The Challenges of Transforming a Clan-based Militia into the Somali National Army

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A lecture by Abdihakim Mohamud Haji Faqi, Minister of Defence, Somalia

The future of Somalia represents one of the great unanswered questions on the continent of Africa. Somalia's history, politics and geographical position make it a melting pot of cultures and interests - in terms of Africa, the Middle East and the world as a whole. Situated on the longest coastline of the continent, the Horn of Africa commands the southern access to the Suez Canal, whilst the ports of Mogadishu and Kismayo are strategically important bases for security, trade and economic activity. Further north, Berbera remains a strategic deep seaport, capitalising on its influence over both the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.
 
Somalia is  regularly described as a failed state that has been torn apart over the last twenty years by internal chaos, inter-clan fighting, militia fighting militia and, more recently, the al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab movement which has taken every opportunity to fill the resultant political and security vacuum. The African Union mandated AMISOM force, legitimised by resolution of the United Nations Security Council,  has succeeded in pushing the extremists out of the major urban areas. A new Somali Government is in place, determined to restore peace, prosperity and stability to a devastated and broken land. Central to the Government's task is rebuilding a legitimate and representative defence force which can make the Somali people feel safe and confident as they set about the monumental challenge of rebuilding their country. But the clan based militias, influenced by centuries of political, historical and sometimes personal rivalries are not a naturally stable, coherent and cohesive force. Transforming a clan-based militia into a national defence force is the responsibility of Abdihakim Mohamud Haji Faqi, the Somali Defence Minister.
 
In November 2012, Abdihakim Mohamud Haji Faqi was appointed as Minister of Defence for a second time, having previously served as Minister of Defence and as a national Deputy Prime Minister between November 2010 and July 2011. In this role he is responsible for engaging with policymakers in this country and abroad to address the implications and challenges of transforming a clan-based militia into a national defence force. Prior to this he served as a Somali diplomat in Canada.

Please note refreshments will be served on arrival at 1500 and also immediately after the event.

To register your interest in this event please contact Stephanie Bacon at stephanieb@rusi.org



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