Interview with PM: Hamza Abdi Barre
The Civil War in Somalia is still ongoing after nearly 20 years of fighting. The organization Al-Shabab, which is allied with al-Qaeda, remains powerful despite international support for the Somali army. In a recent interview, Al Jazeera sat down with the prime minister of Somalia, Hamza Abdi Barre, to discuss this persistent political turmoil.
The Federal Government of Somalia, established in 2012 and supported internationally, has brought some stability to the country. However, lasting peace has yet to be achieved.
Al Jazeera addressed the strength of the army fighting al-Shabab, questioning: “In August, the Army managed to capture the town of Ilbor which has been under the control over Shabbat for 15 years. Is the army able to maintain control over the town?”
To this, Barre gave an extensive response, outlining the strategies and intentions of the army as well as the Al-Shabab movement. The army intends to annihilate them, “to uproot it totally and completely, to wipe it from the face of the earth”. They are also prepared to change their warfare tactics as the “Al-Shabab movement is basing their fighting on the Guerrilla war and now the Army is adopting the same strategy”.
Barre also likened Al-Shabab insurgents to “cancer”, who must be “cleanse[d] from the Homeland”. These operatives are particularly influential in the south and centre of Somalia. They abide in “remote areas, in uninhabited areas, [and] forest regions”, therefore the army knows where to hunt.
Now, the government is launching a major offensive to retake al-Shabab territory, but as outlined by Barre in his interview with Al Jazeera, other issues of drought, political divisions, and the rise of autonomous regions are significantly hindering an end to the relentless Civil War.
Internal Somali Politics
The president of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, is determined to resolve the Civil War. After 2 decades in 2012, the first formal parliament was fixed and held the first presidential election since 1967, which represented long-awaited hope and progress.
A major obstacle within Somalia preventing a cohesive progression is the role of clannism. The differing goals of clans which hold power in several regions are a priority over the required common goal of creating a prosperous Somalia.
It has therefore been the long-standing goal of the Federal Government of Somalia to navigate the conflicting interests of the state and the sub-clans while tackling the threat of Al-Shabaab, and to a lesser extent, the Islamic State in Somalia.
In 2006, Ethiopian and African Union forces intervened in the Civil War due to the capture of Mogadishu (the capital) and much of south Somalia.
In 2022, the army attacked al-Shabab militants, successfully recapturing significant cities. The army consisted of Somali government forces and African Union troops alongside US fighter pilots.
Edited by: Anwen Venn
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