U.S. Africa Policy Cannot Afford to Ignore Somaliland
- Written by ibro

HARGEISSA (CRN) (CRN) March 14, —“Great nations do not fight endless wars,” President Donald Trump declared in his State of the Union address, even as he redoubled his commitment to “focus on counterterrorism.” While many commentators describe Afghanistan—the war against which Trump railed—as America’s longest war, the battle against terrorists and warlords in Somalia has now run even longer .

Alas, even as Trump talks about scaling back the U.S. military footprint abroad, his willingness to follow the State Department’s lead in Somalia threatens to embolden radicalism and revive piracy in the Horn of Africa. At issue is Somalia, where the State Department’s embrace of false unities and antipathy toward change has led it to double down on its support for Somalia’s symbolic government in Mogadishu.

At first glance, Trump’s cynicism looks warranted. After years of civil war, Somalia has a provisional constitution and a government. Elders have appointed a parliament, which in turn has elected a president. But the federal government’s control is largely illusionary. Most diplomats and non-governmental organizations are sequestered inside the international airport, which makes Baghdad’s old Green Zone look permissive. The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), encompassing troops from five African countries and police from an additional three, provides basic security. The president holds little sway outside his palace and a few square blocks around his palace, while Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda, continues to strike in the city and across the country.

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