Reader)

The Hague, the Netherlands
Nov, 2009


This document represents part of the author’s study programme while at the Institute of Social Studies. The views stated therein are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Institute.

Research papers are not made available for circulation outside of the Institute.


Postal address: Institute of Social Studies

P.O. Box 29776
2502 LT The Hague
The Netherlands

Location: Kortenaerkade 12

2518 AX The Hague
the Netherlands

Telephone: +31 70 426 0460

Fax: +31 70 426 0799


List of Acronyms and Abbreviations v

Abstract vii

Acknowledgment ix

Chapter 1
Introduction 1

1.1 Background of the Study 1

1.2 Theoretical Framework 5

1.3 Research Problem 6

1.4 Scope and Justification of the Study 9

1.5 Objectives 10

1.6 Research Questions 10

1.7 Methodology 10

1.8 Limitation of the Study 11

Chapter 2
Theoretical Framework 12

2.1 Bottom-Up perspective: Consent Theory 12

2.2 Top-Down Perspective: Force Theory 14

Chapter 3
Peace Keeping Intervention: The African Experience 16

3.1 The Organization of African Unity (OAU) and Conflict Management and Resolution 16

3.2 The Principle of Peace: The African Union Protocol on Peace and Security 20

Chapter 4
Analysis of the Conflict in Somalia and the Roles of External Actors 24

4.1 Background: Somalia since the 1990s 24

4.2 The Roles of External Actors in Somali’s Conflict 30

Somalia’s Neighbouring States 30

International Organizations 35

Non-Regional External Powers: the United States 37

Non-State Actors 38

Chapter 5
Analytical Framework: The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM): Political Developments and Challenges Ahead 41

5.1 Security Challenges: The Politics of Insurgency in Somalia 42

5.2 Humanitarian Situation in Present-day Somalia 46

5.3 AMISOM: Background and Challenges ahead 48

Chapter 6
Conclusion 53

Recommendations 57

References 59

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

AIAI: Al Itthad Al Islamia

AMISOM: African Union Mission in Somalia

AMU: Arab Maghreb Union

APRCT: Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-


ARS-A: Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia- Asmara

ARS-D: Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia-Djibouti

AU: African Union

COMESA: Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa

ECCAS: Economic Community of Central African States

ECOWAS: Economic Community of West African States

ECOMOG: ECOWAS Ceasefire Monitoring Group

FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization

GUNT: Government of National Unity of Chad

ICU/UIC: Islamic Courts Union/ Union of Islamic Courts

IGAD: Inter-Governmental Authority for Development

IGASOM: Inter-Governmental Authority for Development

Forces for Somalia

OAU: Organization of African Unity

OAUF: Organization of African Unity Force

OCHA: United Nations Office for the Coordination of

Humanitarian Affairs

OLF: Oromo Liberation Front

ONLF: Ogaden National Liberation Front

PAP: Pan-African Parliament

PSC: Peace and Security Council

RECs: Regional Economic Communities

TFG: Transitional Federal Government of Somalia

TFIs: Transitional Federal Institutions of Somalia

TNG: Transitional National Government of Somalia

SADC: Southern African Development Community

SNPC: Somalia National Peace Conference

SRRC: Somalia Reconciliation and Restoration Council

UNDP: United Nations Development Program

UNICEF: United Nations Children Fund

UNITAF: United Nations Unified Task Force

UNOSOM I/II: United Nations Operation in Somalia I and II

USSR: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics


The advent of looking at the so-called ‘High politics’ concerns in international relations gives the impression that such matters really have a lot to deal with the pattern of relationships different political actors forge out. Security is one interesting area not just for itself. Especially when it is related to the issue of statehood formation, it gives the impression that whenever we think about the state, it is the authority there to ensure the welfare of its citizens. In its absence definitely nothing of security is possible to be achieved. The process of state formation seemingly varies from continents to continents. In some experiences, states are historically built up, not imposed by external forces or distortedly adopted. The states rather grew out of the political context as ‘natural’ phenomena’. Unfortunately, Africa is the very unlucky continent in that sense. Colonial legacies created and even perpetuated artificial states. The continent and its citizens had to pay for the consequences of the historic mistake. Colonially bifurcated ethno-cultural and linguistic people were forced to disperse in two or more states. While at the same time destroying the evolutionary pattern of African statehood and changing it to fit the interests of their creators, the post-colonial period depicted the failure of euro-centric models that created fragile and often hostile inter-state relations with still potentials ‘to time bomb’ further intra-state conflicts.

Institutional arrangements like the OAU and even the AU could have done much either to prevent such security traumas from happening. But so far both attempts have doomed to failure to create a fertile condition to at least to resolve ‘one’s own problem one’s own way’. It was in such a condition that states like Somalia had to face, first the consequences of imposed statehood formation, second, ‘illegitimate’ post-colonial regimes eased the steps towards forward complete failure. Since the 1990s, Somalia has been an inter-play of violence, disorder, insecurity and anarchy. While the very loose cultural attachments toward clan identities have been the very fundamental cause for ‘national identity’ challenges in Somalia. This coupled with extremism of all forms and the destructive roles of a number of actors (within and outside the Horn) makes the country exceptionally ‘the most dangerous place in the world’. While leaving millions of its people under complete destitution and human suffering and threatening its less fragile neighbours in the Horn of Africa, Somalia has still been the example where security seems to be a dire challenge, something ‘unachievable’. Despite the ongoing but weak efforts by the African Union’s peace-keeping intervention, the international community and especially the UN has become a ‘toothless dog’ to help improve the situation. The security situation is deteriorating on day-to-day basis leaving the peace-keepers in serious danger. It seems less likely neither the latter could stay long nor the UN would send a peace-keeping mission. Insecurity prevails. With very weak government in the Capital city, Somalia’s extreme elements may take over political power if they fail to reconstitute the state and its institutions. It is also likely that other antagonistic actors may not simply welcome this making Somalia still interesting case to look into.

Relevance to Development Studies

The issue of security is critical in the field of development studies. Not only development but even studying development is unthinkable in a state of dire insecurity in whose absence a society can’t predict what will happen, when and how. Studies in development field should comprehend the very close ties that development and human survival has with security. Studies in conflict/security are intertwined in their issues, nature and scope of their impact in engaging a number of actors. My studies on Somalia offer me a lot of knowledge to understand the complexity nature of conflict situations and enable widen my scope of analysing opposing interests, challenges and opportunities.


Force, Consent, Security, Conflict, Humanitarian Intervention, Integration, Crisis, Reconciliation, Non-intervention, National Interest, Islamists, Clan and Terrorism


First, I would like to offer my heartfelt thankfulness to my distinguished supervisor Mohammed Salih for you constructive comments in showing me the right track to get focused in the course of doing this research paper. Keep it up please with your friendly and fatherly approaches to your students. Thanks a lot. Peter de Valk, you are so special I am so indebted to say thanks for your fruitful advices and follow ups. I really appreciate your concern when I get delayed and for your friendly approaches in shaping me to know many more things informally. I really enjoyed my stay though I had some problems I believe you both understand. Your patience and forth coming care is fantastic and unforgettable. I again appreciate both of you, dear supervisors. I would still confess and apologize for any inconveniences I might have created for you especially when I sometimes delayed things. I wish you all best of luck in your career as well as in life. All the Best!

Next, I would like to say thanks a lot to my Ethiopian and Eritrean friends who were always there for me in advising, encouraging me to do something good to realize my potential and even for treating me as a brother. I appreciate it a lot. I miss you all guys. Wish you a happy and successful life. I hope we can make it! Thanks to all the staff for caring for us and showing a respect in addition to creating a good learning and experience sharing environment which in fact made my stay unforgettable and lovely. I appreciate that. Lovely and cheerful friends from ISS’s upper batch, you deserve a lot of thanks. I miss you all.

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