This draft paper has been developed at the request of the Federal Government of Somalia and the New Deal High Level Task Force as part of Somalia’s Fragility Assessment. The objective of this draft paper is to provide a short review of key challenges, drivers of fragility and resilience for PSG 2 – ‘Security’. It consolidates the current literature, research and analysis from government programs, notably the Six Pillar Strategy. The paper includes a brief assessment and possible policy implications on the basis of existing analysis. Along with input papers for the other PSGs, this paper is part of the background research phase of the fragility assessment. It will serve as analytical basis for the pre-consultations, multi-stakeholder consultations and the final fragility assessment report.
Somalia is in the midst of major new political and security developments that offer a greater possibility for peace and security than the country has seen in over 20 years. Whether this opportunity is seized or missed will depend mainly on decisions made by Somali actors in the months and years ahead. Yet, also the policies of external actors – regional neighbors, donor states, the United Nations, the African Union and others – will also play a decisive role. At present, however, part of the country is effectively at war and violent contestation is ongoing and hampering more progressive steps towards state and peacebuilding.
The (re-)building of functioning government institutions and processes is central to the return of stability and security in Somalia at all levels. However, the contestation over the nature, functions and scope of the state has long been an important feature of the Somali conflict since state dissolution in 1991, and statebuilding processes have often exacerbated this dynamic. Understanding and mitigating the risk of contestation is therefore particularly important during the formation of administrations at the regional and federal member state levels. These political-security challenges are compounded by the ongoing violent contestation between
During the prolonged absence of effective state structures in Somalia and the varying phases of armed conflict, a range of actors have contributed to the economy of instability, each having developed vested interests in Somalia’s condition of insecurity: criminal networks, including those involved in the trafficking of arms, people, and contraband; piracy; illegal fishing; money laundering; and the misappropriation of public resources, including humanitarian and development assistance. At the same time, those within more ‘formal’ security structures have developed strategies to extract rents from the provision of security in an insecure environment: members of the armed forces, police and militia groups collect “taxes” from local businesses or at checkpoints; police and intelligence officers routinely demand ransoms for release of detainees; and ‘gatekeepers’ demand a percentage of aid resources delivered to internally displaced persons in camps under their ‘protection.’
The massive rate of displacement in Somalia has also affected the regional and national conflict dimension by drawing neighboring countries even stronger into political decision making in Somalia itself. With an estimated 1.5 million internally displaced, and one million refugees residing in Kenya, Ethiopia and Yemen, this has impacted on local political and economic outcomes, and brought issues like land tenure, impunity and grievances to the forefront.
On the positive side, the sustained power sharing arrangements in sector in Somaliland, Puntland and other areas provides insightful examples of necessary elite coalitions to enable the emergence of integrated and coordinated security forces that provide the crucial public good for development – citizen and state security.
Non-state actors have also played important roles as security providers. Traditional institutions, such as clan councils and traditional elders employing customary law, have been instrumental in containing violence, resolving disputes and dispensing traditional justice. Women’s groups, youth groups, and civil society actors, including community-policing initiatives, have also assumed responsibility for public security. These same traditional systems have nevertheless also contributed to conflict in the past and have failed to protect women and children to a sufficient degree, often dispensing ‘justice’ contrary to human rights.
Main Challenges and Questions Ahead
Centre-Periphery Relations: to what extent political settlements can be organized under the provisional constitution (PSG 1) that will help determine the nature and size of the Somali National Army and the status of the armed forces in the regional administrations.
Counter-insurgency: to what extent can the FGS adopt a broad political-security-development approach to undermine and end the insurgency and disengage combatants.
Building of a national security sector including the military and police:once political arrangements have settled question of role and security status, to what extent can a n accountable and sustainable security sector be built from national resources.
Transparency, Accountable and Capable Institutions: what kind of civilian oversight and planning institutions need to be crated to ensure the integrity of the security sector.
Security sector and Revenue Generation:how can the ‘taxation’ of ordinary citizens by militia be reduced.
National Security Plan Framework: detailed policy dialogue, legislation and planning for the security sector including inter alia the above issues as well as e.g. regulation of the private sector providing security services.
political violence and related conflict have reduced dramatically since 2009, but has not ceased completely; targeted political violence against members of the SFG remains likely and possibly even increasing against members of the SFG in order to derail reform processes and protect members of former predatory cartels and governments
Al-Shabaab has been weakened by joint AMISOM-SFG-Ethiopian military operations, yet it continues to pose a threat across many parts of Somalia after the retreat of the organization to the rural areas; Al-Shabaab still controls up to half of the country in the south and restricts access for humanitarian assistance; frequent attacks on members of government and its allies highlight the on-going threat from a weakened, but still operational organization; in the remaining areas under Al-Shabaab control, the civilian population suffers from a variety of criminal acts (including recruitment and abduction of children into its ranks)
criminal behavior by some elements of the security forces against the citizens has further eroded the legitimacy and trust in these SFG-allied troops; women, IDPs and members of minority clans have been targeted and suffer the most from various forms of violence
political and inter-communal violence over local resources and authority occur across Somalia in varying degrees and levels of intensity (e.g. Kismayo, Sool); in Mogadishu land conflicts in a context of unclear titles and laws potentially inhibit the on-going investment in, and expansion of, the urban sphere, fuelling a booming real-estate market and the competition over its profits;
violence also often erupts between pastoral groups competing for resources, such as water and pasture; traditional conflict resolution mechanisms are unable to cope with violence brought by modern weapons and results often in escalation
anti-piracy measures have reduced incidents of capture, although this has shifted some criminal and destabilizing militia behavior to the shore; sustainable solutions involve forging a political contract with local power holders—a shift in attention, from the perpetrators to the enablers of piracy;
inter-personal violence and crime are generally associated with urban areas and reach very high levels among vulnerable groups of the society
sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), including domestic violence, has reached alarming proportions across most of Somalia and lead to further vulnerability to HIV and other disease especially among vulnerable and marginalized groups
Incidence of cross-border destabilization
regional and local authorities have assumed responsibility for border control in the absence of a unified SFG border control force – borders remain essentially porous, with unregulated movement of people and goods
UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Somalia in 1992 in order to curb the flow of weapons into the country; outflow of arms and fighters to neighboring countries has raised concerns regionally and within the international community at-large
large numbers of refugees and irregular human cross border movement in the region incentivize the active interference of neighbors in Somalia’s political process, most recently evident in the IGAD-led process to establish authority in the southern regions
Fragmented security sector
recent political developments in Somalia are encouraging, yet the current government faces enormous security challenges. The establishment of state monopoly over the legitimate use of force in Somalia by security force in support of state building must be linked to effective political strategy and outreach of the government
many armed actors within Somalia operate outside the SFG’s authority: private security companies, multilateral troops, neighboring troops, private militias, etc.; extensive scope for contestation over the exercise of the state’s security-related functions among the various actors and territories
lack of legislation necessary to integrate structure, functions and levels of the security agencies; NSSP outlined next steps and strategic objectives, yet implementation lags behind (Note: the NSSP has been replaced with the National Security Plan Framework (NSPF), which will form the basis of a comprehensive approach to security with a ‘National Security Strategy (NSS)’ and ‘National Security Plan (NSP)’; the NSP covers military, police and judiciary)
limited capacity within FGS structures to develop strategic policy direction due to extensive demands on individuals/ departments time and resources
lack of formal strategic security related coordination structures with international community has the potential to duplicate effort and waste valuable resources
proliferation of arms is widespread and many Somali citizens currently rely on non-state forces for their security; no effective and accountable police exists yet
lack of continuous payment of security forces results in increased criminal violence and predatory behavior by those forces; this behavior by state security forces, and lack of legal accountability for such conduct, is a persistent trend that threatens the peace and statebuilding process
incomplete integration and influence by clan affiliations and loyalties of SFG security forces occasionally leads to violence among groups within the forces of the SFG and potentially an issue of clan-based contestation
Somali public is deeply mistrustful of political and military leaders in face of various providers of local and national security services, and horrific experiences in the past; most of the human rights violations by perpetrators, with and without uniform, are committed with limited recourse to a functioning judicial system
Civilian oversight and accountability of security sector institutions
currently no effective oversight and accountability mechanism of Somali security sector institutions
lack of legal framework for civilian oversight; Parliament has not yet enacted the relevant legislation in this regard (Art. 130); the mandate of the independent National Security Commission to be established under Art. 111H emphasizes the importance of human security but Commission not yet established or effective, civilian control of the armed forces, and means of redress from abuses by security personnel.
provisional Constitution stipulates that the “armed national security agencies” shall be governed by the rule of law (126(2)) and controlled by civilian agencies (Art. 126(6)); the NSSP further specifies the need for “Inclusive and participatory, democratic oversight”.
Constitution establishes the Office of the Ombudsman; powers include investigation of alleged abuses by the security forces, and initiation of legal action before the courts; Office has not yet been established
redress mechanisms for citizens lack existence and/or effectiveness to address existing and on-going violations and grievances
Capacity of security sector institutions
concept of operations agreed by the international community for AMISOM’s deployment envisaged the development of a Somali National Army (SNA) of 20,000; this is currently far from being achieved and is impacting AMISOM’s ability to expand operations
lack of appropriate logistic support for SNA forces is severely hampering their ability to move from a defensive to an offensive stance to engage AS elements; critical supplies/support required includes, arms & ammunition, fuel, rations and pay
lack of leadership capacity across SNA poses significant challenges for command and control
recruitment for the security services was primarily drawn from pre-existing units and militia formations, requiring trade-offs between the absorption of clan-based formations, transparency and discipline; more recent recruitment of individuals has been more transparent and fair, but they inevitably become subject to the influence of clan-based elements within the security forces
many SFG-allied units composed predominantly from one area or clan, and their members retain residual loyalties to individual commanders; as a result, the SFG security forces are not yet fully inclusive or representative, and existing units are only partially integrated
women and minorities remain under-represented in all branches of the security forces
reintegration of ex-combatants has been largely and successfully completed in Somaliland and Puntland
Relationship between security and justice system
Somali judicial system has in the past effectively been subordinate to the Executive Branch, and is therefore not widely perceived as an independent branch of government
local formal courts are often perceived as corrupt and biased towards stronger groups and individuals making redress for personal violence not a matter of justice but relative power to enforce ruling; public perceptions represent a formidable challenge in rebuilding confidence in the state justice system
specific violent targeting of members of the judiciary and court system reduces performance of the justice sector and its ability to attract talented individuals committed to the practice of law
new military court, established in May 2012, was intended to curb abuses by members of the security forces, but external observers have criticized the court for lacking fair trial standards, and the August 2012 Provisional Constitution voided the court’s jurisdiction over members of the armed forces, by requiring that they be tried for abuses against civilians in civilian courts (Art. 128); threat of repercussions from trials against members of terrorist groups inhibit ability and willingness of civil institutions to prosecute and try
Sources of resilience/capabilities
some regional authorities have achieved progress in demobilizing clan-based militias, establishing functional security forces, and controlling the display and use of firearms (especially heavy weapons) in public spaces for a number of decades;
development of a formal security sector in some of the regions was preceded, or accompanied, by political negotiations with clan elders and other community leaders; ‘Somaliland Communities Security and Peace Charter’, the ‘Sanaag Peace Charter’ and the Garowe Community Constitutional Conference appear to offer valuable examples of negotiated, community-based frameworks (peace charters);
more than 90 local peace processes are estimated to have taken place in southern Somalia since 1991, valuable insights can be gained from this rich experience.
Political dialogue and agreement with the federal states on the status of armed forces and the nature and role of the state and its national army;
Within that context, support through the National Security Plan Framework, as presented at the ‘London 2’ Conference in May 13; recognizing that it is only a framework document, and as highlighted earlier a National Security Strategy and a full National Security Plan will need to be developed in the months ahead. It is important to note that the NSPF includes ‘Justice’
the recently issued National Stabilization Plan also covers important areas for the Security PSG, and it’s objectives will need to be supported through cross-cutting programs that contribute to the effects required in more than one PSG
discussion is required with FGS on which ‘security force’ entry points should be included, i.e. all structures within MOD and MINS (incl. Police, Immigration and NISA)
establishment of National Security Commission as a crucial first step to increase the capacity for civilian oversight
public expenditure review of the security sector to coincide with policy dialogue on aspects of the stabilization plan and provision of basic security and justice services.
Relevant existing programs:
National Security and Stabilization Plan (NSSP) 2011 to 2014, Somalia
National Security Plan Framework 2013
Strategic Action Plan for Policing 2013-2017, Somalia
Stabilization through peacebuilding and peace dividends - A pathway to local governance, Somalia
National Programme for the treatment and handling of disengaging combatants and youth risk in Somalia
Public Financial Management (PFM) Self-assessment Report and Proposed Public Financial Management Strengthening Initiative (2013-2016), Somalia
Revival of the Somali Traditional and Religious Justice System, Somalia
Somalia Justice Sector Action Plan 2013-2015, Somalia
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1 This paper was compiled by experts from the UN and the World Bank.