Decades of foreign intervention in Somalia have at best proved irrelevant and have often made things worse. There are serious doubts that the UK government’s international conference will learn from the mistakes of the past or can achieve a locally negotiated political solution.
The odds are stacked against it. The London conference, to be attended by senior representatives from over 40 heads of state, aims to galvanise a “new international approach to Somalia” that will stabilise the country and reduce the threat to international security that it is deemed to pose – a threat underlined this week when the Somali militant Islamist organisation al-Shabaab (‘the Youth’) publicly renewed its links to al-Qaeda.
Today there is more foreign involvement in Somalia than ever before each with multiple, often competing, security, political and economic interests. Achieving coherence among them will be a tough ask.
Mark Bradbury is Chair of Conciliation Resources' board and an expert on Somalia.
This opinion piece first appeared on Open Democracy: www.opendemocracy.net