Al Shabab terror attacks dominate African Union summit
The African Union summit got underway Sunday in Kampala, Uganda, amid calls for greater cooperation on terrorism following the city's deadly July 11 bombings by Somalia's Al Qaeda-linked militant group, Al Shabab.
(Page 2 of 2)
When asked about that, however, the country’s president Jacob Zuma – in Kampala for the summit – laughed off repeated questions from journalists.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Money, but no troops from the West
Despite a high attendance by delegations from outside Africa and an admission by UN deputy secretary general Asha-Rose Migiro that the crisis in Somalia impacts global security, there is almost no political will to send in peacekeepers from beyond Africa. Money, not manpower, is being promised from donor nations in the West.
President Obama’s envoy to the summit, Attorney General Eric Holder, promised in a speech to the African leaders to “maintain” – but not increase – support for the AU’s Somali mission. Since 2007, the US has given support worth over $176 million to the mission and intends to give Ugandan and Burundian troops “enhanced pre-deployment training” to help tackle Al Shabab, the state department says.
EU officials at the meeting – responsible for funding the $750 monthly allowances for each AMISOM soldier – said that the current €47 million budget for the second half of 2010 was meant to support 6,000 troops but that money could be shifted around to cover any new deployment.
'Limited' options in Somalia
In the end, though, the international community has little leeway on Somalia, regional security experts say.
For Shinn – a leading State Department figure during American involvement in Somalia in the early nineties and now a professor at George Washington University in Washington – a foreign peacekeeping force is not the answer to Somalia’s problem.
“There is too much Somali resentment against foreigners who, in any event, are not prepared to stay the length of time required to defeat a committed opponent such as Al Shabab,” Shinn says.
The delegation from Somalia’s beleaguered transitional government agrees.
On the sidelines of the summit, Somali foreign minister Yusuf Hassan Ibrahim said that what is most important is not building up AMISOM but strengthening the fledgling Somali national army.
“You have to have a Somali national army equipped, trained, and organized in such a way that there will be thousands and thousands of Somalis who can deal with the Al Shabab incursions,” he said.
- Why Pakistanis have been detained for Al Shabab's Uganda bombings
- BLOG: Why Somalia would make Afghanistan seem like Mr. Rogers' neighborhood for US troops
- Kenya on high alert after Uganda bombings