Tuesday, April 24, 2018
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Security Challenges and Opportunities Facing President Mohamed Farmaajo

By Mohamed Fatah

The threats and security risks facing the newly-elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo are many and include: terrorism, instability, protracted violence, as well as proliferation of small arms, unprotected borders, weak public institutions, illicit economy, poverty, and chronic youth unemployment. After nearly 10 years of intervention by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the security in Somalia is still a major concern. Despite the many efforts and resources aimed at bringing peace and stability to Somalia, the results have been meager.

SOMALIA, Mogadishu:  A commanding officer gives orders to recently trained members of the Somali National Army (SNA) as they march during a passing-out parade at an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) training facility on the western fringes of the Somali capital Mogadishu.

The main causes of the insecurity include poor intelligence and security planning and the failure to reconstitute a credible Somali National Army (SNA) and Somali Police Force (SPF). The federal government must develop a new foreign policy, and national security approach, focused on providing resources to reconstitute sustainable SNA and SPF by 2020.


Nearly two decades since the collapse of the central government, Somalia is still struggling with security and rule of law. The security continues to deteriorate, requiring urgent solution. The International Community (IC) doesn’t have Somalia policy, their main focus is to contain al-Shabaab terrorism and strengthen regional governments capabilities at the expense of Somali security forces.

The international Community (IC) in 2016 spent approximately $850 million on AMISOM, including procurement of advanced weapons $1,500.00 per month salary for the soldiers. However, SNA and SPF officers did not receive $100.00 – 200.00 salary, because of mismanagement and corruption, and also the Somali government failed to directly request funds. Since 2012, the IC allocated over $1 billion for the recruitment, training, deployment and sustainment of SNA and SPF, but the majority of funds remained unclaimed by the Somali government, according to U.S. and EU government records.


The Somali federal government has limited resources to tackle growing threats. The threats could potentially undermine president Farmaajo’s efforts to tackle security issues. At the moment, although the IC commitment exists, the federal government lacks institutions and expertise to effectively develop policies and strategies to improve security and rule of law.

The government also lacks capabilities and resources towards fulfilling security and stabilization objectives. Over the last four years, the federal government failed to recruit, train, equip and sustain required security forces, undermining efforts to improve security in Somalia. The government lack of policy and strategy contributed to failure gain U.S. and EU financial and material support to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Shabaab.


There is a great opportunity for President Farmaajo to improve security in Somalia. The new President is known for his strong believe in rebuilding and strengthening Somalia’s national security force.The international community (IC) welcomed for his election, and is ready and willing to support the new government strengthen government institutions and tackle insecurity, but the government must develop initiatives, policies and programs as well as financial management systems in order to receive support. There is also a great opportunity for the president to increase the size and capabilities of SNA, and SPF to increase counterterrorism, and counter-insurgency, providing security, thereby helping set the conditions for gradual AMISOM withdrawal. The new government can achieve that if they proactively seek support from the international community.

The Way Forward

Decades of war, displacement, and mismanagement, left Somalia without organized, and functioning security forces or equipment, so rebuilding SNA and SPF must be a high priority for the new president. The new government goals should seek to transition “lead security responsibility” to the SNA, and SPF by 2019, and successfully concluding AMISOM after the 2020 elections. Those goals are attainable if the new government proactively and aggressively seeks direct support from the International Community.

Mohamed Fatah


Mr. Fatah is a Somali-American professional with over 14 years experience in foreign policy, national security and financial crime. He is a senior manager at a management-consulting firm. Mr. Fatah is a former senior policy adviser to the U.S. Department of Defense, where he developed, coordinated, analyzed, managed and measured complex foreign policy and national security programs.

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