Today, the Washington Post reported that the U.S. has been “secretly supporting secular warlords who have been waging fierce battles against Islamic groups for control of the capital, Mogadishu.”
The Bush administration is “backing the warlords as part of its global war against terrorism,” even though some of these warlords “reportedly fought against the United States in 1993 during street battles that culminated in an attack that downed two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters and left 18 Army Rangers dead.”
At today’s press briefing, Tony Snow all but confirmed the report:
[Y]ou’ve got instability in Somalia right now, and there is concern about the presence of foreign terrorists, particularly Al Qaeda, within Somalia right now. In an environment of instability, as we’ve seen in the past, Al Qaeda may take root, and we want to make sure that Al Qaeda does not in fact establish a beachhead in Somalia. ["¦] The United States – we will continue to work with regional and international partners wherever we can to crack down on terrorism and also to try to prevent its rising.
Somalia’s interim government has warned the U.S. that this policy is “shortsighted and dangerous,” and is causing more violence in an already anarchic country:
“We would prefer that the U.S. work with the transitional government and not with criminals,” the prime minister, Ali Mohamed Gedi, said in an interview. “This is a dangerous game. Somalia is not a stable place and we want the U.S. in Somalia. But in a more constructive way. Clearly we have a common objective to stabilize Somalia, but the U.S. is using the wrong channels.”
Shortsighted and dangerous: a good way to describe much of the administration’s foreign policy.