Time for Leadership and Dialogue with Al-Shabab

By  Jawahir Yusuf Adam

 We are witnessing a relentless and heartbreaking murder of our precious people by Al-Shabab during the past 14 years. We are always aware of the ever-present danger of Al-Shabab and wonder when the next group of innocent Somali people will be senselessly obliterated.

On 28 December 2019, the future of young Somali University students was cut short when they were among the 82 people who were killed and nearly 150 injured after a truck full of explosives detonated in the outskirts of Mogadishu.  Time and time again, Al-Shabab has demonstrated the ability to attack the Somali population at a rate that proves they are a deadly force to reckon with.  They remain capable of carrying out massive attacks and sadly, the killing continues with no seeming end in sight.

The deafening sounds of suicide bombs have become normal to us and those who are lucky to survive live with everlasting physical injuries and/or emotional trauma.  Al-Shabab’s goal is to eliminate or drastically diminish areas where the Somali population feels safe and destroy the fabric of trust that holds our society together. They have achieved that goal and the Government has proved to be unable to stop or defeat Al-Shabab’s lethal attacks and its psychological warfare on the Somali nation.

Somali kids who are sucked into Al-Shabab are generally illiterate and see little chance of advancement and hope in their society.  They are also encouraged by funds supplied by dark forces of unknown origin who finance Al-Shabab’s deadly operations. These kids, therefore, need education, skills training and jobs as an alternative to what has become a sadly misguided destiny for their young lives.

GIVE DIALOGUE A CHANCE

The Somali government and AMISOM have to accept that they will never win a war against an invisible belligerent, ruthless and determined force. It is senseless to drop bombs from drones to kill suspects since it probably leads to hundreds more recruits.  It is, therefore, time for a dialogue with Al-Shabab and bring the desperately needed peace to the nation.

After nearly 20 years of fighting between the Afghanistan government forces and the Taliban, both parties came to the conclusion that no one wins a war and are now engaged in negotiations in a bid to end the long years of war in Afghanistan.  A similar strategy needs to be applied in Somalia.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his determination to end the 20 year old border conflict with Eritrea. This was a monumental and superior achievement that ended the dangerous military confrontation of the two neighboring countries that had claimed the lives of as many as 100,000. His internationally respected efforts for peace brought an end to the dangerous escalation of war and brings hope for everlasting peace and tranquility for both nations.

Somali leaders should learn something from such bravery and take steps to devise urgent strategic actions to end the war with Al-Shabab for no one really wins a war against homegrown and determined and deadly forces!

The author can be reached via    @JawhirAdam

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