The United States expects this week to unveil a draft U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the deployment of African peacekeepers to strengthen Somalia's weak interim government. As VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports from Washington, at least one international research group says such a move could spark a wider conflict in the Horn of Africa.
A spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations, Ben Chang, told VOA the United States plans to submit the draft resolution on Somalia later this week.
He confirmed the resolution would authorize the deployment of a regional military force and exempt that entity from the existing U.N. arms embargo on Somalia.
As word began to circulate about the proposed resolution, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group released a statement saying the deployment of such a force in Somalia could backfire.
The group says an intervention force should be sent to Somalia only if all the warring factions in the country support the idea. It warned such a move could undermine Somalia's fragile transitional government, strengthen the rival Islamist group and lead to a wider regional war in the Horn of Africa.
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, while not discussing details of the resolution, deflected the criticism.
"We have an interest in seeing greater stability in the Horn of Africa," said Sean McCormack. "We do have a strategy. We are working with other interested states as well as neighbors in the region. With due deference to their opinion, we believe we are pursuing the right strategy."
Somali Islamists seized the capital, Mogadishu, last June and have rapidly expanded their power throughout southern and central Somalia.
The interim government, which is recognized by the United Nations, controls only the town of Baidoa, in south-central Somalia.
The Islamists say they are trying to bring law and order to the country, which has been without a functioning government for more than 15 years.
The Islamists vehemently oppose foreign peacekeeping forces, saying they will wage a jihad, or holy war, against any foreign troops on Somali soil.
Neighboring Ethiopia and the United States both accuse the Islamists of having ties with the al-Qaida terrorist group.
The Bush administration believes the Islamists are harboring suspects wanted in connection with the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The Executive Director of the U.S.-based Somali Justice and Advocacy Center, Omar Jamal, says he believes his country needs a foreign peacekeeping force to end years of turmoil.
"Any existence of a stable government's business is to provide security for the citizens," said Omar Jamal. "I think by that it gives a chance for the government to build its army and police so they can provide a basic service that any government or any state is supposed to provide, which is to provide a secure environment for its citizens."
The proposed U.N. resolution for deployment of a regional military force in Somalia has the support of African members of the Security Council.
The draft resolution could be submitted as early as Wednesday.
Somalia Cries out Aloud!
By topi lyambila
Somalia have accused neighbours Kenya of allowing Ethiopian and US troops to amass along their common border were vehemently denied by the Kenya Government.
On the 27th of November the Foreign and Information Ministers of Kenya held an impromptu Press Conference in Nairobi, to refute the claims by the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) in Neighboring Somalia. The Somalia Islamic Militia believes the troops are preparing for an offensive on their country.
For nine months now the UIC has been trying to unite the warring factions of Somalia under and Islamist Government. They however have been accused of trying to impose a Taliban style of Government in Somalia, a factor they have denied fervently although certain actions during the last world cup when they closed theatres and broke up wedding parties and banned the playing of pop music reflected otherwise.
Incidentally there has also been for sometime a Transitional Government (TNG) in place in Somalia. They are however based in Baidoa not in the capital of Mogadishu the bonafide capital of Somalia. This Transitional Government brokered in Kenya under a United Nations initiative, has little power away from Baidoa. Its main backer the Ethiopian Government of Zenawi is an ally of the United States and is seen by several entities as doing the bidding on behalf of Washington. Since the UN pulled out of Somalia in 1993 Ethiopia has intervened three times to prop up the TNG.
Kenya or for that matter Ethiopia’s interest in Somalia, is an issue that has been found acceptable, as an unstable Somalia does not augur well for peace in the region, especially to the immediate neighbours Kenya and Ethiopia.
There have been cross-border raids by militias in the past and there is a refugee issue there. The theft of cattle is in itself another source of problems in the region. The UIC has also stated that parts of Kenya need to be under Islamist Control.
Scott Morgan a journalist who writs about US interests in Africa and Human Rights issues, adds, “Now the United States has a vital interest in the region. Stopping the spread of terror that is if you believe the Administration. That is why over 3,000 US Troops are stationed in Djibouti. Although they have been involved in projects repairing infrastructure (schools, clinics, roads… etc.) American Forces have been keeping a low profile and only showed their faces in March during a recon mission in Mogadishu
Somalia: $2,840 Donated By Somalis in USA for Flood Victims
Following widespread floods in Somalia's central and southern provinces, displacing thousands of families and engulfing several thousands of domestic animals, Somalis in the diaspora, particularly those in the United States have sent $2,840 through Shabelle Radio to the flood effected people in Somalia.
Shabelle Radio in Mogadishu has lately been urging Somalis inside and in the diaspora to help their fellow citizens badly hit by torrential rains that triggered floods, which submerged several hundreds of villages in central and southern provinces in the country.
Abdiwahab Kalif Hussein, one of the Somalis, who collected the money in US, has told Shabelle by telephone that they hoped their contribution would be joined to the donations given by other Somalis to rescue and feed the flood victims who are reportedly eating leaves of trees because of starvation.
It is not the first time that Somalis in the diaspora have sent contributions to their fellow Somalis back home; last september Somalis living abroad sent donations to the internally displaced refugees in Somalia.