Wednesday, September 14, 2011

...but how? What can the U.S. do to provide effective relief in Somalia?

CAP's ThinkProgress Security has a guest post this afternoon from John Norris, Executive Director of the Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative at CAP, on the subject of wasted aid money to Somalia. Turns out the outside world has pumped something like $55 billion into that country since 1991, to little evident effect. Here's Norris's solution:
The world has been willing to spend billions on arms transfers, counter-terrorism efforts and military approaches, but sensible diplomacy and working at the local level to build durable peace agreements have usually been an afterthought. The United States and the international community needs to be much more principled and effective in delivering aid in order to help shape a functioning central government in Somalia that enjoys the faith and support of its own people.
Ok, but what does that mean exactly?

I'm no expert on Somalia (as my colleagues are eager to point out!), but my impression is that the security situation in much of the country would be prohibitive to the delivery of development aid or food relief. That means there'd need to be an effective military intervention before any of the humanitarian facts of the situation could be changed, and I'm not sure who has the appetite for that (aside from Ethiopia and AMISOM, to the limited extent they're currently engaged).

If you could start from scratch and set U.S. policy toward Somalia tomorrow, what would you do?

1 comment:

  1. Let the warlords fight it out and whoever gains hegemony over Somalia we start engaging with. It might take 20 years or longer, but at least there will be something approaching centralized power. Obviously, poking and prodding by the outside World doesn't fix anything.