Rock meets hard place in Mogadishu
Heeeee’s back. After some tough contract talks with his agent, Best Defense has lured Herb Carmen back from his fling with Abu Mook. Here he goes feet dry to check out what’s happening in Somalia. Wasn’t this stuff below a scene in the Evelyn Waugh novel Scoop? (Which, btw, is the best book ever written ...
Heeeee's back. After some tough contract talks with his agent, Best Defense has lured Herb Carmen back from his fling with Abu Mook. Here he goes feet dry to check out what's happening in Somalia. Wasn't this stuff below a scene in the Evelyn Waugh novel Scoop? (Which, btw, is the best book ever written on foreign correspondents.)
Heeeee’s back. After some tough contract talks with his agent, Best Defense has lured Herb Carmen back from his fling with Abu Mook. Here he goes feet dry to check out what’s happening in Somalia. Wasn’t this stuff below a scene in the Evelyn Waugh novel Scoop? (Which, btw, is the best book ever written on foreign correspondents.)
By Cdr. Herb Carmen, USN
Best Defense pirates columnist
It appears that the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) may be caught between a rock and a hard place in southern Somalia. Attacks from Al Shabaab, infighting among the members of the TFG, and the possible introduction of German mercenaries to potentially fight against troops trained by the European Union all threaten the future of the TFG.
Over the weekend, Al Shabaab fired mortars at the presidential palace and attacked the districts of Shibis and Bondhere, which are increasingly becoming ghost towns amidst the fighting. At least six shells hit the palace Sunday, while Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed was in Turkey at a U.N. conference to address the security situation. African Union peacekeepers helped to repel the attacks, but Al Shabaab has since vowed to capture the palace.
Meanwhile, infighting among the members of the TFG continues. President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed fired Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke only to reverse his decision Thursday. Somali Minister of Defense Yusuf Mohamed Siyad blamed Prime Minister Sharmarke for failing to provide Somali military forces with the required ammunition and supplies. Siyad went further and urged the international community to stop training additional Somali soldiers and instead provide support for the established force, saying that the lack of support for the existing force will only cause trained soldiers to defect to Al Shabaab and Hisbul Islam.
Despite these concerns, some 400 additional Somali soldiers are being trained by the European Union in Bihange in western Uganda. But just as the EU is training additional soldiers to support the TFG, the German firm Asgaard German Security Group recently signed a deal with Somali opposition politician Galadod Abdinur Ahmad Darman to provide more than 100 former Bundeswehr soldiers. Darman, said to be a marginal player, has claimed to be the president of Somalia since 2003. Regardless of Darman’s actual influence in Somalia, Asgaard GSG’s deal may be in direct violation of UN sanctions.
After the weekend’s UN conference in Turkey, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced in a New York press conference that the conference’s Istanbul Declaration "sent a clear three-fold message. First, the United Nations will not stand by and watch Somalia struggle alone. Second, the Transitional Federal Government has to do its part and tackle the hard issues of security and governance. Third, if we do not tackle the basic causes onshore we will never be able to stop piracy offshore. This entails more training and funding of Somali security forces, and it involves economic reconstruction to break the cycle of despair."
While Secretary General Ban recognized that the conference "was an important event at a crucial time for Somalia," with all that seems to be threatening the TFG in recent weeks, is it too late? Is the TFG in Mogadishu facing imminent collapse?
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