A new era for Somalia as arms embargo lifted – what weapons lie on the horizon?

December 1, 2023, marked a milestone for Somalia as the United Nations Security Council voted by a majority to lift the longstanding arms embargo that had been in place since 1992.

The decision, rooted in the context of civil wars and the removal of the government led by Mohamed Siad Barre, has opened new doors for Somalia’s progress and international recognition.

Since 2012, Somalia has been actively engaged in diplomatic efforts to regain its standing on the global stage and advocate for the lifting of the sanctions. The country has emphasized the necessity of acquiring weapons to equip its forces in their ongoing battle against the Al-Shabaab group, which has posed security threats and destabilized Somalia for over 15 years.

The lifting of the arms embargo is seen as a crucial step in enhancing Somalia’s security capabilities and bolstering its armed forces.

With the arms embargo finally lifted, Somalia now faces the task of determining its specific weapon requirements. Hussein Macallin, Somalia’s national security adviser, commented on the challenges faced by the country’s armed forces in their fight against Al-Shabaab, stating, “Somalia’s armed forces have their hands tied.”

General Abdullahi Ali Aanod, a commander in the Somali National Army (SNA), shed light on the types of modern weapons that Somalia needs. While acknowledging the role of drones in modern warfare, he stressed the importance of high-flying drones, such as MiGs plane, to strengthen Somalia’s air force.

Additionally, General Aanod emphasized the necessity of lighter and more sophisticated weapons, as well as armored vehicles, to counter the tactics employed by Al-Shabaab, a militant group fighting for over 15 years to overthrow the central government.

The inclusion of armored vehicles in Somalia’s arsenal is crucial in providing protection for government forces against enemy fire. General Aanod also highlighted the need for short-range aircraft to survey enemy positions, enabling more effective military strategies.

While some argue for the continued relevance of tanks in Somalia’s defense needs, General Aanod outlined the long-term goal of developing the Somali army, including the acquisition of tanks, warplanes, and warships. He emphasized the importance of obtaining weapons that surpass the capabilities of the enemy.

Somalia has multiple options for acquiring these weapons. General Aanod explained that the government of Somalia has established relationships with various countries willing to assist with arms supply, either through loans or acting as intermediaries. In the past, Somalia received weapons from countries like Russia, and while it currently receives support from nations like Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States and China it now has the ability to purchase its own weapons.

In terms of storage, General Aanod highlighted that military equipment does not require extensive storage facilities during active operations. Weapons are typically kept in camps during training periods. In times of war, such as the year-long conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia, the continuous use of weapons negates the need for long-term storage. The focus shifts to providing tents for the army, ensuring protection from the elements.

The lifting of sanctions after 31 years marks a turning point for Somalia, offering new possibilities for the country’s armed forces.

About Dalsan Editor

View all posts by Dalsan Editor