News Release

U.S. Criticized for Killer Drones and Backing Kenyan and Ethiopian “Fragmentation of Somalia”

East Africa 2.0President Obama just started his trip to Kenya and Ethiopia. The Los Angeles Times reports the U.S. has stepped up use of drone strikes in neighboring Somalia ahead of Obama’s trip. See the Bureau of Investigative Journalism for information on U.S. drones strikes and covert operations in Somalia.

ABDI ISMAIL SAMATAR, [currently in South Africa, 6 hours ahead of U.S. ET] samat001 at umn.edu
Samatar is professor and chair of the Department of Geography, Environment & Society at the University of Minnesota. He is currently research fellow at the University of Pretoria. He will be traveling to Kenya on Monday and then on to Somalia. He has written a number of pieces on east Africa for Al-Jazeera. He said today: “Somalia might be the first place for the war on terror to succeed if the Obama administration has the will to support progressive politics in the country, and not the fragmentation of Somalia into tribal fiefdom under the hegemony of Ethiopia and Kenya. If the latter continues Al-Shabaab and other similar groups will remain and might get stronger.”

SADIA ALI ADEN, [currently in Somalia, 7 hours ahead of U.S. ET] sadiaaden at gmail.com, @sadiaaden
Aden is a human rights advocate and freelance writer who has written for the Huffington Post, Middle East On-Line, Islam Online and numerous other outlets. Sadia is the co-founder of Adar Foundation and Somali Diaspora Youth. She left Kenya for Somali a few days ago.

She said today about the situation in Somalia: “Both on the humanitarian and development fronts there is good progress. One may argue the same for the security front, though not without contention. However, on the political front, there are a great deal of tensions and very little progress.

“The biggest myth of all is that Somalia does not need reconciliation and that an election or a selection would solve all its problems. … Somalia is yet to have a national and holistic reconciliation that is Somali-led and Somali-owned.

“The involvement of Kenya and Ethiopia and their officially joining AMISOM [African Union Mission to Somalia] to secure an indefinite presence in Somalia has exacerbated the situation. Frontline states could never be entrusted with peace building missions that involve their next door neighbors. They always have a conflict of interest.

“U.S. policy toward the entire region has been ineffective, if not dysfunctional. Partnership with Ethiopia and Kenya on counter-terrorism causes the U.S. to turn a blind eye on certain human rights violations in both countries.” See segment: “U.S. Drone Campaign In Somalia Creates More Enemies.”

ABAYOMI AZIKIWE, panafnewswire at yahoo.com, @panafnewswire
Azikiwe, based in Detroit, runs the Pan African News Wire. He said today: “This is President Obama’s first visit to Kenya as president even though his father is from there. U.S. policy toward east Africa has not been a rational policy, in terms of benefiting either the African people or most people in the U.S. It has stressed military and counter-terrorism, not economic development and the U.S. government has not shown serious interest in trade with Africa on an equitable basis.

“The U.S. government has backed both Kenya and Ethiopia intervening in Somalia with predictably terrible results. Much of U.S. policy in the region is built around AFRICOM [United States Africa Command] which was started in the Bush administration and Obama has continued to back. AFRICOM is ostensibly designed to enhance national security for African states, but the opposite has happened.”