An assessment of the African Union mission in Somalia's role in conflict transformation in Somalia.
Davies, Olivia Victoria.
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Somalia has experienced protracted conflict since 1991. A number of peace enforcement operations were undertaken to bring stability to the country but they encountered difficult conditions resulting to the withdrawal of peacekeeping forces. Following the struggle for control of Somalia among armed groups, countries closer to Somalia were forced to intervene because their security was threatened. During this period, there was a continental arrangement to conduct peace operations in Africa. As a result, an African Union (AU) Peace Support Operations (PSOs) was deployed in Somalia. The mission called the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) came at a time when Somalia had undergone a series of peace and reconciliation conferences, and had to ensure that the activities of armed groups was curbed in order to bring stability to Somalia. Although the mission has faced a significant number of challenges, it is important to take note of its achievements. AMISOM has managed to recruit peacekeepers from a range of African countries to fight against the militant group called Al-Shabaab. In March 2011 it started a military campaign to support the then Transitional Federal Government (TGF) forces to retake Mogadishu and the whole of Somalia from Al-Shabaab. This initiative illustrates that the mission is making an effort to articulate and push the extension of state authority in Somalia, in an effort to bring stability to the state. Given the prospect of the mission to succeed, it is important that the root causes are addressed in order to avoid a relapse into violent conflict. This research employs the use of conflict transformation theory, to assess AMISOM’s contribution to Somalia’s conflict transformation, by looking at transformative elements or activities that are addressing the root causes of the conflict. The use of this theoretical argument will help to determine the extent to which AMISOM has contributed to Somalia’s conflict transformation. AMISOM is the lead player in transforming the conflict. It is important for the mission to analyse its role; its successes; to reflect on gaps; and redesign approaches. This may be required so that a relapse into violence may be avoided. The aim of the research therefore is to examine AMISOM’s contribution to ending the conflict in Somalia, with reference to its role in addressing the root causes of the conflict directly or indirectly as its implements its mandate. The main objectives of the research are to examine AMISOMs contribution to ending the conflict in Somalia, identify initiatives which AMISOM can undertake to transform the conflict and provide concrete recommendations on the role of AMISOM in transforming the conflict in Somalia. At the end of the study, the research finds that AMISOM has brought some amount of stability to Mogadishu, where ordinary populations are conducting businesses on normal basis. The research also finds that the mission’s activities are largely focused on counter- insurgency strategies; the expansion of Somalia’s state authority, capacity building of security forces, civil service, and the protection of the government.