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Civil society engagement with the Security Sector in Somalia Presenter: Ali Iman, LPI Somalia Hosted by: GPPAC and IKV Christi 11 -12 Feb, 2014, The Hague
Operational Environment for CSOs v CSOs operate in: Ø in an insecure environment of a protracted, complex conflicts, Ø Fully dependent on organised armed actors of various types—and nationalities—for almost all aspects of work.
Who is who in the Security Sector? Ø AMISOM: ü the largest operational military contingent, ü (Its composition and numbers) with an aid delivery role as well, ü AMISOM itself divided into geographical ‘sectors’. Ø Somali National Army (SNA) and police: ü Yet to be fully rebuilt after decades of clan-based warfare ü Remain loose outfits, ü Lacking effective central command control, cohesion and professionalism, ü Even sporadic infighting
Who is who in the Security Sector? Contd. Ø Al-Shabaab : ü Problems of negotiating access with a ‘designated’ armed group ü Unacceptable operational conditions (MSF, WFP etc) Ø UNDSS (security/safety of UN and its partners) ü A key security actor in facilitating UN bodies and NGOs’ work and security management. Ø Private security firms working as business enterprises and providing armed escorts ü Neutral, more professional and better paid than other Somali forces and SPUs
Who is who in the security sector? Contd. Ø Local authorities and clan militias in different southcentral regions ü essential for local acceptability, community mobilisation and physical security Ø Special Police Units (SPU) in the North (Somaliland Puntland) ü UNDP-funded specifically set up to escort and protect NGO/UN staff, compounds and assets ü Payment issues, though better trained and disciplined than SNS forces
Implications of a Crowded Security Sector § High cost of operations in Somalia ü Financial cost of working in Somalia multiplies, ü For one activity, NGOs may have to deal with and gain security cover from several security actors. § Constraints on peacebuilding scope and activities ü Project design and sometimes even contents have to have armed actors’ ‘buy-in’, which limits the scope of peacebuilding and other development work.
Implications of a Crowded Security Sector Contd. § Neutrality question: ü Due to the structure of the conflict—multi-layered with local, regional and international dimensions—suspicions and mistrust of both local and international civil society actors (spies) § Physical threats ü kidnapping, roadblocks, armed robberies, landmines, crossfire etc § Travel restrictions/movement within Somalia ü Banning of NGO activities/operations ü Frequent clashes ü Politicization of humanitarian aids
The role of ‘civil society’? Ø High level of dependency on multiple security forces Ø In the absence of a viable central state, how does civil society define its role in a fragmented country controlled by a multitude of armed state and non-state actors? Ø A thriving private security business—vested interests in the economy of conflict. ü Is ‘civil society’ part of it? ü Direct hiring of armed escorts by NGOs
Reasons for SS Proliferation § Failure to reach a broad-based political settlement and general lawlessness: ü § Arms proliferation and a culture of violence: ü § repeated failed attempts to form a central Somali government Humanitarian/development aid as a driver of conflict: ü ü § too many armed actors and territorial/clan fiefdoms direct and indirect payments, misuse or misappropriation of aid goods. Direct engagement & presence of a large number of regional and international military forces ü Perceived as foreign and threat to national sovereignty