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Research Report

The Surge to Stabilize:: Lessons for the UN from the AU's Experience in Somalia

Copyright Date: May. 1, 2016
Pages: 28

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. None)
  2. (pp. i-ii)
  3. (pp. iii-iv)
  4. (pp. 1-1)
  5. (pp. 2-2)

    This report examines what lessons the AU’s experience in Somalia might hold for the UN as more of its peacekeepers are given mandates involving “stabilization” tasks. Although the UN’s missions in Haiti since 2004, the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2010, Mali since 2013, and the Central African Republic since 2014 all have the word “stabilization” in their name, the UN still has no explicit definition of or framework for this concept.² When US-led multinational coalitions have undertaken stabilization operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, they have tended to fall back on definitions of stabilization found in the national...

  6. (pp. 2-9)

    AMISOM first deployed to Mogadishu in March 2007. It was mandated by the AU and then the UN Security Council to provide protection to Somalia’s fledgling Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and its institutions as they sought to establish themselves in Somalia (see Box 2 for AMISOM’s current mandate as of July 2015). The TFG had emerged out of a peace process that took place largely in Kenya beginning in the early 2000s and that was heavily influenced by Somalia’s large diaspora population.

    What began as a small protection contingent of 1,600 Ugandan troops deployed to enable the withdrawal of a...

  7. (pp. 9-14)

    AMISOM’s first expansion operation, Operation Eagle, commenced in March 2014, followed by a second wave of expansion under Operation Indian Ocean in August 2014. Combined, these operations drove al-Shabaab forces out of more than twenty towns across ten districts in south-central Somalia—an estimated 68 percent of the strategic locations al-Shabaab had controlled at the start of 2014.

    Once again, al-Shabaab forces withdrew from most towns before the SNA and AMISOM arrived, nominally placing the newly secured districts under the control of the Federal Government. However, al-Shabaab often deliberately ransacked and booby-trapped the towns before leaving and retreated only so...

  8. (pp. 14-17)

    In November 2014, AMISOM temporarily halted expansion operations and moved into consolidation mode with Operation Ocean Build. Through this operation, AMISOM aimed to maintain and build upon the successes of earlier expansion operations by focusing on stabilization, particularly in areas recently recovered from al-Shabaab. The plan was for stabilization to occur before any further offensive operations in order to relieve suffering, win the consent of the local population, and extend the authority of the Federal Government.32

    With Operation Ocean Build, AMISOM’s strategy shifted from a “clear-hold-build” approach to a “hold-protect-build” approach. This new approach more strongly emphasized consolidating and stabilizing...

  9. (pp. 17-21)

    1. Missions must be appropriately configured to fulfill their mandate: A military-heavy mission cannot be expected to deliver stabilization, which requires significant police and civilian capabilities. Moreover, a mission configured to undertake offensive operations and counter - terrorism tasks will not be well suited to implementing stabilization programs. Peace operations will struggle to fully succeed if they are not given appropriate means to achieve their mandated tasks. AMISOM was forced to operate for years without some critical enablers and multipliers that rendered it almost impossible to significantly degrade al-Shabaab’s main combat forces.

    2. The political and military elements of a stabilization strategy...

  10. (pp. 22-22)