Istanbul(Mogadishu24)-In the persistent pursuit of a global antidote to terrorism, Somalia emerges as a compelling case study, underscoring the indispensable role diplomacy can play in not just countering but precluding the seeds of extremism. Having experienced the brutal aftermath of terrorism firsthand, Somalia advocates for a proactive approach that addresses the root causes through diplomatic channels.

Somalia’s call for diplomacy and international collaboration as the primary line of defense is not a mere theoretical stance; it’s a pragmatic lesson derived from its tumultuous history. The genesis of al-Shabaab, a sophisticated terror entity linked to al Qaeda, can be traced back to the ill-conceived Ethiopian intervention in 2006. This intervention, lacking regional consensus and a nuanced understanding of the context, triggered frustration and hopelessness, creating fertile ground for extremist groups to manipulate nationalist sentiments.

The devastating impact of the 2006 invasion cannot be overstated. The intervention resulted in the loss of over 20,000 lives, displaced countless families, and contributed significantly to the rise of al-Shabaab.

The Somali narrative serves as a stark reminder that diplomatic miscalculations can have far-reaching consequences. Terrorism, as exemplified by al-Shabaab, respects no borders, and the repercussions of diplomatic missteps reverberate across entire regions.

Yet, Somalia not only offers a cautionary tale but also a glimmer of hope in the anti-terrorism crusade. Recognizing the multifaceted nature of the challenge, Somalia has embraced a comprehensive strategy extending beyond military measures. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s second term marked a diplomatic reset, focusing on four pivotal pillars: nurturing international relations, fostering regional consensus, countering extremist narratives, and empowering local communities.

Through strategic alliances with key partners like Türkiye, Qatar, US, UK, China, Russia, UAE, and EU, Somalia has secured crucial political and economic backing. Building regional consensus became pivotal, urging neighboring nations to unite against the common threat of al-Shabaab. Diplomacy also involved delegitimizing extremist ideologies through Islamic scholar conferences and engaging religious communities in countering false narratives.

Empowering local communities has proven especially effective, with grassroots forces actively combating al-Shabaab at the local level. This multifaceted diplomatic approach, coupled with the development of professional security forces, has yielded tangible results. Over the past year and a half, Somalia, with international support, has liberated over 100 villages and towns from al-Shabaab’s occupation.

As Somalia steadily weakens al-Shabaab and reclaims its future, the global community must internalize the lessons learned. The fight against terrorism demands a sustained diplomatic marathon rather than a fleeting sprint. International collaboration, the exchange of best practices, and respect for each nation’s internal affairs are paramount. Simultaneously, addressing the root causes of extremism remains crucial alongside the ongoing battle to degrade and dismantle terrorist organizations worldwide.

Forums like the Antalya Diplomacy Forum provide a timely opportunity to construct a world where rules-based principles prevail. Somalia’s journey stands as a testament to the transformative power of diplomacy in the face of terrorism.

Source: AA

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