Foreign Policy Blogs

Archive by Author

Somalia, Side-effect of an Overpriced ‘Panacea’

Somalia, Side-effect of an Overpriced ‘Panacea’

With its meager financial and human resources, the Federal Republic of Somalia (FRS) has been doing better than a satisfactory job. However, in recent months, it has been profoundly frustrated by various challenges. Chief among them is what I would refer to as the first side-effect of a $60 million “panacea” known as the provisional […]

read more

Ending “Doormat Politics” In Somalia

Ending “Doormat Politics” In Somalia

“More than ever, foreign policy is economic policy. The world is competing for resources and global markets.”   John Kerry Considering the positive trend of the past eighteen months, Somalia is en route to recovery, and, in due course, to re-engineer a better state from the ground up. The caveat being: in the long term, this […]

read more

Connecting Dots in the Triangle of Threat

Connecting Dots in the Triangle of Threat

  Just as the temperature of the “security threat” slowly declines in Somalia, it rises in other parts of East Africa. Elements of mainly political, religious, and clan/ethnic nature continue to shift and create new volatile conditions. Though not entirely interdependent, these conditions could create a ripple effect across different borders. Depending on one’s purview, […]

read more

The Corroding “Lead Camel” Effect

The Corroding “Lead Camel” Effect

  As in old caravans “Where the lead camel goes, so shall others.” Such goes the Somali proverb, notwithstanding its regional variations and dialectical flavors. The Lead Camel Effect (LCE) describes a syndrome or a common human tendency to blindly follow leaders, role-models, and all those whom authority is attributed to even if such individuals […]

read more

Working For Better Somalia: the other al-Shabaab

Working For Better Somalia: the other al-Shabaab

  On one hand, “youth”—as the cliché goes—“are the backbone and the hope of every nation.” On the other hand, youth could be a thorn on the side and a nightmare of a nation. Somalia has seen both the Somali Youth League (SYL) that mobilized a broad based anti-colonial movement that ultimately won independence for […]

read more

The Counterintuitive Jihad

The Counterintuitive Jihad

  Gone are the days when avoidance of religious and political discussions was essential to retaining friendships. Today discussing these two topics in the public and private squares is essential to peace, coexistence, development and progress! At hand is the most misunderstood and indeed most abused moral concept of the 21st century: the doctrine of […]

read more

Can Somalia’s Political Discontent Inspire Transformation?

Can Somalia’s Political Discontent Inspire Transformation?

    Exhausted by prolonged anarchy, chronic dependency, cancerous corruption, and humiliating subjugation, the Somali people demanded change. Not just change of guards or principled actors, but a total overhaul of the political order of the day. On September 10, 2012, the newly appointed parliament has heeded the call of its citizens and elected Hassan […]

read more

A Constitution of Ambiguity and Deferment

A Constitution of Ambiguity and Deferment

If constitutions are supposed to make boundaries of the government’s legitimate authority over its citizens and state or regional administrations clear, Somalia’s new constitution oddly falls short. While there are some bright provisions in the new constitution, much of it can be aptly described as uncertain assurances and a “not now” legal document! However, one […]

read more

UN Monitoring Group and Politics of “Good Governance”

UN Monitoring Group and Politics of “Good Governance”

  Since its inception, the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia (and Eritrea) has been rolling over controversies, mainly in its reporting, sourcing, and unsubstantiated claims. I just got through reading its latest report made of truths, half-truths, and a whole lot of innuendoes that implicate at least four present/past officials and presidential candidates with certain […]

read more

Post-Transitional Political Fault Lines

Post-Transitional Political Fault Lines

Internally—where it matters the most—the overall status of a government is judged by how the average citizen perceives it. From that perspective, and due to a number of factors, in Somalia not much has changed in the past three decades since the military government went astray. Still, the average Somali sees his/her government as the […]

read more

Sustainable Peace: Why Somaliland Matters

Sustainable Peace: Why Somaliland Matters

  Like in wars between states and other organized groups, civil wars and other protracted domestic conflicts are seldom caused by a single factor. Over time, even those that prove to be the exception to the rule eventually evolve into a much more complex conflict- hence the entity known as Somaliland. A Brief History Only […]

read more

The 21 Years Itch and Turkey’s Role in Somalia

The 21 Years Itch and Turkey’s Role in Somalia

Two decades have passed since the collapse of the Somali state. Twenty one years to be exact. According to Lee Cassanelli, Professor of African history at the University of Pennsylvania, this exact number matters in Somali politics – perhaps in a subconscious way. In August 2007, during one of his presentations at the Somali Studies […]

read more

Somalia, Sovereignty in Catch-22

Somalia, Sovereignty in Catch-22

For more than two decades, Somalia’s sovereignty has been in limbo- or in an utterly defunct status. Though there are many causes, a particular one stands out exponentially: volatile security. For no nation can claim, or (like in Somalia’s case) reclaim its sovereignty while dependent on another country, coalition, or a peace-building force for security. […]

read more

It is Crucial to “De-Nairobify” Somali Affairs

It is Crucial to “De-Nairobify” Somali Affairs

For a number of years, Nairobi (Kenya) has been the de facto capital of Somalia after the State has disintegrated into anarchy. It has been where Somalis sought refuge, re-started their lives, and networked with the rest of the world. By the same token, it has been where almost all of the eighteen or so […]

read more

The Enigma of the London Conference on Somalia

The Enigma of the London Conference on Somalia

If there is any consensus on the nature and the outcome of the London Conference on Somalia – that brought together representatives of over 50 nations that included a number of Muslim nations – it must be the fact that it was a puzzling event that raised much speculation. Now that the fanfare has ended, […]

read more

About the Author

Abukar Arman
Abukar Arman

Abukar Arman is a former diplomat, serving as Somalia's Special Envoy to the US. As a widely published analyst, he focuses on foreign policy, Islam, the Horn of Africa, extremism, and other topics.
Twitter: @Abukar_Arman
or reach him via e-mail: [email protected]

Great Decisions Discussion group

Blog Authors

FPA Administrator