This website works best with JavaScript enabled

logo olive

World Will Pay Higher Price If It Does Not Help Somalia Now

By Stephen Kaufman
Staff Writer

Washington — U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson says more countries need to contribute troops and assets to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and other security and humanitarian efforts in the country, saying it “is in no one’s interest” to step back and allow Somalis to simply fight among themselves.

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Carson said, “Refugee flows, pirate attacks and terrorist threats will continue to increase unless we work with Somalia to deal with these issues.”

So far, the international community’s response to Somalia’s internal crisis has been “too feeble, too slow and too uncoordinated to have the desired impact,” and as a result “the world is paying the consequences today as the humanitarian and security threats continue to emerge” and stands to pay an even higher price “in terms of regional destabilization, piracy and terrorism” if the status quo in Somalia does not change.

The international community will have to do more, including contributions to AMISOM, Carson said.

“Thus far, only Uganda and Burundi have provided troops for this African-led mission. More African countries and perhaps some moderate Arab and Islamic countries should consider troop contributions,” he said.

“AMISOM forces are putting themselves on the line and playing a part in the solution not just to a national, a regional, but a global crisis. And therefore, countries around the world, from Europe to Asia, need to provide increased military equipment and financial assistance” to support AMISOM and Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), he said. New or surplus military equipment “would go a long way in assisting current and future AMISOM deployments.”

Carson urged the Arab League to fulfill its commitment to provide the TFG with $10 million per month in unrestricted budgetary support. He noted that Egypt, Yemen and Saudi Arabia have suffered from the Red Sea piracy that has emanated from Somalia.

He also called for additional financial support to help Somalia’s neighbors arrest, prosecute and incarcerate individuals found guilty of piracy, which he said “would send a strong message of deterrence for those who attempt those kinds of actions.”

The Obama administration is supporting stabilization efforts in Somalia through its own support to AMISOM and the TFG, Carson said. Since 2007, the United States has obligated $229 million in financial assistance to AMISOM and $35 million to help the TFG establish an effective, broad-based national security force, and it has given more than $180 million in humanitarian aid and $60 million in development assistance to the country since 2009.

“The United States intends to remain engaged in the effort to find a long-term solution. Together with our regional and international partners, we will pursue policies that promote stability and security, economic recovery and development, and the improvement in the country’s humanitarian situation,” Carson said.


The assistant secretary said the United States plans to increase its partnerships with the regional governments of Somaliland and Puntland, as well as other local authorities in south-central Somalia that are opposed to the extremist insurgent group al-Shabaab but are not allied with the TFG in Mogadishu.

“We think they, too, deserve and warrant support,” he said. But in assisting those areas, the United States is “not in any way attempting to go around what is in fact the principles of the AU, which is to recognize only a single Somali state.”

“Our relationship will be to provide development assistance in small ways that will help those governments to improve their economic development,” he said, such as supporting microfinance and water projects.

By increasing its support to Somaliland and Puntland, the Obama administration recognizes the progress and relative stability in those areas “as well as the business, clan and marriage-based interconnections among Somali regions and the degree to which stability in one region can potentially contribute to stability in other parts of the country,” Carson said.

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.  Web site:
#fc3424 #5835a1 #1975f2 #2fc86b #f_syc9 #eef77 #020614063440