Dear Colleagues (Somali and Not):
It is time for us to recognize and acknowledge that, with the end of the â€œtransition,â€ Somalia has become a dependency.
The choice has been made by the â€œdonorâ€-powers/U.N. to set up a neo-colonial system formed by proxy-chains that begin at the top with the â€œdonorâ€-powers/U.N., work through regional powers (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Djibouti), and lock Somali factions into dependent, exploitative relations that benefit the domestic political class at the expense of the rest of the Somali people. The keenly perceptive analyst, Mohamud Uloso, who has written an ongoing series of studies of the â€œtransitionâ€ as it has proceeded (anyone who wishes to understand Somaliaâ€™s dependency through the most penetrating political-legal analysis needs to read Ulosoâ€™ series), has put the situation concisely â€“ the â€œtransitionâ€ has not ended; Somalia has ended.
The theory/ideology of neo-colonialism in Somalia has been provided by Western policy analysts â€“ the prominent American Somalia analyst, Kenneth Menkhaus (in his August, 2012 article â€œSomaliaâ€™s 20-year Experience in Hybrid Governanceâ€ [World Politics Review]); and Chatham House (in its â€œsynthesisâ€ of a 2011 meeting of Somali â€œopinion-formersâ€ in its January, 2012 report â€œSomaliaâ€™s Transition: What Role for Sub-National Entitiesâ€).
For Menkhaus and Chatham House, Somalia will have a weak central government in the post-â€œtransitionâ€ period. The political fragmentation of the country will persist. The parts are currently stronger than the whole. As analyst Ahmed Egal puts it, fission prevails over fusion. Menkhaus and Chatham House are correct. As the situation stands now, there are no political forces in Somalia capable of initiating a process of fusion. National disintegration is the objective fact. Proxy-chain neo-colonialism proceeds from that fact (Menkhas and Chatham House, of course, have nothing to say about that).
The ideological component of Menkhausâ€™ and Chatham Houseâ€™s discussions comes in the formerâ€™s notion that a post-transition â€œcentralâ€ government in Somalia should function as a â€œmediated stateâ€ and the latterâ€™s idea that a post-â€œtransitionâ€ government should perform â€œcoordinative activities between federal entities.â€ In the Menkhaus version, the (nominal) central government cedes powers to sub-national units. In the Chatham House version, the sub-national units cede powers to the central government.
Given the factual situation that Menkhaus and Chatham House have described, the mediative/coordinative state is a utopian cover for the balkanization of Somalia. In order to perform a mediative/coordinative function, the central government would have to be strong. But it will be weak. That means the parts of Somalia will be open to divide-and-rule tactics and sphere-of-influence deals by external actors. That is what the end of Somalia (as a political community, whatever form it might take) means.
How does a central government mediate among and coordinate the parts when the sub-national units are stronger than the central government? The answer is that it doesnâ€™t do it.
How does a friend of Somalia respond to the countryâ€™s neo-colonial dependency? Somalia has been weak since the collapse of the Somali state; it was in political limbo. Now it is in the first stages of dependency. The problem has been pushed back to liberation from dependency.
The solution is not armed liberation. The conditions for that, if it were to occur, would not be present before a prior requisite is met. The solution is reconciliation among Somaliaâ€™s factions: self-generated reconciliation by Somalis. A commitment by Somalis to live together, which is not now present, would have to be made by enough Somali friends of Somalia to start a fusion process.
A non-Somali friend of Somalia can do nothing about reconciliation but point out that it is always there as an option for any Somalis who want to exercise it. There is nothing else. Abukar Armanâ€™s ghost-lords have made their decision.
Report Drafted By: Dr. Michael A. Weinstein, Professor of Political Science, Purdue University in Chicago firstname.lastname@example.org