Sunday, March 4, 2012

London conference revives Somalia optimism

A lot has been written or said about the recent international conference on Somalia hosted by the British government. This conference had many "firsts" than the dozens of conferences held for Somalia.

This was the first ever conference hosted by Britain, a former Somalia colonial master. The former British protectorate of Somaliland, which broke away from the rest of Somalia, also attended the meeting for the first time since it seceded in 1991.

I have covered Somalia since 2004 but I have never seen such a positive optimism from Somalis before. The renewed hope seems to have spurred patriotism among Somali forces as government forces and their AU backers AMISOM are winning on the ground. They have just kicked out Al-Shabaab from their last hideout in the outskirts of Mogadishu which acted as a base and a killing or assassination base for civilians.

This latest sense of hope reminds me of the Islamic Courts days when Mogadishu was pacified for the first time. I just hope the latest sense of revival and hope will not dash like it did in 2006 when the ICU took over power. Sheikh Sharif who was the then chairman of the ICU is currently the President.

The London conference has also for the first time united the international interests in Somalia. Before the meeting, the world seemed not to read from the same script when it comes to Somalia. That is now history largely due to the dangers posed by extremists groups in Somalia, who as expected, recently admitted to have officially joined Al-Qaeda.

If you have noticed, I have gone into a lull in updating my post. I must admit that I have carefully been analyzing the situation and trends because one thing I have learnt during my many years of covering Somalia is that the situation in the Horn of African country is very unpredictable.

I just hope the latest sense of hope mixed with renewed patriotism among Somalis will eventually lead to the resuscitation of the once great nation called Somalia that is at peace with itself and the rest of the world...simply because the people of Somalia have suffered many a times.

The one million question mark is whether the Somalis can sustain and protect the latest opportunity to end the long overdue war and destruction in the country.
I sincerely hope so.