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Somali lessons for Libya?

Dear Editor,

I would like to pass a piece of advice to Libya in an attempt to share my experience from Somalia . . .

in the early 90s with the hope of advising the conflict mediators help arrest or at least try to reverse the ongoing downward spiral in Libya, very much like Somalia in 1991/1992. Under the circumstances, the proliferation of armed groups will not stop unless the behavior and practice is disincentivised and discouraged through some form of principle and/or legislation, and now it is the time.

The lessons learned are as follows:

  • The participation of peace talk should not be determined by conquest of territory and ownership guns and formation of factions, etc. Instead, any particular group that creates a rebel force and arms itself with the purpose of acquiring territory and claiming power inn order to achieve political gains should be made aware of the account abilities and responsibilities that comes with such behavior, i.e. ban from participation in the political process and being held accountable for whatever crimes it committed in its war of acquiring power and territory. This could be done in the form of legislation from the Libyan parliament and/or a policy decision by the United Nations and other Regional Organisations, such as African Union and Arab League.
  • One other step that will help in the human security and safety is to ensure that all tribal groups of Libya are represented proportionally in recruitment for the police, army and other state security organs.

The application of the above principles, in addition to defining the authority and power of tribal leaders, will help shorten the cycle of violence in Libya and avoid the unusually long violence cycles seen in Somalia and Darfur and elsewhere. I hope and pray for our region to become peaceful, stable and prosperous.

In Somalia, the civil war started full in December 1990 and it continued on and off with lots of attempts to make reconciliation. In Libya, if reconciliations efforts do not succeed, the civil war will enter into a different phase – characterised by widespread looting of public properties. I would advise all the banks to remove their assets to safe locations in neighbouring countries. There will be urban warfare and the looters will use their guns to take everything they can find as an asset. Such a phase started in Somalia just three months into the civil war.

Please pass my message to parliament of Libya to learn a lesson from places like Somalia and be serious in their peace-making effort. God save Libya and protect its people and land.

Aden Ali

Source: Libya Herald