S-CAR Dissertation Defense: Cleophus Thomas III- The Future of Federalism in Somalia
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S-CAR Dissertation Defense: Cleophus Thomas III- The Future of Federalism in Somalia

Thank you professor,
thank you everyone for coming today to this dissertation defense. Today I’m here to present my dissertation
research on the challenges of implementing federalism as a power
sharing form of government in Somalia. I began this process back in 2010,
and I’m grateful for my committee, including Professor Lyons, Professor Mario
Lopez Santana and Professor Susan Hirsch. At this point where I can
present my research to you. I also wanna thank my family including
my dad who is in the audience, as well as my wife Claudia and my son
Marcelo who are at our home in Florida, for supporting me on this
long journey to get here. Here’s the agenda for
my presentation today. First, I’ll discuss some definitions
that will guide the discussion and then I’ll explain the problem statement
that shaped the focus of my dissertation. Next, I’ll go over the objectives
of the research and the methodology that I used to
gather data toward these objectives. I’ll also give a brief history of Somalia
to give some context to where the country has been and where it currently stands in
terms of its experience with different types of governance. Next, I’ll go over the debate
in literature among scholars, who have discussed the benefits and
challenges of using power sharing and federalism as a means to foster stability,
particularly in post civil war states. Lastly, I’ll go over my research findings
and the conclusions of my dissertation and often as well some future research that
should be considered in this domain. To get started, let’s go over to the most important
definition that will be relevant today. The definition of Power Sharing and
the definition of Federalism. For the purpose of this study I defined
Power Sharing as the following. Practices and institutions that provide
every significant identity group or segment in a society representation and
decision making abilities on common issues and a degree of autonomy
over issues of importance to the group. And this comes out of
Timothy Sisk’s 1996 work. Next up,
we have the definition of as follows. Federalism is an outcome of
institutional bargaining. It is a political organization in which
the activities of government are divided between regional governments and a central
government in such a way that each has some activities on which
it makes final decisions. And this is coming out of Soren Keil’s
work quoting William Riker. With these definitions established,
let’s look at the problem statement for my dissertation. The idea behind the problem statement
is to describe the issues and context in which the study takes place. In the case of my research, the problem statement that I
constructed is as follows. Some scholars argue power sharing forms of
government such as federalism can promote inter-ethnic cooperation, local political empowerment and
effective institutions that can reduce the likelihood of re-escalation in
states emerging from civil war. Other academics have warned about it
shortfalls, arguing it could harden social divisions and proved difficult to
implement in weak states that have poor local and national institutions
required to make federalism effective. I’ve believethis debate, my research
question was what challenges did Somalia face in the first four
years of the federalism process, from 2012 to 2016,
particularly in the Jubaland region? The Jubaland region consists of three
regions known as Ghetto, Lower Juba and Middle Juba. I focused my efforts on this region
because I wanted to go further into depth about how the federalism process
occurred in this region as opposed to covering the entire federalism
process in a much broader way. I had two different objectives
to my dissertation. The first was to describe the conflict
dynamics during the process to form the Jubaland regional state
in Somalia from 2012 to 2016. The second objective was to identify
broader, resonating things about this process so that researchers could
understand how the same dynamics could occur in future state formation
processes within the regions in Somalia. For my methodology, I’ve employed
a combination of desk research and informal interviews with Somali experts. The desk research consisted of
extensive reviews of English and Somali languages in new sites. And I gained a lot about Somali
opinions from these various websites. There’s a large number of
Somali blogs out there. They’re run by Somalis in Somalia
as well as those in Diaspora. And they represent perspectives from
all different political opinions, religious perspectives and
clan community perspectives. And that’s what inform me a lot about
how I think about Somalia today. Some of these websites were obviously
biased and they were meant to change public opinion from to believing
from one clan community to another. But they also offer me perspectives n
how different sides approach different political debates. So it was important for me to
triangulate these new developments and make sure that I could
find multiple sources for controversial claims that
are made on these websites. I also discussed politics regularly
on Twitter with Somalis and that was a good way of connecting with
people who had much more in depth knowledge than I did on many issues. It also helped to personalize
the subject for me, because I wasn’t just reading
third hand accounts any more. I was reading the personal
accounts of my friends. And so in that way the research
became much more important to me. I wasn’t just covering it as an academic,
I was covering it as an acquaintance, a friend who had, someone who had people
on the ground that were experiencing the effects of this process along the way. So for me, one of the pleasures that I got from this
is I did make friends along the way. But the downside is that when there
were some incidents on the ground, terrorist attacks and
political disagreements that did affect me in a political way, because I had
friends that were affected by that. I also conducted my interviews with
Somalia experts from diverse backgrounds. I thought about conducting a much
broader set of interviews but there was a huge amount of data
in the form of editorials and opinions from credible sources that
were available on Somalian news sites. And so as a result, I dwindled down my
list of interviewees who I thought could provide unique input to what I was
finding to compare to my desk research. These interviews were
carried out in the US and in Kenya in venues such as the one
pictured on the right in Nairobi. They were structured as free flowing
conversations that focused on questions about the advantages and disadvantages
of having federalism in Somalia. As some of you know I also capped
a weekly blog that discussed the news and analysis about Somalia politics and
security more broadly in East Africa. And they somehow keep
up with news events and also generated a lot conversations on
Twitter with Somalis who again who were greatly informed about politics
were occurring in the country. Here, I wanna go over briefly some
of the limitations of my research. So since the federalism process was at
a very new state during the course of my research, dynamics on the ground
were changing quickly. And so I had to do my research and
analysis contemporaneously. While I do believe my findings
will stand the test of time, it is possible that information will come
out in the future that could make me change some of the conclusions
that I reached in my research. But I do believe that there’s a lot of
value in having the present data for analysis now for researchers to look over. Secondly I did devote the focus of
dissertation to the Jubaland region. And other state formations efforts in
Somalia after Jubaland encountered similar problems but they had unique
elements that deserve equal focus. That’s not entirely
present in my research. And so I think that was one of the
limitations is that, you won’t see some of the other unique problems that occurred
after this formation of Jubaland. We have to put that off into future
research as far as what’s covering this dissertation to look at what
problems were encountered and success of state formation
processes after Jubaland. Lastly, I did travel to Somalia on
a couple of occasions to visit friends or for work projects. But I didn’t do so for the purpose of
this research because I didn’t seek or gain approval from
institutional review board. And I did that because I thought that
it wasn’t necessary to put myself in a position where I would have to explain
how I would guard against risk of being injured or otherwise hurt in Somalia
during the course of the research. But it was also the case that I could find
enough information within my desk research and doing remote interviews with
my Somalian informants that I didn’t have to take that
chance to travel to Somalia. I also wasn’t able to go to
the Jubaland region specifically. But hopefully in the future, when things do settle down security-wise
on the ground, I’ll be able to do that. So in my dissertation I gave a detailed
context for Somalia’s history and how it related to the current context in
which Somalia was implementing federalism. And I’ll do a brief synopsis
of that history here. Just to give the context of where
Somalia has been governance-wise and Somalia going back from,
quickly, the Middle Ages to now. So, just to note, in the Middle Ages,
Somalia’s territory witnessed the rise and fall of different powerful sultanates
that dominated the regional trade. And at no point was the region
under one central authority. And the development of sultanates
was linked to the central role that Islam played beginning in the 7th century. In the 19th century, that’s when
we saw European colonial powers gradually make inroads into
Somalia’s regional states. So this includes the Puntland region,
which we’ll see in the northeast, leading down that was part of Italian
Somaliland, and British Somaliland, which consisted of modern-day
Somaliland in the north and northwest. In 1960, Italian Somaliland and
British Somaliland became independent and merged to form
the United Republic of Somalia. This was when Somalia was able to enjoy
a brief span of democratic governance. So in the 1967 presidential election,
President Aden Abdullah Osman Daar was defeated by Abdirashid Ali Shermarke,
his former prime minster. And what followed was the first peaceful
democratic hand over of power in Africa in the modern era. However, this era for Somalia was
short-lived, as on October 21, 1969, President Shermarke was assassinated
by one of his own bodyguards. And General Siad Barre soon
thereafter led a bogus military coup. From 1969 to 1991, Barre preached
a theory of scientific socialism that saw industries and land nationalized. Any sort of clan favoritism in politics,
at least on paper, were banned, and national unity was to become
the focus of his economic agenda. This was important because clan identity
formed the basis of social networks, political action, and foundations from
which Somalis could respond to crises, from drought to foreign invasion. So the attempt to regulate its influence
so abruptly was a radical move. In practice, Barre often favored his own
Darod subclan, known as the Marehan, by relocating community members
to Somalia’s most fertile areas, often displacing traditionally
less powerful clans. Barre also pursued expeditionary wars in
Ethiopia throughout the 1970s and 80s, which eventually faltered after the Soviet
Union began to send heavy technical support and manpower to Ethiopia’s Derg
regime at the end of the Cold War. In January, 1991, Barre’s military dictatorship fell under
the pressure of a myriad of militia groups that were disenchanted with long-standing
clan injustices as well as costly and ultimately unsuccessful wars
with its rival, Ethiopia. Following Barre’s downfall, Somalia’s
northern regions, including Somaliland and Puntland, began a slow journey towards
relative stability through a sustained local dialogue and
conflict resolution process. Somaliland claimed independence in 1991,
but no country has recognized it as such. In contrast, Puntland, in the northeast,
the story was much different. It chose to remain part of Somalia and promote a strong stance of states’
rights within their federal structure. Things are more complicated in central and southern Somalia, where the clan
composition was much more diverse and where the number of armed religious
movements and clan-based militia groups that were swirling around urban and
rural areas were competing for control. The conflict was substantially higher. Equally important,
foreign actors, peacekeepers, and NGOs were much more active in those areas. And it created a complicated
mix of interests and objectives that made it difficult to
reach a resolution on how aggrieved groups could share power
in a post-1991 Somalia. Countless Somalis were injured, displaced,
or murdered in the violence between clan militias, warlords, and
Islamist groups in south-central Somalia. And the chaos was most arguably
publicized in Mogadishu. So that’s where we had watershed
moments such as Black Hawk Down, where 18 US military service members and
hundreds of Somalis were killed in a battle following the attempted
arrest of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. This led to a deflation of efforts
to quell the violence as American troops were eventually withdrawn,
and as a result, militias continued to fight against each other for
control of the country’s territories. Beginning in 2000, that’s when the international community
began efforts to create a transitional government that would be the foundation
of rebuilding Somalia’s institutions. At the time, some private
institutions were still flourishing. So you had remittance companies,
locally known as hawalas, that took the place of banks in the 1990s, and they were still providing instrumental
financial services for Somalis. There were also many telecom
companies that thrived and offered some of the cheapest
rates in Africa. But still Somalia needed
a central authority. So, in 2000,
a conference was convened in Djibouti to form the Transitional National Government,
or TNG. The delegates were comprised
of clan elders and various factions of Somalia warlords. However, other key warrior
factions were missing, and Somaliland and
Puntland also refused to participate. Importantly, this is where the 4.5 clan
formula for sharing national political representation in parliament and the prime
minister’s cabinet was established. Under this formula, traditionally less
powerful clans received half as many representatives as the four
major clans in the country. And this formed the basis of
Somalia’s first effort to do power sharing in the phase of reconstructing
these traditional administrations. The TNG had significant internal
squabbling that led to the replacement of the prime minister four times in three
years, and it reported bankruptcy in 2003, at the end of its four-year mandate. So the international community
went back to the drawing board and established the Transitional
Federal Government, the TFG, in 2004 in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. Once again,
outside the country of Somalia. The TFG lasted two
four-year terms until 2012. During this tenure,
a couple of important things happened. In 2006, militants loyal to
the Islamic Courts Union, or ICU, created a religious movement
that offered brutal but predictable governance in areas it
controlled, which is quite a contrast to the unpredictable violence that Somalis
were experiencing under warlord rule. The ICU was able to defeat warlords in
Mogadishu and across the country but were later driven out by invading
Ethiopian forces in late 2006. Al-Shabab, which reportedly had begun
developing as an Islamist movement as early as 2005, was able to pick
up where the ICU left off and was able to retake territory in
a majority of south-central Somalia. As as result, in 2007, a peacekeeping
mission, but really a de facto combat mission, known as the African
Union Mission to Somalia, was deployed in Somalia to help Somalian forces oust
Al-Shabab from its areas of control. By 2011, corruption and continued
political intransigence prevented the TFG from accomplishing many political goals or
building a national army that could hold territory independently from AMISOM, that
is the African Union Mission to Somalia. AMISOM forces were able to help Somali
troops take formal control of the capital, Mogadishu, in October, 2011, even though
Al-Shabab still operated indirectly there. And this is probably the most important
accomplishment of the TFG era. In 2012, Somalia inaugurated the Federal
Government of Somalia, or FGS, under the leadership of civil society veteran
and educator Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. His quote unquote post-transitional
administration would become the first US-recognized Somali
government since 1991. In 2013, an internationally-backed
plan known as Vision 2016 was produced as the key policy document
driving the implementation of federalism. The document outlined three main tasks for
President Hassan Sheikh. One, finish revising and
ratifying the constitution that have been provisionally improved as a document
in progress to merge 16 of Somalia’s regions in central and southern
Somalia into four additional regional administrations to join Puntland
as part of a Federal Somalia. These states included, in order of
their intended formation, Jubaland, Southwest State, Galgaduud,
and administration. The last task was to lay the groundwork
to move from clan-based formulas for political representation to democratic
one-person, one-vote elections. The goal being to hold a credible
transition process in 2016 at the end of the government’s mandate. My dissertation focused on the state
formation process, because this component was what received the most attention
from Somalia politicians and the international community during
the period of research from 2012 to 2016. This map is what Somalia and
its international partners envision what would be the case at the conclusion
of the state formation process. You would have five neatly established
regional administrations, or six if you count Somaliland,
in a federal country. With the expectation that these new states
would have a cohesive regional authority, definitive boundaries, and
Mogadishu as a capital, to which all the regions would
respect its delineated authority. Here is the reality of Somalia. Before and after the state formation
process in Jubaland, that region and the rest of Somalia were
controlled by a plethora of groups with loyalties to various clan,
political, and religious factions. This was the incredibly tough context for
decentralization. It raised the question, when Somali
stakeholders plan to decentralize power, who are they decentralizing it to? How can an authority in Mogadishu or
an embassy in Nairobi, which doesn’t have power on the ground in Somalia, determine
that power is going to be decentralized to another entity which equally has very
little capacity to operate on the ground. In this context, the top challenges for state formation process in Jubaland and
other regions were the following. One, al-Shabab controlled many urban and
rural areas and also the roads. And this is depicted in
the pink areas of the map that you see here in
South Central Somalia. Two, the FGS, the federal government, was
seen as corrupt and not an honest broker that was interested in sharing revenue
with these regional adminstrations. Three, there were many clan
rivalries over land, water, and politics that were unresolved
across the country. So diving into a high-stakes
process of dividing power without resolving these tensions
was a recipe for conflict. And lastly, as I said, the national and
local security forces lack salaries, equipment, and discipline that
would enable them to be a reliable fighting force that could
provide security without AMISOM. These were serious social and
institutional problems that begged for comprehensive address. So the question is, could power
sharing as a general framework and federalism as a specific model of
governance help Somalia address many of these governance challenges that
have emerged since the civil war? There are many different stances on this
in the literature, and I wanna go over some of these perspectives here and
explain how they fit into the discussion. In terms of those that advocate for
power sharing, there has been a lot of important research conducted by Arend
Lijphart as well as Hartzell and Hoddie. Lijphart determined that the sharing of
power at the top level of government was integral component of stability especially
in states emerging from civil war. He concluded this after he evaluated the
outcomes of democracies since the 1960s under various forms of power sharing
governments in different case studies. Similarly, Hartzell and Hoddie implied
a statistical methodology to examine 38 civil wars that were resolved through
negotiations between 1945 and 1998. They created operational variables to
assess the levels of power sharing between different sectors in the peace agreement,
including in the political sphere and the security sector, as well as how to
dispute in shared territory and revenue. This research shows that peace agreements
with more dimensions of power sharing correlated with a higher likelihood
that peace would endure. They also suggested that, quote, unique
capacity of power sharing institutions to foster a sense of security
among former enemies, and encourage conditions conducive
to a self-enforcing peace. In addition,
scholars like James Buchanan and Robert Inman claim that regional
administrations in a federal country are incentivized to protect rights and
provide services for their constituents. Because locals could relocate and take their tax base with them if
they were not served adequately. Of course this outlook assumes that
constituencies do have the power to move to another place. And that’s not always the case,
especially in Somalia. Relatedly as early as in 1932 and as recently as Tanzi in 1996 and
Oates in 1999. Scholars have described federal states
as laboratories of democracy in which political leaders can tailor
specific policies to communities and even export these solutions
to their counterparts. The last advocate in the literature
that I will point out is from Mohammed Inman Abdulle. Abdulle conducted focus group discussions
with key informant interviews. And he generated data that indicated,
among Somalis that this data was, that indicated federalism is a kind of
government that Somalis want in order to prevent the emergence of another
authoritarian government like Siad Barre. This makes a very understandable and reasonable assumption based
on Somalia’s history. However, there are some concerns
about the disadvantages of this system of government. Firstly, Somali scholars such as Mohamud
Ulusso claim that federalism will create clan fiefdoms and regional states will
become just proxies of regional countries. So on the point about planned fiefdoms,
he believed that major clans within each region would dominate the state
formation process and regional politics. And therefore they would simply pass
on marginalization that occurred during the Barre regime nationally to
the regional level in a modern context. This would also be the case
because traditionally less powerful clans would simply not have
any guarantors to ensure that they would receive a fair share of power and
political representation and resources. Especially if the process was being led
by, again, the most influential clans. As far as regional proxies,
the point that Ulusso is making is that. In the context that federalism
was being implemented in Somalia, there were thousands of
foreign troops in the country. And so the question was, would they be
able to take an objective position as Somalis were able to move forward and
deciding how to divide power? And as you’ll see the case
in my research findings, they were not able to remain objective. Next up I’ll just go to
the last one from Ian Spears. Spears argues that power sharing often
implemented by commitment-averse foreign diplomats is unwilling/unable
to address protracted grievances. So with this, the question was, can foreign diplomats fix problems that go
beyond the actions of a few elite leaders? Can they address decades-long
conflict over land, water, and political representation? These issues could take years to sort out,
as was shown in Somaliland and Puntland’s reconciliation process, which
took seven to eight to ten years, and it’s really an ongoing process
if you look at it now. So what this shows that Somalia, Somalia’s reconciliation
process is not a one-off event. It’s an iterative process. And there are negative consequences for thinking that there
are shortcuts to resolution. There are two other theories that I
wanna just highlight before I move on to the research findings. The first is from Tulia Falleti’s
sequential theory of dissentualization. And she offers that the level
of government whose territorial interest prepare at the origin
of the decentralization process is likely to dictate
the first type of decentralization. So what she’s arguing here is that when
national interest prevail at the beginning of a decentralization process like
federalism, Falleti asserts that the central government can sequence how
power is decentralized to its benefit, and deprive regional authorities
of greater power. As was the case in Argentina
from 1978 to 1994. However, if regional administrations
are able to gain a foothold in the process from the very beginning, they can
create a ratchet effect where they generate decisions in their
favor moving forward. This basically explains the high stakes
process that existed in Somalia as federalism was being implemented,
because both the central government and the outlying regions were fighting to
control the process in the very beginning. With the understanding that,
the precedents that they created at the beginning would have
an impact moving down the line. The other important theory that I want
to point out comes from Kimble, Boex and Kapitanova. Which argue that in a federal state,
local government organizations have to be transformed from entities that
are local administrators of centralized mandated public functions, into high
performing local government organizations. In a sense, regional administrations can
want power, but they have to be able to wield that power effectively and
deliver security and social services. Otherwise, federalism just becomes
academic and you’re not really achieving some of the core objectives
of this style of government. Essentially, federalism can only
be effective as local institutions allow it to be. So during the course of my research, the number one question that I got was, do
you think federalism can work in Somalia? What does your research show? Do you have the answers? And my response would always be,
maybe, maybe not. But that’s not the question that
my research is trying to answer. My research fit into a category between
existing literature on federalism and research that will be
written in the future, about ways the system can work in Somalia. I wanted to begin the process of giving
researchers a sense of the on-going issues, at the beginning of
Somalia’s federalism process. Because it could be decades
before there’s enough evidence to credibly say whether federalism
can work in Somalia. For instance, imagining asking when federalism really
started working in the United States. Was it when slavery was legal? Was it when women couldn’t vote? Was it when there was government
sponsored segregation? So depending on who you ask, depending
on who is benefiting from a system at a certain point,
one might answer differently. And that’s something that you have to keep
in mind when we’re talking about Somalia, is that federalism is not a four
year process, it can be a 100 year, 200 year process. With that established, now I’ll dive,
much like this gentleman in the photo, into my core research findings. I identified four important trends that
occurred during the state formation process in Jubaland. These trends explain why
different challenges occurred and a view of what issues needed to be
resolved to improve the foundational aspects of federalism in Somalia. First, there were weak constitutional
guidelines to guide the state formation process. Which meant that stakeholders constantly
disagreed on who is in charge, who is in charge of, it and
who validated different tasks. Secondly, marginalized stakeholders
contested the inclusively of the state formation process. Certain factions were able to monopolize
the proceedings, and create a form in which social and political grievances
were created, rather than addressed. This contestation was manifest
in both armed violence and subversive political actions. Thirdly, the peace agreements and
political negotiations aimed at resolving this contestation over inclusivity
were themselves non-inclusive. And often created another
tributary of conflict that had to be resolved through further
negotiations with different stakeholders. Thus, Somalian authorities and foreign partners risk being driven down
a rabbit hole of ad hoc peace agreements. Lastly, Kenya and Ethiopia often supported
proxies or efforts that prioritized their respective national interests over that of
the federal government and local groups. This limited Somalia’s abilities to decide
their own political fate for themselves. If Somalia’s federalism process
is going to be run smoothly, it had to be grounded in a constitution
that clearly identified the roles and responsibilities for
the regional state formation process. The separation of powers between the
center and periphery and the mechanisms for resolving ambiguities, and
doing interpretations of the constitution. According to the constitutional
story in Christy Samuels, Somalia’s constitutional writing process
was a way to bring Somalia voices to the table that were not traditionally
afforded seats at elite political negotiations within
the national community. However, she noted that it fell far short
of being a comprehensive political and legal framework. Stating that in the context of Somalia,
quote, the range of issues that need to be debated in a constitution are too vast for
a peace negotiation. And many of these issues are best
debated at a slower pace and a more inclusive fashion. The primary evidence for how
the constitutional writing process was not comprehensive enough was that there
were too many ambiguous or contradictory pairs of articles in the provisional
constitution that was approved in 2012. Just before
President Hasan Sheikh’s election. And this contributes to major disagreements in the state
formation process. In terms of power sharing, there are a few
useful descriptions of how to share power. Well, let me start over. In terms of power sharing, there are not enough useful descriptions
of how to share power responsibilities and revenue between the FGS,
the federal government and the regions. For example, Article 50 of the provisional
constitution states power is given to the level of government where it is
likely to be most effectively exercised. You do not have to be a lawyer
like my dad to understand that this is not a very helpful provision
from a legal point of view. Article 54 repeats the ambiguity of
Article 50, more explicitly stating the allocation of powers and
resources show being negotiated and agreed upon by the federal government and
the federal member states, pending the formation of federal member
states except for the issues listed there. So as you can see, there is plenty of room
and it’s fair to say, too much room for different interpretations about where
power is divested between the FGS and the regions. Another major discrepancy was the language
pertained to how real states would be formed. So Article 48 sub point 2 says, no
single region can stand alone until such a time as a region merges with another
region to form a new federal member state. A region shall be directly administered
by the federal government for a period of two years,
a maximum period of two years. The FGS interpreted this
article to mean that they would have plenty of time to organize
a formation of states, because they could simply organize two-year mandates to
administrators and areas of its choice. However, supporters of
the effort to create a Jubaland state cited Article 49(6) I had just that they were within their rights
to create a state on their own. This particular provision stated
based on a voluntary decision two or more regions may merge to
form a federal member state. However, it was unclear who exactly was
able to make this voluntary decision between states to merge. Could it be anybody? What was the criteria for determining one
state formation process was valid, and another was not? There was not an answer in for this
question in the provisional constitution. And this would cause problems in
the Jubaland state formation as we’ll see. In addition, there were other responsibilities of
the state formation process that fell directly on the shoulders of the federal
parliament, in independent commissioners. So points one to four of Article 49
discussed how parliament will decide the boundaries of a federal states, based
on recommendations of a boundaries and federation commission that
was to be established. But this commission didn’t play
significant role in the entirety of the Jubaland process,
because one, It didn’t exist. Parliament hadn’t formed this
commission until May 2015, well after Somalia and its national
partners were busy forming states, according to the map
that I showed earlier. Two, it didn’t have any political
capital to enforce it’s will on any Somali politicians. And it couldn’t really influence
the state formation process. Because foreign stakeholders
who are intent on completing that vision 2016 platform
within a four year timeline, rather taking the time that’s
necessary to let the Boundaries and Federation Commission do it’s work,
make recommendation to parliament would then be able to lay out the exact
federal boundaries after that process. So as a result the biggest factor of
who would control the federal process, would become which stakeholders
can accumulate the most allies, with the most power,
in order to will proceedings in its favor. And this did not bode well all around for the credibility of an eventual
administration in the Jubaland region. So what I just described was not the kind
of context in which you want to be running a high stakes political
process in a weak state. What you do want is you want
reconciliation among clans. You want a buy in from all
the constituent parties. And you want to conclude it
with a net loss in grievances. But that’s not what we saw in
the Jubaland process, as I’ll show. Just to go over quickly. How did the Jubaland process begin? There were a couple of
precipitating events. In October 2011, the Kenyan military
invaded Somalia after a series of Al-Shabaab attacks and
kidnappings along the border. The Somali government didn’t give
permission for the invasion, but Kenya claimed the invasion was part
of self defense under article 51 of the United Nation’s Charter. In addition, the international
community turned its head because it was possible that the Kenyan forces
could accomplish a major counter terrorism objective without a significant
number of US boots on the ground. It is important to note that the US state
department did acknowledge the risks that there were for Kenya. First, Kenya was embarking on its first
ever foreign combat mission, and so there were a lot of unknown questions when
you take a a military that is not familiar with that context into battle. And secondly, Kenya had a very limited
understanding of Somali clan politics. Going into Somalia, Kenya had two goals. They wanted to create a buffer
zone administration that could provide security and
services to Somalis in the border areas, to ostensibly prevent Shabaab from being
able to transverse back and forth. They also wanted to start
repatriating Somalia refugees back to Somalia that had been coming into the
country since the civil war began in 1991. In order to create this buffer zone,
Kenya’s plan was to capture what was arguably the scene of gravity in Jubaland,
and that was the Port of Kismayu. The port was strategic just
because of how lucrative it was. So there were tens of millions of dollars
involved in the import of sugar that made its way into Kenya, to flout the country’s
tight regulation of that project. There’s also the export of charcoal
that flooded new regulations to do so. Essentially, whoever controlled Kismayo
controlled these revenue streams, and an important bargaining chip for
politics in the region. Kenya’s partner for this endeavor was a Somali martial
leader known as Ahmed Madobe. Ahmed Madobe was born
reportedly in Ethiopia, and was part of many Islamic
groups in the 1990s and the 2000s. And he was even hit by a US air strike
in 2007 that actually failed to kill him which probably added to his overall lore. Madobe split from an Islamist coalition
that included Al-Shabaab in December 2010, and went independent with a separate
faction known as Ras Kamboni. The idea was the that the Kenyan military
provide Ras Kamboni with the muscle that was required to oust al-Shabaab from
Kismayo and the rest of Jubaland. And then Madobe would lead
an administration sympathetic to Kenyan interests. After a year of fighting Shabaab,
the Kenyan military and Madobe’s forces finally
captured Kismayo in 2012, and began plans to establish
a Jubiland regional state. This occurred right before President
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected as the leader of Somalia. Hassan Sheikh was accused immediately of trying to centralize power
within the FGS as much as possible. And if you’re Hassan Sheikh,
this makes sense. He was a new leader that wanted to put
his stamp on things before decentralizing power to the first militia leader that
captured a major town from Shabaab. Other analysts frame Hassan Sheikh’s
rivalry with Madobe in clan terms, and point out they came from rival clans who
are always looking to undermine each other. Both explanations probably inform us on Hassan’s calculus on how
he approached the Jubaland state. Here’s a graph depicting of how several
of the factions lined up in support of the state formation conference
led by Ahmed Mohamed in Kismayu. And it also depicts those
who are against it. On Madobe’s side, he had his Ras Kamboni
militia that was supported financially and militarily by Kenya. And they controlled the black dots in
the Lower Juba region here at the time of the state formation conference. He also had clan support from
his clansmen that populated a lot of the Lower Juba region. And as I said,
he had support from Ethiopia and Kenya. Which most importantly enabled him
to control the process as indicated on this side. On the other side was the opposition. There was obviously Shabaab, which
controlled the entirety of the middle Juba region here,
which you’ll see in pink in this area. And then you also have. The fact that this made it hard to get
genuine buy ins from these communities who are obviously on the Al-Shabaab control,
and the Al-Shabaab violently shielded people
away from taking part in these processes. There was also obsession in Kismayu,
where there were clans and towns. There were clans and towns that simply did
not agree with Madobe’s planned agenda and felt like he was not going to provide
adequate representation for those clans. Notably, there were sporadic violent
crackdowns in neighborhoods that were seen as opposed to Madobe. In addition, there were many clans that
walked out of the conference after they began to believe that this was
simply a coronation for Madobe, rather than a serious discussion to
address longstanding grievances, and interests of communities within
the creation of the new administration. There was also opposition in Gedo Region,
which is in the North West here. So in Gedo Region, that was home to many
sub clans that saw, again, Madobe as a clan rival, and therefore didn’t trust
his ability to lead a fair process. Lastly there is the Federal Government
of Somalia that wanted Jubaland to let the Federal Government
handle proceedings. And given that it was a new government,
they wanted Jubaland to slow down, rather than let Madobe run
away with the process. And again this hints back at Falleti’s
sequential theory of decentralization, where both sides were trying to keep the
other from getting the initial ground in the federalism and
the state formation process. And in early 2013, Madobe began the
proceeding to form the Jubaland state and convened between 500 and 800 delegates
to approve the regional constitution. Then in May 2013, he proceeded to
earn 495 out of 500 votes among the delegates to win the position
of Regional President. So if you’re keeping track at home, that’s
an astonishing 99% margin of victory. On one hand Madobe was not
challenged by any candidates who had a chance to win the race. On the other hand, many of Madobe’s
opponents were boycotting the conference, and there’s a lot of contention for many
clans that the delegates who are taking part in the conference were not
genuinely representing that clan. As a result, Madobe’s election
triggered protests in Kismayo, and was not acknowledged as a credible victory
by many stakeholders in Gedo region, or by the FGS. Equally important, other rivals to
Madobe claimed that they also had held a state formation process, and declared
themselves also as president of Jubaland. This included a long time militia
leader known as Barre Hiiraale, as well as another figure pictured on
the bottom right, Iftin Hasaan Baasto, who’s nickname means pasta in English. One important dynamic hovering over this
conflict was a sense that each of these actors was acting on behalf of their
proxies to support their causes. So in the cartoon on the right here,
you have Somali political cartoonist Amin Amir is making a joke that these
politicians Are going into a vaccination center to be vaccinated basically
by the beliefs of their proxies. After a month of simmering intentions
between these individuals, clashes finally broke out between these
factions competing for the presidency. And the violence killed 71 people and
injured 300 others, according to
the World Health Organization. So, the June 2013 violence in Kismayu
brings me to my third research finding, which is that whenever a crisis broke out
in the Jubaland state formation process, foreign diplomats prioritized quick
non-inclusive short-term deals over a deliberative, inclusive and
sustainable agreements. In addition, stakeholders marginalized
from these negotiations used the threat of forming a counter-state in reaction
to these noninclusive agreements. By the term counter-state, I mean that
these groups announced that they were forming a separate regional
administration in defiance of authorities. Not an independent country, but simply a different regional
authority within a federal Somalia. These moves were intended to
challenge the credibility and authority of the overarching
regional administration. As well as to trigger negotiations
that could yield their group, or individual leaders,
concessions from their opponents. While the tactic of declaring
the counter-state often succeeded in prompting negotiations, it didn’t always lead to comprehensive or
robust follow up agreements. Because these deals only made
superficial changes to already weak political structures that did not
have a strong presence on the ground, rather than sweeping reforms that
involved and impacted everyday Somalis. So following the cessation of
most of the fighting in Kismayu, in August 2013,
Ethiopia began negotiations for a peace deal to solidify that cease
fire in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. These negotiations only involved
the faction of President Hassan Sheikh and Madobe’s faction. So it ignored all the other actors, including clans that were protesting
the proceedings from the beginning. On August 27th, 2013, after three weeks of
negotiations, the federal government and Madobe’s faction agreed on several
key provisions in what is known as the Addis Ababa Agreement. Firstly, it validated Madobe as
the president of the interim Jubaland administration. Now referred to simply as
the Jubaland administration. Secondly it mandated that the Jubaland
adminstration hand over management of Kismayo airport and seaport, which was
again a very lucrative revenue stream, within six months,
to the federal government, while keeping the revenue within Jubaland. Notably this hand over management never
occurred because the FGS didn’t have the capability to enforce this provision,
and Ethiopia, which supported Madobe, was not going
to help the FGS with this issue. Third, the parties agreed that the federal
government would keep the right to name political leadership in Gebo,
where a lot of Madobe’s Opponents lived. And as I’ll explain later, Ethiopia
would later help Madobe violate this provision and name leaders that
were pro-Ethiopian, pro-Madobe. Lastly it mandated the integration of
IJA troops into the national army. But again, this agreement sought to cease
violence in Somalia, and create a regional administration in Jubaland that would be
acceptable to just the invited disputants. This process succeeded in
reducing the violence, but it’s essentially ignored all
the other sides of the conflict, and stakeholders that maintains grievances and
interest that were unaddressed. As a result, the Addis Ababa agreement
exacerbated the relationship between Ahmed Madobe, and stakeholders that
he was ostensibly supposed to serve. Further hampering the long term
goal of creating a credible and coherent regional
administration of the region. The Digle and Mirifle clan communities in
Jubaland, and the neighboring southwest region, were one of those stakeholders
that felt their grievances went unaddressed during the Jubaland
process and the Addis Ababa agreement. These leaders claim that their kin in
Jubaland were under represented in the process, and in the top leadership
of the Jubaland Administration, once Madobe began naming
regional cabinet officials. As a result, in December 2013,
they threatened to bring their collective clansmen under a counter
state administration, that included three regions in Jubaland,
Gedo, Lower Juba, and Middle Juba, as well as Baay, Bakool, and Lower
Shabele, which are located in this region, which is the area where most of
their clan population lives. This group had no military
muscle behind it. And it was going to be impossible to
accomplish its goal of uniting six regions in Somalia. But again, the bigger idea
was to create a vehicle for concerns that would attract
the attention of foreign diplomats. A rival project to the Southwest Six
coalition as it was known, was lead by another Digil Mirifle. Another Digil Marifle
political heavyweight known as Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan. And his project only wanted to merge
the three regions that I named here, which would not interfere with the
boundaries of the Jubaland administration. Essentially what happened was the
international community created another agreement to fold in the Southwest Six
Coalition with the other southwest project. So that the Digil Mirifle state would not
interfere with Jubaland’s boundaries. However, throughout that process, they
forgot to include important stakeholders in the Lower Shabelle region,
which were included in that region. And so this is, again the stakeholders
in Lower Shabelle were upset in not being included in those
peace negotiations, and threatened to form a counter-state
of their own called Shabelle State. So, this is the graph that I used
in my dissertation to illustrate the cycle of contestation
that I was just describing, in which non inclusive
state formation processes, led to legitimacy disputes, which led
to non inclusive peace processes. Which led to further legitimacy disputes,
and the cycle was generated throughout
the state formation process. So my research show that
marginalized group use the threat to form a counter-state to exact
concessions in subsequent negotiations. And in several cases, this worked. While it’s only briefly touch upon
the research, we would see this tactic used in other state formation
process in Somalia as well. The last research funding that I’ll be
discussing today is how regional actors shape the state formation
process in Jubaland. Basically Jubaland administration
liked the independent capability to provide security and services. As well as the capability to
capture territory from Al-Shabaab, which controlled more than 30%
of the Jubaland territory. Instead it relied on 6,000 Ethiopian and
Kenyan troops who were largely part of Amazon to maintain territory, and
to keep it out of Al-Shabaab’s hands. So, the weakness of the Juba
administration allowed Somalia’s neighbors, and Kenya, and Somalia, to
usurp local’s attempts to exercise their own aspirations for creation of the state. On one hand Kenya and Ethiopia provided
an invaluable support to Jubaland, because they were responsible for leading
the charge to capture several towns from Al-Shabaab, and Lower Juba and
Gedo regions between 2012 and 2016. On the other hand, Ethiopia usurped
the role of locals in Jubaland by often placing leaders in control who
were loyal to its interests, rather than the aspirations
of Somalia residents. In a different sense, Kenya hampered Jubaland’s development
through its intent to repatriate as many Somalia refugees as possible, despite
the region’s ability to handle the influx. And this obviously challenged Jubaland’s
capacity to provide social services. And I guess I have two minutes left? Okay.
[LAUGH]>>Yep.>>Okay, so I have maybe three more slides left so I’ll try and,
this is the last research finding. So an important goal of Ethiopian Jubaland
was to ensure that any regional administration established would support
Ethiopia’s local and regional interests. And this, essentially involved
keeping Shabaab out of Ethiopia, and also making sure that local leaders would
not interfere with Ethiopia’s interests. So it set a leader who would act as
independent from the Somali federal government as a broader strategy to
also keep Somali’s fleet divided, and lessen the peace of threat that
Somali could present Ethiopia. So at the outset of the state formation
process, many scholars believed that Ethiopia would hesitate to support
The initiative led by Ahmed Madobe. Even though he was born in the Ethiopia
Somalia region, because of his history with Islamic militant groups and
his affiliation with the Ogaden clan, which had been long been at loggerheads
with the Ethiopian government. In addition, Madobe had been in many
OA talks to cooperate with Kenya. However, Ethiopia eventually co-opted
Madobe from the Kenyans when they couldn’t provide adequate support. I’m just trying to summarize some of
the broader points I have with the limited time available. So, yeah, so Ethiopia,
inevitably co-opted Madobe. And Ethiopia, more specifically, had an unprecedented understanding
of how to play politics in Somalia. And it had a battle-tested
military that could offer more robust support to its allies than Somalia. These two factors inevitably helped
Ethiopia rest, I’m sorry, let me just, I’m getting lost in my notes rushing here. So, while Madobe had hundreds
of troops loyal to him, he couldn’t have maintained their salaries
or provided the necessary equipment for them for combat operations against
Al-Shabaab without Ethiopian support. So in mid 2015,
Ethiopia aided Madobe’s Jubaland forces to capture important areas from
Al-Shabaab in Gedo region, which happened to be the headquarters of
many groups who were opposed to Madobe. As a result, Madobe was able to
expand his territory of control. And this nominally gave his claim to be
the leader of Jubaland more credibility. Even though he did not control a majority
of territory in the region, or the support of these communities. For Ethiopia, this relationship ensured
that leaders who were installed in captured territories were sympathetic to
its interests, rather than that of locals. For example, in August 2015, Ethiopia
helped to force Madobe’s controversial firing of the Somalia government
appointed governor of Gedo. This measure was especially
egregious because Ethiopia had negotiated
the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement, which gave the Somali government
the right to name that leadership. Overall, these actions validated
the suspicions that federalism offered opportunities for
Ethiopia and later Kenya, who were historic rivals of Somalia, to avail themselves of the process as
much as it did for Somali communities. For Kenya, as I said, their top goals
were to create a buffer zone against terrorism and Shabaab and also repatriate
as many Somalia refugees as possible. By June 2013, and I’m skipping a little bit of that here. That’s when Madobe began to complain that
Kenya wasn’t providing sufficient military and financial support for his troops. And Ethiopia was able to leverage
Madobe’s support at that time. Even though they lost support in Madobe,
they still decided to keep their approximately 3600 troops
in the Jubaland region. Mostly because they could serve
as a subsidized border force, because those troops were being paid for
by the international community. So after losing influence with Madobe, what they did essentially was move on
to their secondary goal of trying to send back as many Somali refugees
from Kenya to Somalia as possible. In the two years following
the establishment of Jubaland, 20,000 refugees were
repatriated back to Somalia, with the majority being sent
back to the Jubaland region. By August 2016, Jubaland officials were
overwhelmed with the number of Somalia refugees returning, because it didn’t
have the humanitarian resources to deal with the volume of repatriation. And as as a result,
it temporarily halted the participation in this repatriation process until
a more resources could be secured. So overall, Jubaland never really
lived up to its expectation for Kenya to be a buffer zone. One, because they had to keep their
troops there to allow Madobe to sustain that territory. But also they were unable to handle all
the refugees that Kenya wanted to send back to the Jubaland region. So in conclusion, I just wanna to make
a couple notes about the dynamics of the federalism process
with respect to Jubaland. By the end of 2016, you had a Jubaland
with an administrative structure, and it had borders. But it didn’t have the capacity to
really deliver social services or institutions on the ground and they didn’t
have buy-in from [INAUDIBLE] communities. And perhaps most importantly, it didn’t have an independent local
security force that could take over for a Kenyan and Ethiopian troops that
really held the administration together. So in conclusion, just to go over again,
a more specific explanation, some of the things that I
uncovered in my research. I did believe that I accomplished
my research objectives because I was able to lay
out the key obstacles and challenges that Jubaland faced
during the state formation process. I showed that there were deliberative
political conferences that were monopolized by one faction or
led by foreign actors, and that this is still a problematic
conception in Somalia. And it gets back to what Ian Spears was
talking about when he was explaining how the international community
was commitment-adverse and not able to make sure social problems were
addressed within a political negotiation. Third on the list is the point
about counter-states. Again that’s something that
we could see in the future, not just in Somalia but
in other decentralization processes. Is where you have counter-states
form that were composed of marginalized groups that are not
able to have their interest or grievances addressed in
the overarching political conference. More broadly, though,
there’s just room for adaptability in the Somalia federal zone model, but
there needs to be rules of the game. What we saw throughout the entire
process is that since rules of the game are loosely defined, the players on
the ground played by their own rules. And that doesn’t create a regional
administration or an atmosphere in which Somalia’s protracted social
conflicts can be addressed. And lastly, I’ll just point out that
all the political gains in terms of setting up a regional administration,
having a named regional leader. All these things are fragile
without a competent and cohesive independent security force
that can sustain the integrity of that administration without the help
of thousands of foreign troops. So with that,
I know I rushed at the last part, but I can also take questions to clarify over
parts that I might have skipped over that seemed unclear.
>>Thank you very much.>>[APPLAUSE]>>Well, as I said, we’re now gonna move to questions from
the committee that will be asking both about the presentation and
about the underlying dissertation. I’d like to start with our welcome
guest Mary Lee Lopez Santana. We’d like to start with
the first question. You may ask a couple or we can go back and
forth and go down the line. But I’ll let you get us started.
>>So, as you know, my perspective is a little bit different
from the rest of the committee because I’m a political scientist interested
in government and federalism. So it seems that in your dissertation
you are very interested in this tensions between what is
the best way to become federal. And you are talking about, okay,
it can be done from the bottom. And I think your dissertation is very much
about federalization from the bottom. What needs to happen at the local level or at the lowest level in order
to have federalism take place. Or it can be imposed from the top, right? From the central level.
>>Or on something else that you talk about dissertation is, the organization
it goes from the outside, right? So I was wondering if
you can talk about this. Also as you know, I’m a comparativist, so I’m more interested in kind
of the lessons learned from the Somalian case that can be
applicable to other states, especially failed states,
states, developing states. And what can you say about that, because
one part that I’m kind of missing is, from the main lessons that you specified
in the dissertation is that you don’t really talk about how is it
that a strong central level might be a necessary condition in order
to have federalism take place. And of course, this is along the model of having
federalism take place from the bottom, which is different from your approach.
>>So in terms of the decision of whether federalism can
be implemented from the top down or the bottom up, I think
the challenge in this case was that there are all the levels in between,
that are very hard to distinguish. So there might be some that argue
that Madobe’s process to establish was bottom up. He is not the central government. He is regional leader. And so he convene people elders,
other delegates from the chronicle grassroots
level to convene the conference. But I think the question becomes
what is credible representation? And so there was a strong sense that
who he convened weren’t credible and weren’t speaking for
the wider communities and jubilants. So I think even when you’re talking
about bottom of process, if you want to choose that way, it has to
involve credible participants as well. So it can’t just be someone
from off the street, it has to have the credibility among
the groups that they ostensibly represent. I think another important
point is the timeline. So even if you are doing
a bottom up project, and even if you do have representation
that is credible among those groups, these things usually can’t be done. At least in the case of Somalia, they’re not done over the course
of a week or a month. If you look at the processes
in Somalia and in Portland, that occurred over the course
of a decade and is now ongoing. And even throughout that process, there
are sporadic fighting and violence between some of the factions that were trying
to negotiate how to divide power. So I think the lesson is, foreign
diplomats often are obsessed with having a neat, tight, tidy timeline for
things vision 2016. So it’s imagining that Somalia without
very powerful institutions can accomplish these grand political schemes when it’s
just not really enough time to do that. I think these things need to
essentially have no end date and enable local people on the ground to make
sure that there is fair representation. One obstacle for that is there
are powerful stakeholders on the ground, Somalis that are able to control
the process in their favor, and there’s not really other people that can enforce a decision to somehow make
it more equitable or more credible. So that’s when you start to deal with
the real politics of the situation. But I would think the lesson learned would
be as much as possible for local people to be able to have an extended amount of time
to develop a process that is credible. It does have credible stakeholders that
represent all the regions rather than simply saying, I have $500,
therefore, it must be representative.>>And just to follow-up to my [INAUDIBLE] if then what should be the lesson
in terms of what should be the role of the central government in that process?
>>That’s a really great question. I mean, I think-
>>Just a nice bad question.>>[LAUGH]>>I think that inevitably, yeah.>>Because mainly in political science on your slide,
these are [INAUDIBLE] in the references. You have [INAUDIBLE] and he says,
well, in many developing countries, you have a problem that
a state cannot reach or penetrate, because you have
the strong men, right? And I think in your dissertation
is very clear, right? The state doesn’t have the capacity
to even amend other allies because of the strong men,
meaning, all the different factions at the local level are really
controlling the process, right? Until you don’t have a strong statement
that is able to penetrate pretty much and then that would be using
[INAUDIBLE] right? Then the process for the organization
is not gonna [INAUDIBLE] right? So-
>>So my suggestion, my recommendation for the central government would
be to that it needs to really have the proper partnership
agreement that does define its role. So that’s when we get into the murky
waters of the problems before was that some of the problems were these ad
hoc agreements between stakeholders. What we really need is a provisional
constitution that does at least lay out what those authorities are
and then it gets, I was just talking with Professor Lyons in his office before about
Al Gore walking to the Dayton Accords and discussing, well,
they have an agreement now. Al Gore is asking,
why don’t we just enforce the agreement? Why do they have to talk about
all the issues and dynamics of all the people on the map and how to get
different actors to do such and such? So I think again,
the challenge is enforcing any agreement. And again, with the strong men like you
say, it’s difficult to identify a role for the central government. We do it, delineated or not. It simply becomes about the central
government in some small way showing that it’s a credible broker. That it can gain the trust of
the regional administration. I mean, I’ve made suggestions in the past
that there should be a lot more done on the margins with interregional football
tournaments, soccer tournaments that some how create small connected tissues
between the central government and their outline regions. They’ve done a little bit of these, but
these are some trust building measures that at least it gets line
ministries talking to each other. It does create some mechanism for coordination that’s not
such a high-staked process. You’re not talking about revenue sharing
of funds from [INAUDIBLE] you’re just talking about getting kids
from point A to point B. And so if you can do that small,
low stakes negotiation, you can build it to doing even more
high stakes negotiation over politics. So that’s been a recommendation
I’ve made in the past. It’s been laughed at by some. I remember I wrote an article I think
in 2014 suggesting something like that between the Somali sort of
government to my land and got laughed at. A lot of smiles in the room. So these opportunities are out there. I guess it’s about the willingness of
stakeholders on the ground to take more trust building measures to build
up how they can cooperate.>>I can come back to you. Susan, do you have a question?
>>Sure, yeah, I do. First of all,
congratulations getting to this point. The dissertation that you provided us
with shows the incredible hard work that you’ve put into this and I learned
quite a bit about Somalia from reading it. So I really appreciate,
particularly the kind of narrative that drew us through
a really complicated story. You’ve got a great attention to detail,
and I really was able to follow whatever
quite complex developments. And second,
just in the spirit of lessons learned, I share your point about really
wanting to pull out lessons for, toward other cases, but there’s
another kind of lessons Four and two. And I’m glad that there are students in
the audience, because I just want to say that I also really appreciate, kind of,
where you started, and where you are now. And that you had ambitions to do this for many cases, and
made some good decisions early on, and to focus on one case.
>>Right, I remember I came into your office, and I told you that I was going to
explain the challenges of doing the state formation process at every single region
of Somalia, at Jubaland, in Southwest, in Galmadog, in Heron and Malshabele And
he looked at me like I was crazy lately, so.
>>I said no, you can’t.
>>Right.>>I felt at that moment, I really shocked you, and
I felt bad about that. But this is what it needs to be,
so great, and now you’ve been to the others as the best projects.
>>Right.>>So you do, if you so choose. And finally,
kudos on using the Art Cafe in Nairobi.>>Love that place.>>And we’re really familiar.>>Love that place.>>Photo from it, it was great, I’ve done some good interviews there. Okay so a couple->>Field work site.
>>Yes.>>Field work site, great, a couple questions. I like the attention to
the Constitution and the role of law, or weak law, in kind of getting that, standing behind
the decentralization process. And there I am wondering about lessons
learned, because for some donors, constitutions are like elections. Like the thing you need to have, and yet
now I think there’s a lot of question about what particularly,
the constitution process should look like. So I appreciated the analysis of
some of the problematic articles, but it goes back even before that
of what did that process look like, and was that inclusive. And you don’t really need to say
more about the details of it, but I’m just wondering,
what’s your thinking about the role of constitutions in setting off,
or standing behind a complex
political process. And I ask partly because again,
donors are really wanting these documents we created, but
they want it to be done in two years. And I think what people are finding
out is, that the constitution process [LAUGH] can be as long
as the decentralization process.>>So in the context or decentralization, because obviously there’s constitutions
that are in different context, right?>>Absolutely, right, right, absolutely.
>>It could be that, in this context I think the sequencing really
matters, and that’s the main challenge. Because you are centrally
starting from nothing, so, Somalia wanted to create
a federal country. They want to create new states, and they want a legal framework to define
the boundaries of those two states. So, in terms of sequencing what do you do? Do you write a constitution,
that enumerates all those relationships, all those divisions of power first,
and then form the states? Or do you form the states,
without any constitutional or legal framework to guide that process? But then when you move
to the Constitution, you at least have an entity
that you can negotiate with. That’s the main challenge in this context. I don’t necessarily think that
there’s a best answer to that, but I can say that at this point, Somalia is in the position where they’re
continuing to revive the constitution. So they do have the regional
administrations established, and they are just continuing to revive
the constitutional process. The biggest challenge to that is,
I won’t go too far in to detail but, when the Gulf crisis
occured between the UAE and Saudi Arabia against Qatar,
it created a rift between Somali regions. And, a lot of the Somali regions support
UAE because UAE is heavily invested in these regions, while the President of Somalia got a lot
of his political funding from Qatar. A lot of his, at least one of his key
advisors is connected with Qatar. So, Where was I going with this? The situation is that they had to come up
with, again, an ad hoc peace agreement to say, we’re gonna stop fighting over our
dispropositions on the Gulf crisis, and as part of that, they actually suspended
the constitutional review process, I believe in the deal from this month. So, the constitutional revision process,
is constantly being hampered by different crises between the central
government and the regions. And since they’re at basically the same
levels of power, you can’t have, there’s no enforcer to say, nope,
we need to keep the constitutional process going forward, so it’s really
a prisoner to the domestic politics. And so, it’s gonna take a long time,
I think, again, constitutions were. It gets back to my other point that
these processes are often envisioned in four-year snippets, when in reality,
they’re often decades-long processes. So I guess my best answer to
be it’s gonna take, really, 20 years to get the constitution
right at Somalia in my opinion.>>Yeah, and the [INAUDIBLE] sequencing, and also that we often think of
constitutions as foundational documents. Like you finish those, and
then you can do all this building, but I think this example is really giving
us the sense of constitutional process. And so, using the Somalia example, to kind of make that point
in the broader literature, which would be interesting going forward.
>>And I think the most important point is, for Somalis to create a form
where a consensus can be created. That’s really been
the thing that’s lacking, you need whatever form is going to
work that creates that consensus. Because once you have that consensus,
then it’s self enforcing, because they’re helping each other enforce it.
>>Can you give us, I’m just thinking about the very
end of your dissertation. You kind of end with some limitations, some limitations of one case, and I’d probably give you some comments for
revision. You’d probably make some
suggestions on how you can end up, like kind of a more
stronger positive note. Then it really struck me, and maybe it relates to the question
you’ve already been asked. Given that you have one case,
can you give us a good defense for working on a one case example, in relation to the speaking about some of
the big issues that have been raised about local organization, or constitutions?
>>In Somalia’s one case?>>[CROSSTALK] It could be either way.
>>I felt like I was better able to understand,
>>some of the really nuanced details
of what was occurring, by diving this deep into one particular
region of the state formation process. Just because researchers have a limited
amount of time to read documents, and to keep up with news and
that sort of thing. If I was trying to do a broader case
study, just in terms of my own bandwidth, I want to be able to keep up with
the developments at a similar level. I think I would still be stuck
with some superficial and myopic understanding of what
was going on in Jubaland. As opposed to my understanding of every
single day, being able to document, this person did this, this person said this,
here’s how this relationship changed. I was able to have that type of
understanding, because I was so deep into following the individual
developments in this one region. And I think, again, there’s time
afterwards to take that data, and do a similar deep dive into
another Comparative study and then in the future be able to have two
sets of really deeply dug out data on and to do a more comparative process. But for me, I like going into as
deep as possible into a subject. So that is why I chose to just focus on a single case study.
>>Thank you.
>>I want to build on that last comment in a sense, because the strength,
first of all, there’s many strengths
in this dissertation. Congratulations, let me say that to
echo what the citizen was saying. So one of the clear strengths is
the fine grain understanding that you have of the politics and
the society, both in Jubaland and in the neighboring states and
all of the rest of that. So that you can really give us
this fine grain understanding. And then one way to handle the comparative
politics question is to say, well how does that differ from Afghanistan
or Iraq or something like that? But another way of handling it is to
say that this story is a case of what? It’s a case of a larger
category of things. Now, what I found exciting
from a more conceptual, getting considerably higher than
your fine grain, is that looking at federalism in the context of we would
never expect federalism to work, right. It’s not the strongest state,
it’s not all these other things. That you think of the preconditions
that the literature tells us that the preconditions for federalism. But that’s where so
many states in the world are. And so how does federalism work
without those institutions? Without that trust? Without that supportive regional
environment, and so on and so on. And that if you can
draw out those lessons, I think it will give your
study a greater impact. This is an example of something that
is different than a lot of the other research on federalism that is not post state collapse-
>>Right.>>Federalism and in that way. But let me leave that to make another
connection to your fine grain knowledge. Is it easy for
you to go back to those two maps? You had one that was nice and neat and then your next slide was very messy.
>>[LAUGH]>>The ethnic slide. I mean cuz that’s in many ways
part of the punch line, right, is that you come up with a system
that looks nice and neat and everything has a border,
but this is the reality. And so you can’t wish that away, it’s
where it is, it’s not the nice neat lines. But I want to use that to
make a broader point in that if federalism is about institutional
bargaining, you have decided, I think it’s just a decision to look at
rather formal institutions, the states, the constitutions,
the legislators, and so on. If you were to say that power
sharing is indeed about institutional bargaining, but
it’s about very informal bargaining. It’s about bargaining between clans and
sub-clans and between people who control the cities and
business people and leaders of civil society,
organizations, and so on. And that’s the power sharing,
not the formal pact but rather the day to day way that
this map sustained itself. Does that give you very different
answers on how power sharing, federalism, can operate
in a place like Somalia? In other words,
in contrast to Susan’s question, how do you do it in weak law, is to say
don’t even worry about the constitution. Somalis are living every day in a kind of
a power sharing day to day governance. The governance without government, that Menkhaus talks about.
>>Right, that was, kind of stole my thunder there cuz Menkhaus,
Ken Menkhaus, was a Somali scholar. He wrote a blog piece I think about two
years ago talking about how there should be more emphasis to realize how effective
district level governorship was, right. So as I was explaining earlier,
where you’re talking about bottom up, there’s different levels of the bottom up. There’s the regional level, but there’s
always the district level, the town level, the village level. And what he wrote about was there’s a lot
of important governance work done at the district level where you do have local
councils that are working with clans to deliver services to keep the power on,
to deliver water, that kind of thing. And that level was not really taken into
account during this federalism process. It was mostly institutional bargaining
between the central government and regional leaders, so
I think again another option. And I think this has been looked at
at other NGOs and think tank that operate in Somalia is that there’s a lot
to be utilized from the district level, it’s just a matter of integrating that
process with what’s happening at the top. I don’t think that you can do
these things independently. You can’t have institutional bargaining
just between the federal, state, and the regions and
then some kind of side bet with institutional bargaining between
the districts and the people below that. But I do think there is value in that,
we just we haven’t seen that be a focus because
it’s such, it’s hard to access, right. Because district level leaders are out
there in rural areas where you going pass your bob checkpoints, you’re going passed checkpoints
that are harder to operate around. So it’s good luck finding
people who are willing to do that kind of work cuz it’s
a dangerous environment. And so it’s just not very feasible for a lot of organizations that want to
do this kind of stabilizing work. Again that’s the kind of work that
has to be done just among Somalis if they are given the opportunity to do that
without being distracted by other types other forms for institutional bargaining.
>>Do you have thoughts about [INAUDIBLE] a small question that takes it
in a different much more narrow type of question?
>>I think most of the questions that I had, it was mainly about the
precision of the constitution [INAUDIBLE]. Maybe a question on
the nature of the pacts, and you have,
you had talked about this quite a lot. But if you want to make
the pact successful, how should we do it?
>>[LAUGH]>>One, definitely not negotiated by Ethiopia, I mean that was one->>[LAUGH]
>>Of the->>You had the picture->>Literally in the context, yeah, I mean,>>[CROSSTALK]>>And so, I wasn’t able to explain in depth. But here’s an Ethiopian negotiator, okay. So this is Colonel Gabreas as he’s known,
he’s basically the boogieman in Somalia. He’s an Ethiopian security enforcer,
advisor type. And this is the context of when you
have Ethiopia negotiating in Somalia. I mean it’s a long time rival. This is not a helpful context, they’re
sitting around the stereotypical Beobap tree, they have elders there,
they’re discussing things. And yet you have this Ethiopian official
with a handgun in his back pocket, essentially making people
make handshake deals. So how would I go about
in making the pacts? Definitely get this guy in the room,
if possible. But again the problem is that these
are the people on the ground, they are, you talk about strong men, they are able
to impose their will on the ground. They’re not gonna simply watch Somalis develop a grass root affair where they can
develop some kind of coherence and unity. That’s not within Ethiopia’s interest. So Ethiopia is always going to
be there with the boogieman, the hand gun in his back pocket, forcing
deals in order to make sure that there’s not too much unity, that they have people
in place that respect their interest. So I don’t think you’re really going
to solve that unless there is another enforcer that comes to the table, unless
Somalia somehow agree that they’re gonna put aside their individual interest and
to collectively decide that, okay, you’re not going to have
a part in this type of negotiation. So, and it’s not just on the ground. I mean you have these same dynamics where
Ethiopia is able to ensure the federal government of Somalia, and the regional
strong men go to them to negotiate things. So that’s what happened with the The
Addis Ababa agreement after the violence in Kismayo. So they just have such a handle on
how to navigate the politics, so that everyone is always coming to
them to mediate their problems even if it’s not in
the interest of the disputants. So I definitely don’t have an answer for that.
>>Go ahead. I’ll just make one comment.
>>And you’ll answer it, then one I hope you will answer. And both of them in some ways
are a little bit unusual for me, cuz one’s a political culture argument and
then one is a methods question. And that it maybe you keep asking, thinking about how do you get negotiations
and the right people in the room and the process, so that you can get consensus
and I wonder if Somalis rather think. That what you want to have
is negotiations one day and then you negotiate the next day. You never stop negotiating. The point of negotiation is not to reach
an agreement, but rather to bargain every single day to protect your interest and
to get what you want and so on. And that therefore,
the kind of formal federalism is that adds with that kind of we’re
just gonna keep talking. Let me just leave that as a-
>>No, just I’ll say that->>Let’s say that by some miracle, all the regional leaders and the FGS
agreed on ten different issues within power sharing like revenue,
security, all those kinda things. That could change if different regional
leaders win elections the next time around, you have a different person
in place with a different perspective. Somalia is such that that leader could
just cut relations, cut that deal and have to say I am not operating by this. I want new negotiations. So to your point, I think there is gonna
be a consistent negotiation over time about what the parameters of power sharing
are depending on who the different leaders are in the country.
>>But I wonder also if that after
the Deona have the ten provisions, if the next day they wake up and
say, no time to renegotiate that. Cuz I think I can do better
the next day on my negotiations. In other words, it never ends. That’s not the point of the negotiations. It’s not to reach a settlement, but to keep a relationship.
>>Maybe that’s-
>>Slightly similar.>>Similar relationship.>>Maybe that’s subconsciously what would happen.
At least in a public level, what happens is that there are domestic crisis that
occur that cause one actor to say, you know what? Because of X,
I’m pulling out of this agreement and it may be that they always intended
to pull out of that agreement. But in terms of the public perceptions,
they used the domestic crisis disagreement to leverage
a renegotiation of other issues. And so
that’s something that [INAUDIBLE] as well.>>[INAUDIBLE] and ask you a question about your method and
particularly has to do with your blogging. I read your blogs and your Twitter posts
as you were going through this process and it’s an interesting way to collect data or
interesting way to engage in conversations in the field where
that you were engaged seemingly for hours, because I kept reading your stuff.
>>That’s accurate.
>>In a conversation, a transnational conversation about Somalia with people,
different stakeholders of all types. And how does that work as a type of
it’s like quite participant observer, but you’re very much both a participant
and an observer as you’re engaging in this logging as a way to
be be in the middle of 50 different conversations every week?
>>I don’t consider myself a participant, because I wasn’t really participating,
I did some NGO work at what time I facilitated a stakeholder
mapping and precisely in Mogadishu. But most of my work was observing. So for me, I considered it an opportunity
to like engage real people beyond, I feel like I have read every academic book
on Somalia and there is no more to read. And I wanted to just have more casual
conversations with people and sense, again, I wasn’t living in Somalia. This made it seem like I
really was living in Somalia. Because every single day, I had as many
conversations with Somalis on twitter as I did with my own friends and family. And so again, like I said, I became quite
close with several people that I met, that I chatted with on twitter. Eventually, meeting them on
person in different countries. And so that was a way, it was
an accidental personalization to research. So I didn’t intend it to be a methodology. This was a way for my blog to just keep
up with what was happening in the news. And for me to just inform my thinking
was something beyond the books and the personal experiences with people. But whole time, I didn’t think of
this is part of my research on for my dissertation, I was thinking
this is just really interesting. I’m having fun chatting with these
people and then turn around, and I have better understanding what I was
going on and kind of inform my analysis. So it wasn’t intentional.
>>Its so short [INAUDIBLE].
>>Well, maybe that is something I can go back and include.
>>It’s like the art cafe conversation.>>And you were intervening in it.>>That wasn’t happening. I wasn’t consciously doing
it as part of my research. I think it just became part of what I
was doing as my interest in the subject. So I think that’s one thing I need to do
is go back and realize what that meant in terms of the analysis that I was reaching.
>>Well, in the end it’s about, it’s data. [LAUGH]
>>Well, and it leads back to a lot of questions of
the whole process like why are we talking about this? Why are you interested in this? And I never really said I mean,
sometimes, I said I’m doing research. But at some point it just became,
I’m just really interested. We’re having fun talking about it. I love talking about politics. And so
it just became part of my personal life, as opposed to my research life.
>>I mean it hits at sort of what’s becoming really an interesting line
around social media and research. Because you were sort of
always doing research and some sometimes they don’t and it’s a very interesting complicated new one.
>>And I did respect that line. My interviews were different from my just
informal messages with like Twitter. So those more the same.
>>I’m ready to open it up to the larger community here for questions
or comments from friends and colleagues. Who would like to start off? We have somebody who knows
a bit Somali holds its ground.>>I have a couple questions, but one I’m really interested in. I’ve gotten to spend
quite a bit of time in actually working on the ground and
you mentioned talking about getting down to the lower levels
of governance in districts, and some of the narratives I’ve heard from
district governments is the lack of. And even at the regional level is
the lack of flow from the central Somali federal government down to the now state
level, down to the regional level, down to the district level and
the trickle gets less and less as you go. Interested to get your take on,
what are the main reasons behind that? Is that just a lack of you
know international support? Is that a corruption issue? Is it more of the territorial
control challenges and movement issues for services and
also monetary support? Because you get the fact though,
in this kind of island territory which is much of Jubiland and
South Central Somalia. You get defacto states, even at the district level as far as
what actual implementation looks like. And so
I just wanted to get your take on that.>>Yeah, I mean, that’s a really great point. I agree with all those obstacles that you
just named in terms of why things aren’t flowing from a regional level or
a central level to the district level. First thing you said, I mean, roads. I think that’s also one
important consideration. So there’s not many good
roads in the Jubiland area. That certainly hurts commerce, I think is just the ability of
people to traverse back and forth. I don’t think that district while
the governance is on like a forefront of regional authorities. I think if you’re a regional leader
You’re consumed by the politics of that headquarters of the relationship
with the federal government of what other regional administrations are doing. And so they don’t really have
an established partnership, in my opinion, with districts. Districts are pretty much
microcosms on their own. And maybe that’s also why
they’re effective in some sense, is that they’re able to operate without
interference from the regional level, or the federal government level. At the same time,
they do require humanitarian support and just from what I can gather over
the years, I know that a lot of NGOs on the ground do have a direct relationship
with district officials, as opposed to going to a regional leader who will talk
to the district leader, and so forth. So I think the main obstacle is that,
what’s the forum for regional leaders to talk
to district leaders? I mean, regional leaders have a parliament
that are supposed to represent the different clan communities. In reality it doesn’t work that way, but I think it creates a facade where
the regional leaders believe that somehow districts are representing them
when in reality they’re not. I just don’t think there’s not
an incentive for regional leaders to reach out to district governors, and
district governors from my experience, have pretty much accepted that
this is the way that it is. So if you’re ask them, does federalism
have an impact on their daily life, they’re more likely to say, not really. We’re just continuing to do our
thing the way we’ve always done it. So I’m not sure that answers your question
exactly, but I don’t see a lot of incentive for regional leaders to actually
interact with, there’s no price to pay. There’s no accountability for
not interacting with district leaders. That’s tough work to go out,
again, think about like you said. They only control small pockets
within their region, right? So you’re telling me they’re gonna
send out their family members and cabinet ministers just all around
the districts to travel around and do what with what resources, right? We’re not talking about big regional
cabinet ministries that have money to spend, they have projects to implement. They’re essentially just placeholders for
clan interests rather than cabinet ministries with resources
that they can actually do stuff with. So no one’s gonna go out to district X,
Y and Z when it’s dangerous to do that. They don’t have resource
to implement anything. And yeah, so it doesn’t really add to the benefits.
>>Anybody else? Yes, ma’am.
>>So first of all, this is facinating, and I imagine one of the challenges is
frankly that you were doing all this research while it was happening which,
excuse me, I’m not sure how common that is in terms of dissertation research,
but that’s awfully difficult. So I was curious if there were
any initial conclusion or initial assumptions that you
had in kind of going into this while the thing’s happening
that might have changed as things kind of evolved in structure.
>>That’s a great question Rachel.>>[LAUGH]>>And that was in my limitations slide, I noted that. That was a concern for
me was maybe three years from now, coming on information that would make
me dramatically change my opinion. I think at this point,
there hasn’t been enough time to go by for me to discover new information that would
make me, make any major changes to my conclusions.
>>Any preliminary conclusions a year ago that
you now think are incorrect because of what happened in the last year.
>>Or even three years ago when you
started all of this research. I know you’ve been working on this for
a long time.>>To be honest not yet but that’s, not to say that it won’t happen four or
five years from now. I mean I would love to read Ahmed
memoirs and for him to challenge a lot of my assumptions I made.
>>His prison notebooks.
>>Yeah.>>[LAUGH]>>Yeah, I haven’t seen that yet, but I’m sure it could happen.
I just don’t have anything just quite yet, but that’s a great question.
>>That’s really amazing work. I loved listening and learning from you. I was just curious about one question. Do the people within
the territory of Somalia have a Somali identity or
do they see themselves mostly as members of clan this, clan that?
>>All right, so we’re gonna be here for two hours so everyone, no I mean so there is,
>>90 second [INAUDIBLE] of that complicated question.
>>Essentially there’s dozens and dozens countless amount of Somali clans. There are like four major clans. They are Somali by identity. Some identify by they might have a mother
from one clan a father from one clan. And so, they might choose to
identify with one over the other but it’s mostly patriarchal. Some clans are not considered Somali
because they can’t draw their heritage back to the original Somali’s
in the the genealogical trace. So you have ethnic Bantus or
mixed Arab and African clan communities that live on the coast that
some people say aren’t Somali. And so again this gets back to
the discussion of national identity and who counts as Somali in the constitution? Are you talking about ethnic Somali or
are you talking about a Somali citizen? So there’s an identity that is one,
it’s your clan, but also I think people identify as Muslims. That’s another clan group. They might identify as to
a certain religious affiliation, so even though most are Muslims,
they might identify as Sufi or more conservative Sunni interpretation. So there are various ways that they
identify, but I think the most contentious way is for those quote unquote
non ethnic Somalis that still identify as Somali aren’t acknowledged
as such by a lot of other clans. And that’s why in that 4.5 clan
formula that I explained earlier, these minority clans that aren’t Somali
get half the representation that the other quote unquote Somali clans get. So this is important. It does matter in terms of representatio
and it’s an important thing going forward. Because if you do one person, one vote, all of a sudden all these
voices that have been repressed for years getting equal standing with
quote and unquote, Somali clans. So it could raise that issue
back up who is Somali.>>A final question, yes?>>Final question. Thank you very much Trey. I learned a lot and
I like your response to, it seems that you’ve given
to the social system, social structures in developing or
creating more inclusive political and
economic institutions for Somalis. But given the natural connection, the tension between agency and
social systems and building off your notion
of the rules of the game. If the rules of the game
are built on greed, and ill will and the ignorance, then does a social system really matter? A case study compared to
the Confederation Helvetia, which is today Switzerland,
would maybe give some examples of agencies’ structured intention and
building inclusive, but I would like to hear your views because you’ve done
a great complicated case study. And I think all those agency
social system structures are very important to
>>Yeah, and so, maybe it’s, again, another limitation in my research because
I looked at, I was explaining the social relationships between regional leaders and
the federal government. And it overlooks, kind of as we were
discussing earlier, that there is really great cooperation between
different clans at the district level. And so, we also have to consider
that even in perspective, regions like Somali Land and land have
been able to navigate some of those social contentions even though the clan
make up in those regions are less diverse than what you have in
south central Somalia. It’s not impossible to
navigate those ill feelings or those rivalries.
>>It just has to be in the right form and without foreign interference, and
over elongated period of time. So I do agree that those dynamics exist,
but I’m saying that they’re able to be overcome if you build trust by lower
stakes negotiations to begin with, not just starting from the beginning
with how do we divide power? You begin with lower stakes issues and
build trust that way. And over time, you’re able to create cooperation among
clans that formerly would not think that cooperation is possible.
>>I wanna thank all of you, the three of us are going to leave for
a few minutes. Let me congratulate Trey one more time for
a great piece of work.>>[APPLAUSE]

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