The NY Times reported today that Somalia has been experiencing more violent turmoil as its Shabab militant group has continued the exponential harassment of local populations “to turn Somalia into a seventh-century-style Islamic state.”
What was extremely troubling, however, was “the American military providing intelligence and logistical support” for the Somali government. Although Shabab is working closely with Al Qaeda, America has yet to learn anything from blowback. Al Qaeda’s operations in Somalia are aimed to target the Somali government and have nothing to do with the security of the United States. Furthermore, Shabab and Al Qaeda’s strive to gain a foothold in Somalia are slowly failing, not because of American interventionism, but because of what the NY Times reported to be the populace “now whispering valuable secrets about the Shaba’s movements into the ears of government soldiers.” Additionally, “defectors are leaving the Shabab in droves,” while the “young men joined the local militia” to fend off Shabab fighters.
Evidently, Somalia is able to fend for itself. There is no intelligence like the knowledge an average civilian has. The infamous Christmas bomber was detected by neither Homeland Security nor the FBI, but instead the people on board the plane. The Somali government is not getting valuable information from American military intelligence, but instead from the local populace.
The American military “intelligence” presence in Somalia is quite similar to what our “intelligence” presence in Afghanistan looked like during the Cold War: The U.S. supplied the Taliban with munitions and arms, aiding in the destruction of local villages and homes, and then quickly left after the Russians evacuated the country. Leaving the country in shambles, the United States is now fighting the same fighters it funded in the 1980’s (the Taliban).
Is Somalia going to turn out to be the same? Are we going to have to invade Somalia in ten years because of Al Qaeda’s presence and have to fight the same locals we provided “intelligence” for? Since when has the United States been the guarantor of Somalia’s safety? Isn’t part of the reason why Al Qaeda hates the West so much because of constant American interventionism? I would really like to see a State Department employee answer these questions clearly.Published in