On Thursday the USA finally recognised the government of Somalia. It has taken them 20 years to do so. It strikes this writer as ironic that within a short space of time the USA, and other western countries, recognised rebels in Syria and Libya as official. In those cases the West had a vested interest, and perhaps was also pulling the strings.
With Somalia you have to ask why now?
The Washington Post reports, '“Today’s meeting has been a long time in the making,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said alongside Somali President Hassan Sheik Mohamud after the two met privately in Washington. “Four years ago, at the start of the Obama administration, Somalia was, in many ways, a different country than it is today,” she said.'
That may be but why now. The ongoing crisis in the Middle East, Mali, Algeria and more has shown what a fragile state peace is inthat region. Many of the countries have lived in a 'sate of war' in all but name for years. Mali looks set to become a broader war and the USA need a foothold in the region.
As the regime of Mali was put in place by a coup the US will find it tricky to become involved. They will be looking for ways around that issue. Somalia may not be close to Mali but its location could prove useful.
The US has been active in Somalia for some time. 'A U.S.-backed African military coalition — along with selective targeting of militant leaders by U.S. drone and aircraft strikes — has made significant strides against extremists who until recently occupied large swaths of Somali territory and much of Mogadishu, the capital.' reports WP.
Somalia's President Mohamud appeared with US secretary of state Hilary Clinton yesterday. He was overjoyed at the recognition which he says will pave the way for economic aid from the US and elsewhere. Clinton admits there is still a lot of work to do in Somalia which has to mean the timing of this announcement is strategic.
If Americans wonder where some of there money has been going Somalia is once place. $1 billion in four years, in indirect assistance, has been sent to Somalia, from the US. This has partly been to fund the African military coalition. CNN's breakdown is '$650 million in aid to the African Union mission in Somalia, more than $130 million to the country's security forces, nearly $360 million in emergency humanitarian aid over the past two years and more than $45 million in development-related assistance to help rebuild the economy.'
Terror group al-Shaba, which has links to al-Qaeda, was pushed back. Now it would seem that they may have been pushed back simply moving the problem elsewhere.
Perhaps if western governments were more reticient in becoming embroiled in conlfict, the general public would not have to face stiff austerity measures? You might hope that lessons have been learned from Libya and Egypt. Selectively choosing to support rebels for our own ends will ultimately back-fire. This week have the chickens come home to roost?