06 December 2009

On the edge of the abyss?

Is the Prime Minister of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) asking the West to occupy Somalia? In an open letter to The Times on Saturday, Omar Sharmarke argued that President Obama’s plan for Afghanistan is applicable to Somalia as well, and that the Somali situation was not hopeless even after 20 years without a government. This is an interesting comparison, and the two countries certainly have some similarities: failing governments that are propped up by foreign powers (ISAF, AU), illegal sources of income (piracy, opium), and regional instability spreading outward from each nation. Oh, and raging insurgencies, can’t forget about that part. I do agree with Sharmarke that if the TFG is going to succeed, a greater international emphasis must be placed on stabilization efforts in the country, especially enduring economic efforts that sap groups like al Shabaab of potential recruits.

What stuck out to me in Sharmarke’s letter was the fact he wrote it in the first place. This undoubtedly indicates a sense of compounding fear and frustration within the TFG over their current diplomatic efforts with the West. But, is this also a signal that the TFG is closer to overthrow than we in the West likely realize?


  1. On that last point, probably. It took the intervention of Ethiopia to save the transitional government the last time, and I give it 50/50 odds at best that they'll do that again. Know of any honest authors on the place?

  2. Grant,
    Unfortunately, outside of BBC and Al Jazeera, there isn't much to recommend. Jamestown recently published "Who's Who In The Somali Insurgency 2009", but I haven't read enough of it to give you a solid recommendation.


  3. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/07/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.