UNIFIL in Africa, anyone?

Disengaged stance in a clear front-line battle with al-Qaeda

Steve Schippert at ThreatsWatch writes about “America’s inexplicably disengaged stance in a clear front-line battle with al-Qaeda”:

In order to create an eastern toehold on the Horn of Africa and create an Islamist Crescent from Mogadishu to Morocco, al-Qaeda is recommitting to re-taking Somalia through their once-ousted Southern Garrison, the Islamic Courts Union. With al-Qaeda’s clear and overt strategic aims on conquering Somalia, one would think that, at the very least, America’s economic might would be employed to support Somalis practically begging for the tools to do the bulk of the fighting themselves on all fronts – militarily, governmentally and socially. Think again.

I’m not exactly sure how much better an opportunity can get than this, to be honest. Al Qaeda was totally routed, and with very little direct US action. Ethiopia, acting mostly in its own best interest, did virtually all of the heavy lifting. We now have a formerly-compromised nation (of sorts) into more or less friendly hands with some neighbors that not only have an interest in keeping al Qaeda out but are willing to do something about it. And instead of jumping at the chance, we’re sitting idly by.

Unless we really intend to militarily resolve every terrorist issue with US troops in a long series of occupations, wouldn’t we be best served by doing more to help out in Somalia? Honestly, the financial cost of making a real difference there would be relatively cheap. If we make an honest effort to get enough money into the right hands and do a bit of work to make sure it gets there and is used for the right things, it could make all the difference in the world. Set some reasonable conditions, make some promises if they’re met, and then follow through with the rewards.

There’s going to be enough direct action by US troops on all fronts in the coming years. Let’s use the checkbook to fight battles when we can.


  1. December 14, 2006 — At the White House Summit on Malaria today, President Bush announced Ethiopia as a new focus country for the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI)–an historic $1.2 billion, five-year initiative to control malaria in 15 of the highest-burden countries in Africa.’ http://addisababa.usembassy.gov/latest_embassy_news.html There is a lot of money going to Ethiopia – A lot of it is buried in the various UN programs and the like. The typical US way of funneling money to ‘good guys’. I really doubt that you will see some major announcement like ‘ Ethiopia & US announce a joint defense pact for the elimination of terrorism in the horn of Africa.’ Such an announcement would lots of heart burn in the area – not the least of which is Eritrea which would go ballistic and things could get ugly from there. We are better off doing the under the table rewards for good behavior.