Security and stabilization in Somalia
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From South Africa to Sudan and Burundi to Côte d’Ivoire, negotiations over security arrangements have been critical to successful stabilisation and peacebuilding. Although different in each case, the central lesson is the importance of treating security processes seriously and not simply as technical addendums to political agreements.
The experienced mediator Julian Hottinger has highlighted the importance of getting the approach right: introducing security arrangements into negotiations in a way that will do more good than harm, and that ensures they can be implemented. Unfortunately, as the Abuja negotiations on Darfur illustrate, not all international mediation efforts recognise the strategic significance of security arrangements. Too often they are simply seen as technical mechanisms to secure the political strategy for a peace process. This ignores the reality that security arrangements are critical elements of the overall political strategy and are fundamental to the effectiveness of a peace process.
There are three basic components of good security governance that need to be addressed: 1) building a set of capable and responsive security institutions that are subject to effective oversight; 2) establishing legitimate security governing principles and norms; and 3) building an effective legal framework.
The missing element from a successful negotiated strategy to end conflict in Somalia has been any serious attention to such negotiated security arrangements as described above. Many other examples of effective local Somali strategies for security stabilisation and negotiation can be found in Interpeace’s Peace Mapping study, which is outlined in more detail elsewhere in this publication (see section 2, p. 45). The arguments put forward in this paper draw heavily on the lessons of these case studies.
In Somalia, simplistic assumptions about the relationship between statebuilding and peacebuilding have led international actors to neglect key elements of the latter, notably the challenges of negotiating meaningful transitional security arrangements. Instead, the international community has assumed that the revived state will address these questions.
For Abdullahi Yusuf’s successor, President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, there was an opportunity to recast the mould and embrace a consensus-based, decentralised and incremental approach to security arrangements. And for the international community there was an opportunity to re-think the strategy that equates statebuilding with peacebuilding.