Why Somalia would make Afghanistan seem like Mr. Rogers' neighborhood for US troops
Sunday's Uganda bombings show that the threat of Somalia's Al Shabab is very serious, so what should the US do about it? The status quo is not working, but if you think Afghanistan is a quagmire, you ain't seen nothing yet.
In the light of Sunday's horrific bombings in Kampala, Uganda, it was only a matter of time before proposals for a US-backed invasion and/or bombing of Somalia started popping up, along with less specific calls to do "more." A few thoughts on this:Skip to next paragraph
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- If everything you know about Somalia you learned from Black Hawk Down, it's probably best that you stop providing commentary. You don't know the territory, you don't understand the political situation there, and it just makes you look ignorant to continue pontificating.
- If you think Afghanistan is a quagmire, you ain't seen nothing yet. Somalia would make Afghanistan seem like a walk in the park on a pleasant Sunday afternoon.
Supporting the Somali government will not do much to mitigate the threat from Al Shabab. Let's be clear: Somalia's current, internationally-recognized federal government is a joke. It does not control its own capital city. It operated out of a hotel in Nairobi for several years. It would not exist were it not for the presence of foreign troops and substantial US backing.
As G. Pascal Zachary notes, we are long past due for a reckoning on America's policy vis-a-vis Somalia. The insistence on the part of the Department of Defense, the State Department, and the White House that the best means for stabilizing the situation involves maintaining Somalia's fictional territorial integrity represents the same sort of thinking that got us into a mess there in 1993.