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Clash Between State and Defense on Somalia Policy

With the backdrop of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visiting American forces in Djibouti, the Washington Post is reporting on an internal debate among administration decision makers regarding the course of American policy in Somalia and in the Horn of Africa more broadly. The violence and instability currently taking place is a major threat to the region as it may offer the possibility of al-Qaeda gaining a safe haven in Somalia. According to the report, the Pentagon is agitating toward moving to support Somaliland, the more stable northwestern portion of Somalia that declared its independence in 1991, though this has not been recognized internationally. As a contrast, the State Department supports the continued backing of the Transitional Federal Government based in Mogadishu. According to the Post:

“Somaliland is an entity that works,” a senior defense official said. “We’re caught between a rock and a hard place because they’re not a recognized state,” the official said.

The Pentagon’s view is that “Somaliland should be independent,” another defense official said. “We should build up the parts that are functional and box in” Somalia’s unstable regions, particularly around Mogadishu.

In contrast, “the State Department wants to fix the broken part first – that’s been a failed policy,” the official said.

As evidence of State’s support for the TFG, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer had this to say on November 30 regarding the Somali situation:

"On Somalia, I think that the key here is to try to provide support to the new prime minister of Somalia. This is a real opportunity for the Transitional Federal Government to retool, to, in the person of the new prime minister, try to build greater confidence, greater credibility, and to further reach out to the legitimate opposition."

With the violence in Somalia continuing and taken together with the failure of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeeping force to materialize in substantive numbers, support for Somaliland is worthy of further consideration.

2 Comments

in addition to the pro-taliban insurgency, the other concern for ethiopia was irredentism. if you read the region's history, some somali nationalists in mogadishu wanted to annex ethiopian territory because the territory is inhabited by ethnic somali speaking people. the big problem with this is ALL of africa, after european colonization, is a mix of ethnicities. there is no country in africa with only one ethnicity that has "united" all segments of that one ethnicity. unfortunately, the somalia nation is the only african nation of ONE ethnicity and it wants to annex ethiopian and kenyan regions inhabitted by somalis to "unite" the rest of ethnic somalis. this is the second reason why ethiopia went to mogadishu to stop the irredentism supporters inside the insurgency in mogadishu. CHECK this map to see why somali irredentism will destroy ethiopian and kenyan boundaries. the pink shaded region in the map is inhabitted by somali people http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/26/Somali_map.jpg/523px-Somali_map.jpg

the attempt by mogadishu politicians to "unite" all somali speaking people in kenya and ethiopia by breaking national boundaries has been the other reason for wars because simply put, it breaks international boundaries. but more importantly this irredentism is AGAINST the status quo all around africa. if somalis succeed in making a country of ALL somalis then in principle all african boundaries have to be re-shaped to be made of one ethnicity per a country. this is not good for the continent which is already suffering with wars. it will start a domino effect
where even the stable african nations will be destabilized since all of them are made of several ethnicities.

in general, the SOMALILAND autonmous region has been self-ruling, it has self-declared independence. it has better democracy than even kenya. For america, it is important to give somaliland independence RECOGNITION because it will be the final blow to the irredentism wishes of mogadishu politicians. this will HELP bring peace in the region for the first time in 60 years.

Well somalis are one will be one and will take back both our territories in Kenya and Ethiopia not because we are ONE because it belonged to us before the Imperialists stole it and gave it to them (YOU)? anyways we don't care about what other Africans do, we don't consider ourselves as Africans. WE ARE SOMALI!