15th January, 2017 (MAINS)


Q1. To what extent has the withdrawal of al-Shabab from Mogadishu given peace a real chance in Somalia? Assess. [12marks/2011/GS-3] 150 words.

Please write answer in the comments section.

  • Prakhar Verma

    Al-Shabaab(the youth) is a jihadist terrorist group based in East Africa pledging allegiance to Al-Qaeda. It is an off-shoot of Islamist Court Union, and fighting against Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and African Union Mission to Somalia(AMISOM). It suffered a massive defeat in 2011 when TFG and AMISOM forces were able to drive it from Mogadishu, after which the group’s extent reduced greatly to some areas of southern Somalia only.
    Since its independence, Somalia has been embroiled in civil war between several clans for the control of country’s resources and power centers. With the threat of Al-Shabaab now greatly reduced, Somalia is offered a chance to consolidate the existing political and institutional structures and develop new ones.
    => With Mogadishu and other towns under govt control, there has been a feeling of optimism and several Somalis have returned from exile, bringing money and skills with them.
    => Basic services such as street lighting, dry cleaning and rubbish collection have resumed in the capital.
    => A complex system of elections has been devised to choose a parliament and president, with the clan leaders playing an influential role in the process.
    => The conduction of 2016 elections in a peaceful and democratic manner will instill greater confidence in the govt machinery.
    Somalia presents a picture of a failed state which is trying to pick up the pieces left after centuries of civil strife. With the threat of extremism largely reduced, the ball is now in the court of the govt and its citizens.