The U.S. Senate is set to debate a resolution calling on the U.S. government to increase its support for “peace, democracy and development in Somalia.” Senate Resolution 460 calls on the President, with the State Department, to develop an “interagency stabilization and reconstruction strategy” for U.S. activity toward Somalia. It further urges the President to appoint a Special Envoy to Somalia to help guide U.S. policy and interests in the region. While U.S. efforts for peace and democracy in Somalia are welcomed, many fear U.S. engagement in Somalia will only lead to continued instability.
This Senate resolution comes as government officials have raised concern about the rise to power by the southern-based Union of Islamic Courts. State officials are seeking to contain the Courts so as to stop Somalia from being united by an Islamic regime that could be hostile to U.S. interests. Reports recently arose that the U.S. has backed warlord factions in Mogadishu. State officials claim the Courts have ties with terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda.
While these concerns may be real, Somalia’s troubled state is a result of a history of geo-political manuevering by world powers, most especially the United States. Irresponsible U.S. policy toward the country has fomented instability and violence. Though some members of the Senate have condemned this history, there are fears that it will only continue as Somalia’s strategic importance in the “war on terror” grows. As Res. 460 is debated on the Senate floor, AFJN hopes members of the Senate will be cautious to not repeat the mistakes of history.