US Congress: Bush strategy in
Somalia is failing
THE EAST AFRICAN
By KEVIN J. KELLEY
The Bush administration has been faulted for failing to stabilise
Somalia after a March 3 American missile strike on the horn of
Africa country, a congress report says.
The US is aiming to bring order to Somalia mainly by funding an
African Union peacekeeping operation, but that force is grossly
undermanned, according to Congress’ auditing arm.
“Given the operation’s shortage of troops, it has not been able to
fulfil its mandate to improve security, support reconciliation,
protect the transitional government, and facilitate the provision
of humanitarian aid.”
In addition, the US-supported Transitional Federal Government (TFG)
is said to be failing to deliver “much-needed services” to
The report by the Government Accountability Office of congress
cites complaints by United Nations officials about the difficulty
of working with the TFG because “Most of its ministries exist in
name only, with no support staff.”
An effective peacekeeping force would require at least 20,000
troops as well as a ceasefire agreement and the co-operation of
all parties in Somalia, the report states. But none of those
conditions are being met.
Uganda’s Amisom contingent is limited to protecting only the
airport, seaport and presidential compound in Mogadishu, the
Amison currently consists of 2,400 troops- 1,600 troops from
Uganda and 800 from Burundi. The total is less than a third that
The United States has spent some $60 million to train, equip and
transport soldiers assigned to Amisom, according to the auditors.
US officials have been working for months to persuade other
African countries to commit troops to Amisom, but such assistance
has not been forthcoming due to concerns about “Somalia’s rapidly
deteriorating security situation,” the report observes.
Overall, the United States has provided Somalia with $362
million’s worth of humanitarian and development aid since 2001.
That amount qualifies the US as the leading donor to Somalia
during the past seven years, the report points out.
But the UN’s chief representative for Somalia said last week that
the international community is engaging in “collective punishment”
of Somalis by neglecting their needs.
While acknowledging that Somalis themselves have “destroyed their
country,” Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah told the press that this is not
sufficient reason for “collective punishment, which I think the
international community is doing by ignoring their plight.”
On its part, the Bush administration has reaffirmed its intention
of launching military attacks against alleged Al Qaeda operatives
in Somalia and elsewhere.
“They are planning to destabilise the world, to inflict terror,
and where we find them, we will go after them,” White House
spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters last week.
He was speaking in response to questions about a US missile strike
on a town in Somalia five miles from the Kenya border.
A US Navy submarine in the Indian Ocean was targeting a Kenyan
citizen, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, when it fired at least two cruise
missiles into the town of Dobley, Pentagon and FBI officials said.
He is wanted for questioning by the FBI in connection with the
bombing of the Paradise Hotel in Kikambala in 2002 and the nearly
simultaneous attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner taking off
from Moi Airport in Mombasa.
(N.B.: And Oliver North, himself not without a shady history,
claims that he actually was killed.)