U.S. will send money but no troops to Somalia

Jendayi Frazer, the U.S. assistant secretary of state responsible for Africa, said today what most of us already know: that a peacekeeping force is desperately needed in Somalia. With the roots of a deadly insurgency beginning to take shape and the Ethiopian military set to withdraw within two weeks, Frazier said there’s a window of ...

605043_mogadishu_destroyed5.jpg
605043_mogadishu_destroyed5.jpg

Jendayi Frazer, the U.S. assistant secretary of state responsible for Africa, said today what most of us already know: that a peacekeeping force is desperately needed in Somalia. With the roots of a deadly insurgency beginning to take shape and the Ethiopian military set to withdraw within two weeks, Frazier said there's a window of opportunity "to not have Somalia be a safe haven for terrorism."

PETER DELARUE/Getty Images

But that will require cash and troops. The United States has already pledged some $40.5 million for reconstruction and peacekeeping efforts in Somalia. But don't expect to see U.S. boots on the ground. U.S. Army Gen. William Ward, deputy commander of U.S. European Command, said today that he doesn't expect U.S. troops to go into Somalia:

Jendayi Frazer, the U.S. assistant secretary of state responsible for Africa, said today what most of us already know: that a peacekeeping force is desperately needed in Somalia. With the roots of a deadly insurgency beginning to take shape and the Ethiopian military set to withdraw within two weeks, Frazier said there’s a window of opportunity “to not have Somalia be a safe haven for terrorism.”



PETER DELARUE/Getty Images

But that will require cash and troops. The United States has already pledged some $40.5 million for reconstruction and peacekeeping efforts in Somalia. But don’t expect to see U.S. boots on the ground. U.S. Army Gen. William Ward, deputy commander of U.S. European Command, said today that he doesn’t expect U.S. troops to go into Somalia:

Situations change but I do not see it now, and there’s nothing that I’ve heard that implies that at all,” Ward said.

It’s probably best that way. As a bleak Financial Times editorial stressed yesterday, any peacekeeping force should bear an international stamp:

If the Ethiopians stay they risk uniting much of Somalia against them. If they go, as they say they soon will, they will leave a political vacuum, with Somalia’s well-armed clans scrabbling over the carcass of the country. Eventually, it will almost certainly be the more disciplined but now radicalised Islamists that end up holding the ring. […]

The future looks bleak unless an understanding is reached between the Islamists and the transitional government, with Ethiopian troops replaced by some stabilising force. That probably has to come from the United Nations, in conjunction with the African Union. Neither organisation has covered itself in glory recently, in Sudan or Somalia, and both are overstretched. But the price of failure in the Horn of Africa will be high indeed.

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