CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF SECURITY FORCE TRANSITIONS DURING INSURGENCIES: CASE STUDY: SOMALIA
Johns Hopkins University
The Afghan army crumbled at the conclusion of the U.S combat mission in Afghanistan, returning control to the Taliban insurgents in August 2021. The troubling question has been, “Why did the United States and its allies decide to terminate security force assistance to Afghanistan while there was an active insurgency?” To respond to such a query, this study explicitly tries to addresses the causes of security transfers between foreign and local forces during insurgencies. It develops a conceptual framework that uses Somalia as a case study to examine six causal factors that determined the security transfers during an al-Shabaab insurgency between the study period of 2017-2021. It also situates elements of the current security transition from 2022-2024 to contextualize findings of the selected study period. The empirical methodology of the study makes use of process tracing and secondary data analysis to establish causality by critically examining rich data from 19 events related to the security handovers, 7 United Nations Security Council(UNSC) Resolutions, 12 key documents(Policy and strategic guidelines and conference documents), 26 published articles and journals, 15 quotes, 6 research reports published on Somalia by the Armed Conflict Location &Event Data Project (ACLED), two key video recordings, observations and books. The study identifies the six causes of security transfers between foreign and local forces as; A reduction of foreign troops, Donor fatigue, the capacity of local forces to fend off insurgents, reduction of insurgent violence, competing interests between local and external actors, and the local government's desire to assume control of its nation’s security. In order to prevent a recurrence of ceding control to insurgents at the conclusion of a foreign intervention, this study also provides potentially useful insights on the formulation of new policies for security force transfers and the challenges of fragmented security force assistance in insurgencies or armed conflict.
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