By Francis Ngwa Niba
A conference will take place tomorrow in London, UK, during which embattled Somali President, Hassan Sheik Mohamud, is expected to present a blueprint that will bring some semblance of normalcy to the war-torn country. Some 50 countries will be attending the conference, including the IMF, African Union and other friendly organisations. The world wants peace to return to Somalia that first disintegrated into warfare in January 1991 (22 years ago) when a group of local clansmen overthrew the military ruler, Muhammed Siad Barre. Somalia is a good example of the fact that there really is no good war. The country also demonstrates that starting a war is the easiest thing to do but ending one is the most difficult thing to do. Afghanistan and Iraq are two other glaring examples.
Somalia is a relatively small country with about 10 million people located on the horn of Africa but almost every country on earth is a host to the thousands of Somalis who have fled their land since the crisis erupted. Since 2005, dozens of ships have been hijacked off the coast of Somalia by pirates from the war-torn country. Activities of the pirates have also increased shipping costs up to $6.9 billion annually and the whole world pays back in the form of higher prices for many products that are shipped through the coast of Somalia.
The German Institute for Economic Research says a profitable industry has been created around the activities of the pirates while insurance companies have been smiling to the bank as they drastically increase insurance premiums for shipping companies. The whole world is affected when a small country with 10 million people has no structured government and now thinks it is a good enough time to step in to end the crisis.
Can Tomorrow’s Conference end Mayhem?
Under US President George Bush Sr, the US invaded Somalia under the cloak of humanitarian aid, a year after Siad Barre was overthrown. The US claimed back then it was a humanitarian operation to stop the warlords stealing humanitarian aid sent to the country. The US eventually withdrew from the conflict after the death of more than 10.000 Somalis and dozens of US soldiers.
Since the Somalian war broke out, dozens of warlords have carried on the fighting. The US has backed many different warlords in Somalia and this has not helped in resolving the crisis. The country is today facing a massive humanitarian crisis; more than 2.5 million people need food aid. It will take decades to rebuild the country.
Somehow, it looks like the world still does not understand wars don’t solve problems but rather they create more problems.
US President Barrack Obama might not be a war monger like his predecessor, George W Bush, but he sometimes thinks there are “good wars.” That is why the hardliners in his administration might be pushing him to go after Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad. President Obama must examine his options because I still think there are no “good” wars. He only has to look at what is happening in Somalia today.
Tomorrow’s conference in London is expected to begin the long process to rebuild a country shattered by war.