‘If you have no moonlight, use the stars’: the dynamics of transnational statebuilding between the UN Mission, politicians and elders in Somalia
The United Nations Mission in Somalia (UNSOM)1 implements United Nations Security Council resolutions. The UNSOM supports the Somali Federal Government (SFG) and combines formality with informality in facilitating transnational power and legitimacy claims. While informal interactions sustain internal legitimacy, formal transnational alliance coordination protects the SFG. Building on qualitative data collected between 2012 and 2016, and an analysis of 45 interviews and three focus groups, this paper proposes empirically grounded, theoretical perspectives involving the UNSOM, Somali politicians and traditional elders. Although the three main actors engage with formal bureaucratic exchanges, such actors also pursue informal transnational connections.