On December 6th 2006, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed Resolution 1725 which approved an African led peacekeeping mission in Somalia. The fourth point in the Resolution explicitly stated that: Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“4. Endorses the specification in the IGAD Deployment Plan that those States that border Somalia would not deploy troops to Somalia.”
International law stipulated that the nations of Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya could not deploy troops to Somalia. On December 24th, 2006, less than three weeks after the UNSC passed Resolution 1725, Ethiopia illegally invaded Somalia. Late Prime Mister Zenawi stated that Ethiopia would leave Somalia within two weeks; Ethiopian troops have now been in Somalia for ten years, a whole decade. Though a violation of international law, the international community was forced to accept Ethiopia’s incursion as a fait accompli. Merriam-Webster defines fait accompli as “a thing accomplished and presumably irreversible.”
In 2009, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) signed a peace agreement under the United Nations leadership. This agreement explicitly stated, again, that bordering states cannot deploy troops to Somalia (see point 7).
Fast forward to October 16th, 2011, and Kenya unilaterally invades Somalia, becoming the second neighboring state to violate international law. Somalia’s then President, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, publicly stated that: “The Somali government and its people will not be pleased with Kenya’s intervention. We had no agreement with Kenya . . ..” Like Ethiopia’s 2006 invasion, Kenya forced the international community to accept its incursion as a fait accompli.
Somalia, due to its two-decade plus status as a failed state, has been weakened as a nation-state and thus unable to properly address its national security concerns. The international community, most notably, the United Nations, must not neglect its responsibility to Somalia. Neighboring states must not be allowed to deploy troops to assist in the AMISOM peacekeeping mission. Alternative African nations (e.g. Rwanda) must replace Ethiopian and Kenyan troops.
Somalia’s political institutions are fragile and its emerging federal structure infantile. Resolution 1725 was constructed to help Somalia reemerge as a nation-state, and a pragmatic policy of excluding its neighboring states as peacekeepers was, and still is, fundamental to helping Somalia fully stabilize. Undue influence from neighboring states has kept the country’s political climate in disequilibrium, and it is usurping the Federal Government of Somalia’s writ. It is in Somalia’s national interest that Resolution 1725 be reinstated and thoroughly enforced.
The Farmaajo-Khayre administration should immediately begin implementing the policy of Restructuring AMISOM: Resolution 1725. It must seek agreements from other African nations to replace troops from Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. Restructuring AMISOM to exclude neighboring states will enhance Somalia’s political environment and facilitate its chances of becoming a fully functioning state by 2021.
Aman Obsiye has a Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Policy from the University of Minnesota. He is the author of the academic research paper Rethinking the Somali State. He tweets @amanobsiye
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