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Desecuritising Somalia by Latif Ismail

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In the minds of many people the name Somalia conjures up anarchy, piracy, starving people, terrorism, lawlessness and difficult people to understand. This has helped the West to frame Somalia as a security threat, responding with military interventions (including counter-terrorism and counter-piracy missions) and changing their approach to development aid from a humanitarian one to one of security. In this MSc. dissertation, Latif Ismail argues that Somalia is not a lost cause, and despite not having a functioning state, the Somali people have managed to administer law and order, provide basic services and invest in the private sector, which has enabled it to achieve living standards better than the average in sub-Saharan Africa. Ismail proposes that the time has come for the West to desecuritise Somalia and its people, and work with Somalia to create peace and stability in the country, and thus eliminate the security concerns of the West.

Latif Ismail was born in Somalia and now lives in the UK. He and I both received a BA in Third World Studies at the University of East London in 1999 and Latif was awarded the degree of MSc. in Development and Security by the University of Bristol in 2013.


To Filsan, Idman, Hamza and Ikram for all your patience and support.

I would like to thank Janet Woolway and Donna Pegler for their support and ever-cheerful encouragement. My sincere thanks to my supervisor Dr Eric Herring, without whose guidance and persistent help this dissertation would not have been possible. To Dr Vernon Hewitt, Professor Jutta Weldes, Dr Christie Ryerson, Dr Torsten Michel, Dr Winne King, I say thanks for your teaching and inspiration. Finally, to my incredible friend Dr Bob Mouncer, thanks for your brilliant proofreading, strategic advice, professionalism and endless energy. I am indebted to you all.


ACLU             American Civil Liberties Union

ADB               African Development Bank

AML               Anti-Money Laundering Regulations

AMISOM       African Union Mission in Somalia

BBC                British Broadcasting Corporation

CFT                 Combating the Finance of Terrorism

CIA                 Central Intelligence Unit

CNN               Cable News Network

DFID              Department for International Development

EU                   European Union

FCNL              Friends Committee on National Legislation

FCO                Foreign and Commonwealth Office

FTO                 Foreign Terrorist Organizations

HMG               Her Majesty’s government

ID                    Independent Diplomat

MSF                Medecine Sans Frontieres

NGO               Non-governmental organisation

NRC                Norwegian Refugee Council

OCHA            UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance

OFAC             Office of Foreign Assets Control

SDN                Specially Designated Nationals

SNF                 Somali National Force

SST                 State Sponsors of Terrorism

TEL                 Terrorist Exclusion List

TFG                 Transitional Federal Government

TLG                Terrorism List Government

UK                  United Kingdom

UNDP             United Nations Development Programme

UNSC                         United Nations Security Council

USAFRICOM / AFRICOM  United States Africa Commond

USAID           US Agency for International Development

US                   United States

WFP                World Food Program


Desecuritising Somalia



Literature review and chapter outlines

Chapter One – Securitisation of Somalia


Chapter Two – Sanctions, Blacklisting and the securitisation of remittances

UN Sanctions Regime

UN Resolution 1267

The EU Terrorist Lists

US Sanctions

Remittances and terrorism

The case against Al-Barakat


Chapter Three – Securitisation of humanitarian aid and the Somali diaspora

Securitising Humanitarian Aid

Securitising the Somali Diaspora


Chapter Four – Alternatives






There is no denying that Somalia has been at war or in a state of collapse for more than two decades. Over that period of time it has been invaded, occupied or otherwise had large foreign military forces stationed there by a number of states and organisations including the US/UN period in the 1990s, by Ethiopia in 2006 and currently by Kenya, Ethiopia and the African Union force AMISOM (Lewis 2008). It also experienced a devastating civil war which destroyed the Somali state and killed thousands of Somalis, and displaced millions more – some of whom settled in the West as refugees (Sheikh & Healy 2009). The country initially experienced clan war, followed by warlordism and then religious extremist war (Bradbury 2010: 4-7). Every news report reminds us that Somalia has been without a government since 1991. The current territorial situation is that of secessionist states: Somaliland, semi-independent Puntland – other areas declaring independence include Jubaland on the border with Kenya, and the rump of south central Somalia, which is dominated by a radical jihadist group, Al-Shabaab, with the exception of the capital (BBC 2012).

As of September 2012, Somalia has a new government with a competent leader for the first time since the early 1990s (Hammond 2013). The African Union force in the country (AMISOM) and the Somali National Force (SNF) appear to be winning the war against Al-Shabaab in some parts of southern Somalia and the country as a whole seems to be showing signs of recovery (Menkhaus 2013). The international community has responded positively to these changes and is engaged with the Somali government. The UK government has already held two major international conferences on Somalia hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron, the latest of which took place on 7 and 8 May 2013 (Hammond 2013). Britain reopened its embassy in April 2013, the first EU country to do so (FCO 2013b). Turkey, the UN and the EU have since taken similar steps (Wardheer News 2013 & BBC 2013). The US government, the IMF and the World Bank have all recognised President Hassan Sheikh’s government – the first time that this has happened in the last twenty years (Hammond 2013 and Reuters 2013a) However, the positive rhetoric coming from the international community, especially the West, is not matched by its actions. For example, as part of the Somalia conference, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office organised a trade and investment conference on 8 May attended by more than 300 people including 80 of the biggest British companies from, amongst others, the oil, banking and mining sectors, to encourage them to invest in Somalia (Gov.UK 2013). In contrast however, there is a complete ban on travel to the country as the following statement makes clear: “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Somalia, including Somaliland. Any British nationals in Somalia should leave” (FCO 2013a). Such conflicting information is confusing and deters anyone wishing to invest in the country or to get involved in the rebuilding of this nation.

The way the international community has responded to conflict in Somalia in the last 20 years has been multifaceted and often incoherent (Bradbury 2010). The need to cater for the ongoing humanitarian crisis on the one hand and on the other hand, to rebuild state institutions, facilitate peace-building, or military intervention and counterterrorism, have often resulted in unintended consequences (Bradbury 2010:8). Associating Somalia with piracy, extremism, and thousands of refugees moving not only into the neighbouring countries but also into Europe and beyond, has helped to frame the country as a security threat, not only to itself, but to the stable and peaceful zones of the West (Abrahamsen 2005). Furthermore, since 9/11 the focus on the Somali diaspora, remittances, Somali trade and industry has increased (Goede 2003). This is mainly due to the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT), introduced mostly, but not exclusively, by the US, EU, UN & UK authorities. These policies have resulted in the blacklisting of increasing numbers of businesses and Somali individuals, primarily in Somalia (Mackintosh and Duplat 2013, Hurlburt 2012).

At its simplest “securitisation” is when an issue is framed as a security threat which requires “extraordinary measures” applied to a specific nation, issue or grouping (Emmers 2007:137-139). Desecuritisation happens when “an issue is no longer an existential threat, thereby moving it from the securitised realm into the ordinary public arena” (Emmers 2007:140). My purpose is to investigate the reasons why the country has been securitised, who are the actors involved in this process, how they carry out and implement their goals and why the time has come to desecuritise Somalia and its people. Therefore, I will begin by exploring the history of the securitisation agenda and its roots in the Copenhagen School. I will argue that whilst some elements in Somalia, and its diaspora, ought to be securitised, the need to do so has been exaggerated and remains counter-productive.


This dissertation is based on conceptually grounded, qualitative empirical analysis and theoretically informed research. It utilised two methods to gather the necessary information: research in the literature on securitisation, sanctions, AML, CFT and Somalia; and fieldwork. There is a wide library of literature documenting the views of policymakers from the US, the EU and the UN, which will be presented as empirical evidence. However, in comparison there is limited literature on the experience of those on the receiving end. Therefore, I carried out semi-structured interviews with selected entities in the Somali community, who had both direct and indirect experience of the impact of the regulations and policies mentioned above, e.g., money remittance companies. I also interviewed a number of individuals who are either working or have worked for the British government, to ascertain their views on this topic. It is my expectation that this research intervention has the potential to give voice to a group of people who currently have limited or no voice – mainly members of the Somali diaspora and business community. I have sought to balance both sides of the argument. Finally, I use a selection of primary and secondary information from NGOs and campaign groups such as Oxfam, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Somali writers and academics.

Literature review and chapter outlines

This dissertation will be divided into four chapters. Chapter one will explore how the security agenda of the West is formed and framed, as well as the process of securitising and desecuritising. It will consider perceptions of Somalia and Somalis and how Western insecurity undermines the trust-building between “them” and “Somalis” and how this process has, in part, led to Somalia’s insecurity. I will discuss this within the context of the war on terror and the politics of securitising the continent of Africa and the role played by corrupt, weak, and incompetent African leaders. It will also give a brief outline of how the politics of aid and humanitarian assistance to the continent of Africa has been presented within the security agenda, specifically the notion that poverty causes conflict which can affect not only those who live within the continent but also in the West.

The literature on Somalia is on the whole written by non-Somalis and usually focuses on the outcome of the failures of the Somali state. In order to get a broader picture I have researched a wider body of literature written by people who have expertise in the various fields examined. In chapter one I present the work of a number of authors including Abrahamsen (2005), Möller (2009), Ndlovu-Gatsheni and Ojakorotu (2010). All these authors view the securitisation of Africa and in particular Somalia as negative. However, I balance their view with that of Shinn (2004), former US ambassador and State Department coordinator for Somalia, who supports the security-related actions taken by the United States in the Horn as necessary and overdue, as well as the views both of retired and serving UK government officials.

Chapter two will study the nature and the impact of blacklisting and smart sanctions on Somali individuals, businesses and entities. This will include: the UN Sanctions Regime, the EU Terrorist List and the US Economic Sanctions Program. We will consider the work done by Fitzgerald (1999 & 2002) and O’Leary (2010) on blacklisting and the US Economic Sanctions Program. They support the existence of these programmes but question their use and efficiency. On the other hand Sullivan and Hayes (2010) from the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights wrote a comprehensive report on the use of sanctions and blacklisting. Their work related to the UN Sanctions Regime, the EU Terrorist List and their impact on human rights. Most literature in this field makes reference to the blacklisting and freezing of the assets of a Somali-owned money transfer company called Al-Barakat in 2001 by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) – which is part of the US Department of the Treasury. Even though the US government has failed to find any evidence linking the company with supporting terrorism or money laundering, OFAC has refused to release its assets and remove it from its designated list of terrorist individuals and organisations. I will therefore present this as a case study. This chapter will also examine the importance of remittances to Somalia which has been described as a “lifeline” to millions of people in the country. The remittances sector is perceived to be vulnerable to organised crime and terrorism in the laundering of dirty money. This lifeline is now threatened by UK and US Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Regulations and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) that make it difficult for many in the private sector to do business with Somali entities. For instance most US and UK banks have closed or are in the process of closing the accounts of Somali money transfer companies. It is important to note that many societies around the world have been using remittances throughout history. However, they have received significant attention from Western authorities since 9/11. Therefore, the literature about this subject is fairly new and includes the work done by Hammond (2012) of SOAS, Maimbo (2006) from the Social Development Department of the World Bank and a number of NGOs, including Shuraako[1] (2012) and Orozco and Yansura (2013) from Oxfam America. I also used relevant literature from the US Department of the Treasury, the UN Monitoring Group/Security Council, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), The Guardian and The Economist.

Chapter three will address how the engagement of the West in Somalia has changed, since 9/11, from a humanitarian-focused approach to one driven by security. It will also outline the impact of the Sanctions Regime on humanitarian organisations operating in Somalia and will scrutinise the work done by a number of well-known authors who have a lot of experience in Somalia: Bradbury (2010), Warsame (2012) and Samatar (2012). I also probe a report released in July 2013 on the impact of counter-terrorism measures on humanitarian aid in Somalia and Palestine[2].  I will also seek to explain the securitisation of the Somali diaspora who are the source of the aforementioned remittances to the country, which are more than it receives in international aid. We will see how the UK and the US authorities perceive Somali youth as a challenging group who pose a threat to their security.

Chapter four will delve into the issues and obstacles stopping Somalia from starting the process of desecuritisation and consider the barriers it needs to overcome, for example the Somali government’s inability to provide security to its people and controls its borders. It will highlight further weaknesses in securitisation theory, and the unwillingness of the powerful, e.g. the West, to desecuritise countries, entities and groups that no longer pose a real threat to them and their allies. The views presented in this chapter are mostly based on the discussions I have had with Somali and non-Somali interviewees, serving and retired military officers and a former senior diplomat.

This dissertation will conclude that members of the international community and in particular the West and Somalia need to work together to create a stable, peaceful country which enables its citizens to live freely and equally and poses no threat to the countries of West and their interests.


In the last two decades the concept of security and security studies has been “broadened” and “deepened” to include new entities such as economic, societal, political, environmental and human security (Abrahamsen 2005:57). The Copenhagen School has played a part in this process and introduced concepts such as “securitisation” and “desecuritisation”. The authors associated with the Copenhagen School include: Buzan, Ole Weaver, and de Wilde (Emmers 2010:137).  “Securitisation, according to the Copenhagen school, is the specific speech act of framing an issue as an “existential threat” that calls for extraordinary measures beyond the routines and norms of everyday politics” (Abrahamsen 2005:58). According to Möller (2009:6) this means “that normal rules and behaviour constraints no longer apply”. Consequently it made it possible for the West to limit civil liberties in their countries and launch counter-terrorist initiatives and military attacks in East Africa and beyond in the name of national security (Möller 2009:1-6). Securitising an issue has certain benefits: it can mobilise political backing and the gathering of resources for a cause, it can facilitate the tools to introduce emergency actions, and gives the ability to handle complicated security problems (Emmers 2010:141).

Desecuritisation on the other hand involves shaping a threat or a subject in a more positive and less threatening manner. “It involves the ‘shifting of issues out of emergency mode and into the normal bargaining processes of the political sphere’” (Buzan, cited, Emmers 2010:139). This means that the subject in question no longer poses a real threat. For instance, “the end of the Apartheid regime in South Africa represents an illustration of the desecurization of the race question in South African society and of its reintroduction into the political domain” (Emmers 2010:139). However, the Copenhagen School’s approach to securitisation and desecuritisation has been criticised by a number of scholars including Wilkinson (2007), Emmers (2010) and Floyd (2007). For example Wilkinson argues that the Copenhagen School’s understanding of society and the state is based on the European experience and therefore cannot be applied universally. Emmers (2010:142) on the other hand argues that the school’s approach to security is mainly based on a theoretical approach as opposed to factual and empirical investigations. I will revisit this concept in chapter four.

It is my intention to start the dialogue of shifting Somalia from a security focus approach to the opposite process of normalisation, but I will deal here with the actors, events and processes involved in securitising Africa, particularly East Africa, the main focus being on Somalia. The East Africa region broadly includes Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania plus Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti which are also referred to as the Horn of Africa (Essex University 2001 and UN 2012). I use the term East Africa to refer to the region.

Whilst the “war on terror” initially focused on Afghanistan, in the eyes of American academic literature and policymakers East Africa has become a dangerous place and a hotspot of terrorism (Möller 2009:7). The reasons for this, they argue, are: most of the countries in this region have undergone internal conflict, usually involving neighbours supporting one group against another; an inability to secure borders and control their own territory, which allows terrorist organisations and organised crime to get hold of weapons (Shinn 2004:37). Furthermore, a collapsed state such as Somalia has the potential to become the new Afghanistan and offer a hiding place or operational base for terrorist attacks (Möller 2009:7). These fears and concerns were not only driven by the incidents of 9/11 but also the bombing of the American embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi in 1998 by al-Qaida (Shinn 2004:37).

The perpetrators who carried out the 9/11 attacks probably had better contacts and relations in Berlin, Paris and Washington DC than in Djibouti, Nairobi, and Addis Ababa (Abrahamsen 2005). Yet these attacks have led policymakers in the West to come to the conclusion that unrest in one part of the world can have a direct effect on the lives of those who live thousands of miles away. Jack Straw, a former UK foreign secretary made this point very clearly when he said, “It is no longer necessary to prove a direct link between a troubled faraway country and the order of our own societies … disorder abroad can threaten security at home” (Abrahamsen 2005:65). The securitisation of the region is also attributed to the link between poverty, underdevelopment, and social injustice, which is often seen as one of the reasons why the region has become a safe haven for extremism: Chuck Hagel, a US Senator, states that “terrorism finds sanctuary in ‘the misery of endemic poverty and despair.’” (Shinn 2004:39). The concerns expressed by these politicians are shared by Western writers such as Rotberg (2002), Helman and Ratner (1992), Fergusson (2013a). Their fears and worries are not just about the people who live in the “zones of chaos”, e.g. Afghanistan, Somalia and Eritrea, but about the impact that these conditions continue to have on the “zones of peace”, such as the United Kingdom, France and the United States (Abrahamsen 2005:66). These changes in both thinking and approaches has helped to facilitate the fusion between development and security, which has become the norm since 9/11 (Bradbury 2010). The politicisation of humanitarian aid and its impact on those on the receiving end will be explored more in depth in chapter three.

The US response to these perceived threats was to fortify its embassies in the region and create the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), which was established in 2007 (Ndlovu-Gatsheni & Ojakorotu 2010). The mission is based in Djibouti and occupies a former French Foreign Legion base called Camp Lemonnier near the capital (Shinn 2004). AFRICOM’s mission states that its purpose is to “detect, disrupt and defeat transnational terrorist groups, to counter the re-emergence of transnational terrorism and to enhance long-term stability in the region” (Shinn 2004:41). This militaristic approach to East Africa and beyond changes the relationship between the US and the continent of Africa from a normal and humanitarian approach to one driven by combat operations and hostilities. The scale and size of AFRICOM is increasing, as recently reported in The Economist (2013:48):

Djibouti hosts the only permanent American base in Africa, home to 3,200 people, not all of them naval. Since 2010, American drones have been flying from Camp Lemonnier, besides the main airport, making it the busiest base for drones outside Afghanistan. Some 50 military flights take off every day, including a squadron of F-15E jets, which arrived in 2011. The Pentagon has drawn up plans to spend $1.4 billion to expand the base and triple the number of its special forces there to more than 1,000.

Furthermore, according to Chatham House, Djibouti has become “an international maritime and military laboratory” which, apart from the US, hosts militaries from France, Japan, China, Russia, Iran and India (Styan 2013:1). One might argue that all this is a disproportionate response to the piracy off the coast of Somalia, the threat of terrorism and fragile states in the region. But it may explain the desire of mainly Western countries undertaking policing duties in East Africa to contain or “quarantine” what they perceived as disorder which threatens their national security and interests (Abrahamsen 2005:72). However, it will be misleading to blame the securitisation of East Africa solely on the West. African commentators such as Ndlovu-Gatsheni and Ojakorotu (2010:97) highlight the role that African leaders play in this process and argue that leaders of weak states “are also active in supporting the process of securitisation of Africa as long as this process ensures [their] political survival.” The men who run these countries are not concerned with the security and wellbeing of their citizens but to prolong their corrupt, incompetent and sometimes illegitimate rule, for example the president of Djibouti, Ismail Omar Gulleh, and the late Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi. Gulleh’s Djibouti was described as “a Friendly Little Dictatorship” and Zenawi as a “Brutal Dictator” (Ayyaantuu News Online 2013; Mohamed 2012).

In East Africa Somalia stands out as the country which receives the most attention from the international community and is framed as the one which poses the biggest security concern to itself, its neighbours and the West. The collapse of the Somali state in 1991 was followed by the intervention of the UN and US in 1992 to end the famine and restore stability and order. Two years later the United States troops left Somalia following the saga of “Blackhawk Down”, and in 1995 the United Nations departed the country too (Boltan 1994 and Barns & Hassan 2007). Since then it has mutated from civil war, clan war, warlordism and ideological war (Bradbury & Healy 2010). The international community abandoned the country until 9/11 brought back Somalia to the attention of Western security agencies which saw it as a possible breading ground for extremism and terrorism (Möller 2009). According to the commentators who follow Somali affairs 2006 was a tragic year. It witnessed the establishment of a counter-terrorism alliance of warlords and criminals by the CIA; the emergence of the Islamic Courts Union as a grass-roots organisation, which soon controlled Mogadishu and most of south central Somalia; and the invasion of the Ethiopian army, with apparent US support, which installed the then Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu in early 2007 (Möller 2009; Barnes & Hassan 2007). According to Menkhaus (2007:359) these events have caused untold human suffering and plunged the country into the abyss. He continues:

The … crisis … was eminently avoidable, the result of a series of bad or cynical decisions and occasionally horrific misjudgement by Somali and foreign leaders who should have known better.

As this statement makes clear, the hijacking of Somalia’s affairs by international actors and their incompetent Somali allies has become a common occurrence, in particular with the USA and Ethiopia following their own interests and foreign policy agendas (Barnes & Hassan 2007:151). However, like the previous involvement of the USA in Somalia, this intervention did not go the way they expected: they miscalculated the dynamics on the ground, which eventually led to the creation of the very thing they wanted to destroy – Al-Shabaab (Roque 2011).

Al-Shabaab (Arabic for “The Youth”) first appeared as an organisational structure in the form of a militia or armed wing of the Islamic Courts Union, who were overthrown by the Ethiopian invasion in December 2006 (Marchal 2011:5). The US-backed Ethiopian invasion combined with the role played by the TFG, which was a dysfunctional government, and human rights abuses by the TFG and Ethiopian soldiers, allowed Al-Shabaab to gather support and by using Islam and a nationalistic agenda they became the most important and effective group conducting armed resistance against the arch enemy of Somalia – the Ethiopians (Roque 2011: 2). The movement then began a vigorous military and political campaign to win back control of south central Somalia, recruiting both radicalised and non-radicalised young men within the country and from the diaspora (International Crisis Group 2010). Initially fairly dispersed, Al-Shabaab merged several extremist Islamic groups and is now openly allied to Al-Qaida (Marchal 2011:5). The United States has played a prominent role in this conflict and has used drone strikes and special operations assaults on south central Somalia, especially Al-Shabaab targets (Masters 2013). Masters added that military specialists have described the Pentagon’s approach in Somalia as “offshore balancing”, which means “the use of U.S. air and sea assets in conjunction with support for local counter-insurgency proxies such as [Ethiopia].”

Two people with relatives in south central Somalia during this period told me that the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami affected people who lived on the Somali coast and because their livelihood was destroyed they were depending on food aid dropped from the air by humanitarian agencies. So when the US airplanes arrived people came out to collect the food they would drop, but instead they dropped bombs and killed people. Another one said that he later heard that the US were trying to kill three men suspected of being involved in the US embassy bombings in East Africa who were allegedly hiding in that area. The irony of this is that southern Somalia is the size of the United Kingdom: imagine bombing Britain hoping to kill three people when you are not even sure of their exact location or whether they are in the country at all. This explains the indiscriminate killing, maiming and sabotaging of the poor and dispossessed in the name of the “war on terror”.


This chapter introduced the concepts of securitisation and desecuritisation, their origins in the Copenhagen School and the underlying reasons why East Africa, in particular Somalia, has been securitised since the US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and the 9/11 attacks. The creation of AFRICOM and the US base in Djibouti has implications for future diplomacy between the continent and the US as it is underpinned by military relations as opposed to a normal foreign-policy approach. It also demonstrated how the steps taken by the US and its allies to counter the perceived threat of terrorism have had unintended consequences, such as the emergence of Al-Shabaab in south central Somalia. Although this organisation has recently lost ground to AMISOM and the Somali National Force (SNF) it continues to pose huge security challenges to Somalia, neighbouring countries and the West.

Finally, it showed how securitisation has been applied to the region to the detriment of those on the receiving end, e.g. invasions, attacks and proxy wars which have caused untold distress to the Somali people and prolonged their suffering. They have also help to create an even greater wedge and distrust between the Somali people and the West, in particular the United States. This mistrust has led to a number of draconian measures by members of the international community which continue to have a negative impact on Somali people and businesses, for example the UN Sanctions Regime, which chapter two will explore.


UN Sanctions Regime

I begin with three examples of the terminology commonly used by the international community to impose restrictions on countries, businesses and people they see as threats to international security:

a)         “Blacklisting is used by the United Nations and governments to counter terrorism by naming and freezing the assets of individuals and groups accused of violating counterterrorism laws” (The Fourth Freedom Forum[3]  (FFF) 2007:1);

b)         according to Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, the Security Council can take enforcement steps to safeguard or restore international peace and security. These measures which include economic and/or other penalties not involving the use of physical force or military action are called sanctions (UN Security Council n.d.);

c) terrorist proscription is the process of “designating a group or individuals as terrorists, as an associate of known terrorists, or as a financial supporter of terrorism” (Sullivan & Hayes 2010:6).

The history of the current UN Sanctions Regime goes to the aftermath of the Cold War, when there was an increase in use of sanctions, e.g. South Africa’s Apartheid regime and Iraq (Portela 2010:14). In the first half of the 1990s it certified the use of sanctions to address civil wars and “failed states” (Portela 2010:14). These state sanctions have been criticised as having a destructive impact on populations, notably in Iraq, and having little effect on the regime itself. These criticisms initiated the process of the UN turning to ‘targeted’ sanctions which shifted the emphasis from the state to entities and individuals believed to be involved in terrorist activities, wherever they might be in the world (Almqvist 2008:306). These changes were driven by the desire of the international community to fight global terrorism, which is the focus of this chapter. The supporters of these changes say that the UN has taken innovative steps to respond to new threats and accommodate the changes required to meet today’s challenges in the world (Portela 2010). Furthermore, criminalising terrorist groups including those who carried out the US embassy attacks in East Africa, freezing their assets and naming and shaming them seems like the right thing to do. However, the blacklisting scheme mainly used by the UN, the US and the EU has come under criticism for its impact on the rights of those on the receiving end which undermined its legality and effectiveness (Sullivan & Hayes 2010:6). Moreover, “targeted” (or “smart”) sanctions have been referred to as a “peaceful” means of implementing international law but have lately been criticised by Global Policy Forum[4] (GPF 2013:1)  as “cruel, unfair and even violent” and “outside acceptable standards of law”. Additionally, Farrall (2007:1) identified failings of the UN Security Council in applying rule-of-law principles to its sanctions programme. According to Almqvist (2008:305) the cause of these contradictions lies in “the global ‘securitisation’ of terrorism”. She argues that before 9/11 terrorism was mainly seen as “serious international crime” as opposed to an “existential” threat which requires “extraordinary” measures. I will now turn to these measures by exploring the UN Sanctions Regime, the EU Terrorist List and the US Economic Sanctions Program. Whilst there are many countries and entities that have their own blacklisting schemes, I will concentrate on these three as they have had the most severe effect on Somali individuals and entities thus far.

UN Resolution 1267

After the bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998 and 1999 respectively, the UN Security Council (UNSC) passed Resolution 1267. It was aimed at the Taliban and required all member states to block and freeze assets belonging to them (Portela 2010). A year later in 2000 UNSC adopted Resolution 1333 reaffirming Resolution 1267, and expanded the blacklist to include individuals and entities believed to be associated with Osama bin Laden (UNSC 2000:1). Finally, Resolution 1390 was introduced to facilitate additional travel bans and arms embargoes on all listed individuals (UNSC 2002:2). Since these three resolutions share the same underlying purpose, I will adopt current practice and refer to them as the 1267 regime (Portela 2010:16).

The critics of this regime argue that it has serious shortcomings which undermine not only its effectiveness but also its impact on human rights. Firstly, they say, it is vague – meaning that it can be applied anywhere in the world, but without clarity on who can be declared as targets, and that it enables national governments to restrict the human rights of those they suspect. Secondly, it leaves no room for states to decide how to implement it and does not take into account the domestic situation of each country. Instead they are required to follow it to the letter (Gowlland-Debbas 2004:647). Thirdly, the application of these resolutions left those on the receiving end without any resources to obtain the most basic provisions such as food, accommodation and medicine. It also failed to offer any remedies for those who have been wrongly listed or accused because of mistaken identity (for instance, due to difficulties in distinguishing people with similar names or translating names from other languages into English) (Almqvist 2008:307-309). Fourthly, and perhaps most importantly this regime violates human rights and fails to offer any form of legal means for those wrongly accused (FFF 2007:1).

Some of the information which facilitates an entity or somebody’s name to be included in the list comes from open sources such as the media. However, the majority of that information comes from secret intelligence which is impossible to access for the accused and any court of law that might act on their behalf (Sullivan & Hayes 2010:13). This has led to the further erosion of civil liberties and undermines the credibility of the UN, the organisation which should be championing the promotion of human rights, the rule of law and respect and dignity for all. The criticism of this process and the response to legal questions regarding the 1267 regime has led to some procedural improvements, including the creation of an ombudsperson to oversee delisting requests (FFF 2007:2). However, these changes have done nothing to address the rights of targeted individuals to access justice, including the right to ask the court for a judicial review of why they were listed in the first place, or obtain compensation. Additionally there are no independent international human rights courts that can cater for the cases of those who have been accused (Almqvist 2008:308-309). On the basis of the evidence presented above one may come to the conclusion that the 1267 regime as it stands is not fit for purpose and therefore wonder whether the EU Terrorist Lists operate any better.

The EU Terrorist Lists

According to Sullivan and Hayes (2010:17) there are two different types of EU sanctions, undertaking the two UN blacklisting regimes:

a)         “UN Resolutions 1267, 1333 and 1390 and their consolidated lists of terrorist suspects are directly implemented (and exactly copied) into the European legal order”;

b) Resolution 1373, under which the EU creates its own listing of individuals and entities they believe are part of terrorist enterprises whose resources should be blocked, despite the fact that it is not an international obligation to do so (Almqvist 2008: 310).

Like the UN system the EU lists also continue to have some shortcomings, for example no provisions were initially provided to notify listed individuals or to aid the removal of one’s details from the designated lists. Anyhow, legal challenges in 2007 involving European courts, and immense pressure from campaign groups, forced the EU to introduce procedural reforms which went further than the UN (Sullivan & Hayes 2010:18). One of the most publicised legal challenges facing the EU terrorist listings involved a Somali called Kadi and an entity he was involved with called Al-Barakat. Before venturing into the case involving Kadi and the background to his original blacklisting by the US authorities, I will first examine how the US Sanctions Program (which blacklisted him and Al-Barakat in 2001) works.

US Sanctions

Economic sanctions have become a policy tool which the US government has used as a first resort in a range of diplomatic and foreign policy matters, for instance to counter the threat of communism during the Cold War, to promote democracy and human rights in the developing world and to counter drugs and international terrorism (Fitzgerald 1999:23-24). Fitzgerald (1999:24) goes on to explain the scale of this programme and said:

It is estimated that in the 1990s alone the United States resorted to some form of economic sanctions more than seventy times, covering forty-two percent of the world’s population.

Why is the US using a punitive programme that affects the lives of almost half the world’s population? In fact, the US government’s desire to use sanctions is easy to understand, it allows it to show its allies and the public that they are doing something about an issue that requires its attention without committing to military action. There are a number of sanctions or blacklists currently in use by the government for counter-terrorism purposes, and there are different terminologies to describe the various listings it publishes. For example “Specially Designated Nationals” (SDN) is administered and managed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which is part of the US Department of the Treasury. OFAC publishes a long list of individuals or businesses owned, controlled, run by or representing targeted countries. It prevents any US citizen dealing with the people on the list, it also freezes and blocks their assets (US Department of the Treasury 2013a). There are numerous other programmes dealing the sanctioning of terrorism including: “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” (FTOs), which makes it a criminal offence for US citizens to give material assistance to FTOs and Terrorism List Governments (TLGs) (US Department of the Treasury 2012). In addition there is the “Terrorist Exclusion List” (TEL) the list of individuals designated for asset blocking under Executive Order 13224 and the “State Sponsors of Terrorism” (SST) list administered by the State Department, the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations (AML), Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT), and so on (Sullivan & Hay 2010:95). In fact, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), because there are so many blacklists and watchlists in operation it is difficult to establish a list of the lists (Sullivan & Hayes 2010:95). Even though the reasons for setting up these different sanctions vary, their aim is to block assets belonging to suspected groups and individuals and ultimately make life difficult for them.

As we mentioned above, the sanctions programme is run by OFAC, which has come under considerable criticism from both friends and foes. Their criticisms are centred in four areas: the capacity and the structure of the organisation, the way it operates, the channels open to those who wish to challenge their decisions and the way it enforces its process. Earlier I mentioned that the organisation expected to manage the multitude of sanctions and blacklists for the United States is OFAC. However, this organisation is under-resourced and overstretched, it employs about one hundred members of staff and has a small budget of $25 million (Fitzgerald 2002:964). It treats the organisations and entities it deals with as hostile and not as collaborators or people with whom it has common interests. It is too slow to respond to requests, e.g. applying for a licence, which has taken, in some cases, two years to process, and not being a good communicator (Fitzgerald 2002:964). Challenging OFAC designations can be a long and onerous, if not impossible, process, one of the reasons for this being the fact that there is no recognised right to request a review concerning blacklisting (Fitzgerald 1999:83). According to the New York Times 97 per cent of those on OFAC’s consolidated list are foreigners (Sullivan & Hayes 2010:96). The significance of this is twofold: first, OFAC knows that most of these people do not have the means or the ability to take on the US government; secondly it gives the impression that since almost all of them are foreigners their human rights are not their concern when using sanctions (Fitzgerald 1999); and thirdly, this is an organisation which has huge freedom and very little oversight, which allows it to become a blunt instrument for the US authorities to use against their enemies.

For this reason and the reasons indicated earlier, the US, the EU and the UN have invested considerable resources and political capital in applying sanctions, so the question is whether these programmes are working and helping them to maintain peace and security? According to Sullivan and Hayes (2010:36) this doesn’t seem to be the case. They argue that

it is highly questionable whether blacklisting and asset-freezing actually have any significant effects for the disruption of terrorist financing. The UN Sanctions Committee has stated the asset-freezing has only had a “limited impact” … whilst the 1267 Monitoring Team stated that there is “difficulty in quantifying its effect” and that the value of targeted sanctions in combating terrorism is largely “symbolic”.

Furthermore, US blacklisting “may be more about the idea [that] the government is doing something to stop the flow of money to terrorist organisations than it is about actually stopping that flow” (O’Leary 2010:568). It seems that these programmes have very few benefits for those who instigated them and huge costs for the intended targets, and therefore they should be reviewed. However, a former military intelligence officer told me that the use of sanctions is likely to continue in the near future. Unfortunately for those on the receiving end their impact has been devastating. This is because they not only freeze their assets indefinitely but it also stigmatises them as “terrorists” and social pariahs (O’Leary 2010:566). In the words of Fitzgerald (1999:86):

The practical consequences of being touched by one of the OFAC economic sanctions programs may be the economic equivalent of capital punishment. By virtue of the restrictions, the blacklisted business may cease to exist as a viable entity.

In 2001 both Kadi and Al-Barakat, which was at the time Somalia’s biggest remittance company, experienced the “economic capital punishment” which Fitzgerald talks about when it was blacklisted by OFAC. The latter eventually ceased to operate as a business. Before I address the specific case against Kadi and Al-Barakat, I will provide an overview of how the hawala system works and of the various external actors involved in securitising the remittances industry. In conclusion this chapter will examine the current debate surrounding the banking sector, the regulators and the remittances industry in the UK.

Remittances and terrorism

“Hawala” is an Arabic word which means “transfer”, and it often refers to informal financial networks (Orozco & Yansura 2013:15). Remittances on the other hand are commonly used to facilitate international money transfers by migrant workers and recorded in formal accounting systems (Choucri 1986). These terminologies are commonly used interchangeably. Somalis have been using hawala services in the last forty years, beginning with the first wave of migrant labourers who went to work in the oil-rich Gulf states in the 1970s and 1980s (Horst and Hear 2002:32). Since the start of the civil war in the late 1980s and early 1990s large numbers of Somalis left the country as refugees and moved to neighbouring countries, North America and Europe. It is estimated that remittances to Somalia are in the region of $1.3 billion a year, and the lion’s share of this money comes from the Somali diaspora living in the US and UK (Orozco & Yansura 2013:6). The significance of this money to Somalia becomes very clear when it is estimated to be four times bigger than official aid as well as being a source of foreign exchange (Hulburt 2012). However, hawala is sadly misunderstood in the West and has been fighting for its survival since 9/11. It has been vilified in both the news and political discourse as an avenue that enables terrorist groups to channel money and fund their enterprises, as in the following headline from Time suggesting that hawala is “a banking system built for terrorism” (Ganguly 2001). The US government discourse on hawala was similar: Chairman Bayh told the US Senate in November 2001:

… One system which bin Laden and his terrorist cells use to covertly move funds around the world is through “hawala”, an ancient, informal, and widely unknown system for transferring money. … Although most Americans have never heard of hawala, that system almost certainly helped al Qaeda terrorists move the money that financed their attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon” (cited, Goede 2003:514).

This statement shows the fear and concerns that the US government had about something practised in their midst which they found scary, strange and, at best, practised by people they have nothing in common with and which, at worst, benefits their enemy. This suspicion and misunderstanding led to Al-Barakat’s sanctioning and eventual demise.

The case against Al-Barakat

Documents released by the US Department of the Treasury (2013b) shows that Al-Barakat was blacklisted on 7 November 2001. White House officials at the time claimed that this organisation was “tied to al Qaeda and Usama bin Laden”, which “raise[s] money for terror, invest[s] it for profit, launder[s] the proceeds of crime, and distribute[s] money for terrorists around the world to purchase the tools of global terrorism” (Goede 2003:520). Furthermore, Al-Barakat was also implicated as “provid[ing] terrorists with internet services and secure telephone communications, and arrang[ing] for the shipment of weapons” (Goede 2003:520). The US Secretary of the Treasury and Attorney General told the world’s media in a press conference that the founder and CEO of Al-Barakat, Ahmed Nur Jumale, was a “friend and a supporter of Usama Bin Ladin” (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States 2004:80). As a result of these serious accusations Al-Barakat offices were raided, all its assets were blocked, not only in the US but also in the UAE and Europe, including millions of dollars sent by the Somali diaspora to their families in Somalia (Hurlburt 2012:3).  As we mentioned above, Yasin Kadi, who managed Al-Barakat operations in Sweden, was also blacklisted. Al-Barakat, which was the largest private sector employer in Somalia at the time, had a number of other investments in the communications sector, including mobile technology and the internet. It had operation in forty countries and managed around $140 million a year of remittances (West, cited, Maimbo 2006:33). This was a company not only serving Somalis but also used by humanitarian agencies. Therefore its closure resulted in a crisis of confidence in the Somali hawala sector and impacted on millions of people who depended on its services in Somalia (West, cited, Maimbo 2006:33). However, it soon became clear that the evidence against the company was shaky and could not be substantiated by the US authorities. After a huge investigation which took place in US, Europe and the UAE the FBI officials who led the investigation gave the following conclusion:

It has been alleged that the Barakaat Group of Companies were assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or other services in support of known terrorist organizations. Media and U.S. law enforcement reports have linked al-Barakaat companies and its principal manager, Ahmed Nur Ali Jumale, to Usama bin Ladin and bin Ladin’s efforts to fund terrorist activities. However, this information is generally not first-hand information or it has not been corroborated documentary or other circumstantial evidence that support the allegation (National Commission on Terrorism Attacks Upon the United States 2004:83-84).

Despite this clear statement of no wrongdoing and failure to find any “smoking guns”, both Al-Barakat and Jumale remain on the US sanction list (US Department of the Treasury 2013b). However, on 21 February 2012 they were delisted from the UN Sanctions list (UNSC 2013a). This gesture was too little and too late for Al-Barakat, which no longer existed as a business, and Jumale’s reputation as an international terrorist is a stigma he will have to live with for the rest of his life. As for Kadi the campaign to clear his name came a bit earlier in 2008 when the European Court of Justice annulled the UNSC ruling that froze his assets and those of the Al-Barakat branch in Sweden (Sullivan & Hayes 2010:57). The court accepted Kadi’s claim that the UNSC ruling had infringed

their [Kadi and Al-Barakat’s] fundamental rights, in particular their right to property, the right to a fair hearing, and the right to an effective remedy, as guaranteed by the European convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms (Portela 2010:23).

This case was hailed as a landmark decision (Reich 2008). However, it is doubtful whether Kadi would have been able to clear his name had he not been a Swedish citizen and didn’t have the full support of his government who started to campaign on his behalf as soon as he was blacklisted. The New York Times reported this story with some admiration and said “prominent Swedes defied sanctions regulations by taking up a collection for their legal fees” (Goede 2003:524). Sweden’s efforts show the importance of taking a considered approach rather than adopting policies which do not defeat terrorism but instead harm innocent people.

Unfortunately, twelve years on, the nature and value of hawala is still not understood properly by authorities on both sides of the Atlantic. A report released by Oxfam America in July this year claims that banks in America perceive Somalia as a risky place to deal with and Somali remittance companies as high-risk customers (Orozco & Yansura 2013:6). This has resulted in the closure of many bank accounts belonging to hawala companies and affected their ability to operate. As I mentioned earlier there are myriads of regulations, listings and executive orders dealing with terrorist financing. In the UK Barclays decided to give notice to around 250 remittance companies who fail to meet its AML criteria and released this statement: “It is recognised that some money service businesses don’t have the proper checks in place to spot criminal activity and could therefore unwittingly be facilitating money laundering and terrorist financing” (Tran 2013:2). Critics such as Mohamed (2013:2) say that Barclay’s decision to close these accounts is to avoid the $1.9bn fine levied on HSBC by the US authorities for failing to meet AML controls in Mexico. Mohamed (2013:2) continues:

That may be understandable, but what is not is Barclay’s decision to continue working with MoneyGram despite its money-laundering violations in the US, at the same time as the bank is shutting down Somali money-transfer companies that have never faced any charges.

Barclays double-standard approach to this issue has been seen not only as unfair and unjust but also as using “a sledgehammer to crack a nut”. As The Economist (2013:44) explains: “Cash going to extremists in Somalia is sent in sacks by plane [referring to ransom money paid to Somali pirates which is usually dropped from a helicopter], not from a London suburb a few hundred dollars at a time.” These misgivings were echoed by Donald Kaberuka, Head of Africa Development Bank, when he said banks concerns were “guided more by preconceived notions of risks than actual risks” (Tran 2013:3). The Economist (2013:44) added that hawala companies say that they have no worries about working with law enforcement or regulators and meeting their requirements and concludes that “The agents are asking what extra measures banks want them to take.” Finally, the bank critics say that their decision to close these accounts would push the hawala companies underground and into the hands of terrorism and organised crime. A former senior diplomat I interviewed concluded that the hawala system has lots of vulnerabilities as there are some aspects of remittance banking that are open to abuse. But there is no point in taking away an imperfect system and replacing it with a bad one. A campaign started by Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, and Mo Farah, the Olympic and world champion runner, has attracted a lot of support from hawala companies, members of the Somali community and the British public and is still mobilising people (Tran 2013:2). At the same time high-level talks are going on between HMG and Barclays Bank to find any form of solution which may ameliorate the fears and the concerns of all involved. Department for International Development (DFID) recently commissioned a company called Beechwood International to carry out “Rapid response research on the UK remittances market”, their aim being to identify “industry-led, short and long-term measures to support adaptation in the UK remittance market to ensure the continued flow of remittances through formal channels” (DFID 2013:1). Beechwood International told me that they have been busy consulting with all the stakeholders and are due to present their report to the government in October. Members of the Somali community that I spoke with do not expect a miracle from this report but hope that it will provide a road map for a lasting solution.


This chapter has addressed the use of sanctions as part of the “war on terrorism” by the UNSC and particularly Resolution 1267, the EU Terrorist List and US Sanctions Program. It offered an insight into the plethora of legislation, regulations and various blacklisting methods that the US and these entities use which have different emphases but have one aim in common: to block and freeze the assets of those suspected of being involved in terrorism, thus limiting their freedom. At the same time it highlighted the shortcomings of these programmes and the challenges facing them, including the friction between the UN, the EU and the US (illustrated by Kadi and Al-Barakat’s case), legal challenges brought by some of those affected and, perhaps most of all, the fact that these programmes simply do not work. However, the use of sanctions remains popular as it allows the US, the UN & the EU to show the public that they are doing something about an issue which requires a response without committing to “boots on the ground”. The majority of those on the various lists, especially the US lists, are foreigners which gives the impression that blacklisting is an exercise of power by the powerful on the powerless. Therefore there is a need for an independent human rights court to act on behalf of those who do not have the means of defending themselves. It also examined the securitisation of remittances since 9/11, their value to Somalia and the Somali people and the current challenges facing the sector. The biggest challenge is the lack of banks willing to open accounts for money transfer companies. The intervention of the UK government to bridge the gap between regulators, banks and the remittance companies may lead to a possible solution. This work is currently under way and those I interviewed will be following it with interest.

Unfortunately, the impact of sanctions has also affected the way humanitarian aid is managed, run and delivered in Somalia. To this end chapter three will venture into the politicisation of aid and the securitisation of the Somali diaspora, who are the source of remittances to the country.


The attacks of 9/11 in the United States and their aftermath altered the way the international community engaged with Somalia, changing from a humanitarian approach concerned with the protection and welfare of the civilian population to one principally focused on international, and in particular US, security from international terrorism (Bradbury 2010:4). The scale of this change is phenomenal, as Warsame[5]  states:

In 2008, humanitarian assistance accounted for 95 percent of total aid by USAID, while peace and security comprised only 1.2 per cent. In 2009, peace and security accounted for 64 percent, while humanitarian assistance accounted for 32 percent … In 2010 out of $133 million, 85% is allocated for peace and security (2012:55-56).

These changes have not happened because Somalia’s need for humanitarian aid is less than before, but they happened because the discourse about failed states and the threat they pose has become the preoccupation of Western elites and policymakers since 9/11, as we discussed in chapter one. Therefore, available resources were geared towards the creation of a functioning Somali government at the expense of humanitarian aid (Bradbury 2010:10). The result of these changes have been damaging to both the humanitarian agencies and the civilian population. This is because:

With donors providing both military and humanitarian aid, the boundaries between military and humanitarian assistance become increasingly blurred. Some belligerents [primarily Al-Shabaab] view aid agencies simply as extensions of Western governments (Bradbury 2010:12).

Al-Shabaab’s suspicions were realised on February 2008 when the US government proscribed it as a terrorist organisation. Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom took similar steps in 2009 and 2010 respectively (Mackintosh & Duplat 2013:74). Al-Shabaab responded by expelling a number of aid agencies from southern Somalia after accusing them of espionage (Mackintosh & Duplat 2013). However, this matter was made worse in March 2010 when the UN Monitoring Group[6] on Somalia and Eritrea produced a report politicising humanitarian aid (UNSC 2010). This report made claims that a number of Somali contractors who provided transportation for the World Food Programme (WFP) were allied to terrorist organisations and deliberately diverting food to the black market which earned them millions (UNSC 2010). According to Samatar (2012:2):

This report virtually crippled the WFP’s capacity to deliver food to Somalis in areas controlled by Al-Shabaab. … Al-Shabaab reacted to the claims by banning many humanitarian agencies including WFP. … Such politics produced the worst famine in the country since 1992.

The famine happened in 2011 and had a devastating effect on southern Somalia, especially on the 625,000 people who lived in Al-Shabaab-held areas at the time and required immediate and ongoing aid assistance (Warsame 2010:54). In response to the allegations made by the Monitoring Group, the UNSC added at least thirteen Somali individuals to their existing blacklist and blocked their wealth, and at the same time proscribed Al-Shabaab as a terrorist organisation (Mackintosh & Duplat 2013:75), whilst the US president signed an executive order freezing the assets belonging to a number of Somali individuals described as a threat to both Somalia and US interests (Bradbury 2010:13). These new sanctions and the existing ones we outlined in chapter two created an even more difficult climate for aid agencies working in southern Somalia. An illustration of this is the bureaucratic requirement that they were asked to carry out when working with local organisations including:

Pre-vetting finance checks, tracking systems, real-time monitoring, verification of partners’ stakeholders, a bond system (required a deposit of 30% of the value of goods transported) and a contractual assumption of 100% financial liability for shipments lost or stolen by contractors (Pantuliano & Metcalfe 2011:2).

Taking these steps impacted on aid agencies as they were no longer perceived as neutral and impartial in a game involving the geopolitics of donor countries, a militia group with no regard for human life, and humanitarian agencies caught between “a rock and a hard place”. Thus these constrains have led aid agencies to limit their work and activities in southern Somalia for fear of breaching US anti-terrorism laws (The Guardian 2013:12). These US domestic laws were applicable to organisations delivering aid in Somalia including USAID. The result was devastating for Somalia and in particular “between 2008 and 2010, earmarked US aid to Somalia went down 88 per cent” (Mackintosh & Duplat 2013:83). This was according to some commentators, including Samatar, a precursor and contributor to the 2011 famine. Fortunately, due to pressure from the public, both the UN and the US eased their restrictions in Somalia during the famine and allowed aid agencies including USAID to operate in areas held by Al-Shabaab. The UNSC passed Resolution 1916, which made it clear that the existing sanctions regime “shall not apply to the payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources necessary to ensure the timely delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance in Somalia” (Refworld 2010). The US was slow to react, but it did eventually move when the famine was declared in July 2011 (UN News Centre 2011). OFAC, commenting on the Somali famine on its website, said:

Due to the dangerous and highly unstable environment combined with urgent humanitarian needs in south and central Somalia, some food and/or medicine delivered in these areas may end up in the hands of al-Shabaab members. Such incidental benefits are not a focus for OFAC sanctions enforcement (US Department of the Treasury 2011:1).

Even though the US has loosened its restrictions on working in areas held by Al-Shabaab, OFAC’s statement has been criticised as vague as it failed to offer a legal guarantee that it will not take action against these organisations in the future under the material support statute which forbids working with proscribed groups (Patuliano & Metcalfe 2011:2). As a result of these uncertainties and concerns “several large NGOs allocated a disproportionate amount of aid to Kenya and Ethiopia, in part due to counter-terrorism concerns” (Mackintosh & Duplat 2013:84). There is no denying that the 2011 famine was not confined to Somalia and affected millions of people living in the Horn of Africa region. However, Somalia bears the brunt and at the same time seems to be getting the least help due to the securitisation of humanitarian aid.

Some more disturbing news came in February this year when the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) released a statement calling on the UN not to co-opt humanitarian aid to military campaigns in Somalia. It reported that the UNSC plans to integrate humanitarian aid into UN and African Union military strategy. In their view this “will further threaten the safe delivery of independent and impartial aid to Somalis struggling to survive ongoing war” and MSF concludes: “Attempts to further politicize humanitarian aid will put patients and aid workers in even greater danger” (MSF 2013a:1). The dangers faced by MSF and their patients is what eventually forced them to leave Somalia in August this year, after twenty-two years in the country (MSF 2013b:1). The cost of losing MSF is Somalia’s loss, especially the thousands of civilians who depended on their care and treatment. The question one must ask is how many more life-saving organisations must leave the country before the international community changes its approach to humanitarian assistance in Somalia?

Humanitarian aid and remittances from the diaspora keeps millions of people alive in Somalia. However, as mentioned earlier the Somali diaspora in the West has been under attack and received an increased focus from policy maker, law enforcement agencies and the media since 9/11. Consequently, this has led to the stereotyping, stigmatisation and securitisation of the community living in the countries of the West, which we will consider next.

Securitising the Somali Diaspora

The Somali flag has a white star with five corners, each corner standing for a region in the Horn of Africa where Somalis live which are: Djibouti (Former French Somaliland), North Eastern Province (in Kenya), Ogaden (Somali region of Ethiopia), Somaliland (Former British Somaliland) and Southern Somalia (Former Italian Somaliland) (Lewis 2008). However, if the Somali flag were formed today, there is a possibility that it might exhibit a sixth point, representing another component of the Somali nations – its diaspora dispersed around the globe (Möller 2008:14). The term diaspora is normally “used to refer to dispersed migrant and ethnic populations” (Kleist 2008:1128). A report written by the current president of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh, and Sally Healy (2009:4) on behalf of the UNDP estimated that at least 14 per cent of Somalia’s population, or more than one million people, live outside the country. Somalis are nowadays found all around the world but mainly live in neighbouring countries, the Middle East, Europe and North America (Hassan & Healy 2009:4). Many Somalis living in the West find it difficult to be accepted by their host communities, they are either unemployed or underemployed and often struggle to find avenues which enable them to use their qualifications and experience in the labour market (Kleist 2008:1131). When it comes to Western media Somalis are usually characterised as people who have little to contribute and as a burden to society. Furthermore, politicians and government officials often perceive them as a challenging group to work with and to integrate (Kleist 2008:1131). A recent article in The Economist (“Somalis fare much worse than any other immigrants; what holds them back?” – 2013:21) is a case in point. The article claims that:

Most Somalis – Britain’s largest refugee population – do not work. They are among the poorest, worst educated and least-employed in Britain. … Over 80% of Somali-speaking pupils qualify for free school meals. … The cost of their economic marginalisation hurts them, and is a toll on the public sector, too (The Economist 2013:21).

There are a number of flaws in this argument, as a study commissioned by Lambeth Council makes clear: first of all there are no reliable figures or data on the exact number of Somalis living in the UK; secondly, the underachievement of Somali pupils in UK schools which the article talks about is misleading since government statistics do not differentiate African groups, therefore there are no accurate figures on the number of Somali pupils in British schools; thirdly, even though the paper mentions some of the reasons why Somalis struggle in the UK it fails to recognise the root causes of the community’s problems as a whole and Somali pupils in particular, which are the ongoing war in Somalia, the fact that many children have had an interrupted education or no schooling before coming to the UK, the challenges of learning how the British education system and the labour market works, living in overcrowded accommodation and racism (Demie et al 2008:5-6). This lack of understanding about the issues facing the Somalis by the authorities, the media and the British public was observed by Hermione Harris (2004:13):

… Somalis too are rendered visible by their dress. But the social distance between Somalis and British culture increases their isolation. There is therefore a dissonance between the amount of information which actually exists, and what is believed to be known.

Somalis first arrived in the UK in the nineteenth century. Since then there has always been a community based here (Harris 2004:22). Some of the people I interviewed concurred with Harris’s statement and agreed that on the whole there is a lack of understanding between British authorities, the British public and Somali people in the country. Hence it seems strange, to say the least, that a community who has been in the UK for three centuries remains a mystery. Furthermore, since 2006 when Al-Shabaab emerged in south central Somalia security agencies in both the US and the UK have been focusing on the diaspora, especially the youth. One of the youths they frequently highlight was called Shirwa Ahmed, from Minneapolis, who in 2008 became the first US suicide bomber in Hargeisa, Somaliland (Mulligan 2009). This has made alarm bells ring in the US about young Somalis who rejected their Somali history, clan identity and American culture for terrorism and jihad (Mulligan 2009). The response from the US authorities was harsh as they focused more on the Somali diaspora, and there were also calls to introduce further security measures and controls on the freedom of Muslim communities in the US (Kurzman 2011:2). In the UK in 2010 the Director General of MI5 said that terrorist groups based in Somalia pose more threat to Britain than those in Pakistan and gave this warning: “It is only a matter of time before we see terrorism on our streets inspired by those who are today fighting alongside Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militia in Somalia” (The Independent 2010). Moreover, in 2011 David Cameron characterised Somalia as a failed state that poses a direct threat to UK interests. In his view, radicalised Somali British youth present the most risks to the country (Fergusson 2013a:8). Fortunately, five years later after Shirwa Ahmed left America and blew himself up in Somaliland the fears and the concerns that the US and the UK authorities had about radicalised Somali British and Somali Americans coming back to their soil and carrying out terrorist activities have not materialised. There may be people who sympathise or even support Al-Shabaab but according to experts in this field “they are a mere handful”, and the thousands of Somalis living in both countries do not want to have anything to do with Al-Shabaab or any other Islamic extremism (Fergusson 2013b:1). One of my interviewees told me that treating all Somalis as a security threat is counter-productive as it damages relations between the community and law-enforcement agencies who need the support of Somalis in order to tackle the issue of extremism and the threat from terrorism. Mary Harper, Africa editor of BBC World Service News, argues that just because the state has failed, it does not mean its people and its economy has failed. This is because Somalia’s telecommunications technology is the envy of the world, the country has the biggest money remittance company in Africa and it exports more livestock than any country in the world (Harper 2012a:2). She concludes that the West is wrong to perceive Somalia and its people “as nothing but trouble, a drain on resources and a source of Islamist terror” (Harper 2012b:2). As the recent attacks at the shopping mall in Nairobi, which was claimed by Al-Shabaab (Reuters 2013b), shows there are many challenges facing Somalia and its diaspora, which need the combined efforts of Somalis and the international community to overcome. There is also no doubt that Somalis are among the most resilient people on earth. They have endured more than twenty-two years of war, civil war, famine and foreign invasions yet they have refused to give up hope and in some cases prospered. Powell, Ford and Nowrasteh (2008:658) argued that in Somalia the performance of the economy has improved since the collapse of the state, and Somalis have been able to provide basic services, law and order and a currency which resulted in better living standards, higher than average in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition the hawala system ensures an inflow of foreign currency into the economy (Möller 2009:25). The upshot of all this is that there is more to Somalis than being a pirate, a terrorist, a benefit scrounger or an “enemy within”.


This chapter argued that due to the discourse on the dangers posed by “failed states” and “ungoverned” parts of the world which became prominent after 9/11, the approach of the international community to Somalia has shifted from humanitarian assistance to a security focus, principally the security of the United States, and the boundaries between humanitarian aid and military campaigns have become blurred. This has resulted in a huge fall in US aid to Somalia, and has led to the erosion of trust between aid agencies, the militia groups and the civilian population. This was made worse by the designation of Al-Shabaab as a terrorist group by the US authorities in 2008, and in 2010 the UN Monitoring Report further securitised humanitarian aid, and some say it led to the 2011 famine. Even though donor governments and the UN eased their restrictions on aid agencies working in Al-Shabaab-held areas, the fear of persecution by OFAC remains an obstacle for many agencies to operate in the country. There is a real need for donor governments to permanently exempt humanitarian aid from their sanctions. Finally, the chapter looked into the nature of the Somali diaspora and the challenges it faces, in particular in the UK and the US where the authorities see them as a security threat. I argued that this is counter-productive and does not address Western security concerns but prolongs the marginalisation and the securitisation of the Somali diaspora. Somalis are resilient hard-working people who survived, and in some cases prospered, against the odds. Therefore, if given the chance and opportunity to realise their full potential, they will not only benefit Somalia but also their adopted countries. For this reason chapter four will take stock of the barriers that Somalia and the Somali people need to overcome in order to start the process of desecuritisation. It is based on interviews conducted during the fieldwork.


Even though the country has experienced positive changes since the election of President Hassan Sheikh last year and Al-Shabaab has been weakened, in the words of a serving military intelligence officer I interviewed it is impossible not to view Somalia as a security threat. He argues that the country has only recently acquired a functioning, more or less democratic government that is still yet to stamp any form of authority on either the pirates or Al-Shabaab. All credible efforts in both counter-piracy and counter-terrorism come from international agencies. Somalia must address the issues of fundamentalism and the industry that has sprung up around piracy and warlords. In his view, the reason the country should be securitised is so that the criminals can be confronted and neutralised. Normal Somalis will then be free to play an active part in a functioning democracy. A colleague of his added that at present he feels the international community has little choice as the government is still far from in control and inter-clan rivalries and politics remain rife and have the potential to boil over at any moment. Once the rule of law is implemented and controlled by the democratically elected government of Somalia, the outside world may be at liberty to reassess its stance.

So is the waging of an endless war to eliminate all the bad people and any entities that do not fit into the Western model of democracy and statehood the answer? Clearly not, as Bradbury (2010:5) makes clear: during the last twenty years a series of military actions and diplomatic blunders by Western governments has failed to

a) establish a functioning state; and

b) effectively tackle the threat from terrorism and create a safer and more stable country.

So why does the West insist on maintaining the status quo and keeping Somalia securitised? I put this question to a former senior UK diplomat who said that, first of all, the West doesn’t understand Somalia, it does not understand where authority lies and how it functions. This lack of knowing leads to misunderstandings and reflex solutions – expedient, temporary, instant solutions to security. Secondly, he said that Western governments, especially security agencies who are looking at Somalia are interested in terrorism, and terrorism is an emotive issue which fits into their agenda. It allows scapegoating of particular groups as problems to be solved. It also allows certain actions to be taken on the assumption that they are good without having to argue the case, i.e. they are “terrorists” and therefore anything goes. Thirdly, there is a self-interested industry that has developed around this, e.g. protecting ships (which means the navy has got something to do), the security industry (which is big business) and established bureaucratic systems that cater for them (this means jobs for lots of people). Therefore it is in their interest to keep Somalia this way. Fourthly, the international agenda is crowded and Somalia is not at the top. He said that The UK is worried about Syria, Iran, the Middle East, the global economy, the X Factor and the Premier League. Somalia is not hurting us enough for it to be a front-page issue that we need to address in a meaningful manner: there are simply a few ministers who are passionate about it.

So how can Somalia overcome this level of cynicism and these obstacles and start the process of desecuritisation? To answer this question I will divide the views of those I interviewed into four groups. The first group questions whether the concept of desecuritisation is a valid one. In other words has desecuritisation ever happened? Has the leader of a nation ever declared that something has ceased to be an existential threat? Or that some extraordinary measures have been ended when the threat disappeared? Has anyone articulated desecuritisation in a reverse “speech act”. Furthermore, the problem with the securitisation theory, is primarily with the counterfactual. Securitisation it is suggested, is a situation where “extraordinary measures” are applied to a specific nation, region, issue or grouping. But nowhere in the literature is “normal policymaking” defined well enough to know what “ordinary measures” are. Their contention is that securitisation exists on a spectrum and that we have become so used to state-sanctioned abnormal/punitive measures being applied generally, that we cannot possibly know what the baseline of normality is. To one of the participants a prison is an extraordinary measure. The fact that the US locks up so many black people using its “normal” policy measures warrants some significant critique of securitisation theory. Therefore in their view as it stands this theory is inefficient, unhelpful and only benefits the powerful. However, it is not the purpose of this dissertation to examine the merits of this theory but assess how Somalia and Somalis utilise it to better their current misfortunes.

The second group felt that as securitisation is enforced by the hegemon, it is only the West who can lift it, and they will do it only if it serves their interest. Hence desecuritisation is not in the hands of the Somali people or government. Furthermore, securitisation ends, but desecuritisation does not happen in practice. It’s not in the state’s interest to give the impression that the world has become safer/less threatening. Fear is the most important tool the state has, and it does it no good to suggest that it may be needed less today than it was yesterday. In short, they didn’t think that Somalia could be desecuritised, and even if it was, it could only be done by the West and only if a new form of securitisation could be found to replace it. The US was singled out as the worst culprit in keeping Somalia securitised. It is driven by a certain set of assumptions that the Americans are the good guys and the Somalis are the bad guys. These assumptions form a frame which is difficult to change. According to Michael Shank from the respected Friends Committee on National Legislation[7] (FCNL) organisation:

The U.S. State Department, and the Defense Department for that matter, have never been in the business of working effectively for a brighter, more democratic and prosperous future for the people of Somalia. Their legacy heralds quite the opposite, in fact (CNN 2013).

Clearly the involvement of the US government in Somalia, past and present, has brought more harm than good to the Somali people, therefore the response to their actions is very simple and it is this: unless the US is willing to change its approach it should cease its involvement in Somalia entirely.

The third group said that a safe and secure Somalia benefits both Somalis and the West and proposed that, first of all, both parties need to agree that their ultimate aim is to create stability and end carnage. In order to do this you need to coordinate and join up your thinking, actions and strategies including hard power and soft power, and involve all the stakeholders. Otherwise you get serial initiatives and duplication of efforts, with too many consultants producing papers of doubtful validity. Secondly, you need an international figure in charge of the whole process and under one line of accountability. Thirdly, you should not do what they did in Afghanistan, where they tried to do counter-insurgency, counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism and development, all competing with one another and pushing in different directions. Fourthly, you need to have clear strategic objectives, so if peace and calm is what you want for Somalia do not confuse it with parliamentary democracy, which might be a means to an end but not a solution. Somali people have lived for the past twenty-two years with no central government. We therefore need to learn what works and what does not. Fifthly, Somalia and its allies in the West should lobby at the right level with the right people, organisations and governments, e.g. Independent Diplomat[8] (ID)  and similar entities. These suggestions have merits and shows that there are people on both sides of the isle who are willing to work together as equal partners for the betterment of the Somali people, eliminating hostile elements within Somalia that threaten Western security and interests, e.g. piracy and terrorism, and finally bridging the gap between the West and Somalia which ultimately benefits both.

The fourth group saw the process of desecuritising Somalia lying within the internal dynamics of the country, and expressed the view that because of all the deaths that have taken place, including the instigators and victims of previous clan conflicts, Somalia needs a Rwanda-type reconciliation movement. It also needs a “never-again” mentality to occur organically among young people before there can be any hope of normalisation. Furthermore, the key is to stop the violence and in order to stop the violence you must have a government with sustainable revenues, because without it you can’t have security and legitimacy because you have stopped providing services. Without providing services and without legitimacy you cease to exist. The government in Mogadishu has been well received by the international community. However, it has no resources and “urgently needs help to fulfil its functions – even to pay its troops regularly and finance the process of bringing the world’s most spectacularly failed state back from the abyss” (Hartley 2013:1). The donors must deliver what they promised for the government, and it must be sufficient and sustainable until the government is in a position to generate its own revenues.

There are, in fact, stable parts of Somalia that have been able to create peace and stability e.g., Somaliland and Puntland. They used Somali-led initiatives which enabled them to establish political and administrative systems, with very little support from the international community (Bradbury & Healy 2010:6). These examples show that Somalis can achieve peace. Therefore the West needs to “understand the ways in which Somalis themselves mediate conflict, negotiate ceasefire and manage security” (Brickhill, cited, Bradbury & Healy 2010:27). In other words it has to be a Somali-led process, which is suitable for Somalis and not imposed on them by the international community, although supported by it. Another example of what works in Somalia is Turkey’s involvement in the country, which has been hailed as a success by the UN and Western diplomats. In 2011, at the height of the Somali famine, prime minister Recep Erdogan visited Mogadishu, the first non-African head of government to do so since the collapse of the Somali state (International Crisis Group 2012). Since then Turkey has opened an embassy in Mogadishu, donated more $400 million towards famine relief in 2011 alone, has given scholarships to thousands of Somali students and built new schools and health clinics (Harte 2012:1). The UN’s deputy humanitarian coordinator in Somalia stated that in just a few months Turkey accomplished more than any other nation or organisation in the last 21 years (Harte 2012:1-2). Why has Turkey been so successful? Whilst the majority of aid agencies and donor government representatives try to manage their activities in southern Somalia from Nairobi, the Turks have “boots on the ground, working side by side with Somalis, advising, coaching and taking risks” (Ali 2013:2) – which are some of the ingredients of their success. The former British ambassador to Somalia, Matt Baugh, who was based in Kenya, noted that “the Turkish have shown what it is possible to do operationally … They’ve brought a really strong political force to bear. They’re intimately involved – a real force” (Harding 2012). The West could do worse than follow Turkey’s example.


This chapter laid bare the views of practitioners working in the field of security and diplomacy in relation to Somalia as well as the views of well-informed Somalis. The military intelligence officers defend the actions taken by the international community to keep Somalia securitised until in their view there is fully functioning democratic government in the country. The diplomat gave a comprehensive response as to why it is the desire of the military, the navy, Western governments and the security industry to keep Somalia as it is because it suits their interests. One group talked about the shortcomings of securitisation theory and its inability to define what “ordinary measures” are as opposed to the “extraordinary measures” applied to nations and entities that one needs to securitise. As this process is led by those with power, for some it is only the West who can facilitate the process of desecuritisation. However, it is not in their interest to do so because fear is a tool to control the population. The involvement of the US in Somalia was raised as a particular concern and the wish of the Somali people to ask the US to leave Somalia affairs unless it is willing to change its approach. Others put all the responsibilities of desecuritising the country on the shoulders of Somalis and urged them to put their house in order and create an effective and efficient government. Whilst this indicates an impasse between the two groups, there are fortunately others who are willing to work together to create and establish a stable and secure Somalia which benefits both Somalis and the West. There is therefore a need to create a strategic Somalia’s concern group from various backgrounds and disciplines to take this issue further. Finally, the chapter proposed the need to learn from the things that works well in Somalia e.g. the processes the enabled Puntland and Somaliland achieve peace and stability and Turkey’s involvement in the country for instances in delivering aid, building institutions and having boots on the ground. This has the potential to set a blueprint of how the West ought to engage with Somalia.


This dissertation has shown how, since the bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998/1999, and in the aftermath of 9/11, Western governments and policymakers viewed the continent of Africa, in particular the “weak states” of East Africa, as an area of concern which threatens their interests and security. This has altered their engagement from a humanitarian to a security-driven approach, which emphasises the security of those who live in the “zones of peace” and not those living in the “zones of chaos” (Abrahamsen 2005). This has led to the creation of AFRICOM, the building of fortified embassies and the presence of navy ships from many nations in the East Africa region. This Western hegemonic occupation is helped by weak African leaders who are concerned for the survival of their regimes and not the interests of their people or the sovereignty of their countries. Somalia is a country in the “zones of chaos” which is perceived to pose the most risks to the West, in other words an “existential threat” which ought to be tackled. Thus the concept of securitisation and all the characteristics that it embodies influence the making and the application of Western foreign policy to Somalia. Thus, the steps taken by the West have had dire consequences for Somalia and the region as a whole, for example the US attempt “to curtail a non-existing terrorist threat seems to have created one” (Möller 2009:39) as Al-Shabaab was born as a result of its interventions.

Chapter two addressed the nature of the UN Sanctions Regime, the EU Terrorist List and the US Economic Sanctions Program and their impact on target groups. My interviewees recognised some of the benefits of using blacklisting, e.g. as a deterrent or incentive to change behaviour or to stop criminals. However, they seem to be overly simplistic solutions for often incredibly complex situations, as the case of Al-Barakat has shown. Sullivan and Hayes (2010:7), who studied UN and EU sanctions, argue that they are not fit for purpose and should be replaced with better systems which address terrorist financing and take into account the human rights of the accused. As for US sanctions, the overzealous use of financial controls in counter-terrorism harms the freedom of Muslim communities and undermines government strategy for dealing with terrorism. It also weakens the relationship between law enforcement agencies and Muslims groups (O’Leary 2010:573). At the same time these ineffective and inefficient programmes are used to stop or limit the flow of remittances from the diaspora to Somalia. If they succeed in doing this it will have a negative impact on those who depend on remittances for their survival in Somalia and has the potential to further strain relations between the West and Somalia.

Combining humanitarian aid, state building and military support in Somalia has muddied the water for aid agencies, since they were no longer seen as impartial and independent. Moreover, the application of counter-terrorism laws restricted the agencies’ movement and the areas in which they could work and this led to the reduction of aid to southern Somalia. The politicisation of humanitarian aid defeats its humanitarian purpose. Its objective is to keep people alive, so attaching politically motivated constraints is wrong. Safeguarding the human rights of the civilian population and protecting them from harm should be the donor’s overriding responsibility.

The securitisation of the Somali diaspora has also taken roots in the West. The media, politicians and law enforcement agencies saw them as a difficult group to integrate, a burden to society, and as harbouring extremist elements that pose a security threat. Whilst it is the responsibility of the state to safeguard the security of its citizens, the perceived threat from the Somali diaspora is usually driven by misunderstanding and fear of the unknown. According to my interviewees the majority of the Somali people abroad are hardworking, law-abiding citizens, already making positive contributions to their host communities. The minority of troublemakers who happen to be ethnic Somalis ought to be seen as part of the criminal, not the Somali, community. To see them in this way would mean that the unhelpful and counter-productive policy of securitising the Somali diaspora could be avoided. Members of the international community and, in particular, the West and Somalia need to work together to create a stable, peaceful country which enables its citizens to live freely and equally and poses no threat to the countries of the West and their interests. It is hoped that these processes will help to reframe the Western approach from suspicion, distrust and hostility to one based on trust, cooperation and respect. This would make the process of desecuritising Somalia possible.

Internally the country needs a reconciliation process so that its grievances can be addressed and a functioning government with viable resources. However, it is important to remind both Somalis and non-Somalis that since the election of President Hassan Sheikh in September 2012 the country has experienced many changes, both internally and externally. There is increased confidence that it is heading in the right direction. However, as the September shopping mall attack in Nairobi (claimed by Al-Shabaab (Reuters 2013b)) has shown, the challenge facing the administration is huge. There is, therefore, a need to be both patient and realistic, and to understand that the twenty-two months they have been in power is not enough to overcome the crisis of the last twenty-two years.


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[1] Shuraako is a US-based not-for-profit organisation which promotes investment and social enterprises in Somalia.

[2] The authors of this report are: Kate Mackintosh and Patrick Duplat and it was commissioned by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

[3] Fourth Freedom Forum (FFF) – is a nonpartisan, non-profit, private operating foundation that is a trusted source for providing realistic solutions to today’s most global security threats. It runs a sanctions and security research programme and advices the UN and the following governments: Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Greece, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland.

[4] Global Policy Forum is an NGO that monitors the work of the United Nations and scrutinises global policymaking. It publishes original research and policy papers and promotes accountability and citizen participation in decisions on peace and security, social justice and international law. GPF has consultative status at the UN.

[5] Professor Warsame is the Chair of the accounting Area at the Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, and studied the shifting nature of US aid to Somalia.

[6]  The mandate of the UN Monitoring Group is to monitor and investigate any entity that breaches the weapons embargoes on Somalia and Eritrea (UNSC 2013b)

[7] “Founded in 1943 by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), FCNL’s nonpartisan, multi-issue advocacy connects historic Quaker testimonies on peace, equality, simplicity, and truth with peace and social justice issues. FCNL fields the largest team of registered peace lobbyists in Washington, DC” (http://fcnl.org/about/).

[8] ID provides confidential advice and practical assistance in diplomatic strategy and technique to governments, political groups, international organisations and NGOs,  http://www.independentdiplomat.org/


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