By Fidel Amakye Owusu

1. The current crisis in Sudan has brought to the fore the possibility of the region getting engulfed in conflict.

2. In a recent write-up I concentrated on the vulnerabilities of the immediate neighbors of Sudan and how that may attract spillover. Consequently, Somalia—a country in the region but not an immediate neighbor to Sudan—was not mentioned.

3. That notwithstanding, Somalia has been fighting Al-Shabaab militants and ISIS affiliates in its territory. Until recently, the country had been a “failed state” due to events from the late 1990s and the 2000s.

4. And so what?

5. While recent events in Sudan offer important lessons to Somalia in its current state of affairs, Sudan may also look back at Somalia in the 1990s and 2000s and take some lessons.

6 . How?

7. The current conflict in Sudan had been sparked by disagreements bordering on the integration of a paramilitary group (the RSF) into the regular army.

8. Currently, as part of the counterterrorism measures against Al-Shabaab and ISIS affiliates, Somali forces have included clan militias across the country in the fight. So far, the result has been impressive. Members of the militia are familiar with the terrain and that has been operationally and tactically positive.

9. However, like in Sudan, there will come a time when the militia may not be needed in their semi-autonomous statuses. Yes, the Somali government must not wait until then. It must put in place measures that would decide the future of the militia post-Al-Shabaab. If integration, how is it going to be done?

10. Refusal to do this may create an “RSF situation” for Somalia.

11. What could Sudan learn from Somalia?

12. While Dagalo and al-Burhan continue to exhibit their resolve to be in control of Sudan, they could look at circumstances that collapsed Somalia decades ago and rethink their stances.

13. It was the collapse of the government of Siad Barre in 1991 that subsequently led to the collapse of the Somali state. Rival forces could not agree on power sharing or a political transition. This tug of war led to the death of millions, and Somalia becoming a “failed state”.

14. Similarly, the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir in 2019 led to the emergence of Burhan and Dagalo as the foremost individuals to fill the power vacuum.

15. Without dialogue and patriotic reasoning, Sudan is moving towards Somalia in the 1990s and 2000s. That should be avoided.

16. Yes, no two situations are the same; however, it appears Sudan and Somalia have something to learn from each other.

17. Many more…”

By Fidel Amakye Owusu – International Relations and Security Analyst and Writer

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