Thursday, June 25, 2009

Al Jazeera interview on Somalia

Al Jazeera Arabic-language TV asked me to comment on the confirmation from the State Department earlier in the day that the United States is providing weapons to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia. Under the circumstances, I thought this was the right response and added that several European countries are training TFG security forces. This too is appropriate. I do not agree with those who are calling for the sending of international forces to Somalia to prop up the TFG. The Somali government has to stand on its own feet. It is true that the groups opposing the TFG -- al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam -- are receiving funding and weapons from foreign sources and being aided by several hundred foreign jihadis. The international community should also do what it can to end the supply of foreign money, arms, and jihadis reaching these organizations. When Al Jazeera suggested that U.S. support for the TFG will result in a negative response from the Muslim world, I thought that would not be the case except for organization like al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam. The United Nations, African Union, and Arab League have all called for international support of the TFG. Earlier this week, the secretary general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference even called on the international community to intervene immediately to support the TFG. The U.S. action is in keeping with the views of the world's major Islamic organizations.

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