15 Eylül 2014 Pazartesi

Politics and Conflict in Somalia

The official name of Somali is the Federal Republic of Somalia, located in East Africa and borders with Ethiopia in the west, Djibouti in the northwest, the Gulf of Aden in the north, Kenya in the southwest, the India Ocean in the east. Somalia lies at a very strategic place in the world which is a gate for the Red Sea and the Arabian Peninsula. In addition, it is of highly importance for the regions of the Middle East, the North Africa, and for the Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of its geographical condition. The population of Somali is approximately 10 million and the majority of the population believes in the religion of Islam. There are different ethnic groups in the country, including 85 percent of Somali (Samaale), and 15 percent of Bantu and other non-Somali. The Samaale ethnic group composes of the four important clan groups, including Isaaq, the Dir, Daaroodeach, and Hawiye. The Samaale live in Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya. Somali and Arabic are the official language of the country.[1]
Throughout the history, Somalia had been used as an important trading station by the different civilizations. Somalia has a unique place on the international politics. Since 1991, there has not a central government in the country, facing a deep political, social, and economic instability. It is described as a collapsed state by the international community.[2] East Africa is among the poorest regions in the world. Due to the long-standing civil war in Somalia, economic and political institutions have failed to provide the basic services to the citizens. Since 1991, hundreds of thousands of Somali have died due to violence and starvation and approximately one million was forced to free the country. Infrastructure in the country is extremely bad.  While unemployment rate is 74 percent, life expectancy is around 50 percent. 82 percent of the population is poor and the unemployment rate for the youth is 67 percent. 73 percent has no access to health facilities.[3]

During the colonial period, the Somali people were divided by the colonial powers. European colonial powers established their colonies, known as British Somaliland Italian Somaliland, and French Somaliland after the signing of the Berlin conference of 1884-5. While Britain colonized present-day north-western Somalia, Italy took control over the current north-eastern, central and southern Somalia. French also colonized present Djibouti called French Somaliland and controlled it until 1977. During the Second World War, Britain took possession the Italian Somaliland and ruled it until 1949. The former colonial powers established their colonies in Somalia so as to control the route to India, to exploit resources, to strengthen their trading network, and to use it as a coal station. Between 1950-1960, the Italian Somaliland became a UN trusteeship under Italian administration. On 26 June 1960, Somalia gained independence from Britain in the north and Italy in the south on 1 July 1960. The two different former colonial territories under the President Aden Abdullah Osman Daar decided to unite and declared its independence by forming the United Republic of Somalia on 1 July 1960.[4]

The period of the dictatorship in the country began after Major General Mohamed Said Barre staged a bloodless coup against the elected government on 21 October 1969. After he came to power, he changed the name of the country as the Somali Democratic Republic. Said Barre established the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) in 1969 to rule the country and became the president of the SRC between 1969-1991. He banned all the political parties and activities, abrogated the parliament and the Supreme Court and shelved the constitution. In his period, social and economic problems extensively increased and he used an oppressive policy against the oppositions, in particular the Isaaks clan. Said Barre pursued an irredentist policy and claimed the eastern region of Ethiopia, the north-eastern part of Kenya and the country of Djibouti. The Ethiopian-Somalia War or Ogaden War began with the Somali army attacked the region of Ogaden in July 1977, claiming that the region of Ogaden historically belonged to Somalia. During the war, General Siad Barre provided political and military support for the secessionist group in the eastern region of Ethiopia known as Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF) and aligned with the Soviet Union and bought weapons from the Soviet Union, the worth of the billions of dollars.  The main motivation behind the war was that Somali under the leadership of Said Barre aimed to create a Greater Somalia by taking possession over the Somali-inhabited areas in East Africa. The war ended in March 1978.[5]

Importantly, both global actors the Soviet Union and the US played an active role in escalating the war by selling weapons to the both countries Somalia and Ethiopia. The US provided political and military support for Ethiopia until 1974, while the Soviet Union also supported Somalia. With the coming of a military regime in Ethiopia in 1974, the leader of the military government in the country Mengistu Haile Mariam began to increase its relations with Moscow. Throughout the Ogadeen War, the Soviet Union supported Ethiopia, such as the deployment of the Soviet military troops and the helping of deployment of the Cuban military troops in the country to fight against Somalia. In 1974, the Soviets signed a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with Somalia. In December 1976, the Soviet also signed a military agreement with Ethiopia. In response to it, Siad Barre dissolved the 1974 Soviet-Somali Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation and sent the Soviet advisers back to the Soviet. In 1974, the US began to reduce the degree of the relationship with Ethiopia and increased its partnership with Somalia, aimed to decrease the influence of the Soviet Union in the region.[6] In the 1970s and the 1980s, Somalia became the country that received the largest financial aid of the US in Africa but most of the money was used for the military expenditures by the regime of Siad Barre. The Ethiopian-Somalia War reflected the struggle for power among the global powers over the Horn of Africa and illustrated the nature of the proxy war in the region.

Since the collapse of the regime of Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has fallen into anarchy and long-standing conflicts. The north of the country (the territory of the former British Somaliland) by the clan of the Isaaq within the framework of the Somalia National Movement (SNM) declared its independence as a Republic of Somaliland from the rest of Somalia in May 1991; however, its self-declared independence was not recognized by any government in the world. In 1998, the region of northern-east also declared its own self-autonomous as a State of Puntland. Importantly, Ethiopia has supported both the secessionalist groups such as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) in the north-west in Somalia and the Somalia National Movement in the region of Puntland.[7]

 After the fall of the regime of Siyad Barre, regional and international actors have attempted to establish a central government in Mogadishu. The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was established in Nairobi, Kenya in October 2004 under the auspices of the sub-regional organization Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the “Transitional Federal Charter (TFC)” was adopted. Abdullah Yusuf Ahmad was elected as the head of the TFG by the Parliament. Importantly, the “Transitional Federal Institutions” were also created with the adoption of the TFC in 2004. The TFG was supported by the United Nations, the African Union and the US and recognized by the international community. In June 2006, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) attacked Mogadishu and captured the southern part of the country, including Mogadishu; however the TFG with the support of Ethiopian military troops and the AU peacekeeping force prevented the invasion of the ICU in 2006. According to Paham,[8] the TFG was not a government because it could not provide the basic services to the people of Somalia. It was extremely dependent on the assistance of foreign troops. With the end of the mandate of the TFG in August 2012, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) was established and accepted as a central government of Somalia by the international community.[9]

The UN has deployed the two peacekeeping missions in Somalia, known as the UN Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM I – 1992) and (UNOSOM II – 1993-1995). The US also dispatched its military troops in the country called the US-led Unified Task Force (UNITAF – 1992-1993). However, the three international military interventions have failed to maintain peace, security and stability in Somalia. The African Union has also maintained a peacekeeping mission in the country called African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) since February 2007, which mainly aims to strengthen the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) and support the TFG.
There are three important dimensions of the conflict in Somalia, namely international, regional and domestic.[10] The civil war has not only threatened political and economic interests of the Somalis but also menaced strategic interests of the global actors, notably the EU and the US. Somalia is at the strategic place to control over the Arab peninsula and the oil transportation route. The war in Somalia has led to the emergence of the threat of the piracy off the coast of Somalia which threatens the trading activities of the global actors on the Horn of Africa. The international actors have deployed their operations in order to protect their economic activities, international maritime security and prevent the piracy attacks in the Gulf of Aden, and the off the coast of Somalia. For instance the EU deployed its naval mission called the EU NAVFOR – Atalanta (2008-present). The US also authorized its naval operation in 2009 called Combined Task Force 151. The NATO also has a naval mission called Operational Ocean Shield on the off coast of Somalia since 2009. 

The second dimension is the regional dynamics in East Africa. The legacy of the colonialism has still affected the regional developments in the region. For instance, the colonial power divided Somalia and the countries in the region between different ethnic groups. Particularly, the ongoing border dispute between the states in this region is the legacy of the colonial powers. Since Somalia has gained its independence, it has pursued an aggressive foreign policy to annex the Somali-inhabited regions in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti under the policy of irredentism. The third dimension is the internal dynamics. Somalia is among the poorest countries in the world and corruption is extremely very high in the country. Unemployment rate and underdevelopment have posed a number of challenges which damage economic and political stability. It is unclear how the diverse strategic interests of the various regional and international actors involved in the Somali crisis for a long time would contribute to maintaining peace, security and stability in Somalia. 

There are three important steps for creating lasting peace and security in the country. The first is that the different segments or tribes in the society rather than the through international interventions should take responsibility to unite the country. The second one is that the Somalis themselves should take initiative to create the institutions of the state to make the government a functioning entity. The third step is the focus on development in the country.[11] While development can significantly contribute to social, economic and political stability, underdevelopment will make the country the worst. The countries in East Africa have strengthened their military power and paid the billions of the dollars for it despite the extreme poverty in the countries. Changing the traditional foreign policies for the countries and developing economic-oriented foreign policies in the region are necessary to change the destiny of the region. Particularly, the struggle for power among the different clan groups has destabilized the regional security and economic relations among the countries.


[1] World Bank, “Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics”, 2005, Working Paper, pp. 7-8.
[2] J. Peter, Pham, “Somalia: Where a State Isn’t a State”, The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Vol., 32, No. 2, 2011, p. 133.
[3] United Nations Development Programme, “Fact Sheet: Somalia Human Development Report 2012”, 2012, pp. 1-2. 
[4] Ibrahim Farah, Abdirashid Hussein, and Jeremy Lind, "Deegaan, Politics and War in Somalia." Scarcity and Surfeit. Institute for Security Studies. Pretoria, South Africa (2002), pp. 323-4.
[5] World Bank, “Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics”, 2005, Working Paper, pp. 9-11.
[6] Kenneth, G. Weiss, “The Soviet Involvement in the Ogaden War”, 1980, Center for Naval Analyses, pp. 1-14.
[7] Bjorn, Moller, “The Somali Conflict: The Role of External Actors”, DIIS Report 2009, Danish Institute for International Studies, pp. 10-1.
[8] J. Peter, Pham, “Somalia: Where A State Isn’t a State”, The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Vol., 32, No. 2, 2011, p. 147.
[9] Matt, Bryden, “Somalia Redux? Addressing the New Somali Federal Government”, 2013, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), pp. 14-16.
[10] Rossella Marangio, “The Somalia Crisis: Failed State and International Interventions”, 2012, IAI Working Papers 12, Istituto Affari Internazionali, pp. 2-3.
[11] Ibid., p. 15.

Politics and Conflict in Nigeria

Nigeria is a federal republic consists of 36 states. The country is located in West Africa and borders with Niger in the north, Chad and Cameroon in the east and Republic of Benin in the west. In the south, it lies on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa with 174 million inhabitants and has over 300 ethnic groups speaking 250 local languages. Nigeria is very heterogeneous and ethnically very divergent country. Whilst 50 percent of the population is Muslim, 40 percent is Christian and 10 percent of the population believes the indigenous beliefs. While the majority of Muslims live in the north, Christians live in the south. 9 states in the northern Nigeria have been ruled according to Islamic law since 1999.[1] The history of Islam in Nigeria goes back to the 9th century; Islam spread over the country through the Muslim traders came from the Arabic peninsula and North Africa.  Since Nigeria gained its independence in 1960 from Britain, it failed to establish functional state institutions to deliver the basic needs of the people, including security, education, medical care, transportation and water. For instance, the maternal and infant mortality rates of Nigeria in the world are the eleventh and the tenth. Life expectancy rate is around 50. While 78 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water at the urban areas, only 49 percent can drink clean water at the rural areas. While 30 percent of the population can benefit from the health care facilities at the urban areas, it is 24 percent at the rural areas.[2]
Nigeria is labeled as one of the poorest countries in the world[3] despite having mass natural resources. Its infrastructure is extremely poor. It is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.[4] Oil has been the most important source of the government revenues since 1970. Nigeria became a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1971 and produces natural gas, petroleum, coal, tin, iron, lead, zinc and limestone. It is the eight largest exporter of oil in the world and largest in Africa. However, more than 62 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty in Nigeria. Economic disparities between the Muslim north and the Christian south are extreme. While more than 70 percent live poverty in the north, only 27 percent live in poverty in the south and 35 percent in the Niger Delta.[5] 
As of 2014, Nigeria became the largest economic power of Africa and its GDP reached to 502 billion dollars in 2013. Its economy grows at a 6-8 percent per annum.[6] [7] With the adoption of the new constitution in 1999, the period of the 16 years of the military junta ended in the country. Corruption, poverty, mismanagement, and unequal distribution of the oil revenues have become the main driving factors behind the longstanding political, social and economic instabilities in Nigeria. In January 2014, Nigeria was elected as a non-permanent member at the UN Security Council for the period of 2014-2015.

The colonial history of Nigeria goes back to the fifteenth century. Portugal, the Netherlands, French and Britain were among the colonial powers in the country but particularly Britain had a profound impact on the current social, economic and political structure of Nigeria. It established Western education system and spread Christianity in the south but this created a significant disparity between north and south and led to the emergence of religious and political tension and marginalized the people in the north. Britain used the policy of divide-and-rule to prevent uniting Nigerian people during the British colonial period. Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, there was huge difference between the northern and southern parts of the country. While political and economic change was so slow in the north, it was rapid in the south because of the route of the transatlantic slave trade.[8] At the beginning of the nineteenth century, two different historical events changed the country radically. The first was that Usman dan Fodio established the Sokoto Caliphate in Northern Nigeria between 1804 and 1808 which played a significant role in spreading Islam in north in the nineteenth century. The second one was that Britain abolished the transatlantic slave trade in 1807, however it continued until the 1860s. After 1860s, the new commodities such as palm oil have been found and replaced it. The shift in trade had significant economic and political consequences in Nigeria and then Britain increased its intervention in the political and economic affairs of Nigeria after 1860s.[9]

With the Berlin conference of 1885, the European colonial powers divided Africa among themselves to prevent their conflict of interest in Africa. After the conference, Britain established its protectorates in Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria. It founded the Royal Niger Company to colonize the country in the nineteenth century and controlled the major trading centers throughout the company.[10] British colonialism created Nigeria without any respect of socio-cultural dynamics of indigenous people and introduced Western political and social concepts on the local people. Frederick Lugard, the first high commissioner of the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria, used armed force to control the region and imposed the Western system on the indigenous people. Inconsistent, brutal and racial British colonial policies in the north led to the emergence of anti-Western thoughts and regional animosities. Furthermore, it strengthened nationalist sentiments and loyalty to the emirs of the Sokoto Caliphate. Nigeria became independence from Britain in 1960 and had 60 million of its population at that time. The first parliamentary elections in the country were held in December 1964, however military coups became a feature of political life of Nigeria and destabilized both political and economic stability. The period between 1966 and 1998 was known as the period of military junta in the country. In this period, eight military coups took place.

There are three important largest ethnic groups in Nigeria. The first is the Hausa ethnic group which live in the north and is mainly Muslims. The Hausa accounts for the 29 percent of the population. The second is the Yoruba ethnic group which is the half population of which is Muslim and the half is Christian and lives in the south-west. The Yoruba accounts for 21 percent of the population. The third ethnic group is the Igbo which is predominantly Christian and live in south-east. Igbo represents the 18 percent of the population in the country.[11] With the independence of Nigeria in 1960, the Hausa and the Igbo established a conservative political alliance and ruled the country from 1960 to 1966 but this political alliance excluded the Yoruba people. Importantly, the Igbo ethnic group got more benefits from power economically and politically. During the British colonial period, many Igbo worked in government and military.  The Yoruba ethnic group made an agreement with the Hausa and they together went to the election of 1965 by establishing the Nigerian National Alliance party. This political alliance also excluded the Igbo from power. The Nigerian National Alliance party won the election and came to power in 1965. However, military coups destabilized political stability in the country.

On 15 January 1966, the Igbo officers staged a coup against the elected government and overthrew it. General Ironsi from the ethnic group of Igbo became the head of state in January 1966. The northern officers also countered it by staging a military coup against the General Ironsi and General Yakubu Gowon from the north came to power after the military coup in the country. In 1967, the Nigerian Civil War known as the Biafran War erupted as a result of ethnic, political and economic conflict. The discovery of oil in the south-east in the early 1960s changed the political and economic dynamics in Nigeria. The military governor of the region of south-east Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu proclaimed the independence of the region of south-east from Nigeria as a Republic of Biafra. The Igbo officer Colonel Ojukwu claimed that the north and west will benefit of oil discovered in the east-south and discriminate the Igbo people from power. He believed that the Igbo will create their own state and become more prosperous by using oil. France, Portugal, South Africa, and Tanzania were among the countries to recognize the independence of the Republic of Biafra. In January 1970, the Nigerian government control over the region of south-east. More than one million Nigerians died during the war and three million became refugees.[12]

In July 1975, the armed forces made a bloodless military coup against the president Yakubu Gowon and they appointed General Murtala Ramat Muhammad from the Hausa as president. In February 1976, Muhammad was assassinated and General Olusegun Obasanjo succeeded the previous one. In 1979, Nigeria adopted the Constitution of the United States which created an environment that people can freely go to elections and choose their political parties as a ruling party. The constitution also separated the powers among the executive, legislative, and judiciary. In 1979, the country went to national elections and the leader of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) Alhaji Shehu Shagaria won the election and became the president of the country. In 1979, the five political parties joined the elections freely. The period (1979-1983) is called as the second Republic of Nigeria. However, the first democratically elected government failed to bring peace and security and stop widespread corruption and crime throughout the country. Particularly, the coalition parties were not strong and there was not enough cooperation between the coalition government and the opposition parties. Also, oil prices increased significantly in the country. On 31 December 1983, a military coup under the leadership of Major General Muhammedu Buharia from the northern region again took place and overthrew the civilian government, claiming that the civilian government failed to restore political and economic stability and stop corruption and crime.[13]
In 1985, General Ibrahim Babangida seized the control and overthrew the government of Buharia. Babangida remained in power until 1993. In November 1993, General Sani Abacha controlled the state and stayed in power as a military dictator until 1998. During the period of Abacha, human rights violations were very high. After the death of Abacha, Major General Abdulsalami Abubakar came to power in June 1998. Local and presidential elections were held in the country respectively in December 1998 and February 1999 and the leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Obasanjo won the elections and became the president of the country. With the elections in the country, a long military period in Nigeria ended. After the civilian government was established, the government of Obasanjo faced serious challenges surrounding the country.[14]

In 2000, an upheaval emerged in the northern side of the country which desire to adopt Islamic law for their states’ administration. Also, ethnic divisions destabilised political and economic stability in the country. Since the transformation period in the country from the military junta to democracy in 1999, the country has suffered to maintain peace, security and stability. For instance, more than 10.000 Nigerians have been killed due to the sectarian violence since the democratic elections took place in 1999. When a Danish newspaper depicted Prophet Muhammed in September 2005, a conflict between the Muslims and the Christians appeared and 100 people died from the conflict. In 2001, the ethnic group in the State of Benue in the south-east started an upheaval against the government and to attack the international oil companies in the region of Niger-Delta where the oil is produced. They claimed that the local people are not benefiting from the oil revenues where the international oil companies produce. In April 2007, Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua, the governor of the northern state of Katsina,  from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) came to power when the Senate rejected Obasanjo's candidate for the third time. On 5 May 2010, Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian and the governor of the southern state of Bayelsa, came to power with the death of Yar’Adua. The military coups and the longstanding military periods in the country highly militarised the society.[15]  


[1] These states are Zamfara, Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kebbi and Yobe. The Islamic law is also valid in the States of Kaduna, Niger, and Gombe where the majority of the Muslims live.
[8] Julius, O. Ihonvbere, “The Politics of Adjustment and Democracy: Nigeria”, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1994, pp. 8-15.
[9] Library of Congress - Federal Research Division, “Nigeria”, 2008, pp. 3-4.
[10] Scott P. Pearson, “The Economic Imperialism of the Royal Niger Company”, Stanford University, Food Research Institute, 1971, p. 85-6.
[11] Luke Uka Uche, “Mass Media, People and Politics in Nigeria”, New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company, 1989, pp.7-15.
[12] Library of Congress - Federal Research Division, “Nigeria”, 2008, pp. 4-6.
[13] Martin, P. Mathews, “Current Issues and Historical Background: Nigeria”, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2002, pp. 5-10.
[14] Michael, Ogbeidi, “Political Leadership and Corruption in Nigeria since 1960: A Socio-economic Analysis”, Fall 2012,  Journal of Nigeria Studies, Vol., 1, No.: 2, pp. 6-11.
[15] Abimboloa Adesoji, “The Boko Haram Uprising and Islamic Revivalism in Nigeria”, Africa Spectrum, Vol. 45, No., 2 (2010), p. 96.

Turkey-Africa alliance: Evolving patterns in security relations

ABSTRACT Turkey has maintained its strategic relations with Africa at the highest level under recent AK Party governments in the ...