Ugandan Troops in Somalia Indirectly Supported by U.S. Funds

Check out this recent article from the New York Times about the role the Unites States continues to play in Somalia: U.S. Relies on Contractors in Somalia Conflict. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk – people in the US vividly remember Black Hawk Down and the failure of our direct military efforts in Somalia in the 90s, but we also realize Al Shabaab is a threat to our security.

Many of our covert military activities abroad seem to involve ways to support wars that are being waged by others (like the Ugandan troops currently fighting in Somalia) while avoiding the domestic political fallout of engaging directly, and also trying not to invoke the vengeance of terrorists who might carry out retribution attacks on Americans.

This reality also complicates the world of foreign aid, which people often forget is designed to support our strategic interests rather than having an exclusively humanitarian goal. We are much more likely to turn a blind eye to Uganda using aid funds in inappropriate ways when they are fighting a war for us in Somalia.

Mark D. Jordahl

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About Mark D. Jordahl

Mark Jordahl is a writer, trip leader and naturalist who has lived much of the last 7 years in Uganda and currently calls Colorado home.
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3 Responses to Ugandan Troops in Somalia Indirectly Supported by U.S. Funds

  1. Mike Brady says:

    Is this for information only, or are your proposing for or advocating against some policy? I’m assuming if there was oil there, ala Libya, this administration would make a more hearty rationalization for aid and support?

    • Mark D. Jordahl says:

      This one is purely informative. Not only to highlight our continued involvement in Somalia (for good or for bad – who knows?), but also just as a reminder to people that foreign aid is not strictly for humanitarian purposes, particularly given that the majority of our aid goes to Israel and Egypt in weapons (although I’m not sure that still is the case for Egypt).

      I have no idea if we should be doing this in Somalia and elsewhere, and I thank my lucky stars that I don’t have to be the one making the decisions on things like this.

      And yes, oil changes the playing field wherever it is found.

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