Following our historical context review of ten African states in Part I (Paper #31), this section begins Part II with linkage analysis, focusing on strategy in Somalia.
We start with relationships that influence three critical areas of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) mandate:
We begin with a hand-drawn white board to represent a simple linkage analysis that simulates a collaborative discussion. The analysis demonstrates what can be done in a small group by building out linkages in any high-low tech environment, face-to-face or virtual. Our entering assumptions are two-fold. First, linkages can be among people, things and ideas. Second, linkages can be of many types (see Ch 7) such as organizational, functional, technical, social, and thought-related.
There are three main nodes in this chart that help us identify key relationships.
A cluster represented with President Farmaajo, Prime Minister Roble, and elements and sectors of the Somali National Army (SNA).
Presidential-appointed chiefs of the SNA and its ground, air and maritime forces represent organizational and functional relationships. Key social relationships are more difficult to discern, requiring collection.
The SNA Chief, 33-year old Brigadier Odawaa Yusuf, is the youngest ever to be in that post and commanded the Villa Somalia (presidential palace) unit. His age might help appeal to Al Shabaab-targeted youth. His foreign training in Uganda, Sudan and Turkey is useful to the President and could be leveraged to cultivate professional contacts to develop the SNA.
The International Monetary Fund connection is a source of leverage for reforms. Fraud such as “ghost soldiers” (exist only on payrolls) may be reduced by fingerprint-registration, a national ID card, and biometric identification among civil servants. All of these are IMF conditions for debt relief (10, 27, 34) under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Relief Program.
Particularly between President Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe (Ogaden of Darod) of Jubaland and President Said Abdullahi Mohamed Deni (Majeerteen of Darod-Harti) of Puntland.
Madobe led an Islamist armed group, the Ras Kamboni Movement, which had displaced Al Shabaab in Kismayo and fought Marehan clan members for control. Deni is former Minister of Planning in 2014 under PM Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed (Marehan of Darod). The electoral system changes that Madobe and Deni reject is that of allowing people to vote directly for parties. Electoral law is a legitimacy issue because it lowers the overt political status of clans. The legacy clan representative system apportioned equal shares of parliamentary seats to the four dominant clans and half-shares to others.
The creation of political parties has the potential to integrate cross-clan relationships and professionalize government service. Corruption and divisive neighbors thwart this effort. Kenya effectively backs Madobe’s militia with its AMISOM troops and some Majeerteen elite favor Jubaland’s secession. Ethiopia has long supported Puntland autonomy as a buffer that it can influence against any more “Greater Somalia” incursions. Authoritarian rivals UAE and Qatar vie for influence in Puntland while resisting radical Islam in separate ways.
FGS and FMS relationships with Somaliland are estranged and Somaliland leverages its geopolitical advantages. As an independent republic (not recognized) that declared its secession in 1991, Somaliland has de facto foreign relations with other states, recently Taiwan. States and businesses seeking alternatives to China-indebted Djibouti look to Somaliland. The UAE’s DP World, for instance, leases Berbera Port. The FGS attempts to punish sovereign states that it can (cutting ties with Guinea, not the UAE, e.g.) if they conduct business with Somaliland. Somaliland’s President Muse Bihi advocates integrative nationalism over disintegrative clan loyalties. In practice, he is constrained by the grand sultan elders of Isaaq clans and competition among three national political parties, each of which is dominated by an Isaaq sub-clan. The Peace, Unity and Development Party (Kuniye, Bihi’s party)—Habr Awal; the Somaliland National Party (Waddani)—Habr Yunis; and the Justice and Welfare Party—Habr Garhaji.
A look at Somali clan families (Figure 25, Part I) indicates there are few Isaaq in Somalia outside of Somaliland. While this cultural cohesion can block the emergence of a broader national identity, it can reduce community penetration by al-Shabaab. Good governance and human intelligence may do the same. To protect its relatively successful clan-based reconciliation, if the FSG continues to centralize control and pressure Somaliland as well, Somaliland will likely strengthen ties with Ethiopia and Djibouti.
This node is highly interactive in two ways.
First, clan exclusivity and Hawiye predominance influence inter-clan relationships and alignments. For instance, conflict between Habr-Gedir of Hawiye and Bimaal of Dir militias in Lower Shabelle creates fragile alliances, ironically when AMISOM clears an area of Al-Shabaab militia. AMISOM initially sought to partner with the strongest local sub-clan—Habr Gedir forces. Then to expand its operations, AMISOM trained and equipped Bimaal militias (2017). Al-Shabaab reacted by targeting Bimaal forces who had been collaborating with Al-Shabaab, which induced Habr Gedir to cooperate with Al-Shabaab (UN Staff, “Neither Inevitable Nor Accidental: The Impact of Marginalization in Somalia,” in Michael Keating and Matt Walkman eds., War and Peace in Somalia: National Grievances, Local Conflict and Al-Shabaab [NY: Oxford University Press, 2018], 46.
The same dynamic applies to the federal SNA and clan-based state-supported militias. The SNA itself is a nation-building work in progress. Hawiye cultural exclusivity in the SNA limits its ability to partner with the Marehan of Darod—dominant in Puntland, and with the Ogaden of Darod—slightly more influential in Jubaland than the Marehan. Federal President Farmaajo is from the Marehan while Jubaland President Madobe is from the Ogaden, both Darod not Hawiye. They share an interest in reducing Hawiye influence but with different foreign allies. Farmaajo is trying to centralize power as his way to build a Somali nation, with the support of Ethiopian forces. Evidence includes joint investments and a nascent “Horn of Africa bloc” for which Farmaajo is roundly criticized in Somalia. Kenyan forces are supporters of Madobe, as Nairobi sees Jubaland as a territorial buffer against Al-Shabaab. An ongoing maritime dispute between Nairobi and Mogadishu reinforces this alignment. Kenya is negotiating a withdrawal of its troops from Somalia, having been deployed for nearly a decade—this would increase Ethiopia’s influence. AMISOM forces, therefore, are not seen by Somalis as politically neutral.
Second, Al-Shabaab (“the Youth”) expands its influence by coercing and compelling unprotected or unarmed communities into compliance. Any clan connection to the SNA, because of SNA’s foreign support, strengthens Al-Shabaab’s nationalistic appeal. Al-Shabaab’s anti-foreign, particularly anti-Christian, narrative criticizes the very domestic divisiveness that Al-Shabaab stokes to seize control of an area. The compellent part of Al-Shabaab’s influence is Salafist Sharia law used to settle land and other resource disputes. Control is secured by Salafist justice, a brutal clarity that serves to recruit and radicalize many with grievances or insecure identity.
This persuasive coercion among the populace displaces federal or state law, rules that are widely seen to favor elites anyway. Al-Shabaab invokes the threat of Western and Western-proxy (Ethiopia, e.g.) re-colonization of Africa to appeal to non-Salafist and non-extremist Somalis (Roland Marchal, “Motivations and Drivers of Al-Shabaab,” in Michael Keating and Matt Waldman eds., War and Peace in Somalia: National Grievances, Local Conflict and Al-Shabaab [NY: Oxford University Press, 2018], 311.
All of three of the above nodes involve regional relationships. Let’s explore two sets of cooperative and confrontational linkages from a previously stated expectation. Namely, if the FSG centralizes control over FMS and pressures Somaliland, Somaliland will likely strengthen ties with Ethiopia and Djibouti (both AMISOM members).
First, strengthened Somaliland-Ethiopia ties push Egypt, Qatar, Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to increase linkages with Somalia and/or Somaliland. Each country has different reasons.
Egypt sees the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’s control of the Nile River as an existential threat, so is pursuing the establishment of a military base in Somaliland. At the same time Cairo is agreeing to an African Union-led resolution process. An Ethiopian official referred to the potential Egyptian military presence in Somaliland as a “red line.”
Qatar is acridly anti-UAE since the Gulf Cooperation Council dispute in 2017. Doha seeks to undermine the UAE port in Berbera, Somaliland, via countervailing investments in Somalia such as a new embassy, development fund, medical access, and airport construction.
For Iran, the UAE port in Somaliland is a threat being used against Iranian proxies in Yemen. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) provides oil, arms, and financial payoffs to al-Shabaab and other extremist groups in Somalia and throughout the region. The IRGC and Quds Force exploit divisiveness between Somalia and Somaliland (Somalia’s continued rejection of Somaliland’s independence) and between Somalia and Ethiopia (legacy of conflict over Eritrea), as well as broader Horn of Africa cooperation.
For the UAE, ties with Ethiopia include a 19% Ethiopian stake in Berbera port. UAE investments in Somalia dropped as Qatar objected to the UAE-Berbera port and the Farmaajo government declared neutrality on the issue yet seized $9.6 million from an Emirati plane at Mogadishu airport.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia sees investment land purchases in east Africa, despite local starvation, as sources of food supply. Most Somaliland exports flow to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Somali Producers’ Conference & Exhibition (SOPEC), which began in the UAE (2014) under the auspices of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, promotes foreign investment in agriculture, fisheries and livestock.
Saudi Arabia’s influence is feared because the large regime is suspected of promoting Salafist influence.
Turkey has its largest Africa investments in Ethiopia, as well as an oil exploration deal and military base in Somalia.
Understanding these relationships is a competition in influence, and key to changing behavior in Somalia.
In Node 1, FGS relationships with the SNA and IMF are important for integrity of SNA command and control and for critically needed external financing
In Node 2, election legitimacy issues between the FGS and FMS strain relationships as governments shape constitutional power-sharing and adjudication, tensions that invite influence from regional competitors
In Node 3, all of these relationships interact. SNA clan loyalties deter development of an integrative, apolitically professional military during a formative time rife with electoral issues, foreign influence and an effective Al-Shabaab strategy (persuasive coercion)
We will come back to the question, how can these relationships be influenced in terms of desired effects? in section 3 of this two-part paper, Synthesize & Recommend Combined Strategies for Courses of Action. For now, we step back a bit from linkages to look for any patterns and longer-term trends in this information environment.
This section notes some relevant continent-wide and Somalia patterns and trends—economic and political.
African states seek more private sector investment, expanded trade, debt relief and development aid.
Somali exports increased $4 million over the past three years after local businesses began to attend the world’s large food trade exhibition in Dubai. In this case, the quest for private sector investment was helped along by targeted technical assistance from the US Agency for International Development and new access to banks and investors. While a pattern of UN Security Council arms embargo extensions on Somalia continues due to illicit imports, legal Somali exports are four times what they were two decades ago. GDP growth last year was 3%, down from 5-7% for the previous two years. This compares to 2.4% across Africa in 2019. Creating a trend out of such patterns is what the Africa Continent Free Trade Area is intended to do.
Established in 2019, the FTA represents potential for a billion consumers with $3.4 trillion total GDP, but over 40% of Africans are extremely poor with inequality rising. Of the world’s 19 most unequal countries, ten are in sub-Saharan Africa. Amidst the COVOD-19 pandemic, growth on the continent is forecasted to be between -2 and -5% in 2020. In Somalia, 4.8 million people (out of 16 million) lack access to affordable nutrition. Food insecurity across Africa is the same proportion, affecting 240 million people. Drought and flooding have become more intense and unpredictable as climate cycles change, wiping out crops and livestock.
Debt-to-GDP ratios in Africa average 60 percent, well within international standards, though African states pay more interest due to perceived risk. Somalia’s ratio is high at 100%, but received IMF and WB debt relief (March 2020), reducing a $5.2 billion burden to $3.7 billion and perhaps $557 million by 2023.
Another set of patterns and trends is political disenfranchisement and human rights abuses, and governance based on ethnic or religious clientelism. Consider the following patronage system linkages extracted from the country reviews in Part I in this Paper:
Additionally in Somalia, there are parliamentary elections that had been scheduled for November 2020 (now delayed due to COVID-19) and February 2021 presidential elections. Past elections have been arenas of FGS-FMS competition that al-Shabaab routinely exploits. In September 2020, President Farmaagjo met with the five FMS and reached agreement for an indirect electoral model, setting the stage for an intensification of al-Shabaab violence to disrupt the elections.
Al-Shabaab’s technical capabilities are fed by international and domestic crime. Internationally al-Shabaab is under constant surveillance and opportune attack, and appears to have shifted to strengthening its domestic ability to seize weaponry. Successful attacks on SNA and AMISOM yield military explosives and equipment to feed a local ecosystem of supply, training and employment. Supplies of military-grade explosives come from capture, unexploded ordnance, and fertilizer. Training is conducted by experienced terrorists, increasingly not foreigners who are more prone to spying. Overall, al-Shabaab’s employment tactics are meant to induce external support from extremists and coerce local funding. How?
The method is to conduct high casualty attacks and commit extortion (includes livestock from farmers), piracy (includes extortion from gangs), and kidnapping for ransom (Cuban doctors, Italian aid worker, Iranian sailors, German nurse, Kenyans). These crimes enable Al-Shabaab to attract recruits and acquire $100 million in annual funding.
Al-Shabaab’s ability to kill people and hold territory create an information environment of fear used to intimidate individuals, businesses and government offices. To the extent that its criminal activity is deemed anti-Islamic, more rival factions develop. The divisiveness adds to Somalia’s endemic competition among clans.
Next, we look at al-Shabaab activity from January to September 2020, which comes from open sources. However, we can demonstrate how fusing technical, pattern and trend analysis can help us process the data and information to find strengths and weaknesses—intelligence opportunities for superior strategy.
September 2020. Al-Shabaab activity kills 39 soldiers, state officials and civilians in Mudug, Middle Juba (Juba Dhexe), Lower Juba (Juba Hoose), Middle Shabelle (Shabelle Dhexe), Lower Shabelle (Shabelle Hoose), Bakook, Hiraan and Galguduud regions.
4 Sep: abducts 50 herders in Hiraan; defends Janay Abdalle in Lower Juba from SMA attacks
6 Sep: suicide bombing of African Union convoy kills five SNA soldiers and wounds one US military advisor in Kismayo
9 Sep: suicide bombing kills 9 in a Mogadishu restaurant
August 2020. Al-Shabaab kills 42 civilians, security forces and officials in Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Bay, Gedo, Hiraan and Mudug regions.
16 Aug: attack on Mogadishu hotel kills 16 mostly civilians
10 Aug: attempted breakout of Mogadishu central prison, shootout kills 15 inmates and 4 prison guards
8 Aug: suicide bomb kills 8 soldiers in Mogadishu
3 Aug: suicide bomb kills three (2 security guards) in Mogadishu
July 2020. In the first half of the month, al-Shabaab kills seventeen security forces in Lower Shabelle and Lower Juba regions.
4 Jul: detonates bomb killing at least five civilians and security personnel in Bay
5 Jul: kidnaps and kills regional legislator in Middle Shabelle
8 Jul: detonates bomb killing two police officers in Mogadishu
13 Jul: unsuccessful suicide attack on army chief
18 Jul: detonates bomb that fails to kill deputy security minister
27 Jul: shoots policeman dead in Mogadishu
June 2020. Attacks against security forces in the center and south kills 14 soldiers and three civilians in Hiraan, Lower Juba, Bay, Gedo, Middle Shabelle, and Lower Shabelle regions.
23 Jun: al-Shabaab suicide bombing at Turkish military base kills two civilians
20 Jun: unclaimed bombing kills four soldiers and civilians
18 Jun: in the Lower Shabelle, fighting between Al-Shabaab and local self-defense militia kills seven
May 2020. Al-Shabaab attacks continue in the south and Mogadishu, and intensify in Puntland state where security forces also fight Islamic State-Somalia.
3-7 May: kills two civilians in Lower and Middle Shabelle
24-31 May: in Lower Shabelle, Middle Juba and Bay, al-Shabaab and unclaimed bombings kill fourteen soldiers and fourteen civilians
9 May: in Puntland, ISIS attacks security forces in city of Bosaso, killing one soldier and losing two militants dead
14 May: attacks military base near Bosaso killing one soldier and losing three assailants dead
17 May: detonates suicide bomb in Mudug’s capital Galkayo, killing four including the Mudug governor
April 2020. Attacks against security forces and civilians ranges across Mogadishu, Gedo, Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Lower Juba, and Bay, and against officials in Puntland state.
5-10 Apr: attacks kill two local officials in Galkayo, capital of Mudug region.
26 Apr: mortar attack at the UN compound kills four civilians in nearby house
March 2020. Attacks kills 22 security forces in Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Lower Juba, Hiraan, Bay and Gedo regions.
25 Mar: roadside bombing kills five civilians in Lower Juba
31 Mar: murders six civilians in Middle Juba accused of being informants
1, 18 Mar: mortar attack on UN compound in Mogadishu
17-29 Mar: attacks in northern Puntland state kill three local officials
January 2020. Attacks on security forces and civilians continue throughout Mogadishu, Lower Juba, Lower Shabelle, and Middle Shabelle regions.
8-11 Jan: attack kills six people killed in Mogadishu
7-25 Jan: clashes with security forces kill 16 soldiers and civilians, losing 80 militants dead
In the Gedo region of southern Somalia, SNA (supported by Ethiopia) clash with forces from Jubaland (supported by Kenya); exploited by al-Shabaab
September 2020. Kills 100 al-Shabaab militants in Galguduud, Mudug, Middle Shabelle, Lower Shabelle, Bay, Gedo, Middle Juba and Lower Juba regions.
25 Sep: rescues 40 children at al-Shabaab training camp in Lower Shabelle
August 2020. Kills 80 al-Shabaab militants in Lower Juba, Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Gedo, and Bay regions.
20-21 Aug: security operation in Puntland kills ten Al-Shabaab militants
July 2020. Security and counter-insurgency operations against al-Shabaab are conducted in Lower Shabelle, Lower Juba and Bay regions, and in Puntland state.
6-19 Jul: counter-insurgency operations kills 29 Al-Shabaab militants in Lower Shabelle, Lower Juba and Bay regions
21 Jul: In Puntland, security operations with US air support kills 27 Islamic State militants in Bari region
June 2020. Security forces kill 67 Al-Shabaab insurgents in counter-insurgency operations in Bakool, Lower Juba, Middle Juba, and Hiraan regions.
6 Jun: in Puntland state, security forces shoot and kill Al-Shabaab militant in Mudug region
May 2020. Counter-insurgency operations kills 70 al-Shabaab in Middle Juba, Lower Juba, Lower Shabelle, Bay, Hiraan, and Gedo regions.
27 May: local elders report that soldiers abduct and kill seven aid workers and one civilian suspected of sympathizing with insurgents in Middle Shabelle region (denied by SNA)
April 2020. SNA and FMS forces in Jubaland clash amidst extensive clan fighting in Lower Shabelle, Lower Juba, Bay, and Galguduud regions.
24 Apr: police shoot and kill two civilians violating COVID-19 curfew in Mogadishu, triggering hundreds of people to demonstrate into the following day
22 Apr: clashes with Jubaland forces erupt near Bula Hawa town, casualties unknown
March 2020. SNA and Jubaland state forces clash, including in Kenya, as security forces continue to engage Al-Shabaab.
21-29 Mar: kills 37 militants in Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle
16 Mar: re-capture Janaale in Lower Shabelle
5 Mar: kills eight Al-Shabaab militants in Hiraan
2 Mar: clashes with Jubaland forces near Beled Hawo and Border Point One kill 6 civilians and causing 56,000 refugees to flee the area
February 2020. SNA fight Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a (Sufi Muslim group) in Galmudug and militia in Jubaland, and kill 61 al-Shabaab militants in south and center Somalia.
2-27 Feb: in south and center Somalia, fighting between security forces and Al-Shabaab kills 34 soldiers and 61 militants
4 Feb: offensive captures Dolow and Bula Hawa in Jubaland; Jubaland Security Minister Janan flees to Kenya
8 Feb: skirmish between SNA/pro-federal locals and Jubaland security forces kills four combatants
12 Feb: skirmishes with anti-Madobe forces in Kismayo
27-28 Feb: SNA clashes in state capital Dhusamareb with Ahulu Sunna Wal Jama’a, 22 killed
29 Feb: Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a surrenders to SNA, announces withdrawal from politics
January 2020. Standoff in Galmudug with Ahlu Sunnah Waa-Jama’a leads to other competitors forming three rival parliaments
28 Jan: Jubaland Security Minister Janan (Marehan sub-clan of Darod) escapes from FGS detention
6 Jan: in Bosaso, northern Puntland, security forces kill four ISIS militants
September 2020. FGS President Farmaajo (Darod clan) met with the federal member state presidents of Puntland (Majeerteen of Darod-Harti) and Jubaland (Ogaden of Darod), garnering an agreement on electoral reform and election timing. FGS Prime Minister Khayre (Hawiye clan) had been opposed, removed in July by the Parliament’s vote of no-confidence. Khayre is replaced in September temporarily by deputy PM Mahdi Mohamed Guled (Marehan of Darod) then by Mohamed Hussein Roble (Gedir of Hawiye).
3 Sep: revenge killings of five in Middle Shabelle
July 2020. FGS President Farmaajo’s deployments in Marehan of Darod-dominated Gedo, Jubaland state, and the cooptation of some local leaders are countered by Jubaland President Madobe (Ogaden of Darod). Ethiopian forces in Gedo support Farmaajo and Kenyan forces in Lower Juba support Madobe, reinforcing sub-clan Darod divisiveness.
7-8 Jul: in Sanaag, a disputed region between Somaliland and Puntland, rival clans kills 25 in Duud Arraale and El Afweyn
June 2020. FSG President Farmaajo met with FMS presidents in unsuccessful effort to obtain agreement on parliamentary and presidential elections process and timing. Head of electoral commission announces inability to organize elections due to “technical and security challenges.” Jubaland President Madobe rejects Farmaajo‘s offer to recognize him as the state’s President for two years not four, pending elections.
24-27 Jun: in Galguduud region, inter-clan fighting kills a dozen people
May 2020. Disputes among clan militias claim 18 dead in Mudug and Galguduud regions.
3-19 May: clashes over land kill ten in Mudug and Galguduud
23 May: fighting between clan militia and SNA kill 8 in Mudug
April 2020. Inter-clan violence kills more than 100 in Lower Shabelle, Lower Juba, Bay, and Galguduud regions.
5 Apr (approx): clan in Wanlaweyn, Lower Shabelle, launch revenge attack, killing 20
2 Apr: rival clans skirmish over land dispute in Kismayo area, Lower Juba, killing 20
January 2020. Jubaland Security Minister Janan, ally of President Madobe, escapes from FGS detention and exercises influence in the Gedo districts of Luuq, Doolow and Beled Hawo, threatening FGS President Farmaajo’s centralization of influence.
2 Jan: after protracted conflict between two sub-clans in Ceel Afweyn, Sanaag region, Somaliland, a militia surrendered to the government of Somaliland
sometime in Jan: Janan appears to be in Beled Hawao mobilizing forces against the FGS while Farmaajo deploys SNA to the area
September 2020. AMISOM forces operate in Gedo, Jubaland, supporting rival factions.
6 Sep: AMISOM soldiers wound 7 civilians
23-24 Sep: Kenyan forces reportedly kill one civilian and abduct several others
26 Sep: Kenyan forces fire to deter demonstrators approaching the border with Kenya; SNA returns fire
20-25 Aug: three airstrikes kill eight Al-Shabaab militants in Lower Shabelle and Middle Juba regions
9, 29 Jul: airstrikes kill two Al-Shabaab insurgents in Lower Shabelle and Middle Juba region; reports of civilian casualties emerge
2-10 Apr 20: airstrikes kill 32 al-Shabaab insurgents including senior leader Yusuf Jiis (Yusuf Nur Sheikh Hassan)
2-28 Feb: airstrikes kill ten al-Shabaab militants, including commander involved in Jan attack in Lamu county, Kenya
3-27 Jan: airstrikes kill nine al-Shabaab militants.
26 Sep: Kenyan soldiers kill one civilian and abduct several others while firing on demonstrators near the border; SNA returns fire
22 Aug: Ethiopian forces attempting to land at Kismayo airport are deterred by Kenyan and Jubaland anti-aircraft defenses and troops
13 Apr: airstrikes kill 17 al-Shabaab militants in Gedo region of Jubaland
10 Feb: Kenya-US agreement to establish Kenyan-led Joint Terrorism Task Force in Nairobi
From this sampling, we can posit patterns in al-Shabaab activities in two ways. First, by collecting more information on each event. Second, by noting common features.
The herders in Hiraan who were abducted (4 Sep 20) refused to join al-Shabaab as a local vigilante group fought back, resisting payment of al-Shabaab’s forced taxes. In the past, some clan negotiations obtained releases but did not get their stolen livestock back. This extortion is an economic pattern, but we also want to know if the negotiations agreed to pay taxes so we can anticipate what triggers al-Shabaab attacks, and when.
A pattern of targeting African Union, US advisors, government officials, police, public gatherings, and central prisons is political in nature. The breadth of the targeting indicates al-Shabaab’s attempts to weaken governance. The attacks also suggest a continual need to acquire recruits as SNA and partners attrit al-Shabaab forces. Attacks on foreign bases acquire arms and display a false nationalism.
Al-Shabaab’s ability to intimidate, recruit and murder individuals is a pattern of social penetration that needs to be taken apart. For instance, radicalization of non-Muslims in Kenya occurs in internet cafes, video parlors and poor neighborhoods—anywhere unemployed youth can be smooth-talked, bribed and abducted into fighting for non-religious grievances tailored to them.
Diverse individual motivations defy simplistic generalizations. A study of 88 former al-Shabaab interviewees, nearly half of whom were recruited as teenagers, rated their emotional state upon recruitment. The top five motivational feelings were anger, hatred, fear, guilt and contempt. Ninety-eight percent perceived Islam to be under threat. Another study of Kenyan female recruits discovered that they were fooled by deceptive employment or educational opportunities, often through friendship links, or compelled via blackmail. Incentives were financial, revenge, adventure, and expectation of religious rewards, and offered by female recruiters embedded in communities. Al-Shabaab presence in the victims’ relevant information environment creates a human intelligence network to direct personal intimidation and violence. This condition sustains the aforementioned two main patterns—economic extortion and political disruption. These patterns of thought and behavior enable al-Shabaab to survive.
SNA activity includes FGS attempts to cultivate and support Farmaajo allies in FMS states. The detention of Jubaland Security Minister Jana was for human rights abuses but also removed a Madobe ally. Farmaajo influences rivals from Madobe’s own sub-clan to divide that Ogaden vote for Madobe. While Farmaajo regards such activity as necessary to build a workable coalition, his opponents see him destroying a federal inclusiveness needed to out-compete al-Shabaab’s intelligence network.
Another example of politicized SNA activity is FGS intervention in Galmudug to counter Ahlu Sunna Wal Juma’a (ASWJ), a Sufi group dissatisfied with their allocated seats in the new parliament. An FGS-appointed electoral committee awarded ASWJ 20 seats and postponed the state presidential election. The incumbent state President, however, formed his own electoral committee and a second parliament. ASWJ rejected that, formed a third parliament and elected its own president. All of the rival presidents announced that they would boycott the election, blaming the FGS. In the end, the ASWJ boycotted the election, a result of surrendering to the SNA.
Mapping linkages among ASWJ, the electoral issue, and rival clan candidates for the presidency of Galmudug can account for the above outcome. Farmaajo’s Marehan of Darod background helps explain (and anticipate) his offer of concessions to FMS presidents. The newly elected President of Galmudug, Ahmed Abdi Kaariye (Habr Gedir of Hawiye), began a “crackdown” on clan militias in June 2020.
Clan rivalries and conflict are, according to an interview-based Brookings study, a double-edged sword: “short-term military gains must be balanced against the militias’ longer-term, destabilizing impact.” One blade cuts against al-Shabaab brutality as the SNA builds its capability and credibility. The other blade carves out a society based on exclusionary clans and customary rules. Both blades bring insecurity. In this environment, clans’ external alliances are understandably fluid.
As we bring our linkage, pattern and trend analysis to bear on combined effects for courses of action, let’s re-cage our attention on the hierarchy of effort from Part I. This check ensures that we synthesize what we have learned to support strategic priorities. One way to do this is to roll up the three critical areas of AMISOM’s mandate, SOCAFRICA objectives and desired end-states.
Next, we consider this mandate of the African Union from the perspective of the SOCAFRICA strategic priorities contributing most to US National Security Strategy goals, which we derived at beginning of this Paper.
Finally, we consider SOCAFRICA end-states and their physical and psychological conditions, within the parameters of AMISOM’s mandate and SOCAFRICA’s priorities.
This roll up of AMISOM and SOCAFRICA “ends” can be done with other actors as well. Given the complex context of Somalia and the rest of Africa, we provide the following synthesis to guide operations design:
Develop Somali National Army & Somali Police Force capabilities and will to plan, command and control, and lead intelligence-led influence operations according to a Federal Government of Somalia professional code of conduct.
We will unpack this guidance into combined strategies that use best means to influence a targets’ will and capability, in order to create winning combinations of universal effects. These effects are displayed as continua, rather than mutually exclusive categories, bracketed by ideal types:
We need this systematic diversity of generally applicable effects to begin to address the complexity of Africa. At the same time, we want to be somewhat parsimonious with respect to effects because even eight can produce Sun Tzu’s “inexhaustible combinations” (see quotation that begins with “indirect tactics”).
Each of the above effects can be used to subsume more specific effects (such as, degrade a transmission) and more vague effects (such as, stability) found in planning courses, weapons schools, and policy. Our broad approach to strategy, unlike US joint military doctrine, does not limit its focus to a military end-state (V-6).
Rather, combined strategies span the ambit of Diplomatic-political, Informational, Military-police, and Social conditions relevant to actual environments, as is discussed in the US Army Special Operations Command SOF Campaign Planner’s Handbook.
Each of the above effects is a logical combination of three basic distinctions that policymakers, commanders, strategists and planners should share:
a. dissuade, persuade, secure and induce are cooperative
b. deter, compel, defend and coerce are confrontational
a. dissuade, secure, deter and defend are preventive
b. persuade, induce, compel and coerce are causative
a. dissuade, persuade, deter and compel are psychological
b. secure, induce, defend and coerce are physical
The usefulness in using this systematic language is to develop superior combinations of effects in multi-dimensional, hybrid environments. The concept of strategy here is a process, one that reconciles (and often must improvise) ends, ways, and means. The ends are the effects. The ways are how we influence will and capability. The means are the resources we use in our ways.
Any operation in any domain and using any instrument of power should be designed to influence will and/or capability to achieve desired effects.
This complexity can be visually depicted in terms of cooperative and confrontational effects, each of which also is a distinctive construction of:
(a) psychological (cognitive, informational, moral) v physical (infrastructural, bio-chemical, energy-emitting) targeting of will and capability
(b) preventing v causing behavior
Combined strategies of ends, ways and means is a leadership-enabled approach to create synergistic effects in a complex information environment. In practice, we know that organizations and people resist the collaboration or lack the resources to create superior combinations of effects. SOF, however, is built to plan and execute operations across spectra of effects, constrained more by available quantity than quality. Given the ambitious guidance we have in terms of AMISOM critical mandates and SOCAFRICA strategic priorities and end-states, we will press forward with developing superior combinations of effects. Courses of action will fill in the activities it takes to fulfill our desired effects.
Another way to visualize combined strategies is with respect to logical line of effect. This framework resembles a course of action filled with activities along a line of operation or effort. However the critical difference is that a line of effect shows the logic of how the effect is designed to come about. Including that exposes assumptions about how an activity is going to influence will or capability to produce an effect in context, which is critical for assessment, too. Relevant stakeholders’ lines of effect need to be considered as well because their assumptions and contexts may be very different, and necessary for unified effects.
A line of effect (activities to targets to effects) consists of psychological and physical means to influence will and capability:
SOF is integrated, networked and partnered to create such outcomes with mobile training teams, joint combined exchange for training, deployment for training, and task forces. From host country training to nation-building to professional military-to-military contacts, SOF also conducts exercises, humanitarian assistance and civic actions. Joint special operations task forces, to include joint psychological operations task forces, can integrate with general purpose forces and other agencies at any organizational level.
Core SOF activities consist of the following:
With the above activities (means) and those of partners, SOF can influence targets in diverse ways to bring about all eight universal effects (ends):
The following eight lines of effect (LOEf) include activities for courses of action. The latter can be further developed and informed by more than the open source information available here. LOEf are also useful to specifying more general lines of effort (LOE) such as AFRICOM’s six LOE noted in Part 1: enhance partner networks; embrace partner capabilities; develop security in Somalia; contain instability in Libya; support partners in Sahel/Lake Chad; set the theatre to support AFRICOM.
To show the inter-agency effort that’s required for Somalia, each effect will be categorized broadly as Diplomatic (includes political), Informational, Military (includes police), Economic, and/or Social (ignored by “DIME” and taken from PMESII-PT). That DIMES-wide breadth of partners and stakeholders is the pain of achieving unified action.
The gain, however, can be substantial, so we explain the gain for each LOEf. The gain basically is, how the combination of effects is synergistic.
We’ll use the abbreviations below for our definitions of universal effects:
Dissuade (Ds)——Persuade (P)
Secure (S)——Induce (I)
Deter (Dt)——Compel (Cp)
Defend (Df)——Coerce (Cr)
Each term’s definition has an internal connotation and external denotation. To be precise, the connotation of each effect is the distinctive combination of cooperative-confrontational, preventive-causative, and psychological-physical characteristics. The denotation of each effect consists of the people, ideas and things to which we apply the concept. Adopted from Giovanni Sartori, “Guidelines for concept analysis,” Concepts and Method in Social Science, eds. Collier and Gerring, Routledge, 97-150.
1. Social Dissuasion and Economic Persuasion–Inducement: sDs ePI
Dissuade youth from being recruited by extremists by protecting Islamic leaders who assure followers of the legitimacy of moderate Islam and the illegitimacy of extremism; enhance and exercise youths’ capability to join moderate organizations by promoting existing job training programs (International Labor Organization Employment Intensive Investment Programs) SOF will need to coordinate preemptive protective operations with anticipatory analysis of job training program targets.
Gain: social dissuasion and socio-economic inducement work as complementary opposites to create a push—pull synergy to influence targets
2. Diplomatic, Informational and Military Persuasion: dimP
Persuade SNA/SPF to develop an FGS-FMS narrative strategy to defeat VEO by assuring participating clans of individual and collective rights under a national judiciary including a supreme court; enhance participating clans’ capability for internal defense with SNA/SPF.
Gain: info and military persuasion provide incentives for a narrative strategy, one that strengthens the common defense
3. Social Persuasion and Informational-Economic Inducement: sP ieI
Persuade and Induce SNA/SPF leaders to expand professional military contacts and AMISOM “mentor and assist” mission by enhancing and exercising capability to host military planning in hardened facilities and via secure mobile platforms.
Gain: social persuasion and info-economic inducement increase SNA engagement with AMISOM in a way that builds professional initiative and collaborative networking
4. Military Defense and Social-Diplomatic-political Security: mDf sdS
Defend populace from extremists’ collection of taxes by exercising capability to track down extortionists and provide reliable basic government services such as sanitation, electricity, water and transportation.
Gain: military defense without social-political security is instrumentally pointless; by combining them their value is meaningful
5. Diplomatic-Economic-Military Inducement: demI
Induce dialogue and reconciliation among FGS-FMS by exercising national capability and demonstrating AU and US will to support national Somalia joint operations. In tandem with anti-piracy patrols that defend against Puntland-based pirates, FGS-FMS conducts: (a) counter-terrorism operations against ISIS-Somalia bases in Puntland; and (b) counter-terrorism operations against al-Shabaab. Both operations require unprecedented cooperation among SNA/SPF, Puntland, Jubaland, Kenyan (pro-Jubaland) and Ethiopian (pro-SNA) forces.
Gain: more effective counter-terrorism operations that generate mutual if different benefits provide a differentiated basis for cooperation that otherwise would not happen
6. Economic and Military Inducement: emI
Induce the FGS to implement political reforms agreed to for IMF debt reduction that increase operational effectiveness via improved governance and anti-corruption. SOF can demonstrate will and exercise capability to do this via partners’ anti-money laundering (AML) and combating financing of terrorism (CFT) and SNA reporting requirements.
Gain: politics follows financial incentives, so this combination links a desired military effect (AML CFT) that also is a mandated political reform to an existing economic inducement
7. Military-Informational Deterrence and Defense: miDtDf
Deter and Defend against al-Shabaab recruitment in-person and on-line by denying movement into selected communities, and by neutralizing anonymous capability to influence individuals. SOF partnering and mobility are key to denying physical movement, while neutralizing cyber involves social media and telemetry.
Gain: preventing and countering al-Shabaab’s capability to recruit youth has to influence both the physical and informational venues that permit access to the targets
8. Military and Social Coercion: msCr
Coerce al-Shabaab members into defecting by denying capability to seize weaponry; and by punishing will with Islamic narratives revealing unjust casualties and violations of Sharia. SOF blends ISR-led counterterrorism, direct action and military information support operations.
Gain: denying capability to seize weaponry is not likely to crush an Islamic extremist’s will to do so; showing how the seizures are anti-Islamic undermines that willpower, particularly when the related capability is being denied
The following summarizes the eight recommended lines of effect in terms of the ends, ways and means of strategy: combined effects (CE); who or what they target; and the types of resources and related effects (RRE) required.
1. sDs ePI targets Somali youth;
RRE—access to youth and compelling programs
2. dimP targets SNA/SPF, FGS leaders, and FMS clans;
RRE—civil affairs & military information support operators, presidents’ political support
3. sP ieI targets SNA/SPF and AMISOM;
RRE—facility construction/enhancements, secure software and devices, planners
4. mDf sdS targets extortionists and populace;
RRE—ISR & mobile strike SNA and SPF
5. demI targets FGS, FMS and SNA/SPF leadership;
RRE—AU and AMISOM support, ISR & strike, civil affairs and military information support
6. emI targets FGS and SNA leadership;
RRE—Presidential and SNA/SPF Chiefs’ support, AML CFT expertise
7. mDtDf targets extremists’ access to physical and virtual communities;
RRE—ISR & mobile strike, air-cyber controllers (tactical air control party + cyber defense & attack)
8. msCr targets extremists’ actions to acquire and create influential weaponry;
RRE—ISR & mobile strike, civil affairs & military information support operators, cyber defense attack
In sum, these are guidance-driven, interdependent strategies whose combined effects result from targeting linkages not just nodes. A single operational failure can reduce the effectiveness of other effects, while success needs to be persistent.
Each combined effect also highlights the importance of securing critical PEOPLE and critical IDEAS.
That commonality can describe the security strategy’s priorities, which can be reduced to four interrelated outcomes:
How are these outcomes interrelated?
CE #1 involves dissuading, persuading and inducing Somali youth, who are linked to many other systems, objects and properties.
CE #2 connects FGS, SNA/SPF and FMS clans in an agreed narrative, the relational success of which affects all other combined effects.
CE #3 creates SNA/SPF initiative in planning, a capacity that can feed further success and learning from failures.
CE #4 is vital to earning support from the populace, which generates information for intelligence-led operations.
CE #5 is a reconciliation-aimed integration of three types of inducements for joint operations.
CE #6 can strengthen that reconciliation as well as AML CFT operations with economically induced political reforms.
CE #7 targets extremists’ access to communities, critical to CE #1 in terms of on-line youth recruitment.
CE #8 reduces weaponization of materiel and information that sustains extremist behavior being targeted by all of these combined effects.
The challenges to security on the continent of Africa are immense, but the connectedness that proliferates extremism is also a venue for governance and prosperity based on rule of law and human rights. Given the colonial card deck dealt to Africans, the democratic and economic progress many states have mustered is remarkable. Somalia may be Africa’s most historically dissected area. What Somali nationalists call “Greater Somalia” was carved into British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland (now Ethiopia), French Somaliland (now Djibouti), southern Somalia’s Jubaland region near British Kenya (now Kenya), Eritrea and the Ogaden (now Ethiopia).
The establishment of the Federal Government of Somalia in 2012 and subsequent growth of Federal Member States are a quasi-national attempt to escape such external predation and internal clan warfare. African Union involvement, and AMISOM and USAFRICOM operations, create space for AMISOM’s mandate. With the possible exception of Somaliland, a mosaic of clans—historically understandable and culturally rich—nevertheless remain exclusionist obstacles to a unified Somali ”nations-state.”
Violent extremist organizations such as Al-Shabaab and IS in Somalia exploit such conditions.
The best that SOCAFRICA or any organization can do must include better strategy. That was the goal of our Paper’s tasks as set forth in Part I. Part II analyzed the information environment, then synthesized combined strategies. That design should be continually updated to inform commander’s guidance and planning. Further development of courses of action should include red-teaming and wargaming to ”break the plan”— which in turn informs design and decision-making.
In the global-local information environments where special operators serve, integration of analysis and strategy is a crucial contest for effective influence.