« Previous | Main | Next »

How would you resolve Somalia's crisis?

Charlotte Attwood | 11:27 UK time, Tuesday, 24 August 2010

More than thirty people including six members of parliament were among those killed in an attack on a Mogadishu hotel today, again focusing attention on the worsening political and military situation in Somalia.

The attack - on one of the most fortified government areas - comes after al-Shabab Islamist militants announced a "massive war" on AU peacekeepers backing the transitional government.

So what should happen next?

Is there a military solution to this conflict? Should the "West" intervene as it did against the Taliban in Afghanistan? Should the government negotiate with al-Shabab?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 24 August at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.


  • Comment number 1.

    In my oppinion resolving any arm conflict involves two major aspect:There is the military method of conflict resolution which always end in the lost of lives most especially the innocent ones. There is the diplomatic method which involve talking to all parties involved,it is sometime difficult to talk to people with different ideology from our.While it is important for the AU backed by the international community to provide security to some areas; I truely dont belief that kind of involvement will bring peace.I think the international community should back the AU to initiate a peace conference where all somalis will have the chance to resolve there greviences.
    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 2.

    Somalia's conflict is riding on a noxious cocktail of tribal warring and religious extremism, and now imported cross-border terrorism courtesy of al Qaeda.

    So I think if the rest of the world really cares about Somalia, then they will agree that it needs an invasion with intent to stay for decades. If no country can volunteer (and I doubt if there is any), then the world could support a military dictatorship mandated to clamp down on the warlords.

    This sort of action will provide the warring factions with an opportunity to come together to fight for their liberty once more! Maybe after freeing themselves from such an invader/dictator, they will start appreciating the need to gel together as a country.

    If none of these suggestions is palatable, then the world should simply leave Somalia to it's devices; watch it fight itself into an equilibrium. Of course the human toll would torture our collective conscience as humanity.

  • Comment number 3.

    i think peaceful dialogue should be applied here because calling on west could fuel the stitution. Africans know their self better.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Dear Self-Glorifying-West,

    Iraq and Afghanistan (and Somalia in 1992) have proven beyond any doubt that the west is capable of only starting the civil war. When the Republican's and Conservatives are in power and there is no more Russian spies or Cold War Nuclear crises, then send the Marines to Somalia or Iraq or some other god-forsaken place where they can knock off a few natives, do interviews with CNN, give out a few bags of GM food which they can't sell at home and then put Brad Pitt or Stallone in an army uniform to make a movie based on their dreamed up experience of hell on earth. By the time the movie is released and all the other loot raked in, power has shifted to the Democrats and so what? YES, you guessed it: bring the boys back home!

    Where does that leave poor old Somalia?

    It could become like Iraq: have a corrupt government that functions for 3 days after the Marines leave and then the local police and army which the west trained to fight the remaining militants desert and start their own private militias. There will be another wave of refugees for the neighbors to add to their already miserable lives. Since the western media is no longer interested because the western politicians and actors and other public figures don't visit the place anymore, the world forgets that there existed once a nation called Jerkland.

    Or it could become like Afghanistan: have a corrupt government that functions for 3 days after the Marines leave and then the local police and army which the west trained to fight the remaining militants desert and start their own private militias. There will be another wave of refugees for the neighbors to add to their already miserable lives. Since the western media is no longer interested because the western politicians and actors and other public figures don't visit the place anymore, the world forgets that there existed once a nation called Jerkland.

    Oops does that sound the same? Of course it does because isn't that exactly what the US President is planning for both countries? So much for western intervention.

    I suggest you conduct a poll (you don't have to publish the results since we already know them) in the neighbors of countries like Iraq & Afghanistan after a western intervention campaign and ask them whether western intervention has benefited the country and the neighbors. I don't think any Pakistani could be blamed if he doesn't slap the person or for that matter Iran either. Western intervention in Afghanistan has caused the current problems in Pakistan's North West.

  • Comment number 6.

    I am again going to advocate a standing army for the African Union. An AU standing army is just perfect for this sort of situation.

    The African Union has been asking for solders from its member states to serve in Somalia. The response so far has been very disappointing. Only Uganda and Burundi have sent solders to Somalia. If African countries are unwilling to send solders to Somalia, do you really think that the West is going to send its solders to go and die in Somalia? I doubt it .

    If the African Union had its own standing army, it would not need to beg and borrow. It would just send its own troops to various trouble spots around the continent at short notice.

    The situation in Somalia needs to be pacified by military means initially. Once pacified, a political solution will need to be worked out by the Somalis themselves.

    We, Africans , cannot just sit and watch a country on our continent tear itself apart. It is bad for the Somalis.
    It is destablising to the neighbouring countries. It gives a bad image to the whole continent.

    Again, I am willing to pay a voluntary tax to the African Union to fund such an army.

  • Comment number 7.

    I believe the crisis of Somalia can only be addressed by Somalis. whilst Somalis do not have the different ethnic division that most African nations have; they do however have clan division that cut very deep in their society. So, if they are going to have a lasting peace their clan leaders, moderates along with religious leaders should come together and condemn and reject clan affiliation and focus on their collective identity- Somalia. This should be done internationally as there hardly left any continent without a sizeable Somali community in the world today who either consciously or subconsciously fuel the war back home through their remittance. Secondly, Somalis should stick to their Africanness. Just like Afghanistan, extreme elements of Arabism seem to trickle into their culture slowly. This is not to insult Arab culture by any means but we all know the rise of religious extremist are hunting weak states like Somalia to make their mark. This does not help Somalia in anyway and Somalis should reject this collectively it is not in their interest. You are a nation that deserves better!

  • Comment number 8.

    The state of affair in Somali is pathetic and a shame to both Somali people and Africa at large. However, it ironic that instead of seeking cause and solution, the world is squarely passing the back to the Islamic fundamentalism. This turns the perspective to religious persecution. We need to be a little sober and humanitarian here. Several questions run to mind as to why we may not get to the bottom and solve the problem.
    Looking at the Somali population in diaspora and the funds allegedly they handle indicates their economic enslavement in the countries hosting them. They are a human capital many countries want to hold to. We should stop and have the Somali people reflect on how to solve their country's problem. They have education and all spheres of talent necessary to rebuild Somali; but need supporting vision.
    The war lords uses arms made in the so called developed world where war industry is a lucrative business of the privlleged merchants of death. Countries supplying or allowing weapon transshipment should stop. Without the supply of arms and ammunitions, the war will not be there. Religion is a mere face and an entity being used as a scape goat. Idealism and reality should be invoked objectively to help Somali get back as a apart of the global partner without biaise.
    Somali people at home and in diaspora should revisit their vision for Somali and seek partnership that will help disarm the waring groups, have a homegrown round table discussion to set an agenda for the future on this one time a wonderful country. Please take the lead.

  • Comment number 9.

    Al-Qaida is already permanently entrenched in Somalia. The only way to destroy it is by eliminating al Shabab. The Americans and Europeans would care less if Somalis kill each other off. So, it will be left for AU to do the job of eliminating al Shabab. If al Shabab survives in Somalia, next will be Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti; and beyond, to Uganda and Tanzania. The entire East Africa will be a battleground.

    Civilian casualties in Somalia will have to be the price to pay for peace to be maintained in East africa. This is no different from what is going on in Afghanistan. Al Qaida must not be allowed to jump from Afghanistan to Africa.

  • Comment number 10.

    The only medicine to Somali's problem is Ethiopia. Give Ethiopia the mandate & the rest will be history. Ethiopia did it once with UIC, they can do it again with Al shabab. Forget the UN or the so called AU, these are bodies blackmailed by their selfish interests since they always interpret the problem in terms of what they will get from that country.

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm not sure anyone, other than the Somalis themselves, can solve Somalia's problems. For now, they seem to have made peace with murderous anarchy and seem happy with that state of affairs. They've even managed to achieve what many other African countries (including the mineral-rich ones) can't. They have electricity, telecommunications, banks, some sort of healthcare, and pipe-borne water if you know where to look. You can even enjoy a certain degree of security as long as you don't stray from your own clan into someone else's. In oil-rich and supposedly stable and democratic Nigeria, for example, none of these can be taken for granted.

  • Comment number 12.

    Conflicts are three:
    a)Direct Violence
    b)Cultural Violence
    C)And Structural one.

    The conflict in Somalia has all the above elements. It is a direct and active conflict is going on, it cultural because the root cause of it culturl bases and it is structural as there is no systems in place in the war-torn country.

    To reach a lasting peace in Somalia, the following steps can be applied:
    a) For the direct violece, it can only be stopped and solved by upper superior power. This is to say that it is needed to support for the internationally recognized transitional government and not to wait untill things fall apart.
    b) For the structural and Cultural ones, it can never be solved by military. It can be solved to build peace from bottom- up. This is to follow, the great peace theorist of John Paul Lederach- Building peace from grassroot levels not to began initiating it from the roof. I did the very question of why Somali Peace Talks have failed on my MA in Conflict Resolution dissertation at the University of Bradford. The result was to follow the suit of break away Republic of Somaliland example of which I compared on how they differently built their peace and state. The two( Somaliland and Somalia) once be one Republic followed two diverting approach of finding last peace and stability.
    On Somalia, it had been tried to build their peace from top- down where as in Somaliland was intiated from villages to National. The two examples are living examples live side by side in the terribled region of Horn of Africa. Somalia conflict need to build from ground after managing to stop by direct violence and blood shed by international support: This to end and say Somalia need Peace-making first, then peace- building from grassroots.

  • Comment number 13.

    Somali Conflict can only be resolved by the introduction of a huge military force to wipe out extremist as the real reason for the conflict was not religion but clan violence. after the extremist are eliminated then a lengthy discussion involving all major clans and warlords be convened to find a solution. You cant help Somalis without full participation by the Somalis

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    And one more thing: It's hard to imagine anything good inherent in the the Somali nightmare, but if it serves as a warning against mindless misrule and tyranny to other African rulers, that, perhaps might be a good thing indeed. Mind you, no one seems to be heeding that warning at the moment.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    It sounds like disaster what is doing on somalia, to make the matter worst the international community are totally lost their part of making somali peace let me say they are keeping to consult their own interest so somalia killing abration rape are normal so just let AU out and somali they know each other well

  • Comment number 18.

    Leave Somalia alone. They will eventually sort themselves out - might take a century, maybe two, but they will, in the long run!
    But if their country suddenly discovers large deposits of oil or minerals, well... :)


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.