Somalia. The postponement is unfortunately not a surprise, despite the good progress made in the last few months. All that remains for the international community to do is to reiterate its threats to cut off funds and debt reduction programmes, which are vital for the functioning of the Federal Authorities and, moreover, for the provision of basic services. However, following up on these hypotheses could wipe out the results achieved so far. The donors therefore prefer not to unravel the basic dilemma, in the hope that the conclusion is close.

The oppositions, for their part, do not stop denouncing opacities and shortcomings, in their final attempt to prevent a majority of votes forms in the new Parliament and allows current President Farmajo to be re-elected. His opponents are also in a dilemma: whether or not to go through with this opposition. It would, however, weaken PM Roble, who is responsible for the smooth running of the vote, more than it would weaken the hated Head of State.

With the cancellation of the election of the former director of the National Information and Security Agency Fahad Yasin, which was sensational, the region of Beledweyne (Hirshabelle) remains one of the most uncertain and contested along with Bosaaso in Puntland. At the end of a virtual meeting between Roble and the regional governors it was, however, agreed once again (February 25th) to postpone the deadline, now to March 15th. It should thus be possible to appoint the deputies for the 100 or so seats now vacant and then elect the next president around the end of April. Even if respected, this time window will have represented an extension of more than a year for the leaders and MPs currently in office.

In the meantime, a Chinese Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa has been appointed, a novelty for Beijing that gives further evidence of how much strategic it considers this area. In addition to the infrastructural and logistic-military investments in Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti, and the oil investments in Sudan, it is in China’s interest to have a more political presence in the Horn, a region in which to achieve and maintain “stability, development and prosperity” useful in the long term to strengthen its presence. It is possible that this renewed action will also be directed towards Somalia, also given the diplomatic relations that are being structured between Somaliland and Taiwan.

It is no coincidence, therefore, that just this week, the United States has also made its presence felt again, with an air raid against Al Shabaab terrorist positions, the first in 2022. While international attention has shifted overwhelmingly towards the Ukraine, this is a controversial but also very effective way of reaffirming the muscular presence in a quadrant that Washington also considers crucial.


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