Tuesday, October 15, 2013

US "Dual Track" Policy in Somalia

There may be some confusion over the US so-called "dual track" policy in Somalia. It was first enunciated in 2010 as a policy for supporting the central government in Mogadishu in addition to Somaliland, Puntland, and other emerging entities in Somalia.  The dual track approach had a strong political connotation.  The term disappeared from official US lexicon about a year later and did not reappear until the testimony of the new Assistant Secretary of State, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 8 October 2013.

It is important to look at her precise words.  First, she said prior to the US recognition of the Federal Government of Somalia, US policy in Somalia had three primary objectives, one of which was to "promote our 'dual track' policy."

Following US recognition of the Federal Government of Somalia Thomas-Greenfield stated that this dual track policy evolved as follows: "Third, our dual-track approach concluded (my emphasis) with the successful completion of the Djibouti Peace Process and the recognition of the Federal Government of Somalia.  The United States has underscored the importance of outreach and engagement with the regional administrations to form the federal framework.  We will continue to fund humanitarian assistance and civil society programs in Somaliland and Puntland, with an objective of improving regional collaboration towards federalism."

I read this as strong support for Somali federalism within a central government structure and continuing humanitarian support for Somaliland and Puntland.  I think some of my Somali friends are reading more political importance into her statement than is there.  Former Somali special envoy to the US, Abukar Arman, offers an articulate analysis of US-Somali relations in a piece titled "Getting US-Somali Relations on the Right Track" carried in The Hill on 14 October 2013.  He writes, however, as though the dual track policy of several years ago still governs US policy.


  1. Thank you for the post and links. I have several objections to the news though. First, I only found out about this yesterday from an article in the "Somaliland Sun." It may have been covered in the U.S. but more deeply than I could see.
    Second, I had to get out my dictionary to check on the meaning of "perfidy" because that was the only word that came to my mind upon reading Thomas-Greenfield's statement.
    Third, the implication that Somaliland was in any way connected to the recent terrorist attack in Kenya, is nothing more than the worst kind of attempt at guilt by association. There is no evidence, not even a hint of evidence, that Somaliland was connected. A Somali friend of mine with connections in the south and whose has met frequently with Ms. Thomas-Greenfield thinks the administration will now use Somaliland as a political target to make the point that the FRG is simply being held back by the Somalilanders and their refusal to go along.
    One does not need to be Somali to see how wrong and unethical such a policy this is. It may be realpolitik; but I think it stinks.

  2. The United States siding with Somalia against Somaliland is clear proof that the United States does not have the best interest of somalis in mind with this policy or ever. The fact that the first act of the US after their recognition of the fake so called government was to provide Somalia with weapons and military support to attack Somaliland with is a clear indication of US hostility towards Somaliland. What US eill gain from an invasion of Somaland using Somalia as a proxy only they know.