US Strike in Somalia, Will it Achieve anything?

Somalia is the only country in Africa that has been unruly since the fall of Ziad Berri regime. The American involvement in 1994 ended without settling anything. Its withdrawal after the death of 14 of its soldiers in an operation against a warlord that went wrong was only a pretext, as it seems. The US didn’t want to risk more of its military personnel and equipment in a land not constituting a major threat to its interest in the Horn of Africa.

But Somalia remains a country only in name whose territory is divided between an internationally recognised government that had a sketchy control while the warlords roam the country, some of them using religion as their asset to have more followers. It’s no wonder if Somalia has allegedly become a refuge for Islamic terrorists as they feel surrounded in other parts of the world. What is striking is that such groups thrive in troubled lands like Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and in geographically difficult lands like the borders between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The US strike in Somalia put in question its increasing military involvement after its intervention in Iraq, which now needs according to Pt Bush more troops to stabilize the situation there. The risk is when the situation in Somalia worsens, needing more US military intervention, the US army will be overstretched.

This also brings into question US legitimacy to strike an apparently sovereign country without consulting the international community. It also shows the capability of the strong to strike wherever it pleases him. The US once again has shown it has a free hand on the international stage by carrying military strikes, invasions and pushing for sanctions against its enemy regimes, especially those in North Korea, Syria and Iran. So the cowboys who were running the Far West are still among us but with modern suits and sophisticated armours. It remains to see if such actions are still thrilling as they used to be on classical movies.

Coming back to Somalia, it is apparently an insignificant country because it doesn’t have oil among other things, such strikes didn’t get the international condemnation it should have had, had it been against another country with heavy political weight.

What is apparent is that strikes are unlikely to produce the desired effects as the insurgents have ways to escape and seek refuge. Somalia needs to return to normality and become a recognisable country with a central government all over the land.

By remaining an open gate to insurgents from different parts of the world and an easy target from the US most powerful army, its neighbour Ethiopia and by having its borders locked from Kenya, Somalia will continue to stifle, shrinking day by day. Currently its population are refugees in other countries and those staying are under the mercy of an inefficient transitional government or warlords for whom the life and death of the population is a part of their daily business.

The question remains when the Somalis will have the wisdom to unite without endangering anyone outside and inside their country. They can take the example of DR Congo and Liberia, whose respective warring factions finally agreed to democratic process instead of remaining at each other’s throats. By uniting, the Somalis can have intervention from the international community to help them rather than being rebuffed and sneered at because there is no international institution to take them seriously for lack of stability and credible regime.

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