It’s still dangerous to be a politician in Somalia.
September 12, 2012:
Somalia’s new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, survived an assassination attempt Wednesday when suicide bombers attacked the Mogadishu hotel where was living.
Militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the bombings.
Somalia’s parliament elected Mr. Mohamud president on [September 10]. It was the last step of a U.N.-backed plan to bring a stable central government to Somalia.
January 29, 2013:
A suicide bomber Tuesday detonated explosives outside the prime minister’s home in Somalia’s presidential palace compound, killing two people, security officials said. [Al Shabab] claimed responsibility for the attack.
Remember, these attacks occurred after (1) a multi-year military offensive carried out by African Union troops, Kenyan soldiers, and Somali government forces against Al Shabab and (2) a months-long political transition that was hampered by delays and left key questions regarding the nature and extent of federal authority unresolved. Somalia’s conflicts are not over.
Somalia, in my view, fits neither the narrative of “hellhole where nothing ever changes” nor the narrative of “brand new success story.” Reconquering rebel-held territory and holding elections (or in this case selections) for new political leaders do not necessarily end strife and division. Before one touts Somalia as a model for Mali or anywhere else, it’s important to keep in mind the formidable obstacles to national unity and reconstruction that remain there.