However, David Shinn, a former U.S. ambassador to neighbouring Ethiopia in the 1990s, disagrees that the al-Shabaab leadership will be ready to join any future political arrangement in the country. "I think al-Shabaab has become more radicalised and I don't see any pragmatic leaders in al-Shabaab today. Many in the rank and file maybe pragmatic, the gun-carriers, but they are not the leaders," said Shinn, who also served as U.S. ambassador to Burkina Faso in the late 1980s. ... It was hoped that the installation of Sharif Ahmed, the former head of the Union of Islamic Courts, as president in January 2009 would attract a sufficient number of Islamist leaders to subdue or at least fragment al-Shabaab's forces. But Shinn says the TFG has become "marginally stronger" in recent months. "She [Bruton] seems to begin with the assumption that the TFG is doomed to fail. I am not convinced that it will fail," said Shinn, who was a member of the Advisory Committee to the report. "The fact the TFG under President Ahmed has now existed for more than a year has already surprised many so-called Somali experts. It's just wrong to make the assumption that it's going to fail."
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I am quoted in the IPS story "Somalia: U.S. Should Accept Islamist Authority, Report Says" by Charles Fromm and Mohammed A. Salih. Here are the quotes: