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Time to Stop Meddling in Somalia

Monday, Aug. 10, 2009

Recently, U.S. policy in Somalia hit a new low, with the shipment of 40 tons of arms to a government on the verge of overthrow, if not nervous collapse. Worse still, last Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the president of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG), Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, and promised to expand U.S. support. This perpetuates a long history of unsuccessful meddling in the affairs of Somalia, from Black Hawk Down to air strikes against al-Qaida suspects to support for the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006. Somalia would be better off without our spasmodic interference.

That's not to say the U.S. doesn't have national interests at stake in the country and region. A humanitarian crisis demanded our attention in the early 1990s, a crisis that still persists. In addition, there are now al-Qaida connections in Somalia to worry about, as well as piracy in the Gulf of Aden. We've acknowledged that instability and anarchy in Somalia lie at the root of all of these issues. Yet we find ourselves in policy paralysis as the situation in the country exceeds even the worst-case scenarios. ...

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