Somalia

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Overview

Located in eastern Africa, Somalia was under Portuguese and British rule from the 15th through the 19th centuries. During World War II, Italian troops overran Somalia, though the British took the country back after the end of the war and helped Somalia move toward independence. Somalia gained its independence as a united nation in 1960 and adopted its first constitution in 1961. It was originally forged as a democratic government with a parliamentary system, but in 1969. President Abdirashid Ali Shermake was assassinated in 1969 and a military coup installed Muhammad Siad Barre as president. This led to decades of repression and war.

 
In January 1991, President Barre was ousted from his position by northern and southern clan-based forces, furthering a turbulent government situation that has continued until the present-day. In late 1991, the Somaliland region of Somalia in the northwestern section of the country declared itself independent, and although it is not recognized as an independent country by any other nation it has enjoyed relative stability since its separation. Since 1991, the regions of Puntland, Jubaland, and Maakhir have also seceded and formed individual governments.
 
In August 2000, the Transitional National Government (TNG) was formed, but was plagued with internal problems and disruptive foreign intervention. The TNG was succeeded by the Transitional Federal Government, created in November 2004 and is backed by the United Nations, the African Union, and the U.S.
 
Since 1991, Somalia has undergone several changes in leadership, the current leader being President Sharif Ahmed, who was elected in January 2009.
 
In recent years, Islamist insurgents, who have declared allegiance to al-Qaeda, have fought against the government and against Ethiopian forces inside Somalia to regain control of most of southern Somalia.
 
Somali pirates have also become a major threat to international business and shipping due to a long-term absence of authority in the country, which has caused NATO to initiate an anti-piracy operation.
 
In response to the failure of the Somali military, the U.S. helped fund a training program in Djibouti during 2009. The program enlisted 1,000 soldiers, each of whom were supposed to receive a salary of $100 per month. However, the absence of funds resulted in no pay for the soldiers, leading about half to desert the Somali army and return home or join the al-Shabaab militants. This failure to fund the salaries of soldiers threatens the ability of the U.S. and the European Union to build up a successful Somali army.
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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Somalia forms part of the Horn of Africa on the east coast of that continent because of its resemblance to a rhinoceros’ horn. This easternmost country of Africa is bordered on the north by the Gulf of Aden, on the east by the Indian Ocean, and on the south by Kenya. Ethiopia juts into Somalia’s belly in the west and the northwestern tip of the country abuts Djibouti. The terrain consists mostly of plateaus, plains and highlands and it also has the longest coastline on the continent. Most of Somalia is desert, characterized as arid and harsh, with damaging droughts and the civil war leaving a devastating affect on the country’s tropical forests. This climate is the primary factor for Somali lifestyles. The majority of the population lives at subsistence level, tilling infertile soil or herding camels, goats, sheep, and other animals through the inhospitable desert. Numerous domestic grazing animals are increasing the desertification of the country. Agriculture is only practiced in a few areas of limited rainfall in the northwest and southwest where the country’s two perennial rivers are found.

 
Population: 9.8 million
 
Religions: Muslim (predominantly Sunni, of the Sufi tradition) 98.5%, Christian 1.3%, Ethnoreligious 0.1%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Somali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including 30,000 Arabs).
 
Languages: Somali (official) 94.0%, Maay 7.2%, Garre 0.6%, Swahili 0.5%, Arabic (official), English (official). There are 13 living languages in Somalia.
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History

The country of Somalia developed from an Arab Sultanate in the 7th century. Koreishite immigrants from Yemen traveled to this region and established settlements.

 
During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese traders took over several coastal towns in what is now Somalia. The sultan of Oman and Zanzibar subsequently took control of these towns and their surrounding territory.
 
In the late 19th century, Somalia became a trading destination with various European powers. The British East India Company signed treaties with the sultan of Tajura as early as 1840 to gain unfettered access to a port city there. In 1866, the British gained control of northern Somalia, signing treaties with various Somali chiefs desirous of British protection. The boundary between Ethiopia and British Somaliland was established in 1897 through treaty negotiations between British negotiators and King Menelik.
 
In the early part of the 20th century, British rule was challenged repeatedly through persistent attacks by a dervish rebellion led by Mohamed Abdullah, known as the “Mad Mullah” by the British. After British planes bombed Abdullah’s stronghold at Taleex, a peace agreement was signed in 1920. Even though Abdullah lost the war, he was lauded as a popular hero.
 
In 1885, Italy gained commercial advantages in the area from the sultan of Zanzibar. In 1889, Italy also made agreements with the sultans of Obbia and Aluula, in exchange for Italy’s protection. Between 1897 and 1908, Italy made agreements with the Ethiopians and the British that mapped out the boundaries of Italian Somaliland. The Italian government assumed direct administration, giving the territory colonial status.
 
The Italians gradually moved toward the center of the country. In 1924, the United Kingdom ceded territory to Italy, and by the late 1920s, Italian and Somali influence extended to Ethiopia, climaxing in 1935 when Italian forces launched on offensive that led to the capture of the capital city and the annexation of Ethiopia in 1936.
 
During World War II, Italian troops overran British Somaliland. In 1941, British forces retaliated, bringing the country back under British control. From 1941 through 1950, Somalia moved steadily toward self-government, and began to establish courts, planning committees and councils for this purpose. In 1948, Britain turned over two Somali territories to Ethiopia.
 
After World War II Italy renounced all rights to Somalia. The UN adopted a resolution granting Italian Somaliland to an international trusteeship for 10 years, with Italy as the administering authority. This would be followed by independence.
 
Italian Somaliland became independent on July 1, 1960, and British Somaliland held its first elections for the Legislative Assembly in February 1960. The new legislature requested that British Somaliland be united with Italian Somaliland later that year. On July 26, 1950, British Somaliland became independent, and five days later, it joined with Italian Somaliland to form the Somali Republic.
 
In June 1961, Somalia adopted its first constitution, which provided for a democratic state with a parliamentary form of government. Most key government positions were occupied by southern Somalis, which led to increasing friction with the north, formerly controlled by the British.
 
Mohamed Ibrahim Egal was prime minister from 1967 to 1969, and under his leadership, Somalia renounced all claims to the Somali-populated regions of Ethiopia and Kenya, which led to better relations all around. But Egal’s efforts to bring about increased peace with Somalia’s neighbors led to a bloodless coup on October 21, 1969. Egal was removed from office, and Major General Mohamed Siad Barre was installed as president.
 
At this time, the party-based constitutional democracy of Somalia came to an end, and in its place, executive and legislative power was vested in a 20-member Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC), which was headed by Barre. The SRC led the country on a path of “scientific socialism” that reflected both ideological and economic dependence on the Soviet Union. Barre reduced political freedoms and used military force to seize and redistribute rich farmlands in the southern part of the country.
 
In 1974, Somalia and the Soviet Union signed a treaty of freedom and cooperation. In the mid-1970s, the Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF) began guerrilla operations in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. Following the overthrow of the Ethiopian Emperor in 1975, Somalia invaded Ethiopia in 1977. However, the Soviet Union supplied Ethiopia with Cuban troops and Soviet military advisers, which resulted in Somalia’s defeat.
 
In November 1977, Barre expelled all Soviet advisers and abrogated the friendship agreement between the two countries. Somalia abandoned its socialist ideology and turned to the West for support. In 1978, the United States reopened the US Agency for International Development mission in Somalia. Two years later, an agreement was concluded that gave US forces access to military facilities at the port of Berbera in northwestern Somalia.
 
Under President Barre, Somalia moved toward Soviet policies and communism, but when the Soviets backed Ethiopia in a 1970s war, Somalia turned to the West and the United States for support. In 1981, opposition to Barre’s regime began to emerge after he had excluded members of the Mijertyn and Isaq clans from government positions. As a result of Barre’s policies, Somalia devolved into civil war by the 1980s, and several armed opposition groups began fighting in various parts of the country. Tens of thousands were killed, and millions were displaced as civil war raged. Soon, Barre controlled just the area around Mogadishu, which resulted in many countries pulling back their support, including the U.S. Insurrections against Barre’s repressive regime in the late 1980s began the first phase of the ongoing Somali Civil War.
 
In the summer of 1982, Ethiopian forces invaded Somalia’s central border, and the US provided two airlifts to help Somalia defend its territory. From 1982 to 1988, the United States viewed Somalia as a partner in defense in the context of the Cold War.
 
However, Barre continued to violently suppress opposition movements and ethnic groups, particularly the Isaaq clan in the northern region. By the 1980s, an all-out civil war developed in Somalia. Several opposition groups formed with the intention of removing Barre from office. In 1988, at Barre’s order, aircraft from the Somali National Air Force bombed the city of Hargeisa in northwestern Somalia. Nearly 10,000 civilians and soldiers were killed. Economic crisis, brought on by the cost of anti-insurgency activities, caused further hardship as Siad Barre and his cronies looted the national treasury.
 
By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government had spread to the central and southern regions of the country. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia.
 
Barre continued to control the areas around Mogadishu, which resulted in the withdrawal of external support, including that from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as rebels advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed opposition factions drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria.
 
In 1992, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation tried to ensure the delivery of needed supplies to Somalis suffering from the effects of the protracted civil war. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994.
 
Following the collapse of the Barre regime in 1991, various groupings of Somali factions sought to control the national territory. At the same time, many Somalis opposed the presence of foreign troops. In October 1993, local gunmen and peacekeepers engaged in several gun battles that claimed the lives of 24 Pakistanis and 19 US soldiers. The largest of these was called the Battle of Mogadishu, and most of the Americans died in this battle, which later became the basis for the book and movie Black Hawk Down. During this raid, soldiers from the US armed forces tried to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid in Mogadishu (also called Operation Gothic Serpent), but were downed in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The subsequent battle was the most intense close combat Americans had engaged in since the Vietnam War.
 
The UN withdrew from Mogadishu on March 3, 1995, having suffered even more casualties.
 
In May 1991, the northwestern of Somalia, known as Somaliland, declared its independence. It is still unrecognized by any other nation or international organization, but has experienced relatively stable peace since 1991.This was followed in 1998 by the northeastern part of the country seceding, and naming itself Puntland. Later that year, southwestern Somalia seceded and began to call itself Jubaland. A fourth state was set up in 1999, ruled by the Rahanweyn Resistance Army.
 
In November of 2004, The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was established as the internationally recognized government of Somalia and is backed by the UN and the African Union, as well as the United States. In the Second Battle of Mogadishu in June 2006, The Islamic Courts Union (ICU) succeeded in capturing Mogadishu, and their movement’s growing power and militancy led to increasing warfare between the Islamists and other factions within Somalia, as well as warfare with the TFG.
 
The ICU and the TFG began the Battle of Baidoa in December of 2006, resulting in the defeat of the ICU in all major battles, forcing them to withdraw to Mogadishu. The U.S. officially interceded with airstrikes in January 2007 against Islamist positions as part of efforts to catch al-Qaeda operatives supposedly embedded within the ICU. Existing tribal conflicts continued in inter-clan fighting, as well as guerrilla warfare between the ICU and Ethiopian and Somali government forces.
 
Although the Somali parliament extended the mandate of the TFG, the government’s military position weakened significantly in 2009, and in May of that year, Islamist insurgents launched an attack on the capital, Mogadishu, motivating moderate Islamist President Ahmad to appeal for international support.
 
 
Thousands of people residing in Mogadishu have been displaced due to the current phase of the Somali Civil War. Beginning in February 2009, this phase of conflict has been between the forces of the TFG assisted by the African Union and various militant Islamist factions. The Islamist factions are demanding the enforcement of Sharia Law throughout Somalia.
 
Piracy off the Somali coast has contributed a continuous threat to international shipping, especially since 2005. Many international organizations have expressed concern in the rise of piracy as 95% of the World Food Programme’s shipments arrive by sea. According to the Kenyan Foreign Minister, Moses Masika Wetangula, Somali pirates received more than US$150 million in ransom during 2008.
 
Somaliland
Somaliland is the northwestern region of Somalia, about the size of England and Walles, that declared itself independent in 1991. Although no international nations or organizations have recognized Somaliland as independent, it has been governed by a secessionist administration and is considered an independent state. The current president is Dahir Riyale Kahin, who, in April 2003, became the first president of Somaliland to be elected in a free and fair election. The current population of Somaliland of approximately 3.5 million is primarily Sunni Muslim.
 
Although there have been tensions regarding border disputes between Somaliland and Puntland since 2002, the overall activity within Somaliland has been relatively stable since its declaration of independence in 1991. The government of Somaliland is a blend of traditional and western institutions and formed the Constitution of Somaliland as a constitutional presidential republic.
 
Currently, there are approximately 60,000 military personnel active in Somaliland and the armed forces account for the biggest share of the government’s budget. The economy is in a developing stage and is regulated by the Bank of Somaliland, which was established in 1994. Ethiopia has increased its use of Somaliland as a major export port and has signed a contract with the Somaliland government stating that Berbera, a port city of Somaliland, will export and import goods for Ethiopia.
 
 
Puntland
Puntland is the northeastern region of Somalia that was declared an autonomous state in 1998. Unlike Somaliland’s intention to become independent from Somalia, the leaders of Puntland claim to seek the unity of Somali people and to adheres to a federal system of government. The region bases its support on clan elders and their organizational structure along the lines of traditional clan relationships and kinship. The current population of Puntland is estimated to be 3.9 million.
 
In 2001, the region experienced brief political unrest when the president at the time, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, attempted to extend his term. He served a second term until 2004, when he was elected President of Somalia. ”. Under the administration of President Mohamud Muse Hersi “Adde,” Puntland built the Bender Qassim International Airport, the second largest airport in Somalia. The current president is Abdirahman Mohamud Farole. The region has experienced relative stability since 1998, except for border disputes and piracy issues.
 
There are several key players in oil exploration in Puntland including Africa Oil Corp., Range Resources, the Puntland State government and the TFG of Somalia. A full seismic survey of the Nugaal region was completed in September 2007, and mobilization for drilling began during the winter of that same year. Africa Oil Corp. planned to select drilling locations in late 2009 and there are plans to begin drilling in the near future. 
 
Piracy has been a major concern for the ports of Puntland since the early 21st century, and in 2008, the country experienced a rise in piracy. According to a report from the UN, Somali pirates based in Puntland accumulated at least $120 million and were still holding at least 17 foreign ships.
 
 
Jubaland
Jubaland is the southwestern part of Somalia. With a population of just under 2 million, this region has been the site of several Somali Civil War battles. It experienced brief independence in 1998-1999. As of 2009 Jubaland is currently under the control of the Islamist Al-Shabaab movement.
 
Mohammed Said Hersi Morgan was the head of the self-created entity Jubaland during its year of independence.  However the territory was lost to the Juba Calley Alliance (JVA) under Ahmed Wasame in 1999.
 
In late 2006, the Islamic Courts Union seized control of the Juba territory and established its own administration. However, in December 2006, the JVA, which is now a part of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), retook Juba and asserted control over the region following the Battle of Baidoa. On January 1 2007, the ICU withdrew and Ksimayo, the capital city of former Jubaland, fell to the TFG without armed conflict.
 
 
Galmudug
Galmudug is in the central region of Somalia and considers itself a federal division within Somalia but is not attempting to obtain international recognition as a separate nation. Galmudug is a combination of Mudug and Galgadud, which previously were regions from which Mogadishu warlords imported soldiers and livestock.
 
During 2006, the Islamic Courts Union defeated the Mogadishu warlords in the central regions of Somalia. As a result, these central regions became independent of Mogadishu and were inspired by the successes Puntland and Somaliland had with autonomy. On August 14, 2006, Galmudug was established and Mohamed Warsame Ali was elected President. The second and current President of Galmudug is Mohamed Ahmed Alin. Currently, much of Galmudug struggles to be controlled by a central government as most of the region is under the control of coastal pirates and Islamic militant groups like al-Shabaab.
 
 
A Country Study: Somalia (Library of Congress)
History of Somalia‘ (Wikipedia)
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History of U.S. Relations with Somalia

Throughout much of the 1970s, Somalia was allied with the Soviet Union, and its relations with the United States were strained. Largely because the Soviet Union sided with Ethiopia in the Ogaden War, a United States-Somali rapprochement began in 1977 and culminated in a military access agreement in 1980 that permitted the United States to use naval ports and airfields at Berbera, Chisimayu, and Mogadishu, in exchange for military and economic aid.

 
The United States subsequently refurbished facilities originally developed by the Soviet Union at the Gulf of Aden port of Berbera. The United States Rapid Deployment Force used Berbera as a base for its Operation Bright Star exercises in 1981, and American military advisers were permanently stationed there one year later. Somali military units participated in Operation Bright Star joint maneuvers in 1985. The base at Berbera was used in the fall of 1990 during the deployment of personnel and supplies to Saudi Arabia in preparation for the Persian Gulf War.
 
Controversy over the Siad Barre government’s human rights policies clouded the future of United States military cooperation with Somalia. Siad Barre’s policy of repression in the north aroused criticism of his regime in the US Congress, where the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives held extensive hearings during July 1988 on human rights abuses in Somalia. In 1989, under congressional pressure, the administration of President George H. W. Bush terminated military aid to Somalia, although it continued to provide food assistance and to operate a small International Military Education and Training program.
 
In 1990 Washington revealed that Mogadishu had been in default on loan repayments for more than a year. Therefore, under the terms of the Brooke Amendment, this meant that Somalia was ineligible to receive any further United States aid. During the height of the fighting in Mogadishu in January 1991, the United States closed its embassy and evacuated all its personnel from the country. The embassy was ransacked by mobs in the final days of the Siad Barre regime. The United States recognized the provisional government shortly after its establishment, and urged all parties to come together to resolve their dispute by peaceful means.
 
One of the main sources of power in Somalia has been the control of food supplies. Hijacked food was used to secure the loyalty of clan leaders, and food was routinely exchanged with other countries for weapons. In the early 1990’s up to 80% of internationally provided food was stolen. Meanwhile, between 1991 and 1992 it is estimated that over three hundred thousand Somalis died of starvation. In July 1992 United Nations military observers were sent to Somalia in accordance with a ceasefire signed by opposing clan factions. In August 1992 Operation Provide Relief (UNOSOM – I) officially began to provide humanitarian relief for the people of Somalia. This mission was unsuccessful due to the UN’s inability to deliver food and supplies. Relief flights into Somalia were often looted as soon as they landed.
 
The UN asked its member nations for assistance. In December 1992, in one of his last acts as president, George Bush proposed to the UN that American combat troops lead the intervention force. The UN accepted this offer and 25,000 US troops were deployed to Somalia. President Bush stated that this would not be an “open-ended commitment.” The objective of Operation Restore Hope was to rapidly secure the trade routes in Somalia so that food could get to the people. President Bush stated that US troops would be home in time for Bill Clinton’s inauguration in January 1993.
 
Once President Clinton was inaugurated he stated his desire to scale down the US presence in Somalia, and to let the UN forces take over. In March 1993 the UN officially took over the operation, naming this mission UNOSOM – II. The objective of this mission was to promote “nation building” within Somalia. One main target was to disarm the Somali people. UNOSOM – II stressed restoring law and order, improving the infrastructure, and assisting the people with setting up a representative government.
 
President Clinton supported the UN mandate and ordered the number of US troops in Somalia reduced to be replaced by UN troops. By June 1993, only 1,200 US troops remained in Somalia, but on June 5, 1993, 24 Pakistani soldiers were ambushed and killed during the inspection of a Somali arms weapons storage site. The UN responded with an emergency resolution to apprehend those responsible. While it was not specifically stated, General Farrah Aidid, a Somali warlord, and his loyal militia fighters were believed to be responsible.
 
From June 12 through June 16 of 1993, US and UN troops attacked targets in Mogadishu related to Aidid. On July 12 US Cobra helicopters attacked a house in Mogadishu where clan leaders were meeting. They destroyed several buildings and many Somalis were killed. When four Western journalists went to investigate the scene they were beaten to death by a mob of Somalis. On August 8, four US military police were killed when a land mine was remote-detonated by Somalis. Two weeks later, six more US soldiers were wounded. It was at this point that Task Force Ranger, an assault force made up of US troops from different military branches, was deployed to Somalia.
 
On August 29 Task Force Ranger flew into Mogadishu. They were led by General William Garrison and consisted of 440 elite troops from Delta Force. Their mission was to capture Aidid. But, at the same time, in September 1993 the Clinton Administration began a secret plan to negotiate with Aidid. US military commanders within Somalia were not apprised of this. US Defense Secretary Les Aspin denied a request for armored reinforcements made by General Montgomery.
 
On October 3, 1993 Task Force Ranger raided the Olympic Hotel in Mogadishu to search for Aidid. This led to a 17-hour battle in which 18 US soldiers were killed and 84 were wounded. Bodies of dead American soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, shown on international news reports. Hundreds of Somalis also died, although the official number has never been released. This was the longest, most bloody battle for US troops since the Vietnam War. On October 7, President Clinton responded by withdrawing US troops from Somalia. The hunt for Aidid was abandoned, although US representatives were sent to resume negotiations with clan leaders.
 
US troops were withdrawn completely from Somalia in March of 1994, however there were still 20,000 UN troops remaining in the country. The remaining UN troops were withdrawn by the spring of 1994, officially ending UNOSOM - II.
 
The consequences of the Battle of Mogadishu had a significant impact on American foreign policy, not specific to Somalia. President Bill Clinton’s administration became increasingly hesitant to use military intervention in Third World conflicts.
 
The US Embassy in Somalia has been closed since 1991 with the collapse of President Barre’s government. However, the US maintains somewhat regular communication with the TFG and through the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Additionally, the US Embassy in Djibouti provides American Citizen Services in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland.
 
A report from the Council on Foreign Relations in June of 2006 stated that there are no US troops in Somalia and the amount of US support for the Somali warlords was small to nonexistent. Additionally, an arms embargo forbids the supplying of weapons. Somali leaders, such as Prime Minster Ali Mohamed Gedi, have told the Washington Post that they prefer the US government work with the Somali goernment instead of with criminals.
 
The US may be providing support for the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism, but beyond that there are about 1,000 troops stationed in Djibouti. These troops make up part of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, responsible for promoting stability within the region and preventing terrorism.
 
Operation Restore Hope (GlobalSecurity.org)
US Strikes Somalia (by Eben Kaplan, Council on Foreign Relations)
Somalia’s Terrorist Infestation (by Eben Kaplan, Council on Foreign Relations)
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Current U.S. Relations with Somalia

US President George Bush’s administration in 2006 launched a new policy in Somalia, putting the State Department in charge after secret CIA efforts failed to prevent Islamic fundamentalists from seizing power in Mogadishu. The Islamists had expanded their hold on the southern part of the country, while a largely powerless, US-backed rump government remains divided and isolated in the southern town of Baidoa. Al-Qaeda established itself as a presence in the Somali capital, according to US officials, who view Somalia as a growing risk that will become a new haven for terrorists to launch attacks beyond its borders.

 
In early 2007, US commandos began operating in Somalia to hunt down suspected al-Qaeda fighters and to provided limited military advice to Ethiopian and Somali forces on the ground. The US forces entered Somalia with Ethiopian forces when Ethiopians launched their attack against the Islamic movement said to be sheltering Al-Qaeda figures.
 
Since the closing of the US Embassy in 1991, the US Embassy in Kenya has been responsible for observing Somali developments, however the lack of a diplomatic presence has severely limited the knowledge available to the US.
 
During FY 2008, USAID allocated more than $319 million to Somalia through international and local nongovernmental organizations and UN agencies. This assistance included funding for development assistance, food aid, and humanitarian assistance.
 
The Obama administration has suggested their intention to review the Bush administration’s policy on Somalia, however to date there has been no shift in policy. As of 2009, the US continued to provide the most humanitarian assistance of all donors, but US intentions remain centered around combating international terrorist threats linked to al-Shabaab. In 2009 alone the US sent 40 tons of arms and ammunition to Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), however civil society groups within Somalia have reported that some US-supplied weapons have been sold to insurgents on the black market.
 
According to a 2009 report from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the US should “accept an Islamist authority” in Somalia and has labeled the current US approach towards the TFG counterproductive. . The report from the CFR calls on the US to make a final attempt at providing aid to the Somali government to assist in building public support, however US President Barack Obama is encouraged to consider policy changes depending on the result of the TFG’s success in remaining stable.
 
As of March 2010, the Pentagon, as an attempt to find an appropriate balance between taking out al-Qaeda insurgents and avoiding a U.S. occupation in Somalia, announced the possibility of sending surveillance drones for a Somali government offensive against al-Qaeda-linked insurgents.
 
In response to the failure of the Somali military, the U.S. helped fund a training program in Djibouti during 2009. The program enlisted 1,000 soldiers, each of whom were supposed to receive a salary of $100 per month. However, the absence of funds resulted in no pay for the soldiers, leading about half to desert the Somali army and return home or join the al-Shabaab militants.
 
There have been instances of individual countries pledging to cover salaries for a limited number of Somali soldiers; however, when the money runs out, the soldiers don’t get paid. This failure to fund the salaries of soldiers threatens the ability of the U.S. and the European Union to build up a successful Somali army.
 
US Special Forces in Somalia (by Pauline Jelinek, Washington Post)
US Sees Growing Threats In Somalia (by Karen DeYoung, Washington Post)
Somalia (USAID)
US Forces Fire Missiles Into Somalia at a Kenyan (by Jeffrey Gettleman and Eric Schmitt, New York
 Times)
Somalia: A New Approach (by Bronwyn E. Bruton, Council on Foreign Relations)
The US Role in Somalia's Calamity (by Chris Albin-Lackey, Human Rights Watch)
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Where Does the Money Flow

U.S. imports from Somalia totaled $1.33 million from 2005 to 2009. Imports from Somalia saw an increase from 2005-2009 in food oils and oilseeds going from $8,000 to $25,000, and numismatic coins going from $2,000 to $55,000.

 
Imports from Somalia saw a decrease from 2005-2009 in soft beverages and processed coffee going from $31,000 to $0, computer accessories going from $37,000 to $0, and apparel household goods going from $42,000 to $2,000.
 
U.S. exports to Somalia totaled $117 million from 2005 through 2009. Exports to Somalia saw an increase from 2005 to 2009 in vegetables going from $1.55 million to $1.95 million, chemicals (fertilizers) going from $0 to $69,000, mineral supplies going from $0 to $115,000, electric apparatus going from $23,000 to $147,000 and pharmaceutical preparations going from $34,000 to $179,000.
 
Exports to Somalia saw a decrease from 2005 to 2009 in sorghum, barley, and oats going from $1.95 million to $178,000, steelmaking materials going from $118,000 to $0, industrial machines going from $98,000 to $12,000, and telecommunications equipment going from $1.58 million to $290,000.
 
US assistance to Somalia for FY 2010 will facilitate support for development, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance. In FY 2009, total US aid to Somalia reached $177.7 million and the request for FY 2010 is $103.3 million. The program that will be the largest recipient of US aid has consistently been Peacekeeping Operations, receiving $118 million in FY 2009 and receiving a potential of $67 million in FY 2010. The second highest area to receive US support was the Economic Support Fund with $20.25 million in FY 2009 and $28.3 million in FY 2010.
 
In 2009, Somalia saw the creation of a new “unity” government that was intended to include members of the Alliance for there=Liberation of Somalia (ARS) into the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the election of a new president; however, terrorist operatives disrupted the political efforts in this process.
 
Funds in FY 2010 from the US will support programs to train government and civic leaders in conflict mitigation and reconciliation, in addition to providing support for the construction of employment resource centers to provide training and work opportunities of 10,000 youth. 
 
According to the State Department, the goals of U.S. policy are to support Somalia in governing justly and democratically, to help rebuild the administrative capacity of local institutions that provide basic services in order to improve governance at the national, regional, and local levels, as well as key elements of civil society. Additional assistance is aimed at enhancing legal training facilities and strengthening the judicial structures and conflict resolution capacities at the local level.
 
USAID in 2010 proposed to support inclusive consensus-building initiatives related to peace agreements, national dialogues, and the development of a free and fair electoral system and political process.
 
US support for humanitarian causes reached $37.3 million in FY 2009 and will continue to focus on basic maternal and child health interventions at the health facility and local levels in 2010. In the area of sanitation and water activity, USAID resources in FY 2010 will support hygiene and sanitation education to individuals and will fund a broader hygiene awareness campaign. A portion of FY 2010 funds will also improve drinking water supply and sanitation for schools and communities. The FY 2010 target amount for maternal and child health is $38.7 million.
 
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Controversies

Mogadishu fighting leaves 19 dead

In early April 2010, fighting broke out between government forces, backed by African Union peacekeepers, and insurgent groups in the capital city of Mogadishu. The fighting involved heavy shelling, resulting in at least 19 deaths, many of whom are believed to have been civilians. The shelling began as a result of Islamist insurgents firing mortars at the presidential palace and airport, which earned the response of heavy artillery fire from government troops.
 
Music Banned on Airwaves
On April 11 2010, Islamist militants halted music played on air, a move mirroring the actions of the Taliban’s rules imposed on Afghans in the 1990s. With the threat of punishments, such as amputations and stonings, stations were quick to cooperate. However, with a strong appreciation for traditional and contemporary music, Somali residents are not happy with the ban. There has been no reported end to the ban and in the meantime, stations must re-record any commercials containing music and will potentially lose significant numbers of listeners because of the lack of music.
 
Somali Pirates Capture Ships and Hostages, Demand Ransom
In October 2009, a British couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, was kidnapped by Somali pirates while on a yachting holiday in the Indian Ocean. Maslah Yare, the leader of the pirate gang holding the Chandlers hostage, has claimed that al-Shabaab has offered to pay 1.2 million British Pounds, (1.97 million US dollars), however Yare is demanding 1.6 million British Pounds. In April 2010, a team of al-Shabaab militants entered the town where the pirates were stationed and forced the pirates to another area called Hobyo. Currently, Somali pirates hold 15 vessels and more than 300 hostages.
Piracy in Somalia (Wikipedia)
 
Controversy over Somali troops
In October 2009, Islamist rebels in Somalia accused the Kenyan government of recruiting Somalis living in Kenya to fight against the rebels. Although Nariobi has denied such accusations, the mayor of the town of Garissa, Narcs Mohammed Gabow, reported that 200 Kenyan men had been taken from their homes. Kenyan officials have also suggested that the Somali government has been crossing the border to recruit Kenyan youths. Somali government officials such as Dahir Mohamud Gelle, the information minister for Somalia’s government, have denied recruiting soldiers from Kenya.
 
US Launches Missile Strike Against Somali Target
In March 2008, CNN reported that the US had launched a missile strike on southern Somalia against a man wanted by the FBI. Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan is wanted for questioning in 2002 attacks in Kenya, including a hotel suicide blast. It was unclear whether or not he was killed in the missile strike, though three women and three children were killed, and 20 people were wounded. Nabhan is also thought to be an associate of al Qaeda member Harun Fazul. Some have said, in contradiction to American intelligence, that terrorists do not live in the area.
 
US Secretly Supporting Somali Warlords?
In May 2006, it was reported that the US had returned to Somalia and was secretly supporting warlords who oppose Islamic factions for control of Mogadishu. US officials declined to address questions of involvement, though the government said that it supported governments that root out terrorists, and Al Qaeda in particular. Leaders of the transitional government warned the US against the dangers of working with warlords. But the US said it would move against any country that established a base for terrorists to operate from. Meanwhile, Somalia’s interim president, Abdullahi Yusuf, rejected US requests to bring moderate Islamists into his transitional government, saying his government would crack down on terrorists anyplace around the nation, with or without the help of the US. The US said that new aid wasn’t conditional on the transitional government negotiating with Islamists.
Is US backing warlords against Somali Islamists? (by Emily Wax and Karen DeYoung, Associated Press)
Interim leader rejects US approach in Somalia (by Shashank Bengali, McClatchy)
Bush Hawks Down in Somalia (by Jim Lobe, Final Call News)
 
Columbia Professor Goes into Hiding After Somalia Comments
In April 2003, a Columbia University assistant professor came under fire for saying that he wanted to see the US defeated in Iraq and suffer “a million Mogadishus,” a reference to the 1993 Somalia ambush that left 18 Americans dead. Nicholas De Genova and his wife had gone into hiding after receiving more than a thousand threatening phone and email messages. About two dozen students mounted a silent protest, sitting quietly in support of DeGenova’s right to free speech.
Stir Continues Over Columbia Professor’s Comments (by Catherine Donaldson-Evans, Fox News)
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Human Rights

Somalia remains buried in conflict between the (Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and opposition groups that are in control of most of the country. The capital of Mogadishu has been a strategically important area and host to many armed conflicts over the years, while much of Somalia has experience relative peace. Patterns of abuse have plagued Somalis both within the Mogadishu and in the surrounding, relatively more peaceful areas.

 
Members of anti-government groups and terrorist organizations like al-Shabaab have committed an increasing number of human rights violations. Al-Shabaab controls much of the south of Somalia and the population there suffers from targeted killings and assaults, repressive forms of control and other forms of brutal punishment under its strict interpretation of Sharia (Islamic law).
 
Armed Conflict
After Ethiopian troops left Somalia in January 2009, many Somalis hoped that fighting would cease and peace would reenter the country. However fighting and conflict between the government and opposition groups continue to bring about a huge loss of life and property, especially in Mogadishu.
 
Civilians have experienced a high death toll as a result of ongoing armed conflict between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and insurgent al-Shabab and other militia groups. From January 2007 through 2008, more than 16,000 civilians were killed as a result of this armed conflict, and more than 1.2 million people were internally displaced in southern and central Somalia.
 
Open warfare in Somalia has primarily taken place in the capital of Mogadishu, taking a heavy toll on civilians in this area and in other target areas. In 2009, tens of thousands of Somalis who had previously been displaced from their homes in Mogadishu returned with the hopeful possibility of peace. However, fighting and violations of human rights have persisted.
 
Freedom of Expression
In 2009, human rights defenders, humanitarian aid workers, and journalists received regular threats of attack by all parties to the conflict, and were also regularly shot at, abducted, and killed. In 2008 alone, more than 40 Somali human rights defenders were killed.
 
There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet, but opposition elements in Mogadishu reportedly closely monitored Internet use and were believed to be the authors of anonymous e-mail threats to local journalists.
 
Reports from April 2010 reveal that al-Shabaab exerts strict control over personal lives and punishes any allegedly immoral conduct. Men are barred from shaving their beards or wearing long trousers and people are not allowed on the streets during prayer times. Mandatory prayer is imposed on Somalis and people are expected to go to a mosque during the five daily prayer times.
 
As of April 11 2010, Islamist militants halted music played on air. With the threat of punishments such as amputations and stonings, stations were quick to cooperate, to the great disappointment of the civilian population of Somalia.
 
Humanitarian Aid Workers
Human rights defenders have been at high risk as a result of the conflict and general lawlessness. Two gunmen shot and killed a peace activist and mediator between clan militias, Ali Jama Bihi, on July 9, 2008.
 
The insecurity of humanitarian aid workers as of 2008 was the worst it had been since the early 1990s. Extremely violent attacks resulted in an unknown number of abductions followed frequently by deaths. For example, masked gunmen shot and killed the director of the NGO Horn Relief, Ahmed Moslim Bario, on May 17, 2008, as he returned home in Kismayo. Survivors are reluctant to speak out of fear of retaliation, and agencies providing aid to displaced people are hesitant to reveal the conditions they face out of fear of losing access to these vulnerable populations.
 
From 2007-2009, at least 19 journalists were killed in Somalia; some targeted because of their work, and others were victims of general violence. Reports in 2009 also revealed that humanitarian workers have been targeted on such a large scale that Somalia is being considered the most dangerous country in the world to work in by many aid agencies. These threats on humanitarian workers make it especially difficult to provide even the most basic supplies to internally-displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in Somalia.
 
Refugees and Internally Displaced People
According to an HRW report in April 2010, there are currently 1.5 million people internally displaced and more than 560,000 are living as refugees in neighboring countries. Attacks on humanitarian operations have made it nearly impossible for organizations to supply basic needs to most Somalis in need, worsening one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.
 
Justice System
As of 2010, Somalia had no effective national governance or justice system in place. As a result, there was no improvement seen in human rights conditions during that year and the UN Development Programme rule of law program was incapable of providing necessary support to establish courts and detention facilities.
 
Death Penalty
In 2008, death sentences were carried out by individuals who claimed local authority in Ksimayo. Puntland authorities have reported that they will apply the death penalty to any individuals partaking in piracy activity, but no executions had been reported as of 2008.
 
Somaliland
In 2009, Somaliland, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991, continued to seek international recognition. Border disputes caused tension with Puntland, another semi-autonomous region of Somalia, and thousands of civilians were displaced after extensive fighting between the two regions, especially in 2007, which resulted in Somaliland controlling the disputed area. In October 2008, 20 people were killed by suicide bombers at the presidential compound.
 
Piracy
During the first half of 2008, maritime piracy declined as a result of international antipiracy efforts, however, it increased during the second half of the year and interrupted humanitarian attempts to provide supplies to IDPs. According to the Kenyan Foreign Minister, Moses Masika Wetangula, Somali pirates received more than US$150 million in ransom during 2008.
 
Western reports on piracy in Somalia have revolved around a British couple who was captured in October 2009 and have been held hostage by pirates since.
 
Prison
In 2008, prisons in all regions were overcrowded, life threatening, and lacked access to health care, in addition to supplying inadequate food and water. Guards commonly abused prisoners, who depended on food from family members or relief agencies.
 
Women
In 2009, NGOs documented patterns of rape of women with impunity, particularly of women displaced from their homes due to civil conflict or who were members of minority clans. Police and militia members engaged in raped, and rape was commonly practiced in inter-clan conflicts.
 
Domestic violence against women remained a serious problem. Sexual violence in the home was reportedly a serious problem, linked to general gender discrimination.
 
Reports from 2010 reveal that al-Shabaab has barred women from commerce and any other activities that would bring them into contact with men, as well as ordering women to wear a traditional form of Islamic over-gown that covers everything but the face, hands, and feet.
 
Children
The recruiting and use of child soldiers continued to be a problem in 2009. They were commonly employed in herding, agriculture, and household labor from an early age. Children broke rocks into gravel and worked as vendors of cigarettes and khat on the streets. The lack of educational opportunities and severely depressed economic conditions contributed to the prevalence of child labor.
 
The pre-1991 Penal Code and the TFC prohibit forced or compulsory labor, including by children; however, there were reports that such practices occurred in 2009. Children continued to be recruited into militias on both sides of the conflict by the TFG and its related forces, as well as by clan militias and antigovernment groups. Reports from 2009 also revealed that recruiters from al-Shabaab have been recruiting members from refugee camps.
 
HIV/AIDS
The most recent reports reveal that as of 2007, 24,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS and in 2007 there were 1,600 deaths caused by HIV/AIDS.
 
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Debate

How Should the U.S. Deal with Somalia?

Introduction
U.S. policy has supported the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) since its establishment in 2004. However, the TFG has been unable to improve conditions and security in Somalia or even move towards some form of agreement with Somalia’s clans and opposition groups that would provide a stronger foundation for governance. Current US interests in Somalia include counterterrorism, piracy, and humanitarian concerns, providing U.S. President Barack Obama with a foreign-policy opportunity. Obama’s world view “embraces the idea of talking to one’s enemies” according to Jason McLure of Newsweek, which contrasts with the previous Bush administration’s strategy of supporting an Ethiopian invasion in 2006 that helped overthrow the moderate Islamic Courts Union (ICU). President Obama is in a compromising position with regards to his decision on policy in Somalia. Whatever his decision is regarding policy, he must be careful to not appear soft on terror, yet not too aggressive towards Islamist insurgents at the same time.
 
Suspending U.S. Military Flights
By suspending U.S. military C-130 flights over Somalia, Obama would be conveying a future policy that would not be centered on a military component, a strategy that has alienated the very people America was attempting to “bring to the table.”
 
Suspending al-Shabaab from the Terror List
The policy of suspending al-Shabaab from the terror list would prove that the United States is open to enemies who “unclench their fists,” as President Obama mentioned in his inaugural speech.
 
Back Door Policy
A “back door” policy would involve opening back-channel negotiations with as many hard-line factions as possible. Obama’s motivation for using this strategy would be to bring in the hard-line factions for negotiations.
 
Constructive Disengagement
In a report on Somalia in March 2010, Bonwyn Bruton of the Council on Foreign Relations reevaluates the best approach for US policy in Somalia. She proposes a strategy called “constructive disengagement” which would require the US to accept an Islamist authority in Somalia as long as it does not interfere with humanitarian activities and does not support international jihad. She also suggests providing foreign aid that does not lead to the creation of formal institutions and she warns against military responses to piracy.
Somalia: A New Approach (by Bronwyn E. Bruton, Council on Foreign Relations)
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Past Ambassadors

Note: The Embassy in Mogadiscio (now Mogadishu) was established on Jul 1, 1960, with Andrew G. Lynch as Chargé d’Affaires.

 
Andrew G. Lynch
Appointment: Jul 5, 1960
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 11, 1960
Termination of Mission: Left post May 7, 1962
Note: Commissioned to the Somali Republic.
 
Horace G. Torbert, Jr.
Appointment: Feb 17, 1962
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 31, 1963
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 29, 1965
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Mar 12, 1963. Commissioned to the Somali Republic.
 
Raymond L. Thurston
Appointment: Sep 1, 1965
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 23, 1965
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 15, 1968
Note: Commissioned to the Somali Republic.
 
Fred L. Hadsel
Appointment: May 13, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 28, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 18, 1971
Note: Commissioned to the Somali Republic.
 
Matthew J. Looram, Jr.
Appointment: Feb 15, 1972
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 13, 1972
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 5, 1973
Note: An earlier nomination of Dec 15, 1971, was not acted upon by the Senate.
 
Roger Kirk
Appointment: Sep 20, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 8, 1973
Termination of Mission: Left post Feb 20, 1975
 
John L. Loughran
Appointment: May 8, 1975
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 13, 1975
Termination of Mission: Left post Nov 5, 1978
 
Donald K. Petterson
Appointment: Oct 12, 1978
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 8, 1978
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 30, 1982
 
Robert Bigger Oakley
Appointment: Sep 30, 1982
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 26, 1983
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 12, 1984
 
Peter Scott Bridges
Appointment: Nov 14, 1984
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 19, 1984
Termination of Mission: Left post May 14, 1986
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jul 12, 1985.
 
Note: The following officers served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim May 1986-Jun 1987: John L. Hirsch (May 1986-Aug 1986) and David P. Rawson (Aug 1986-Jun 1987).
 
Trusten Frank Crigler
Appointment: Apr 24, 1987
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 3, 1987
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 1, 1990
 
James Keough Bishop
Appointment: Jun 27, 1990
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 19, 1990
Termination of Mission: Embassy closed Jan 5, 1991.
 
The US does not maintain an Embassy in Somalia, although they do have a Virtual Presence Post. US interests in Somalia are represented by the Embassy in Kenya.
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Somalia's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Duale, Elmi Ahmed

In 1969, Elmi Ahmed Duale was elected to the Parliament of Somalia and was then selected to be Foreign Minister in the government. Duale became the Permanent Representative of Somalia to the UN in 2005.

 
Duale graduated from the Sapienza University of Rome in 1960, becoming a Doctor of Medicine and serving as Director General of Somalia’s Ministry of Health from 1963-1968. From 1970-1973, Somalia’s dictator, Siad Barre, held Duale and Cabinet members of Somalia as political detainees after Barre assumed power following a coup d’etat.
 
Beginning in 1974, Duale worked at the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) for 30 years.
 
Elmi AhmedDuale Bio (UN Press Release)
 
 
Somalia does not maintain an embassy in the US, and Somalia’s interests in the US are represented through their ambassador to the UN.

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Somalia's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.

Somalia does not maintain an embassy in the US, and Somalia’s interests in the US are represented through their ambassador to the UN.

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U.S. Ambassador to Somalia

Ranneberger, Michael
ambassador-image

Michael E. Ranneberger was sworn in as the new United States Ambassador to Kenya on July 31, 2006. Ranneberger obtained a BA from Towson State University in Baltimore and an MA in history from the University of Virginia.

 
He was Angola Desk Officer during 1981-1984, where he worked as a member of Assistant Secretary Crocker’s team. After working as a special assistant to Under Secretary Armacost from 1984 to 1985, he was awarded an International Affairs Fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations.
 
His service as Deputy Chief of Mission in Maputo from 1986 to 1989 included eight months as charge during the civil war, at a time when the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) emergency assistance program in Mozambique was one of the largest in sub-Saharan Africa. From 1989-1992, Ranneberger served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Asuncion, and while Deputy Director for Central American Affairs during 1992-1994, he helped oversee implementation of the peace accords in El Salvador and efforts to end the internal conflict in Guatemala.
 
In August 1994, he became Deputy Chief of Mission in Mogadishu. Ranneberger spent six months in Haiti setting up and running an inter-agency Task Force on Justice and Security-Related Issues before becoming Coordinator for Cuban Affairs from July 1995 to July 1999.
 
From 1999 to 2002, he was ambassador to the Republic of Mali. He served as special advisor on Sudan from 2002 to 2004 and was the Africa Bureau’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary from 2004 to 2005.
 
In 2006, he became the senior representative on Sudan in the Bureau of African Affairs.
 
In May 2009, some Kenyan leaders expressed slight displeasure with Ranneberger Nicholas Gumbo, a Member of Parliament from the Rarieda party, was quoted saying “Ranneberger is behaving like a governor. He has no respect for elected leaders”. Additional members of Parliament have expressed disappointment at the way Ranneberger has handled the reform agenda.
 
On September 24, 2009, Ranneberger reported that the US was sending warning letters to 15 prominent Kenyans who are currently supposed obstacles to reform in Kenya. The warning stated that in order for Washington to continue providing future aid deals that benefit Kenyans, the leaders of Kenya need to implement long-delayed reforms that will stamp out corruption and rights abuses.
 

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Overview

Located in eastern Africa, Somalia was under Portuguese and British rule from the 15th through the 19th centuries. During World War II, Italian troops overran Somalia, though the British took the country back after the end of the war and helped Somalia move toward independence. Somalia gained its independence as a united nation in 1960 and adopted its first constitution in 1961. It was originally forged as a democratic government with a parliamentary system, but in 1969. President Abdirashid Ali Shermake was assassinated in 1969 and a military coup installed Muhammad Siad Barre as president. This led to decades of repression and war.

 
In January 1991, President Barre was ousted from his position by northern and southern clan-based forces, furthering a turbulent government situation that has continued until the present-day. In late 1991, the Somaliland region of Somalia in the northwestern section of the country declared itself independent, and although it is not recognized as an independent country by any other nation it has enjoyed relative stability since its separation. Since 1991, the regions of Puntland, Jubaland, and Maakhir have also seceded and formed individual governments.
 
In August 2000, the Transitional National Government (TNG) was formed, but was plagued with internal problems and disruptive foreign intervention. The TNG was succeeded by the Transitional Federal Government, created in November 2004 and is backed by the United Nations, the African Union, and the U.S.
 
Since 1991, Somalia has undergone several changes in leadership, the current leader being President Sharif Ahmed, who was elected in January 2009.
 
In recent years, Islamist insurgents, who have declared allegiance to al-Qaeda, have fought against the government and against Ethiopian forces inside Somalia to regain control of most of southern Somalia.
 
Somali pirates have also become a major threat to international business and shipping due to a long-term absence of authority in the country, which has caused NATO to initiate an anti-piracy operation.
 
In response to the failure of the Somali military, the U.S. helped fund a training program in Djibouti during 2009. The program enlisted 1,000 soldiers, each of whom were supposed to receive a salary of $100 per month. However, the absence of funds resulted in no pay for the soldiers, leading about half to desert the Somali army and return home or join the al-Shabaab militants. This failure to fund the salaries of soldiers threatens the ability of the U.S. and the European Union to build up a successful Somali army.
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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Somalia forms part of the Horn of Africa on the east coast of that continent because of its resemblance to a rhinoceros’ horn. This easternmost country of Africa is bordered on the north by the Gulf of Aden, on the east by the Indian Ocean, and on the south by Kenya. Ethiopia juts into Somalia’s belly in the west and the northwestern tip of the country abuts Djibouti. The terrain consists mostly of plateaus, plains and highlands and it also has the longest coastline on the continent. Most of Somalia is desert, characterized as arid and harsh, with damaging droughts and the civil war leaving a devastating affect on the country’s tropical forests. This climate is the primary factor for Somali lifestyles. The majority of the population lives at subsistence level, tilling infertile soil or herding camels, goats, sheep, and other animals through the inhospitable desert. Numerous domestic grazing animals are increasing the desertification of the country. Agriculture is only practiced in a few areas of limited rainfall in the northwest and southwest where the country’s two perennial rivers are found.

 
Population: 9.8 million
 
Religions: Muslim (predominantly Sunni, of the Sufi tradition) 98.5%, Christian 1.3%, Ethnoreligious 0.1%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Somali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including 30,000 Arabs).
 
Languages: Somali (official) 94.0%, Maay 7.2%, Garre 0.6%, Swahili 0.5%, Arabic (official), English (official). There are 13 living languages in Somalia.
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History

The country of Somalia developed from an Arab Sultanate in the 7th century. Koreishite immigrants from Yemen traveled to this region and established settlements.

 
During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese traders took over several coastal towns in what is now Somalia. The sultan of Oman and Zanzibar subsequently took control of these towns and their surrounding territory.
 
In the late 19th century, Somalia became a trading destination with various European powers. The British East India Company signed treaties with the sultan of Tajura as early as 1840 to gain unfettered access to a port city there. In 1866, the British gained control of northern Somalia, signing treaties with various Somali chiefs desirous of British protection. The boundary between Ethiopia and British Somaliland was established in 1897 through treaty negotiations between British negotiators and King Menelik.
 
In the early part of the 20th century, British rule was challenged repeatedly through persistent attacks by a dervish rebellion led by Mohamed Abdullah, known as the “Mad Mullah” by the British. After British planes bombed Abdullah’s stronghold at Taleex, a peace agreement was signed in 1920. Even though Abdullah lost the war, he was lauded as a popular hero.
 
In 1885, Italy gained commercial advantages in the area from the sultan of Zanzibar. In 1889, Italy also made agreements with the sultans of Obbia and Aluula, in exchange for Italy’s protection. Between 1897 and 1908, Italy made agreements with the Ethiopians and the British that mapped out the boundaries of Italian Somaliland. The Italian government assumed direct administration, giving the territory colonial status.
 
The Italians gradually moved toward the center of the country. In 1924, the United Kingdom ceded territory to Italy, and by the late 1920s, Italian and Somali influence extended to Ethiopia, climaxing in 1935 when Italian forces launched on offensive that led to the capture of the capital city and the annexation of Ethiopia in 1936.
 
During World War II, Italian troops overran British Somaliland. In 1941, British forces retaliated, bringing the country back under British control. From 1941 through 1950, Somalia moved steadily toward self-government, and began to establish courts, planning committees and councils for this purpose. In 1948, Britain turned over two Somali territories to Ethiopia.
 
After World War II Italy renounced all rights to Somalia. The UN adopted a resolution granting Italian Somaliland to an international trusteeship for 10 years, with Italy as the administering authority. This would be followed by independence.
 
Italian Somaliland became independent on July 1, 1960, and British Somaliland held its first elections for the Legislative Assembly in February 1960. The new legislature requested that British Somaliland be united with Italian Somaliland later that year. On July 26, 1950, British Somaliland became independent, and five days later, it joined with Italian Somaliland to form the Somali Republic.
 
In June 1961, Somalia adopted its first constitution, which provided for a democratic state with a parliamentary form of government. Most key government positions were occupied by southern Somalis, which led to increasing friction with the north, formerly controlled by the British.
 
Mohamed Ibrahim Egal was prime minister from 1967 to 1969, and under his leadership, Somalia renounced all claims to the Somali-populated regions of Ethiopia and Kenya, which led to better relations all around. But Egal’s efforts to bring about increased peace with Somalia’s neighbors led to a bloodless coup on October 21, 1969. Egal was removed from office, and Major General Mohamed Siad Barre was installed as president.
 
At this time, the party-based constitutional democracy of Somalia came to an end, and in its place, executive and legislative power was vested in a 20-member Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC), which was headed by Barre. The SRC led the country on a path of “scientific socialism” that reflected both ideological and economic dependence on the Soviet Union. Barre reduced political freedoms and used military force to seize and redistribute rich farmlands in the southern part of the country.
 
In 1974, Somalia and the Soviet Union signed a treaty of freedom and cooperation. In the mid-1970s, the Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF) began guerrilla operations in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. Following the overthrow of the Ethiopian Emperor in 1975, Somalia invaded Ethiopia in 1977. However, the Soviet Union supplied Ethiopia with Cuban troops and Soviet military advisers, which resulted in Somalia’s defeat.
 
In November 1977, Barre expelled all Soviet advisers and abrogated the friendship agreement between the two countries. Somalia abandoned its socialist ideology and turned to the West for support. In 1978, the United States reopened the US Agency for International Development mission in Somalia. Two years later, an agreement was concluded that gave US forces access to military facilities at the port of Berbera in northwestern Somalia.
 
Under President Barre, Somalia moved toward Soviet policies and communism, but when the Soviets backed Ethiopia in a 1970s war, Somalia turned to the West and the United States for support. In 1981, opposition to Barre’s regime began to emerge after he had excluded members of the Mijertyn and Isaq clans from government positions. As a result of Barre’s policies, Somalia devolved into civil war by the 1980s, and several armed opposition groups began fighting in various parts of the country. Tens of thousands were killed, and millions were displaced as civil war raged. Soon, Barre controlled just the area around Mogadishu, which resulted in many countries pulling back their support, including the U.S. Insurrections against Barre’s repressive regime in the late 1980s began the first phase of the ongoing Somali Civil War.
 
In the summer of 1982, Ethiopian forces invaded Somalia’s central border, and the US provided two airlifts to help Somalia defend its territory. From 1982 to 1988, the United States viewed Somalia as a partner in defense in the context of the Cold War.
 
However, Barre continued to violently suppress opposition movements and ethnic groups, particularly the Isaaq clan in the northern region. By the 1980s, an all-out civil war developed in Somalia. Several opposition groups formed with the intention of removing Barre from office. In 1988, at Barre’s order, aircraft from the Somali National Air Force bombed the city of Hargeisa in northwestern Somalia. Nearly 10,000 civilians and soldiers were killed. Economic crisis, brought on by the cost of anti-insurgency activities, caused further hardship as Siad Barre and his cronies looted the national treasury.
 
By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government had spread to the central and southern regions of the country. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia.
 
Barre continued to control the areas around Mogadishu, which resulted in the withdrawal of external support, including that from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as rebels advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed opposition factions drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria.
 
In 1992, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation tried to ensure the delivery of needed supplies to Somalis suffering from the effects of the protracted civil war. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994.
 
Following the collapse of the Barre regime in 1991, various groupings of Somali factions sought to control the national territory. At the same time, many Somalis opposed the presence of foreign troops. In October 1993, local gunmen and peacekeepers engaged in several gun battles that claimed the lives of 24 Pakistanis and 19 US soldiers. The largest of these was called the Battle of Mogadishu, and most of the Americans died in this battle, which later became the basis for the book and movie Black Hawk Down. During this raid, soldiers from the US armed forces tried to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid in Mogadishu (also called Operation Gothic Serpent), but were downed in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The subsequent battle was the most intense close combat Americans had engaged in since the Vietnam War.
 
The UN withdrew from Mogadishu on March 3, 1995, having suffered even more casualties.
 
In May 1991, the northwestern of Somalia, known as Somaliland, declared its independence. It is still unrecognized by any other nation or international organization, but has experienced relatively stable peace since 1991.This was followed in 1998 by the northeastern part of the country seceding, and naming itself Puntland. Later that year, southwestern Somalia seceded and began to call itself Jubaland. A fourth state was set up in 1999, ruled by the Rahanweyn Resistance Army.
 
In November of 2004, The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was established as the internationally recognized government of Somalia and is backed by the UN and the African Union, as well as the United States. In the Second Battle of Mogadishu in June 2006, The Islamic Courts Union (ICU) succeeded in capturing Mogadishu, and their movement’s growing power and militancy led to increasing warfare between the Islamists and other factions within Somalia, as well as warfare with the TFG.
 
The ICU and the TFG began the Battle of Baidoa in December of 2006, resulting in the defeat of the ICU in all major battles, forcing them to withdraw to Mogadishu. The U.S. officially interceded with airstrikes in January 2007 against Islamist positions as part of efforts to catch al-Qaeda operatives supposedly embedded within the ICU. Existing tribal conflicts continued in inter-clan fighting, as well as guerrilla warfare between the ICU and Ethiopian and Somali government forces.
 
Although the Somali parliament extended the mandate of the TFG, the government’s military position weakened significantly in 2009, and in May of that year, Islamist insurgents launched an attack on the capital, Mogadishu, motivating moderate Islamist President Ahmad to appeal for international support.
 
 
Thousands of people residing in Mogadishu have been displaced due to the current phase of the Somali Civil War. Beginning in February 2009, this phase of conflict has been between the forces of the TFG assisted by the African Union and various militant Islamist factions. The Islamist factions are demanding the enforcement of Sharia Law throughout Somalia.
 
Piracy off the Somali coast has contributed a continuous threat to international shipping, especially since 2005. Many international organizations have expressed concern in the rise of piracy as 95% of the World Food Programme’s shipments arrive by sea. According to the Kenyan Foreign Minister, Moses Masika Wetangula, Somali pirates received more than US$150 million in ransom during 2008.
 
Somaliland
Somaliland is the northwestern region of Somalia, about the size of England and Walles, that declared itself independent in 1991. Although no international nations or organizations have recognized Somaliland as independent, it has been governed by a secessionist administration and is considered an independent state. The current president is Dahir Riyale Kahin, who, in April 2003, became the first president of Somaliland to be elected in a free and fair election. The current population of Somaliland of approximately 3.5 million is primarily Sunni Muslim.
 
Although there have been tensions regarding border disputes between Somaliland and Puntland since 2002, the overall activity within Somaliland has been relatively stable since its declaration of independence in 1991. The government of Somaliland is a blend of traditional and western institutions and formed the Constitution of Somaliland as a constitutional presidential republic.
 
Currently, there are approximately 60,000 military personnel active in Somaliland and the armed forces account for the biggest share of the government’s budget. The economy is in a developing stage and is regulated by the Bank of Somaliland, which was established in 1994. Ethiopia has increased its use of Somaliland as a major export port and has signed a contract with the Somaliland government stating that Berbera, a port city of Somaliland, will export and import goods for Ethiopia.
 
 
Puntland
Puntland is the northeastern region of Somalia that was declared an autonomous state in 1998. Unlike Somaliland’s intention to become independent from Somalia, the leaders of Puntland claim to seek the unity of Somali people and to adheres to a federal system of government. The region bases its support on clan elders and their organizational structure along the lines of traditional clan relationships and kinship. The current population of Puntland is estimated to be 3.9 million.
 
In 2001, the region experienced brief political unrest when the president at the time, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, attempted to extend his term. He served a second term until 2004, when he was elected President of Somalia. ”. Under the administration of President Mohamud Muse Hersi “Adde,” Puntland built the Bender Qassim International Airport, the second largest airport in Somalia. The current president is Abdirahman Mohamud Farole. The region has experienced relative stability since 1998, except for border disputes and piracy issues.
 
There are several key players in oil exploration in Puntland including Africa Oil Corp., Range Resources, the Puntland State government and the TFG of Somalia. A full seismic survey of the Nugaal region was completed in September 2007, and mobilization for drilling began during the winter of that same year. Africa Oil Corp. planned to select drilling locations in late 2009 and there are plans to begin drilling in the near future. 
 
Piracy has been a major concern for the ports of Puntland since the early 21st century, and in 2008, the country experienced a rise in piracy. According to a report from the UN, Somali pirates based in Puntland accumulated at least $120 million and were still holding at least 17 foreign ships.
 
 
Jubaland
Jubaland is the southwestern part of Somalia. With a population of just under 2 million, this region has been the site of several Somali Civil War battles. It experienced brief independence in 1998-1999. As of 2009 Jubaland is currently under the control of the Islamist Al-Shabaab movement.
 
Mohammed Said Hersi Morgan was the head of the self-created entity Jubaland during its year of independence.  However the territory was lost to the Juba Calley Alliance (JVA) under Ahmed Wasame in 1999.
 
In late 2006, the Islamic Courts Union seized control of the Juba territory and established its own administration. However, in December 2006, the JVA, which is now a part of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), retook Juba and asserted control over the region following the Battle of Baidoa. On January 1 2007, the ICU withdrew and Ksimayo, the capital city of former Jubaland, fell to the TFG without armed conflict.
 
 
Galmudug
Galmudug is in the central region of Somalia and considers itself a federal division within Somalia but is not attempting to obtain international recognition as a separate nation. Galmudug is a combination of Mudug and Galgadud, which previously were regions from which Mogadishu warlords imported soldiers and livestock.
 
During 2006, the Islamic Courts Union defeated the Mogadishu warlords in the central regions of Somalia. As a result, these central regions became independent of Mogadishu and were inspired by the successes Puntland and Somaliland had with autonomy. On August 14, 2006, Galmudug was established and Mohamed Warsame Ali was elected President. The second and current President of Galmudug is Mohamed Ahmed Alin. Currently, much of Galmudug struggles to be controlled by a central government as most of the region is under the control of coastal pirates and Islamic militant groups like al-Shabaab.
 
 
A Country Study: Somalia (Library of Congress)
History of Somalia‘ (Wikipedia)
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History of U.S. Relations with Somalia

Throughout much of the 1970s, Somalia was allied with the Soviet Union, and its relations with the United States were strained. Largely because the Soviet Union sided with Ethiopia in the Ogaden War, a United States-Somali rapprochement began in 1977 and culminated in a military access agreement in 1980 that permitted the United States to use naval ports and airfields at Berbera, Chisimayu, and Mogadishu, in exchange for military and economic aid.

 
The United States subsequently refurbished facilities originally developed by the Soviet Union at the Gulf of Aden port of Berbera. The United States Rapid Deployment Force used Berbera as a base for its Operation Bright Star exercises in 1981, and American military advisers were permanently stationed there one year later. Somali military units participated in Operation Bright Star joint maneuvers in 1985. The base at Berbera was used in the fall of 1990 during the deployment of personnel and supplies to Saudi Arabia in preparation for the Persian Gulf War.
 
Controversy over the Siad Barre government’s human rights policies clouded the future of United States military cooperation with Somalia. Siad Barre’s policy of repression in the north aroused criticism of his regime in the US Congress, where the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives held extensive hearings during July 1988 on human rights abuses in Somalia. In 1989, under congressional pressure, the administration of President George H. W. Bush terminated military aid to Somalia, although it continued to provide food assistance and to operate a small International Military Education and Training program.
 
In 1990 Washington revealed that Mogadishu had been in default on loan repayments for more than a year. Therefore, under the terms of the Brooke Amendment, this meant that Somalia was ineligible to receive any further United States aid. During the height of the fighting in Mogadishu in January 1991, the United States closed its embassy and evacuated all its personnel from the country. The embassy was ransacked by mobs in the final days of the Siad Barre regime. The United States recognized the provisional government shortly after its establishment, and urged all parties to come together to resolve their dispute by peaceful means.
 
One of the main sources of power in Somalia has been the control of food supplies. Hijacked food was used to secure the loyalty of clan leaders, and food was routinely exchanged with other countries for weapons. In the early 1990’s up to 80% of internationally provided food was stolen. Meanwhile, between 1991 and 1992 it is estimated that over three hundred thousand Somalis died of starvation. In July 1992 United Nations military observers were sent to Somalia in accordance with a ceasefire signed by opposing clan factions. In August 1992 Operation Provide Relief (UNOSOM – I) officially began to provide humanitarian relief for the people of Somalia. This mission was unsuccessful due to the UN’s inability to deliver food and supplies. Relief flights into Somalia were often looted as soon as they landed.
 
The UN asked its member nations for assistance. In December 1992, in one of his last acts as president, George Bush proposed to the UN that American combat troops lead the intervention force. The UN accepted this offer and 25,000 US troops were deployed to Somalia. President Bush stated that this would not be an “open-ended commitment.” The objective of Operation Restore Hope was to rapidly secure the trade routes in Somalia so that food could get to the people. President Bush stated that US troops would be home in time for Bill Clinton’s inauguration in January 1993.
 
Once President Clinton was inaugurated he stated his desire to scale down the US presence in Somalia, and to let the UN forces take over. In March 1993 the UN officially took over the operation, naming this mission UNOSOM – II. The objective of this mission was to promote “nation building” within Somalia. One main target was to disarm the Somali people. UNOSOM – II stressed restoring law and order, improving the infrastructure, and assisting the people with setting up a representative government.
 
President Clinton supported the UN mandate and ordered the number of US troops in Somalia reduced to be replaced by UN troops. By June 1993, only 1,200 US troops remained in Somalia, but on June 5, 1993, 24 Pakistani soldiers were ambushed and killed during the inspection of a Somali arms weapons storage site. The UN responded with an emergency resolution to apprehend those responsible. While it was not specifically stated, General Farrah Aidid, a Somali warlord, and his loyal militia fighters were believed to be responsible.
 
From June 12 through June 16 of 1993, US and UN troops attacked targets in Mogadishu related to Aidid. On July 12 US Cobra helicopters attacked a house in Mogadishu where clan leaders were meeting. They destroyed several buildings and many Somalis were killed. When four Western journalists went to investigate the scene they were beaten to death by a mob of Somalis. On August 8, four US military police were killed when a land mine was remote-detonated by Somalis. Two weeks later, six more US soldiers were wounded. It was at this point that Task Force Ranger, an assault force made up of US troops from different military branches, was deployed to Somalia.
 
On August 29 Task Force Ranger flew into Mogadishu. They were led by General William Garrison and consisted of 440 elite troops from Delta Force. Their mission was to capture Aidid. But, at the same time, in September 1993 the Clinton Administration began a secret plan to negotiate with Aidid. US military commanders within Somalia were not apprised of this. US Defense Secretary Les Aspin denied a request for armored reinforcements made by General Montgomery.
 
On October 3, 1993 Task Force Ranger raided the Olympic Hotel in Mogadishu to search for Aidid. This led to a 17-hour battle in which 18 US soldiers were killed and 84 were wounded. Bodies of dead American soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, shown on international news reports. Hundreds of Somalis also died, although the official number has never been released. This was the longest, most bloody battle for US troops since the Vietnam War. On October 7, President Clinton responded by withdrawing US troops from Somalia. The hunt for Aidid was abandoned, although US representatives were sent to resume negotiations with clan leaders.
 
US troops were withdrawn completely from Somalia in March of 1994, however there were still 20,000 UN troops remaining in the country. The remaining UN troops were withdrawn by the spring of 1994, officially ending UNOSOM - II.
 
The consequences of the Battle of Mogadishu had a significant impact on American foreign policy, not specific to Somalia. President Bill Clinton’s administration became increasingly hesitant to use military intervention in Third World conflicts.
 
The US Embassy in Somalia has been closed since 1991 with the collapse of President Barre’s government. However, the US maintains somewhat regular communication with the TFG and through the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Additionally, the US Embassy in Djibouti provides American Citizen Services in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland.
 
A report from the Council on Foreign Relations in June of 2006 stated that there are no US troops in Somalia and the amount of US support for the Somali warlords was small to nonexistent. Additionally, an arms embargo forbids the supplying of weapons. Somali leaders, such as Prime Minster Ali Mohamed Gedi, have told the Washington Post that they prefer the US government work with the Somali goernment instead of with criminals.
 
The US may be providing support for the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism, but beyond that there are about 1,000 troops stationed in Djibouti. These troops make up part of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, responsible for promoting stability within the region and preventing terrorism.
 
Operation Restore Hope (GlobalSecurity.org)
US Strikes Somalia (by Eben Kaplan, Council on Foreign Relations)
Somalia’s Terrorist Infestation (by Eben Kaplan, Council on Foreign Relations)
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Current U.S. Relations with Somalia

US President George Bush’s administration in 2006 launched a new policy in Somalia, putting the State Department in charge after secret CIA efforts failed to prevent Islamic fundamentalists from seizing power in Mogadishu. The Islamists had expanded their hold on the southern part of the country, while a largely powerless, US-backed rump government remains divided and isolated in the southern town of Baidoa. Al-Qaeda established itself as a presence in the Somali capital, according to US officials, who view Somalia as a growing risk that will become a new haven for terrorists to launch attacks beyond its borders.

 
In early 2007, US commandos began operating in Somalia to hunt down suspected al-Qaeda fighters and to provided limited military advice to Ethiopian and Somali forces on the ground. The US forces entered Somalia with Ethiopian forces when Ethiopians launched their attack against the Islamic movement said to be sheltering Al-Qaeda figures.
 
Since the closing of the US Embassy in 1991, the US Embassy in Kenya has been responsible for observing Somali developments, however the lack of a diplomatic presence has severely limited the knowledge available to the US.
 
During FY 2008, USAID allocated more than $319 million to Somalia through international and local nongovernmental organizations and UN agencies. This assistance included funding for development assistance, food aid, and humanitarian assistance.
 
The Obama administration has suggested their intention to review the Bush administration’s policy on Somalia, however to date there has been no shift in policy. As of 2009, the US continued to provide the most humanitarian assistance of all donors, but US intentions remain centered around combating international terrorist threats linked to al-Shabaab. In 2009 alone the US sent 40 tons of arms and ammunition to Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), however civil society groups within Somalia have reported that some US-supplied weapons have been sold to insurgents on the black market.
 
According to a 2009 report from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the US should “accept an Islamist authority” in Somalia and has labeled the current US approach towards the TFG counterproductive. . The report from the CFR calls on the US to make a final attempt at providing aid to the Somali government to assist in building public support, however US President Barack Obama is encouraged to consider policy changes depending on the result of the TFG’s success in remaining stable.
 
As of March 2010, the Pentagon, as an attempt to find an appropriate balance between taking out al-Qaeda insurgents and avoiding a U.S. occupation in Somalia, announced the possibility of sending surveillance drones for a Somali government offensive against al-Qaeda-linked insurgents.
 
In response to the failure of the Somali military, the U.S. helped fund a training program in Djibouti during 2009. The program enlisted 1,000 soldiers, each of whom were supposed to receive a salary of $100 per month. However, the absence of funds resulted in no pay for the soldiers, leading about half to desert the Somali army and return home or join the al-Shabaab militants.
 
There have been instances of individual countries pledging to cover salaries for a limited number of Somali soldiers; however, when the money runs out, the soldiers don’t get paid. This failure to fund the salaries of soldiers threatens the ability of the U.S. and the European Union to build up a successful Somali army.
 
US Special Forces in Somalia (by Pauline Jelinek, Washington Post)
US Sees Growing Threats In Somalia (by Karen DeYoung, Washington Post)
Somalia (USAID)
US Forces Fire Missiles Into Somalia at a Kenyan (by Jeffrey Gettleman and Eric Schmitt, New York
 Times)
Somalia: A New Approach (by Bronwyn E. Bruton, Council on Foreign Relations)
The US Role in Somalia's Calamity (by Chris Albin-Lackey, Human Rights Watch)
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Where Does the Money Flow

U.S. imports from Somalia totaled $1.33 million from 2005 to 2009. Imports from Somalia saw an increase from 2005-2009 in food oils and oilseeds going from $8,000 to $25,000, and numismatic coins going from $2,000 to $55,000.

 
Imports from Somalia saw a decrease from 2005-2009 in soft beverages and processed coffee going from $31,000 to $0, computer accessories going from $37,000 to $0, and apparel household goods going from $42,000 to $2,000.
 
U.S. exports to Somalia totaled $117 million from 2005 through 2009. Exports to Somalia saw an increase from 2005 to 2009 in vegetables going from $1.55 million to $1.95 million, chemicals (fertilizers) going from $0 to $69,000, mineral supplies going from $0 to $115,000, electric apparatus going from $23,000 to $147,000 and pharmaceutical preparations going from $34,000 to $179,000.
 
Exports to Somalia saw a decrease from 2005 to 2009 in sorghum, barley, and oats going from $1.95 million to $178,000, steelmaking materials going from $118,000 to $0, industrial machines going from $98,000 to $12,000, and telecommunications equipment going from $1.58 million to $290,000.
 
US assistance to Somalia for FY 2010 will facilitate support for development, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance. In FY 2009, total US aid to Somalia reached $177.7 million and the request for FY 2010 is $103.3 million. The program that will be the largest recipient of US aid has consistently been Peacekeeping Operations, receiving $118 million in FY 2009 and receiving a potential of $67 million in FY 2010. The second highest area to receive US support was the Economic Support Fund with $20.25 million in FY 2009 and $28.3 million in FY 2010.
 
In 2009, Somalia saw the creation of a new “unity” government that was intended to include members of the Alliance for there=Liberation of Somalia (ARS) into the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the election of a new president; however, terrorist operatives disrupted the political efforts in this process.
 
Funds in FY 2010 from the US will support programs to train government and civic leaders in conflict mitigation and reconciliation, in addition to providing support for the construction of employment resource centers to provide training and work opportunities of 10,000 youth. 
 
According to the State Department, the goals of U.S. policy are to support Somalia in governing justly and democratically, to help rebuild the administrative capacity of local institutions that provide basic services in order to improve governance at the national, regional, and local levels, as well as key elements of civil society. Additional assistance is aimed at enhancing legal training facilities and strengthening the judicial structures and conflict resolution capacities at the local level.
 
USAID in 2010 proposed to support inclusive consensus-building initiatives related to peace agreements, national dialogues, and the development of a free and fair electoral system and political process.
 
US support for humanitarian causes reached $37.3 million in FY 2009 and will continue to focus on basic maternal and child health interventions at the health facility and local levels in 2010. In the area of sanitation and water activity, USAID resources in FY 2010 will support hygiene and sanitation education to individuals and will fund a broader hygiene awareness campaign. A portion of FY 2010 funds will also improve drinking water supply and sanitation for schools and communities. The FY 2010 target amount for maternal and child health is $38.7 million.
 
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Controversies

Mogadishu fighting leaves 19 dead

In early April 2010, fighting broke out between government forces, backed by African Union peacekeepers, and insurgent groups in the capital city of Mogadishu. The fighting involved heavy shelling, resulting in at least 19 deaths, many of whom are believed to have been civilians. The shelling began as a result of Islamist insurgents firing mortars at the presidential palace and airport, which earned the response of heavy artillery fire from government troops.
 
Music Banned on Airwaves
On April 11 2010, Islamist militants halted music played on air, a move mirroring the actions of the Taliban’s rules imposed on Afghans in the 1990s. With the threat of punishments, such as amputations and stonings, stations were quick to cooperate. However, with a strong appreciation for traditional and contemporary music, Somali residents are not happy with the ban. There has been no reported end to the ban and in the meantime, stations must re-record any commercials containing music and will potentially lose significant numbers of listeners because of the lack of music.
 
Somali Pirates Capture Ships and Hostages, Demand Ransom
In October 2009, a British couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, was kidnapped by Somali pirates while on a yachting holiday in the Indian Ocean. Maslah Yare, the leader of the pirate gang holding the Chandlers hostage, has claimed that al-Shabaab has offered to pay 1.2 million British Pounds, (1.97 million US dollars), however Yare is demanding 1.6 million British Pounds. In April 2010, a team of al-Shabaab militants entered the town where the pirates were stationed and forced the pirates to another area called Hobyo. Currently, Somali pirates hold 15 vessels and more than 300 hostages.
Piracy in Somalia (Wikipedia)
 
Controversy over Somali troops
In October 2009, Islamist rebels in Somalia accused the Kenyan government of recruiting Somalis living in Kenya to fight against the rebels. Although Nariobi has denied such accusations, the mayor of the town of Garissa, Narcs Mohammed Gabow, reported that 200 Kenyan men had been taken from their homes. Kenyan officials have also suggested that the Somali government has been crossing the border to recruit Kenyan youths. Somali government officials such as Dahir Mohamud Gelle, the information minister for Somalia’s government, have denied recruiting soldiers from Kenya.
 
US Launches Missile Strike Against Somali Target
In March 2008, CNN reported that the US had launched a missile strike on southern Somalia against a man wanted by the FBI. Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan is wanted for questioning in 2002 attacks in Kenya, including a hotel suicide blast. It was unclear whether or not he was killed in the missile strike, though three women and three children were killed, and 20 people were wounded. Nabhan is also thought to be an associate of al Qaeda member Harun Fazul. Some have said, in contradiction to American intelligence, that terrorists do not live in the area.
 
US Secretly Supporting Somali Warlords?
In May 2006, it was reported that the US had returned to Somalia and was secretly supporting warlords who oppose Islamic factions for control of Mogadishu. US officials declined to address questions of involvement, though the government said that it supported governments that root out terrorists, and Al Qaeda in particular. Leaders of the transitional government warned the US against the dangers of working with warlords. But the US said it would move against any country that established a base for terrorists to operate from. Meanwhile, Somalia’s interim president, Abdullahi Yusuf, rejected US requests to bring moderate Islamists into his transitional government, saying his government would crack down on terrorists anyplace around the nation, with or without the help of the US. The US said that new aid wasn’t conditional on the transitional government negotiating with Islamists.
Is US backing warlords against Somali Islamists? (by Emily Wax and Karen DeYoung, Associated Press)
Interim leader rejects US approach in Somalia (by Shashank Bengali, McClatchy)
Bush Hawks Down in Somalia (by Jim Lobe, Final Call News)
 
Columbia Professor Goes into Hiding After Somalia Comments
In April 2003, a Columbia University assistant professor came under fire for saying that he wanted to see the US defeated in Iraq and suffer “a million Mogadishus,” a reference to the 1993 Somalia ambush that left 18 Americans dead. Nicholas De Genova and his wife had gone into hiding after receiving more than a thousand threatening phone and email messages. About two dozen students mounted a silent protest, sitting quietly in support of DeGenova’s right to free speech.
Stir Continues Over Columbia Professor’s Comments (by Catherine Donaldson-Evans, Fox News)
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Human Rights

Somalia remains buried in conflict between the (Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and opposition groups that are in control of most of the country. The capital of Mogadishu has been a strategically important area and host to many armed conflicts over the years, while much of Somalia has experience relative peace. Patterns of abuse have plagued Somalis both within the Mogadishu and in the surrounding, relatively more peaceful areas.

 
Members of anti-government groups and terrorist organizations like al-Shabaab have committed an increasing number of human rights violations. Al-Shabaab controls much of the south of Somalia and the population there suffers from targeted killings and assaults, repressive forms of control and other forms of brutal punishment under its strict interpretation of Sharia (Islamic law).
 
Armed Conflict
After Ethiopian troops left Somalia in January 2009, many Somalis hoped that fighting would cease and peace would reenter the country. However fighting and conflict between the government and opposition groups continue to bring about a huge loss of life and property, especially in Mogadishu.
 
Civilians have experienced a high death toll as a result of ongoing armed conflict between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and insurgent al-Shabab and other militia groups. From January 2007 through 2008, more than 16,000 civilians were killed as a result of this armed conflict, and more than 1.2 million people were internally displaced in southern and central Somalia.
 
Open warfare in Somalia has primarily taken place in the capital of Mogadishu, taking a heavy toll on civilians in this area and in other target areas. In 2009, tens of thousands of Somalis who had previously been displaced from their homes in Mogadishu returned with the hopeful possibility of peace. However, fighting and violations of human rights have persisted.
 
Freedom of Expression
In 2009, human rights defenders, humanitarian aid workers, and journalists received regular threats of attack by all parties to the conflict, and were also regularly shot at, abducted, and killed. In 2008 alone, more than 40 Somali human rights defenders were killed.
 
There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet, but opposition elements in Mogadishu reportedly closely monitored Internet use and were believed to be the authors of anonymous e-mail threats to local journalists.
 
Reports from April 2010 reveal that al-Shabaab exerts strict control over personal lives and punishes any allegedly immoral conduct. Men are barred from shaving their beards or wearing long trousers and people are not allowed on the streets during prayer times. Mandatory prayer is imposed on Somalis and people are expected to go to a mosque during the five daily prayer times.
 
As of April 11 2010, Islamist militants halted music played on air. With the threat of punishments such as amputations and stonings, stations were quick to cooperate, to the great disappointment of the civilian population of Somalia.
 
Humanitarian Aid Workers
Human rights defenders have been at high risk as a result of the conflict and general lawlessness. Two gunmen shot and killed a peace activist and mediator between clan militias, Ali Jama Bihi, on July 9, 2008.
 
The insecurity of humanitarian aid workers as of 2008 was the worst it had been since the early 1990s. Extremely violent attacks resulted in an unknown number of abductions followed frequently by deaths. For example, masked gunmen shot and killed the director of the NGO Horn Relief, Ahmed Moslim Bario, on May 17, 2008, as he returned home in Kismayo. Survivors are reluctant to speak out of fear of retaliation, and agencies providing aid to displaced people are hesitant to reveal the conditions they face out of fear of losing access to these vulnerable populations.
 
From 2007-2009, at least 19 journalists were killed in Somalia; some targeted because of their work, and others were victims of general violence. Reports in 2009 also revealed that humanitarian workers have been targeted on such a large scale that Somalia is being considered the most dangerous country in the world to work in by many aid agencies. These threats on humanitarian workers make it especially difficult to provide even the most basic supplies to internally-displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in Somalia.
 
Refugees and Internally Displaced People
According to an HRW report in April 2010, there are currently 1.5 million people internally displaced and more than 560,000 are living as refugees in neighboring countries. Attacks on humanitarian operations have made it nearly impossible for organizations to supply basic needs to most Somalis in need, worsening one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.
 
Justice System
As of 2010, Somalia had no effective national governance or justice system in place. As a result, there was no improvement seen in human rights conditions during that year and the UN Development Programme rule of law program was incapable of providing necessary support to establish courts and detention facilities.
 
Death Penalty
In 2008, death sentences were carried out by individuals who claimed local authority in Ksimayo. Puntland authorities have reported that they will apply the death penalty to any individuals partaking in piracy activity, but no executions had been reported as of 2008.
 
Somaliland
In 2009, Somaliland, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991, continued to seek international recognition. Border disputes caused tension with Puntland, another semi-autonomous region of Somalia, and thousands of civilians were displaced after extensive fighting between the two regions, especially in 2007, which resulted in Somaliland controlling the disputed area. In October 2008, 20 people were killed by suicide bombers at the presidential compound.
 
Piracy
During the first half of 2008, maritime piracy declined as a result of international antipiracy efforts, however, it increased during the second half of the year and interrupted humanitarian attempts to provide supplies to IDPs. According to the Kenyan Foreign Minister, Moses Masika Wetangula, Somali pirates received more than US$150 million in ransom during 2008.
 
Western reports on piracy in Somalia have revolved around a British couple who was captured in October 2009 and have been held hostage by pirates since.
 
Prison
In 2008, prisons in all regions were overcrowded, life threatening, and lacked access to health care, in addition to supplying inadequate food and water. Guards commonly abused prisoners, who depended on food from family members or relief agencies.
 
Women
In 2009, NGOs documented patterns of rape of women with impunity, particularly of women displaced from their homes due to civil conflict or who were members of minority clans. Police and militia members engaged in raped, and rape was commonly practiced in inter-clan conflicts.
 
Domestic violence against women remained a serious problem. Sexual violence in the home was reportedly a serious problem, linked to general gender discrimination.
 
Reports from 2010 reveal that al-Shabaab has barred women from commerce and any other activities that would bring them into contact with men, as well as ordering women to wear a traditional form of Islamic over-gown that covers everything but the face, hands, and feet.
 
Children
The recruiting and use of child soldiers continued to be a problem in 2009. They were commonly employed in herding, agriculture, and household labor from an early age. Children broke rocks into gravel and worked as vendors of cigarettes and khat on the streets. The lack of educational opportunities and severely depressed economic conditions contributed to the prevalence of child labor.
 
The pre-1991 Penal Code and the TFC prohibit forced or compulsory labor, including by children; however, there were reports that such practices occurred in 2009. Children continued to be recruited into militias on both sides of the conflict by the TFG and its related forces, as well as by clan militias and antigovernment groups. Reports from 2009 also revealed that recruiters from al-Shabaab have been recruiting members from refugee camps.
 
HIV/AIDS
The most recent reports reveal that as of 2007, 24,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS and in 2007 there were 1,600 deaths caused by HIV/AIDS.
 
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Debate

How Should the U.S. Deal with Somalia?

Introduction
U.S. policy has supported the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) since its establishment in 2004. However, the TFG has been unable to improve conditions and security in Somalia or even move towards some form of agreement with Somalia’s clans and opposition groups that would provide a stronger foundation for governance. Current US interests in Somalia include counterterrorism, piracy, and humanitarian concerns, providing U.S. President Barack Obama with a foreign-policy opportunity. Obama’s world view “embraces the idea of talking to one’s enemies” according to Jason McLure of Newsweek, which contrasts with the previous Bush administration’s strategy of supporting an Ethiopian invasion in 2006 that helped overthrow the moderate Islamic Courts Union (ICU). President Obama is in a compromising position with regards to his decision on policy in Somalia. Whatever his decision is regarding policy, he must be careful to not appear soft on terror, yet not too aggressive towards Islamist insurgents at the same time.
 
Suspending U.S. Military Flights
By suspending U.S. military C-130 flights over Somalia, Obama would be conveying a future policy that would not be centered on a military component, a strategy that has alienated the very people America was attempting to “bring to the table.”
 
Suspending al-Shabaab from the Terror List
The policy of suspending al-Shabaab from the terror list would prove that the United States is open to enemies who “unclench their fists,” as President Obama mentioned in his inaugural speech.
 
Back Door Policy
A “back door” policy would involve opening back-channel negotiations with as many hard-line factions as possible. Obama’s motivation for using this strategy would be to bring in the hard-line factions for negotiations.
 
Constructive Disengagement
In a report on Somalia in March 2010, Bonwyn Bruton of the Council on Foreign Relations reevaluates the best approach for US policy in Somalia. She proposes a strategy called “constructive disengagement” which would require the US to accept an Islamist authority in Somalia as long as it does not interfere with humanitarian activities and does not support international jihad. She also suggests providing foreign aid that does not lead to the creation of formal institutions and she warns against military responses to piracy.
Somalia: A New Approach (by Bronwyn E. Bruton, Council on Foreign Relations)
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Past Ambassadors

Note: The Embassy in Mogadiscio (now Mogadishu) was established on Jul 1, 1960, with Andrew G. Lynch as Chargé d’Affaires.

 
Andrew G. Lynch
Appointment: Jul 5, 1960
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 11, 1960
Termination of Mission: Left post May 7, 1962
Note: Commissioned to the Somali Republic.
 
Horace G. Torbert, Jr.
Appointment: Feb 17, 1962
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 31, 1963
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 29, 1965
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Mar 12, 1963. Commissioned to the Somali Republic.
 
Raymond L. Thurston
Appointment: Sep 1, 1965
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 23, 1965
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 15, 1968
Note: Commissioned to the Somali Republic.
 
Fred L. Hadsel
Appointment: May 13, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 28, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 18, 1971
Note: Commissioned to the Somali Republic.
 
Matthew J. Looram, Jr.
Appointment: Feb 15, 1972
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 13, 1972
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 5, 1973
Note: An earlier nomination of Dec 15, 1971, was not acted upon by the Senate.
 
Roger Kirk
Appointment: Sep 20, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 8, 1973
Termination of Mission: Left post Feb 20, 1975
 
John L. Loughran
Appointment: May 8, 1975
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 13, 1975
Termination of Mission: Left post Nov 5, 1978
 
Donald K. Petterson
Appointment: Oct 12, 1978
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 8, 1978
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 30, 1982
 
Robert Bigger Oakley
Appointment: Sep 30, 1982
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 26, 1983
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 12, 1984
 
Peter Scott Bridges
Appointment: Nov 14, 1984
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 19, 1984
Termination of Mission: Left post May 14, 1986
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jul 12, 1985.
 
Note: The following officers served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim May 1986-Jun 1987: John L. Hirsch (May 1986-Aug 1986) and David P. Rawson (Aug 1986-Jun 1987).
 
Trusten Frank Crigler
Appointment: Apr 24, 1987
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 3, 1987
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 1, 1990
 
James Keough Bishop
Appointment: Jun 27, 1990
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 19, 1990
Termination of Mission: Embassy closed Jan 5, 1991.
 
The US does not maintain an Embassy in Somalia, although they do have a Virtual Presence Post. US interests in Somalia are represented by the Embassy in Kenya.
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Somalia's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Duale, Elmi Ahmed

In 1969, Elmi Ahmed Duale was elected to the Parliament of Somalia and was then selected to be Foreign Minister in the government. Duale became the Permanent Representative of Somalia to the UN in 2005.

 
Duale graduated from the Sapienza University of Rome in 1960, becoming a Doctor of Medicine and serving as Director General of Somalia’s Ministry of Health from 1963-1968. From 1970-1973, Somalia’s dictator, Siad Barre, held Duale and Cabinet members of Somalia as political detainees after Barre assumed power following a coup d’etat.
 
Beginning in 1974, Duale worked at the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) for 30 years.
 
Elmi AhmedDuale Bio (UN Press Release)
 
 
Somalia does not maintain an embassy in the US, and Somalia’s interests in the US are represented through their ambassador to the UN.

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Somalia's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.

Somalia does not maintain an embassy in the US, and Somalia’s interests in the US are represented through their ambassador to the UN.

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U.S. Ambassador to Somalia

Ranneberger, Michael
ambassador-image

Michael E. Ranneberger was sworn in as the new United States Ambassador to Kenya on July 31, 2006. Ranneberger obtained a BA from Towson State University in Baltimore and an MA in history from the University of Virginia.

 
He was Angola Desk Officer during 1981-1984, where he worked as a member of Assistant Secretary Crocker’s team. After working as a special assistant to Under Secretary Armacost from 1984 to 1985, he was awarded an International Affairs Fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations.
 
His service as Deputy Chief of Mission in Maputo from 1986 to 1989 included eight months as charge during the civil war, at a time when the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) emergency assistance program in Mozambique was one of the largest in sub-Saharan Africa. From 1989-1992, Ranneberger served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Asuncion, and while Deputy Director for Central American Affairs during 1992-1994, he helped oversee implementation of the peace accords in El Salvador and efforts to end the internal conflict in Guatemala.
 
In August 1994, he became Deputy Chief of Mission in Mogadishu. Ranneberger spent six months in Haiti setting up and running an inter-agency Task Force on Justice and Security-Related Issues before becoming Coordinator for Cuban Affairs from July 1995 to July 1999.
 
From 1999 to 2002, he was ambassador to the Republic of Mali. He served as special advisor on Sudan from 2002 to 2004 and was the Africa Bureau’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary from 2004 to 2005.
 
In 2006, he became the senior representative on Sudan in the Bureau of African Affairs.
 
In May 2009, some Kenyan leaders expressed slight displeasure with Ranneberger Nicholas Gumbo, a Member of Parliament from the Rarieda party, was quoted saying “Ranneberger is behaving like a governor. He has no respect for elected leaders”. Additional members of Parliament have expressed disappointment at the way Ranneberger has handled the reform agenda.
 
On September 24, 2009, Ranneberger reported that the US was sending warning letters to 15 prominent Kenyans who are currently supposed obstacles to reform in Kenya. The warning stated that in order for Washington to continue providing future aid deals that benefit Kenyans, the leaders of Kenya need to implement long-delayed reforms that will stamp out corruption and rights abuses.
 

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