Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"State-building, Counterterrorism and Licensing Humanitarianism in Somalia"

In September 2010, Somali specialist Mark Bradbury published a paper titled "State-building, Counterterrorism and Licensing Humanitarianism in Somalia" at Tufts University's Feinstein International Center.

He argues that Somalia is a location where western military strategies and aid policies developed in Afghanistan and in Iraq are being transferred to Africa. Counterterrorism and counterinsurgency strategies combining military force and aid stabilization packages and the use of "for profit" companies to deliver assistance are being deployed in Somalia. This has not proved effective in Afghanistan, where there has been no shortage of funding. He says transferring such approaches to Somalia, which takes no consideration of the context and is backed by fewer resources, seems unlikely to be any more successful.

The biggest challenge to independent humanitarian action in Somalia is, he suggests, the moves towards greater regulation and licensing of humanitarian aid by donor governments. In order to deliver assistance to populations in need in south central Somalia, aid agencies have to negotiate with local authorities, who, in many places, are allied to anti-government forces such as al-Shabaab or Hisbul Islam.

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