Alternatives for Conflict Transformation in Somalia: A Snapshot and Analysis of Key Political Actors' Views and Strategies

This project to explore Alternatives for Conflict Transformation in Somalia (ACTS) was conceived to address the distorting effect of the counterterrorism discourse. A key finding of the research for ACTS is that Somalia – particularly south-central Somalia – is much more diverse politically than the binary terrorism–counterterrorism categorisation suggests. Even though almost all Somali political actors profess allegiance to Islamic values and intend to enforce Sharia, the faith-based Islamist movements themselves display a wide range of ideologies, opposing political objectives and divergent plans to achieve those objectives. The research also questions the continued labelling of the conflict in Somalia as a civil war. The presence of African Union and other foreign forces, their mandate to protect the internationally recognised central and regional administrations and fight against al-Shabab make it a regional and international conflict rather than a civil war. It tried to capture the political views and strategies of major actors across the south-central regions and Puntland. The report represents voices from the ground and relies on information gathered from primary sources. It is a contribution towards a better understanding of the intractable cycle of organised violence in Somalia.