Britain has made a special effort to forge a close relationship with Somalia’s new government which came into power in September 2012. This year Britain has already pledged to donate $300 million in aid to assist with the development of infrastructure, justice and security and has also ensured that Somalia will be a keynote of discussion at the annual G8 summit that it is hosting in June.

The Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud plans to transform Somalia through harbouring a democratic federal government, an initiative which has been embraced by both Britain and by the wider international community. At the 2013 London Somali conference, the British Prime Minister David Cameron asserted his confidence in Somalia’s new federal government stating that “today we are seeing the beginnings of a new future for Somalia. Extremism is on the retreat”. As far as the British government is concerned, Somalia’s success is reliant on the triumph of good over evil or put in other words the triumph of Somalia’s federal government over the extremist Islamist organisation Al-Shabaab. The UK’s generous aid donation has been justified because it has been assumed that aid will be utilised by the British backed Somali government to secure stability and to ultimately oust Islamic extremism from the country.

Britain’s stance on assisting Somalia’s new government as it strives to regain control of the country is at best naive and severely lacks appreciation of the complexity of Somalia’s clan based political backdrop. By backing the new Somali government Britain has inadvertently become involved with Somali clan politics, aligning itself with Sheikh Mohamud’s Hawiye clan. In general, rival clans oppose the new government believing that Mohamud intends to prioritise the wishes of his own clan. Sahan Research, a Nairobi based think tank has backed this impression by conveying Mohamud’s reluctance to complete a new constitution that outlines how power would be shared and it has also been suspected that Mohamd’s Hawiye clan will dominate the country’s police and security forces.

During the London Somali conference, Britain continued to court its relationship with Mohamud’s government by spending over £50,000 in accommodating the Somali delegation in one of London’s top five star hotels. This was much to the disapproval of the British tabloids which reported the vast sums that were paid out by the British tax payer to fund the Somali politician’s luxury trip to London. Potential investment opportunities were presumably what motivated such lavish spending but the consequences are that Britain has now placed both of its feet firmly inside the Hawiye camp. This has the potential to cause rival clans to look for alternative ‘mascots’ by aligning with rebel militant groups, causing further civil unrest and instability.

Britain has embraced federalism without comprehending how a federal political system will work successfully in Somalia. A one size fits all solution is not compatible in a country divided by numerous self declared autonomous regions and rival clans, and recent events in Jubaland have indicated that Britian’s optimistic vision for Somalia is most probably unattainable. On 15thMay 2013, Sheikh Ahmed Madobe, leader of the Ras Kamboni militia was elected as president, only to be contested hours later by Barre Hirale, a warlord from the rival Marehan clan. Neither so called leader was recognised by the Somali federal government in Mogadishu, and in the days that followed numerous other clan leaders announced themselves as president, heightening tension in the Jubaland region. Trouble escalated on 8thJune when hundreds fled a deadly gun battle between the Ras Kamboni and rival militant groups in the city of Kismayu, which resulted in at least eighteen deaths.

British policy has assumed that the prominence of Al-Shabaab has been the main contributing cause of violence in Somalia since the end of the civil war in 1991 and has neglected to pay much attention to Somalia’s complex web of clan politics. The Ras Kamboni militia are responsible for the most recent acts of violence in Jubaland yet in September 2012, the Ras Kamboni fought alongside AMISOM and Somali national forces in a battle to rid Al-Shabaab from the Jubaland capital Kismayu. It is laughable that the British so haplessly views Somalia’s troubles as being rooted in the operations of Al-Shabaab, yet it is likewise not so simple as to label any other Somali rebel contingency as the downright enemy of Somalia.

The following case study briefly outlines the complexity of Somalia’s clan relations by examining the Ras Kamboni’s current status in Somalia;

The Ras Kamboni militia comprises of members from the Ogaden clan, which has roots in Kenya and is also supported by the Kenyan government. Kenya has praised Madobe’s claim to presidency because it hopes that the Ras Kamboni’s presence in southern Somalia will act as a buffer zone, preventing the spillover of Al-Shabaab activities from Somalia to Kenya. On the other side of the spectrum, Barre Hirale’s Marehan clan disapproves of the Ogeden clan’s ties with Kenya and has demanded that the Kenyan government stays clear of Somali politics. By comparison, in in the north of Somalia, the semi autonomous state of Puntland has shown its support for both rival clans. The Ogaden and Marehan clans are sub-clans of the larger Darod clan and Puntland is keen for the south of Somalia to be under Darod administration, meaning that it will support both rival contingencies as it fears that the Hawiye led Somali government intends to marginalise the Darod’s influence in Somalia.

It is essential that British policymakers understand Somalia’s political context in order to be of any help when assisting in the region. The British agenda to end Islamic radicalism is of little use in Somalia given that the current situation in the country is far too complex to be so crudely summarised under a one dimentional label like ‘extremism’. Britain’s lack of experience in dealing with security measures in post colonial Africa gives yet more reason to question its capability of aiding Somalia’s successful transition to stability. In the mid 1990s, John Major’s Conservative government paid little attention to the massacres in the Great Lakes in the Democratic Republic of Congo or to the mass genocide in Rwanda whilst the New Labour government under Tony Blair also deterred from sending its troops to Sudan’s Darfur when troubles broke out in in 2004. It seems that British involvement in Somalia is driven by its own national interests to invest in Somalia’s oil reserves rather than by a broader desire to play a role in peace and security issues on the African continent. If Britain is to be successful in Somalia, it must first look beyond its whitewashed impression of Islamic extremism and instead must judge the situation in Somalia on what is actually happening on the ground.

 By Beck Charlton


  1. It was expected that 54 of the wealthiest countries in the world would have collectively offered a Few $Billion Dollars in Aid instead they collectively promised to donate $300million.

    That means $5.5Million each of the 54 wealthiest countries… The figure is a lot of money if it goes directly into Hassan Mahamoud's pockets and foreign accounts however considering the status of the Failed state.

    $300Million will not be enough to cover the cost of keeping amisom's 20,000 troops in Muuqdishu for 1year.

    DahabShiil company Donates more then $5million a year in direct developmental aid to Somalia-Italia. At least his money goes directly to the civilians who need it!

    • DahabShiil $5 million a year in direct developmental aid to Somalia while Hargeisa still looks like a town need i say more GTFO with your BS.

      I remember few month back they said they were gonna donate 200k to build a hospital in Mogadishu and nothing has started and that's just 1 example out of many.

      PS that money is also headed for Somaliland 80% of UK's always goes to the triangle

      • Irir don't get angry when people expose the mooryan day dreaming. $300 MILLION will not be enough to even pay for the soliders that guard the mooryan villa.

        Dahabshiil donates more then $5 million but not a thank you from your half bantu citizens. Dahabshil donates much more to somaliland but at least it is our one of our own.

        i will not go to debate if hargaysa looks like a town or a city as the pictures speak for themselves but all i have to say is that even boosaso is more of a city then muuqdisho (read this carefully)

      • Dahabshiil is the only Employer other then the Tuug-Government and Amisom in Somalia. At least Dahabshiil pays his employees on time.

        • You people are funny unlike the triangle Dhiigshiil are being left the leftovers in the South and so would Somaliland too if they didnt run that place behind the scene.

  2. No matter how much aid will be given to Sheik Hassan, the social structure of the Somali people has been destroyed and no one will fixed with few months. As long as those who massacred tenth of thousands of Somalis are still around and were not brought them to justice, there will be terrorism and clan fighting in Southern Somalia.

  3. The policies of the coalition conservative current UK Govt towards Somalia remains their
    businesses. Desipte All the damaging crisis highlighted by the respected Author,
    the incumbent UK Govt would probably end up in the end like the old examples
    portrayed in the article concerning John Major's and Tony Blair's Govts.
    While respecting the good synposis of the writer, I would wish that the more relatively
    peace Somaliland which holds the magic key to all the Roadmap Signatories SFG
    conflicts of Somalia should have been commented upon as well. Maybe other times.
    If the UK Govt wants to succeed in Somalia, the Somaliland straight forward quest should
    be properly addressed in conjunction with the other 54 stakeholders. The Somaliland
    full Sovereignty independence can not and should not remain hijacked for the failed
    Sovereignty of Somalia-Italia.

  4. LOL, all see it is a bunch soar babies, upset that their beloved Brits are giving them the cold shoulder. Listen we told you don't trust the Brits. IC politics is about national interest, which is why from east timor to U.S are flocking to the south as you like to refer it. You heard what china said recently, protect Somalia Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity. When the U.S and China agree, then the message is clear to all.

    • "You heard what china said recently, protect Somalia Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity. When the U.S and China agree, then the message is clear to all."

      Do you believe the U.S. and China can force us to rejoin Somalia once again? It Never happens sir! Somaliland had made her decision 22 years ago and started everything from zero without diplomatic recognition or outside help. So, Somaliland is moving on and on to her destiny and paying no attention to anyone, whether you believe it or not is up to you.

      In other words, the Republic of China aka Taiwan had separated from the rest of China in 1949, and had been doing excellent in the absence of IC recognition.

      • Listen Taiwan is at least recognized by it's allies, But can you say that, Ethiopia is cornered by potential adversaries, so they won't risk war to recognize you. There are many lining up to take them out.

        So move on, to answer your question NO. No can force you guys to do anything, period. But here is the part were it gets tricky. See most die Somalilanders will over look the actions of Siilaanyo administration. I don;t if it's the fear or sub-clan allegiance or sub-clan domination. But regardless of what, Siilaanyo is ripping Somaliland apart from the inside. What is going through his mind i don't know. But to say your for one, yet on the other hand all the unnecessary attention is another thing.

        Now I have said it before if you get majority of people in the Somaliland region except secession, that's cool with me. But if the wish is only that of majority Isaaq, then you will have sit and negotiate with the other clans on territory is yours to take. So in the future there is no conflict.

        Listen if you would've spent as much time and effort in developing other areas Somalialnd, while the south was in turmoil, then you would not have had Khaatumo created or people uttering Awdal this Awdal that.

        Now I don't think your non-recognition is an IC problem. Fundamentally, I think the problem lays with Isaaq Community, who in the 22 yrs have been only uniting and developing themselves selfs and arming themselves. Isaaq hold the highest office, Isaaq hold all the key posts, Isaaq get all the development resources. Only you have the best schools, hospital, roads airports and all that.

        Now honestly speaking, if you're from another clan and watch this for 22yrs, don`t you think you be suspicious and hostile to the idea of secession.

        Now I know you're gonna bring up Dahir, so here listen to this

        Saado Cali iyo Ustaad Mahdi Muse Isaq

        • Tellmetruth
          Apparently, your problem is all about a tribalism but nothing else, and only God could cure you from it.

    • MR TMT. what you talking about man? Did I mention that the Brits are giving Somaliland the
      cold shoulder. Nothing of that sort. Both the Govts of Great Britain and China could help your
      failed Somalia and for that I have no problems. However, all I mean to say is that the Somaliland
      quest deserves the IC 54 stakeholders full Sovereignty recognition and what is your legal
      concerns against that simple logic? From now on, your id should be Gimmicks. Brothda,
      Somaliland passed all tested turbulent waters and now poised to be baptized into the world of
      Sovereignty United nations. There's no way that Puntland, the SFG and/or the 54 stakeholders
      could deny the legitimacy of the great Nation of Somaliland and its good governance under
      the wise pragmatic leadership of HE President DR Muj Silaanyo. The writing is on the wall in
      big graffiti Capital letters. Okay brothda gimmicks. |o|

  5. Handouts or what you call donations never make a failed state a state. The international communites donated too much money – billions – to Somalila and nothing has changed. Somaliia is still Somalia. The hunger is still, anarchy and mayhem are still there, rape still continues, Alshabab are still effective and a formidable force. Who knows these donations go? The real story where the donations go is " I-take-and-you-take-it attitude."

    • Every Selected president and prime minister in Somalia-Italia since 1991 has left his job a multi-millionaire.

      🙂 They always settle in a foreign country never to return.

      What happened to their UNION believes???

    • I though that you were one of Khaatumo-seeg campaigners, but now, I am realizing that you're an attention seeker from Awdal otherwise clarify your identity Mr myth teller.

    • all the same garbage. a darood famous W H O R E who was seen going to cabdriver faroole's house at midnight with few bottles of habashi khamri .

  6. Rebecca Charlton — I have to question your identity? And who you really work for? Since you are quoting a think tank such like Sahan Rearch. Check the founders' history and who they really are before you use as a reference. They are people who benefited Somalia's misery and has become "Somali experts" during Somalia's civil war. All they want is Somalia not to get out of the civil war so they can have jobs by writing lies and dividing Somalis. We do not need their opinion or what they think about our president. Darod, hawiye, Isaq or the rest of the clans are all Somalis and sooner or later we will come together and build our country. There is no place for such a person let him go back to Canada or wherever he is from. I also advice those who are working for him to find jobs in their country.

    • Thank you for your comments. I am a freelance writer and postgraduate student in African politics. I have no affiliation or ties at all with Sahan research or any other political organisation working in Somalia or Somaliland. I used the statistic from Sahan research only in passing to aid my argument which was not in any way influenced by research currently underway at Sahan. I think the statistic I used was first quoted in the Economist on 11th May in an article titled 'The centre holds, but only just'. If you have any more questions then please do not hesitate to contact me on

  7. People in Somalia proclaim that they want union and it’s no secret that Culusow and his council including some IC members wanted a federation between Somaliland and Somalia and according to them; Somaliland can only be persuaded if Somalia becomes one state like Somaliland instead of a various mini states. Now the game may have to be changed as it has become clear that people in Somalia are so rigid and cannot agree together on one thing let alone being under a decentralised state. There are signs that the thought process of the Somalia international political drivers are resigning to the fact that Somaliland will not become part of any Somali federal govt under these circumstances. It’s good to point out that Somaliland would not have become part of it under any circumstances as its people don’t want to have anything to do with Somalia at all. However, the delusion is out of the window for even its international backers, I reckon.

    • When Britain rejected the Euro it was preserving it's economic well being.

      Somaliland-Republic stands to loose all gains it has made economically, politically, socially and in terms of security by any relationship with Somalia-italia. It is evident that the civil strife of Somalia-Italia is long from over and Amisom only the only barrier that keeps the SELECTED President in his 4Km StateHood.

      Hassan Mahamoud is not sincere nor capable of honoring any Contractual agreements with any other state on the face of the earth. He cannot even provide security for the civilians of his country. He has no control over Puntland, Jubaland, Galmudug, and Shabab still controls the bulk of his country while a large proportion of his population still live in Dadaab and Dollo Ado…

      Any association is plain suicide.

  8. The foundation has never been laid properly by the so-called Somalia leaders who have been gathered in Kenya and later in Djibouti by which the TFG was born. The provisional constitution and its Road-Map-Signatories were the problem. The Nairobi based NGOs that profiteer the chaos contracted the Federal Constitution and the warlords (the Road Map Signatories) blessed it. The only credible entity that objected to the bubble or not so solid scheme was Somaliland which is the genuinely established government.
    The so-called federalism scheme was to distract and mimic Republic of Somaliland. The pirate operated region that called itself Puntland is one example.
    Wait for what has to come. The border markings of the upcoming "Federal States" of Somalia is a conflict in the waiting, since every sub-clan wants its state. Example of that is the division of the ex-Mudug region of Somalia is divided in to two. Its capital, Gal-ka'yo is controlled claimed by two states. Puntland occupies the North of the town and Gal-Mudug the south of the same town. the border line is in dispute as fights between two sub-clans of Darod(Majeerteen) and Hawiye(Sa'ad) erupts occasionally. I think the world knows better and countries like Britain have good knowledge of the situation but are not ready to re-establish a functioning government. Who cares if the nationals want it that way?
    Somaliland on the contrary have defined borders and controls its territory. It provides necessary services such as protection and justice system that believes rule of law. It has nationally ratified constitution. Democratic government that is elected nation wide on a one-man-one-vote bases. It has two houses of representatives occupied by hotly contested three national political parties. It has its flag, distinctive currency, national anthem, strong professional military, police and independent judiciary. It is by no means equal or similar to tribal states of Somalia's so-called "federal Government of Somalia".
    Ahmed Dhegaweyne

  9. The UK government failed Somali children almost as much as the Somali so called leaders. Children brought up in the uk look up to gangsters, just as the same ones in Somali territories grow up to be tribal soldiers or criminals.

  10. Somalia will only be solved when Somalis are genuinely ready to do so through a nationwide reconciliation.

    Until then your gonna keep calling me names i will keep calling you names we all gonna keep calling each other names.

      • Haha you do know many Somali Bantu IDP's live in Mogadishu on the other hand do you know what they call khaatumo khaastumo lol

        • hahaha Irir Samale, here in north Bantu means ugly the people you call Bantu we call them 'Abow' although I don't agree with Khaatumo boy I am firm believer of ''beauty is in the eye of the beholder''

    • You will still be a colony of Amisom, the only colony of third world countries in modern history!

      At least control 75% of your country with your own troops before you demand another country to join you in your misery.

        • There are two types of Somalilanders in Muuqdishu.

          1. Wealthy investors who will own your country.
          2. Criminals escaping from justice in Somaliland.

          Both are deadly to you, your country and your people 🙂 You haven't learnt anything from Ina Godane yet?

  11. What a poor article for real.
    The author is saying that Britain has supported the fedralism without comprehending whether it really works or not, and forgot that fedralism was initionally supported by somalis, and in reality, that's only by where everyone in somalia can guarantee their right not to be taken away by anyone else.
    Yes fedralism has its own drawbacks, but that's how it works for somalis. Somali people are nomads who prioritise their clan over anything else. So why not use fedralism to support the somali system of living.
    Secondly, Britain has an extensive knowledge of somali people, they know each clan and subclan in somalia, and which subclan has a problem with every other subclan.
    There are over 200 thousands somalis in UK, and the author is insinuating that Britain got no clue what are those somalis are on about? get a life!

  12. I posted my comment here yesterday but I think it was deleted by people who could not accept the truth. I questioned the true identity of Rebecca Charlton the author of this article. May be it was written by the founder of Sahan and he wants to use his lies as reference because only a few people know the existence of this think tank. I believe that the founder of Sahan is one of those people who benefited Somalia's misery and cannot accept that Somalia is now getting out of civil war. If Somalia becomes stable he would not have a job and that why this time he is trying to turn Hawiye against Darood. The era of divide and rule has ended! I want to remind Mr. SOMALI EXPERT that Darood, Hawiye or any other clan are all Somalis and Somalia is our country and please STOP meddling Somali affairs.

  13. Somalia should not suffer by few men's disagreements and should move forward plus it's clear that every clan & sub clan can't have a president of their own so lets share the country and when Somalis are going to learn to respect their leader for the time he is got left???