Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
Somalia's Compelling Reasons for the Lifting of the Arms Embargo.
by Deeq S Yusuf
Wednesday June 21, 2023

The Somali Federal Government is renewing its appeal for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to revoke the enduring arms embargo, which is severely limiting the combat effectiveness of its forces.

Over the past ten months, significant progress has been made in the fight against Al-Shabab terrorists. The Somali National Army (SNA), bolstered by domestic resistance, has successfully liberated numerous villages and towns throughout South-Central Somalia. The government plans to initiate another campaign soon to free the country's Southern regions.

Our troops' achievements have been lauded by the Somali public, regional stakeholders, and the international community. However, we continue to face major hurdles, primarily the arms embargo, which serves as the most significant obstacle in our ongoing mission to eradicate the terror group.

The embargo dramatically hinders the operational efficiency of our military forces. The absence of vital heavy weaponry and associated equipment necessary to definitively tip the scales in our favor is a significant barrier to our objective of liberating the entire country.

Moreover, the substantial lack of equipment our forces face due to the embargo could potentially impact troop morale during this crucial phase in our overall struggle against terrorism.

Even more problematic is that the embargo continues to drain our supplies of arms and munitions, providing respite to Al-Shabab. It's crucial to recognize that historically, the embargo has been a substantial factor contributing to Al-Shabab's resurgence and reorganization.

We continue to confront the threat of a resurgent Al-Shabab if the embargo is not immediately lifted. The embargo fosters operational delays and inefficiencies, enabling the terrorists to regain strength and regroup. Removing the arms embargo will catalyze our battlefield efforts, accelerating our mission to deliver a final, decisive blow to the terrorist group.

To combat illegal arms shipments, our government has established preventative mechanisms. Recently, our National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) intercepted illicit shipments of military equipment and explosives intended for Al-Shabab. We are taking steps to close loopholes to illicit arms shipments, just as we are working to cut off terrorist financing.

In light of the impending full takeover of national security by Somali forces at the end of December 2024, and the commencing troop reduction of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), our armed forces need ample preparation time. Any hindrances to operational capabilities, including the arms embargo, need to be addressed immediately. Without this, our forces risk significant handicaps if the embargo is not swiftly lifted.

Moreover, if the arms embargo persists during the ongoing AMISOM troop drawdown, it could lead to a perilous security vacuum, jeopardizing our nation's peace and stability. To avert this, we urge the UNSC to swiftly revoke the arms embargo.

Lastly, all of our neighboring countries now fully support lifting the arms embargo. A recent statement by IGAD member countries endorses this action. We request that the Security Council align with Somalia and IGAD's position by lifting the arms embargo.

Deeq S Yusuf
(Deeq is a Social Scientist based in Mogadishu - [email protected])


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