Predatory Politics and Struggles of Peacemaking in Somalia




Sharamo, Roba D.

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The nature and characteristics of certain conflicts and their impact on peace processes makes the study of civil war peacemaking a critical one. This dissertation posits that there is an intricate link between the characteristics of certain types of conflicts and the experiences of key peace processes. Understanding that some civil conflicts are harder to settle than others, this dissertation uses a case study of Somalia's Mbagathi (2002-2004) peace process to examine the links and dynamics between a high degree of economic predation, pervasive war economies and wartime actors‘ dominant economic agendas and struggles of peace talks. Principally, it is argued that peace processes in cases of civil wars characterized by high degrees of economic predation, pervasive war economies and wartime actors' dominant economic agendas make negotiations difficult because such characteristics undermine conflict ripeness. This dissertation utilizes a qualitative case study research design. The data was collected through a comprehensive review of secondary data and through 15 months of fieldwork in the Horn of Africa region and in the United States (US). The field research methods included face-to-face and email interviews and focus group discussions in the Horn of Africa region and with Somali diaspora residents in the US. A purposive sampling method and snowballing techniques were used to identify knowledgeable respondents. The data was thematically analyzed through a thick description and careful process tracing of the Somali conflict, its economic and social logic, and the consequent challenges to peace settlement. This dissertation contributes to the theory and practice of civil war peace negotiations and peacebuilding in many ways. Importantly, it generates a theory that even in a resource poor conflict environment which lacks high-value resources, a form of predation and wartime organizations may be generated that rely upon social structures such as clans that in turn make peace settlement difficult. The study‘s findings suggest that the difficulty of peace settlement in Somalia was due to a high degree of economic predation and pervasive war economies perpetuated by wartime actors' dominant economic agendas over political agendas, giving rise to a new model of predation which is mutually reinforced by both economic and social logics grounded in transformed social structures of clan politics, thereby hindering conflict ripeness. The findings further suggest that such interactive dynamics results in a triangular predation web that made inter-party and intra-party negotiations and bargaining harder and more difficult in the management of the key peace processes in Somalia.



Peace processes, Negotiations, Economic predation, War economies, Economic agendas, Somalia