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Omar Mahmood

Senior Analyst, Somalia

Crisis Group Role

As the Senior Analyst for Somalia, Omar conducts field research, provides written analysis, proposes policy recommendations and engages in advocacy efforts.

Professional background

Omar has previously worked as a senior researcher focusing on the Horn of Africa for the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Addis Ababa, and as an international consultant covering Boko Haram and the Lake Chad Basin. Prior to that, he obtained his Master’s degree from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso. 

Languages

  • English (native)
  • French (conversant)
  • Urdu (conversant)

Select Publications

In The News

15 Apr 2022
The swearing-in of MPs [in Somalia] is certainly a major step whose significance goes beyond symbolism. Irish Times

Omar Mahmood

Senior Analyst, Somalia
12 Jan 2022
As long as the election cycle and current tensions [in Somalia] drag on, the attention of the political elite will be more inwardly focused, while other priorities lag behind. The New York Times

Omar Mahmood

Senior Analyst, Somalia
27 Dec 2021
When the political elite [in Somalia] are focused on each other, attention turns away from the battle against al-Shabab. The Washington Post

Omar Mahmood

Senior Analyst, Somalia
22 Jul 2021
Al Shabaab is fully embedded in Somali society, especially in areas under their control, where local populations have little choice but to engage the group. VICE News

Omar Mahmood

Senior Analyst, Somalia
27 May 2021
Through these specific talks [in Somalia], Farmajo really didn’t play much of a role, but that doesn’t mean that he permanently is sitting out the campaign period. The Washington Post

Omar Mahmood

Senior Analyst, Somalia
20 May 2021
Any intervention [by ANISOM] during renewed fighting [in Somalia] will be seen as partial to one or the other, while the cost of doing nothing can see the reversal of security gains. The New Humanitarian

Omar Mahmood

Senior Analyst, Somalia

Latest Updates

Podcast / Africa

New President in Somalia, New Opportunity for Reconciliation

This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood talks to expert Omar Mahmood about the election of Somalia’s new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, whether he can repair some of the division stoked by his predecessor and prospects for dialogue with Al-Shabaab Islamist insurgents.

Podcast / Africa

The Search for an African Union Exit Strategy from Somalia

This week on The Horn, Alan talks to Crisis Group expert Omar Mahmood about the future of AMISOM, the African Union’s mission in Somalia, as its backers search for an exit strategy.

How Islamist Militants Elsewhere View the Taliban’s Victory in Afghanistan

While Islamist insurgents around the world are inspired by the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan, the question of whether and how they will benefit as a result is more complicated, as Crisis Group experts explain in this 360-degree view.

Podcast / Africa

Avoiding Another Afghanistan: Could Al-Shabaab Seize Power in Somalia?

In this episode of Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk with Omar Mahmood, Crisis Group’s Somalia expert, about whether the pullout from Somalia of foreign troops – in this case African Union forces – could open the door for the Islamist militants Al-Shabaab to seize power like the Taliban have in Afghanistan. 

Op-Ed / Africa

Could Somalia Be the Next Afghanistan?

A similar rapid collapse of state institutions awaits if Somali elites and Western governments don’t alter their approach.

Originally published in Foreign Policy