Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Q&A on Somalia with World Focus

I answered some questions on Somalia from World Focus, which you can access here. Here is one of the questions:
Worldfocus: The Somali government is pleading for foreign military assistance. How would the Somali public feel about outside help, given past tension over the Ethiopian troop presence in the country (and current reports that Ethiopian troops have returned)? David Shinn: This poses a huge dilemma for the TFG. The vast majority of Somalis do not want foreign troops of any kind in the country. This includes Ethiopians, African Union forces, United Nations forces and foreign jihadis fighting for al-Shabaab. My own view is that foreign troops can not prop up the TFG. What is required is urgent international training and equipping of Somali security forces who support the goals of the TFG. Ultimately, only Somalis are going to resolve this situation. Because of their training and experience, foreign jihadis provide al-Shabaab with a short-term advantage. It might even be enough to give them a temporary victory. But eventually Somalis are going to turn against any foreign presence and any philosophy that does not fit Somali tradition. Ethiopian forces do periodically cross their lengthy border with Somalia and may have ventured a little deeper into Somalia in recent days. I doubt, however, that Ethiopia will commit forces deep inside Somalia.
Image: Al-Shabaab militiamen in Somalia. Photo: IRIN. Source: World Focus.

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