CAIRO: As African leaders consider the likelihood of sending peacekeeping forces to Somalia, analysts believe that additional forces must go hand in hand with a diplomatic solution.
“African Union (AU) troops entering Somalia without the acceptance of the Somali people or without a political settlement being introduced, will lead to the continuation of the violence, Sayed Felefal, former Dean of the African Studies Institute and professor of Contemporary History at Cairo University told The Daily Star Egypt.
He added that any peacekeeping forces replacing the Ethiopian troops currently in the country will be supported by the temporary government but refused by the opposition Islamic Courts.
According to Felefal, the Islamic Courts do not want forces from neighboring countries.
Ethiopian troops had entered Somalia to quell an attempt by an Islamic group, known as the Islamic Courts, to overthrow the incumbent government. However, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi wants to withdraw his forces from the country as soon as possible.
Additionally, the US had carried out air strikes against what it believed were Al Qaeda operatives in Southern Somalia. A second US air strike was carried out last week.
Felefal believes force alone will not lead to a permanent solution. “Internal strife in Somalia will not be solved without political dialogue with the Islamic Courts. The Arab League also supports hits opinion.
In a mini-summit held in Libya which included Egypt and Algeria, the possibility of sending Arab troops to Somalia was discussed.
“Questions were asked and points of view exchanged in the summit over the possibility of sending Arab peace keeping troops to Darfur and Somalia, Hassan Abu Taleb, head of the international relations unit at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies told The Daily Star Egypt.
Libya held another summit Wednesday of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) to discuss the possibility of an AU peacekeeping force in Somalia. “Libya may provide financial support to this force, Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel Rahman Shalgham said.
“The real stability in Somalia is for the temporary government to announce its readiness to hold talks with the opposition groups and call for earl elections, Felefal said.