Ending ‘Forever War’ in Somalia: Negotiating with Al-Shabaab

SOMALIA, Mogadishu: a soldier of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) (Source: AU-UN IST PHOTO / STUART PRICE)

Sixteen years of a militarized approach toward al Shabaab has resulted in a stalemate. Negotiation between the two sides has yet to be explored in earnest. There are several barriers impeding negotiations, and there would need to be sufficient deterrents (such as limiting al Shabaab’s ability to extract taxes from the population) and incentives (such as ensuring that the Somali government can make good on its promises) to keep the parties engaged. Nevertheless, negotiations must be on the table.

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