Building a secure Somalia

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 25 (UPI) — The territory of the Federal Republic of Somalia has had perhaps the most turbulent statehood — or marked lack thereof — in modern history. Somalia has been an ambiguous conglomeration of entities that struggled to provide any semblance of order for its estimated 10 million citizens over the past two decades.

U.S. President George H.W. Bush and the wider international community publicly conceded that Somalia had ceased to exist as a state in the early 1990s, as the country collapsed spectacularly into a series of brutal civil wars fueled by resource and power competition between warring clans.

For the next 20 years warlords, rival clans, transitional governments and myriad coalitions attempted to quell the violence and offer any sort of governance that would elicit international recognition. None succeeded for nearly a quarter of a century, until last week.

The era of ambiguity ended for the Somali people and government of the Federal Republic of Somalia on Jan. 17, 2013, when Somali President Hassan Sheik Mohamud traveled to Washington to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

After their meetings, the U.S. government formally recognized the government of Somalia, a development Mohamud said was, “A very turning moment of the history — of the recent history of Somalia and the relationship — and the diplomatic relationship between the United States government and the government of Somalia.”

Mohamud was elected as Somalia’s leader last September after choosing to stay in the country following the outbreak of civil war in the 1990s. In the passing years he worked both as a professor and alongside international organizations to advance institutional capability in Somalia.

In 2011 he was selected to be a member of Parliament and was then chosen by his peers to replace incumbent President Sharif Sheik Ahmed in a run-off election.

Mohamud summed up his understanding of the challenge had undertaken when he spoke Jan. 17 to a full house at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Twenty-two years of lack of functioning state and institutions and 12 years of transition is enough for us to reclaim our sovereign territorial integrity and our people. We are now ready to lay down strong institutions with good governance,” he said.

Mohamud publicly acknowledged the pivotal role that private companies have played in delivering improved technology and opportunity to the people of Somalia. In addition to ongoing aid and development programs through intermediary institutions such as non-governmental organization
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