The C.M. is the first step in the latest attempt by the Western great powers (United States and European Union) and their agent, the United Nations, to put the territories of post-independence “Somalia” under a functioning central government. At present, “Somalia” is represented internationally by the Transitional Federal Government (T.F.G.), which was formed in 2004 and was supposed to have executed the “transition to permanent statehood by August 2011. By the beginning of 2011, it had become clear that the T.F.G. was too divided and was not sufficiently motivated to carry through the “transition” if it was left to its own devices. The Western powers would have to take the initiative if any progress was to be made.
In February 2011, the U.N.’s special representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, announce that the U.N. would sponsor a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya of domestic and external stakeholders in “Somalia” in order to get the “transition going. The effort was a failure due to divisions among and opposition to the “transition” process by Somali factions, particularly within the T.F.G., that the Western powers were unwilling to overcome by using their financial and diplomatic power. As a result, the Western powers ended up by spring 2011 – after tortuous twists and turns – acquiescing in an extension of the mandates of the transitional institutions until August 2012.
Knocked back, the Western powers and the U.N. picked themselves up and started all over again in the summer of 2011, setting up a new meeting – the C.M. This time, they seem to have realized that facilitating a meeting of Somali factions would not be enough; the Western powers would have to impose a plan. They have done that with the “Roadmap” and its “benchmarks;” it remains to be seen whether or not they will have sufficient resolve and will to marshal the necessary resources to implement it.
The Western powers want to get the “transition” over and done with. They bankroll the T.F.G. and the African Union peacekeeping mission (AMSOM) in Mogadishu that props it up militarily. Faced with their own financial crises and the growing global challenges, especially in the Middle East, the Western “donor’-powers want to reduce their commitments in “Somalia,” have a permanent government there with which they can make agreements and deals, and have more reliable collaboration in pursuing their major interests in the Horn of Africa: conducting their anti-terrorism and anti-piracy campaigns. Reducing their commitments overrides all their other interests.
A Roadmap to Nowhere
At present, the Roadmap is a series of directives on the instrumentalities for accomplishing the major “transitional tasks:” security, finalizing a constitution, reconciliation of Somali factions (inclusiveness), and “good governance” (curbing corruption and achieving transparency). In the “donor”-powers/U.N.’s ideal scenario, by August 2012, “Somalia” would have a permanent government established according to a constitution that would be granted legitimacy and support by major Somali factions and that would be able to defend itself. The Roadmap does not specify what the constitution will be; that depends on committees that have yet to be established. In all respects, the Roadmap is a framework that has not been filled in. The level of the “donor”-powers/U.N.’s financial support for the transitional process has not yet been specified, although support has been made contingent on the T.F.G., which has been charged with primary responsibility for executing the design, meeting the benchmarks. As the T.F.G.’s prime minister, Abdeweli Mohamed Ali (Gas) said on September 8, quoted by Reuters: “A roadmap without resources is a roadmap to nowhere.”.read more