Despite important progress through years of international counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and state-building assistance, peace and sustainable stabilization remain elusive in Somalia. Al-Shabab remains entrenched throughout vast parts of Somalia and regularly conducts deadly terrorist attacks even in Mogadishu. Capacities of Somali national security remain weak, and while the Trump administration has significantly augmented U.S. anti-Shabab air strikes in Somalia that approach has limits. Meanwhile, Somali political processes and public institutions remain corrupt and in the pockets of powerful clans. These pernicious governance processes give continual lease on life to al-Shabab and other destabilizing armed actors. Improving governance and state-building—and subjecting Somalia’s governments and powerbrokers to accountability—are fundamental for conflict reduction and eventual stabilization.
On April 6, the Africa Security Initiative in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings hosted a discussion on Somalia. Ambassador Stephen Schwartz discussed the internal and external challenges to restoration. Dr. Felbab-Brown and Dr. Signé joined with their comments on security, governance, and economic challenges in Somalia. Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon moderated the discussion.
ModeratorMichael E. O’Hanlon Director of Research - Foreign Policy, Director - Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, Co-Director - Africa Security Initiative, Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, Philip H. Knight Chair in Defense and Strategy
PanelistVanda Felbab-Brown Director - Initiative on Nonstate Armed Actors, Co-Director - Africa Security Initiative, Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology