News Release

Kerry in Somalia: U.S. Should Face Up to its Role in Disaster

ABDI ISMAIL SAMATAR, samat001 at umn.edu
Samatar is professor and chair of the Department of Geography, Environment & Society at the University of Minnesota. He said today: “Kerry’s visit to Somalia seems more symbolism than anything else. It certainly won’t help the situation in Somalia. Kerry’s meeting with the so-called president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who is incredibly corrupt, will likely not help bring about the transition that is needed in Somalia. The regime in Mogadishu is hopelessly corrupt and incompetent and can not galvanize the Somali people.

“Additionally, Kerry said Kenya has a role to play in bringing stability to Somalia. Unfortunately, the exact opposite is the case. Kenya has been a major source of instability in Somalia. Kenya — as well as Ethiopia — must withdraw their troops from Somalia as well as their efforts to gerrymander politics in that country by supporting certain factions in Somalia.

“The international community, including Africans, have been not only oblivious to the plight of the Somali people, but have turned them into a disposable political football since the collapse of their state in 1991. For years the world watched warlord terrorists rape, loot and kill Somalis with impunity.

“The U.S. should face up to its role in bringing Somalia to its current state. It actually backed the warlords against the Union of the Islamic Courts (UIC), which was trying to bring some stability to the country. In 2005, the UIC defeated the warlords and created peace in Mogadishu for the first time in years and without any help from the international community. Rather than engaging with the UIC, the U.S. and its African clients considered them as terrorists and Ethiopia was given the green light to invade and dismantle it. Ethiopian forces took over Mogadishu on December 25, 2006, and the prospect of a peaceful resurrection of Somalia perished.”

See Samatar’s piece “The Nairobi massacre and the genealogy of the tragedy.”