Abukar Arman It goes without saying that the Somali political problem can only be solved if and when all the actors, who are in contention are willing to engage in serious peace negotiation and reconciliation. And, as in all wars and protracted conflicts, there are those elements that perpetuate the status quo for their own interests. These elements have both domestic and foreign components. Sometimes they work in a concerted effort, otherwise they undermine each other. Be as it may, currently, any potentiality for lasting peace in Somalia is sandwiched between these forces. The domestic ones are militant extremists, clan militias, sleazy politicians, shady business men and women, pirates and other forces of anarchy and disorder that clearly benefit from the status quo. And, the foreign one, at least at this juncture, is none other than a political powerhouse known as the International Community (IC) - the very IC that spearheaded a number of worthy causes in many parts of the world since the term came into the lexicon of international politics, which also carries the burden of the Rwanda genocide. As the IC embarked on its latest operation in Libya, its two decade 'on again, off again role in Somalia is coming under a great deal of scrutiny and criticism. Among the Somali people, there is mounting sense of disillusionment, if not outright cynicism toward that entity. There is growing consensus that, giving its current seemingly dysfunctional role, it behoves TFG to simply reconsider its fruitless partnership with the IC to lead the way in brokering peace. There are many reasons for this and the most prominent among them is the incremental projectification of the Somali political issue, which condemned it into endless projects that ensure endless processes without any viable and sustainable outcome. Already, in the past 20 years, 14 unsuccessful peace conferences were held in various countries. In a reality highlighted with profound irony, in addition to racketeering and abuses by the local profiteers, Somalia has evolved to become a lucrative enterprise for many countries, organisations, and various interest groups, who function as part of the IC. This was not that difficult since during the heydays of the warlord era, the IC outsourced its UN mandated authority to Ethiopia via the African Union (AU) and, subsequently, to the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Now there is adequate evidence on the ground indicating that Somalia is gradually emerging from its unenviable failed state status into what could be described as a fragile state. Thus, it is incumbent upon all stakeholders, who are interested in sustaining the current incremental improvement in terms of security and good governance to embrace this reality. And, judging from its priority and the positive momentum it has generated in the past few months, the Transnational Federal Government (TFG) is committed to paving the way for a comprehensive peace process that addresses all political grievances and enshrines all pertinent rights in the new constitution. Aside from its untapped natural resources, by virtue of its geographic location, Somalia is still considered as one of the strategically most valuable locations in the world, especially, in this era of global political volatility. It is time to use this status and potentiality as leverage. It is time to cut this Gordian knot or the umbilical cord of chronic dependency on the IC. It is time to find better ways and means to shelter the displaced, heal the sick, and feed the millions on the verge of starvation. It is time to bring an end to the inefficient routine of holding costly conferences in foreign lands and foster indigenous solution negotiated in domestic venues. And, lastly, it is time to focus on establishing robust bilateral relationships with countries interested in mutually beneficial relationship with Somalia; countries that are willing to invest in it, and become a third party honest broker for peace and reconciliation. In light of the transformational political change in various parts of the Arab world and the imminent shift of the economic balance of power, Somalia is positioned to attract strategically keen states that consider the security and stability of that country in their best interest. n Middle East Online