Somalia president hails lifting of arms embargo as government vows to wipe out al-Shabab militants
December 3, 2023 | by b1og.net
Somalia’s President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, expressed his satisfaction with the decision made by the U.N. Security Council to lift the arms embargo that had been imposed on the country over 30 years ago. The unanimous vote to remove the ban will allow Somalia to modernize its armed forces and effectively combat extremist groups like al-Shabab. With the embargo lifted, the Somali government can now freely purchase necessary weapons from friendly nations and allies. The president’s announcement comes after his pledge to eliminate al-Shabab by 2024, as the militant group has been losing territory since a major offensive against them earlier this year. This development marks a significant step forward for Somalia as it aims to achieve stability and security within its borders.
Somalia President Welcomes Lifting of Arms Embargo
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s Response
Somalia’s President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, expressed his delight and gratitude for the UN Security Council’s decision to lift the arms embargo that had been imposed on Somalia for over 30 years. President Mohamud welcomed the resolution, stating that it will contribute to the modernization of the country’s armed forces.
Security Council Votes to Lift the Embargo
The UN Security Council voted unanimously to lift the arms embargo on Somalia. The British-drafted resolution received support from all 15 council members, except for France, which abstained from voting. France cited concerns over the resolution’s lack of references to territorial disputes between Djibouti and Eritrea as the reason for their abstention.
Background on the Arms Embargo
Somalia has been under an arms embargo since 1992, which was initially imposed to prevent the sale of weapons to warlords who had overthrown former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. The overthrow of Barre resulted in years of civil war and instability as various warlords fought for control. The arms embargo aimed to prevent further violence and instability in the country.
Effects of the Embargo on Somalia’s Armed Forces
The arms embargo had a significant impact on Somalia’s armed forces. Without access to modern arms and equipment, the country struggled to effectively combat security threats, including the presence of extremist groups like al-Shabab. The lifting of the embargo provides an opportunity for Somalia to strengthen its armed forces, improve its capabilities, and maintain security within its borders.
Unanimous Decision to Lift Embargo
The British-drafted Resolution
The resolution, drafted by the United Kingdom, was met with broad support from the UN Security Council. The resolution emphasized the need for Somalia to have access to modern arms and equipment to effectively combat security challenges. It also acknowledged the progress made by the Somali government in its fight against al-Shabab and pledged continued support to eradicate the militant group.
France abstained from voting on the resolution to lift the arms embargo due to concerns over territorial disputes between Djibouti and Eritrea. While France acknowledged the need to lift the embargo to support Somalia’s armed forces, it believed that the resolution should have addressed the territorial disputes to ensure regional stability.
Territorial disputes between Djibouti and Eritrea have been a longstanding issue in the region. France’s abstention highlighted the complex political dynamics surrounding these disputes. While the focus of the resolution was on the arms embargo, the underlying territorial disputes remain unresolved and may require further diplomatic efforts to achieve lasting peace and stability.
Impact on Somalia’s Armed Forces
Modernizing the Armed Forces
The lifting of the arms embargo provides an opportunity for Somalia to modernize its armed forces. Access to modern weapons and equipment will enhance the capability of the Somali military to effectively respond to security threats and maintain stability within the country. It will also enable them to better coordinate with regional and international partners in combating terrorism and extremist groups.
Combating Security Threats
Somalia has been facing significant security challenges, including the presence of extremist groups such as al-Shabab. The embargo lift will allow the Somali government to strengthen its security forces, enhance intelligence capabilities, and improve counter-terrorism efforts. By equipping the armed forces with modern weapons, Somalia can more effectively combat these security threats.
Maintaining Security within Borders
The lifting of the arms embargo is crucial for Somalia to maintain security within its borders. With improved capabilities and access to modern arms, the Somali armed forces will be better equipped to handle internal security challenges. This will enable the government to exert control over regions previously affected by violence and create a safer environment for its citizens.
President’s Statement on the Embargo Lift
Free Access to Purchasing Weapons
President Mohamud expressed his satisfaction with the arms embargo being lifted, emphasizing that Somalia is now free to purchase any weapons necessary for its defense and security. This newfound freedom will allow the Somali government to acquire modern weaponry without any limitations or restrictions, enabling them to strengthen their armed forces further.
Support from Friendly Nations and Allies
The President also highlighted the significance of the embargo lift in terms of receiving support from friendly nations and allies. With the removal of restrictions, international partners can now provide Somalia with the necessary weapons and equipment to bolster its security forces. This support will enhance collaboration and cooperation between Somalia and its allies in tackling security challenges and maintaining stability.
History of the Arms Embargo
Reasons for Imposing the Embargo
The arms embargo on Somalia was imposed in 1992 to prevent the sale of weapons to warlords who had overthrown former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. The aim was to curtail violence and instability in the country by restricting the availability of weapons to warring factions. The embargo sought to promote peaceful resolution and encourage dialogue among various Somali factions.
Preventing Weapons Sales to Warlords
One of the primary reasons for imposing the arms embargo was to curb the sale of weapons to warlords who were exploiting the power vacuum left by the fall of Barre’s regime. The proliferation of weapons among these factions exacerbated violence and hindered efforts to establish a stable government. The embargo aimed to disrupt the supply chain of weapons and limit the warlords’ ability to fuel conflict.
Civil War and Instability in Somalia
The overthrow of Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 plunged Somalia into a prolonged period of civil war and instability. Various warlords fought for control, leading to mass displacement, economic collapse, and human rights abuses. The arms embargo was a response to the dire situation in Somalia and aimed to prevent further violence and bloodshed.
Government’s Plan to Defeat al-Shabab
President’s Pledge to Eradicate the Militant Group
President Mohamud recently pledged to eradicate al-Shabab, an Islamist militant group, by December 2024. Since the launch of a comprehensive offensive against al-Shabab in May, the group has lost significant territory. The Somali government, supported by local militias, African Union troops, and Western powers, aims to completely dismantle al-Shabab and restore peace and security in the country.
Progress in the Fight Against al-Shabab
The Somali government, with the support of its regional and international partners, has made remarkable progress in combating al-Shabab. The military offensives, combined with intelligence gathering and targeted operations, have severely weakened the group’s capabilities. However, total eradication remains a challenging task that requires continued efforts, resources, and international support.
International Support for Somalia
African Union Forces’ Role in Maintaining Security
Somalia has heavily depended on the support of the African Union (AU) forces to counter security threats and maintain stability. The AU forces, primarily composed of troops from neighboring countries, have played a crucial role in combating extremist groups and supporting the Somali government. The lifting of the arms embargo will further enhance the AU forces’ ability to assist Somalia in ensuring security and stability.
Western Powers’ Assistance
Western powers, such as the United States and Turkey, have been key allies in supporting Somalia’s security efforts. These countries have provided military assistance, training, and intelligence sharing to help Somalia combat terrorism and extremist groups. The arms embargo lift will facilitate increased collaboration and support from Western powers, which will bolster Somalia’s security capabilities.
Challenges and Security Threats in Somalia
Extremist Groups Operating in the Country
Somalia faces significant security threats from extremist groups operating within its borders, including al-Shabab. These groups perpetuate violence, carry out attacks on civilians, and pose substantial challenges to the stability and progress of the country. The Somali government, with the assistance of international partners, is committed to dismantling these groups and ensuring the safety of its citizens.
Years of Conflict and Instability
Years of civil war and instability have left lasting impacts on Somalia’s security situation. The lack of effective governance, weak institutions, and ongoing conflicts have provided fertile ground for extremist groups to thrive. The government’s efforts to restore stability and security are hindered by these underlying issues, requiring long-term strategies and international support to address them effectively.
Impact on Regional Security
Contribution to Regional Stability
The lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia is expected to have a positive impact on regional stability. Strengthening Somalia’s armed forces will enable the country to better counter security threats within its borders and prevent spillover effects into neighboring countries. Regional stability is crucial for addressing shared challenges, such as terrorism, piracy, and cross-border criminal activities.
Counteracting Threats from Militant Groups
Somalia’s improved capabilities and access to modern weapons will contribute to countering threats from militant groups, not just within Somalia but also in the broader region. By bolstering its armed forces and collaborating with regional partners, Somalia can play an active role in combating transnational terrorism and extremist ideologies, promoting peace and stability in the Horn of Africa.
Future Prospects for Somalia
Security and Stability in the Post-Embargo Era
The lifting of the arms embargo opens up new opportunities for Somalia in terms of security and stability. With the ability to acquire modern arms and equipment, the Somali government can strengthen its armed forces and effectively combat security threats. This, combined with ongoing efforts to eradicate militant groups, offers promising prospects for a more secure and stable Somalia.
Prospects for Economic Growth and Development
A secure and stable Somalia is crucial for fostering economic growth and development. With improved security, the country can attract investments, stimulate trade, and create a conducive environment for business activities. The lifting of the arms embargo is a step forward in achieving these goals, as it enables Somalia to focus on rebuilding its economy and promoting sustainable development.