International Role in Somalia Desired

  • 24 April 2007

The situation in Somalia is turning from bad to worse after bloody conflict has displaced around a third of the population of Mogadishu, according to reports issued by humanitarian organizations. The dangerous breakdown in the security and humanitarian situation confirms that all plans for dealing with the Somalia crisis have failed. The intervention of Ethiopian forces did not lead to security and stability. Instead, it led to more clashes and bloodshed between Ethiopian forces and certain Somali tribes. Despite the presence of a 1,200 strong Ugandan force in Somalia—which is part of the African Union’s peacekeeping operations—the situation seems out of control, and reports suggest that the Ugandan force itself has been targeted by some Somali militias. In addition, the efforts made by some regional forces to settle the Somali crisis in the past have not borne fruit, and the agreements have not withstood the first jolt. The most dangerous aspect of all is that Somalia has turned into a battlefield for settling regional rivalries, which impedes any effort to reach a compromise.

In this context, the role of the United Nations seems extremely important because all the contending parties, within and outside the country, would respect its intervention as an international organization. This underscores the importance of the belief by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that the option of using force to ensure stability in Somalia will not be productive and would merely generate hatred in the end. It would further disrupt the atmosphere of national reconciliation.

Ban Ki-Moon, has requested the Security Council to offer support to the African Union forces in Somalia. Thus, the United Nations could play a key role in resolving the crisis by sending peacekeeping forces from a group of countries having common outlook on the Somali crisis. What is important here is that the UN should act quickly and effectively to impose peace and to fill in the void that is making the Somali a hotbed of complex disputes.

A quick and effective international action is becoming necessary, if not inevitable. Somalia is facing a huge humanitarian disaster that must not be ignored, and it is becoming a potential trigger for an extended and dangerous regional strife, whose catastrophic impact might soon spill out of Somalia’s borders.