Somalia: AMISOM Exit Strategy Banks on a Beefed up National Army

Somalilandsun: The successful cessation of the African Union mission in Somalia slated for start in October 2018, should be precluded by a stable elected government and doubling strength of the National Army.

This is per Outcome of the 21st Military Operations Coordination Committee–MOCC Meeting on the African Union Mission in Somalia Held at the AU Headquarters, on 11 November 2016, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia .
While acknowledging that a strong partnership of the African Union with the European Union and the United Nations through AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) has helped put back Somalia on a peaceful trajectory, the MOCC meeting Strongly recommended that the UN and other international partners enhance the provision of UNSOS non-lethal support to the current authorized 10,900 SNA personnel. In addition, due to the successes recorded by SNA in operations and the progress made in training.
The meeting was officially opened and chaired by the African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security, H.E. Ambassador Smail Chergui and, was also attended by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia, the Deputy CDF of the Somali National Army (SNA) and the Deputy Police Commissioner of the Somali Police Force. Representatives of partners, namely,
The European Union (EU), UNSOS, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, UN Office to the AU, United States of America, and United Kingdom also attended the meeting.

Others at the highly level AU security meeting participants included the Chiefs of Defence Forces (CDFs) of all African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) namely Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya, the Commander of Land Forces of the Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF), representing the Chief of Defence Forces of Uganda.
Upon review of progress made in the provision of security in support of the electoral process in Somalia, as well as exisitng options for strengthening the AMISOM operational effectiveness in light of future offensive operations,.
The 21st MOCC also considered support to the Somalia National Security Force (SNSF) by UNSOS and the payment of AMISOM troop allowances requested that the UN and the international community elevate the support provided to the SNA to up to 20,000 forces, in order to accelerate the planned AMISOM exit strategy”

Details of the two-year schedule which were contained in a revised Concept of Operations (Conops) which was approved at the African Peace and Security Council meeting of July in Addis Ababa during its 608th meeting in Addis Ababa, would allow proper establishment of necessary facilities for the handover of African Union Mission (Amisom) to the Somali forces.
It means Amisom should start pulling out of Somalia only after a new stable government has been in place, Al-Shabaab has been chased out of most of the territory they still occupy and the Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) have been strengthened.

But according Prof Paul D Williams and Andirashid Hashi “a successful exit strategy for AMISOM would involve two interrelated transitions: first, a transition from operations led by foreign forces to Somali-led operations; and, second, a transition from military-led operations to police- led operations. The second transition is arguably the most difficult, especially because AMISOM has only a small police component (of around 540) and the Somali police force remains in a dire state”
The duo of Paul D. Williams an Associate Professor in the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University and Abdirashid Hashi the executive director of the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies add that the challenge for AMISOM is that its ability to leave Somalia successfully hinges on several factors that the mission is unable to control , in their paper  Exit Strategy Challenges for the AU Mission in Somalia
Unfortunately, over the last decade and counting, Somalia’s political leaders have failed to forge a political settlement that charts an agreed pathway towards creating an effective set of professional national security forces.

The African Union (AU) and AMISOM’s international partners have exacerbated the problem by failing to provide the mission with vital capabilities, including the 12 military helicopters authorized in 2012 thus making its exit strategy untenable

one would therefore not wonder whether The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) alone cannot defeat al-Shabaab. This can only happen if AMISOM can partner with a capable, legitimate and inclusive set of Somali security forces thence facilitate successfully disengagement

Condensed from various sources

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