Exit Strategy Challenges for the AU Mission in Somalia
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) alone cannot defeat al-Shabaab. This can only happen if AMISOM can partner with a capable, legitimate and inclusive set of Somali security forces. Unfortunately, over the last decade, Somalia’s political leaders have failed to forge a political settlement that charts an agreed pathway towards creating an effective set of professional national security forces. The African Union (AU) and AMISOM’s international partners have exacerbated the problem by failing to provide the mission with vital capabilities, including the 12 military helicopters authorized in 2012. Moreover, the growing influence of Somalia’s neighboring states within AMISOM has damaged the mission’s reputation among Somalis. These failings have not only further endangered AMISOM personnel, they have also undermined the mission’s effectiveness and the prospects of stabilizing Somalia.