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Somalia: Being in a hard and rock place

by Abdi Musse
Monday, November 27, 2017

Somalia’s geographical location

From the era of Egyptian pharaohs the geographical location of Somalia was very important for many reasons; including, the strategy and the close proximity of Gulf of Aden, which for many years was a trading hub interested by many powers.

European colonialist quickly recognized the important of Somali’s geographical location followed by the cold war tit for tat game played by the East-led by Russia and the West-led by USA.

Current situation

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Too many interests and hidden agendas arose from the civil war and the anarchy Somalia endured for the past 26 or so years, which led foreign actors and neighbouring countries to exert huge emphasis to dominate Somalia politics by meddling it’s affairs inside out.

These competing interests surely confuse both the average Somali person as well as the Somali politicians who neither holds the leverage of leading the country into the right direction nor have the financial and institutional capability to perform any real politic. The former is due to the lack of real mandate as foreign actors hold more power over the Somali politician-hence foreign actors are pulling the strings due to the aid they bring the country, while the later is as direct result of the former.

Imagine being resident in a house that has many doors and each door’s key is held by someone whom you the resident of one of the rooms do not know their intentions and ambitions for the house. The similarities are there for Somalia today. There are many so-called stakeholders/partners and international community whom we actually do not know their intentions and ambitions.

One key evident could be the terror incident on 14 October 2017 at Zoobe Mogadishu where over 350 Somali innocent being killed in one day and over 600 wounded. The investigation of that while still continuing it was clear to many Somalis that there were cover up and disagreement between the Somali Federal Government’s and foreign actor’s positions as to where the target was. The foreign actors interference caused the delay and confusion followed by the lack of clarification as whether the target was Halane or Turkish Military base. This is still an outstanding question that needs to be answered.

This incident alone manifests the rock and hard place Somalia is now in and the ever growing foreign actors who now include the Gulf Cooperation Council countries who brought their internal disputes to the shores of Somali politic.

With all these jigsaws in place and Somali politicians who do not have space to make meaningful political manoeuvres, the situation is getting harder and harder for the country. Coupled all these with the real terrorist threat that is constant in nature and continues in succession, which to many Somalis’ intuition also have foreign actors elements into it.

In my recent meeting with senior official from US Embassy in London  I argued “countries can and must have interests from each other big or small, what however Somalis are confused if not frustrated with is what for example USA wants from our country” I challenged with the official if you make me understand what USA wants from Somalia I will even by using public relation technique lobby on your behalf so that to make the Somali people accept it and therefore you will reach your goal and you will easily grasp your interest. I said to my meeting partner but if you fail to convince me sitting with you inside the Embassy compound how can you sell your ideas to the average Somali man and women in the streets of Somalia.

This was legitimate question which I would like to ask all foreign actors to clearly tell us their ambitions and intentions so that we will negotiate with them and possibly discuss with them how we could accommodate their interests including natural recourse development negotiations-rights verses responsibility, distribution and so on.


In my humble opinion a word of wisdom to the neighbouring regional leaders could be; for them to show political maturity and should promote a united, prosperous Somalia that’s a flourishing trading partner and utilize its marine 3300 km or so long coast resources rather than promoting disintegrated and chaotic Somalia policies.

To the other foreign actors I would say; it would have been wise not to dismantle Somalia but rather because of its strategic location and its rich natural resources keep it together and develop its resources so that economic growth will be reality. With growing economy and poverty eradicated through real investment, job creation and utilization of all potential resources the country will adjust itself and thus many of today’s problems including terrorism minimized if not eliminated.

Abdi Musse
E-mail: [email protected]

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