President Obama decided this week that the Muslim Brotherhood-linked regime ruling parts of Somalia out of the capital city Mogadishu is eligible to receive U.S. military aid and weapons, sending a memo to Secretary of State John Kerry announcing the new finding and laying the ground work for even more foreign entanglements in Africa. While the decision does not mean American taxpayers will begin sending arms immediately, Obama claimed his administration could legitimately provide military assistance to United Nations-backed Somali authorities under existing U.S. export and foreign aid statutes.
"I hereby find that the furnishing of defense articles and defense services to the Federal Republic of Somalia will strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace," states the memo, which was issued on Monday and purports to allow Kerry to arm and train Somali forces. It was not immediately clear what section or language in the Constitution the president believes would authorize arming the leftist Somali regime or any other foreign governments.
However, as Obama has made clear throughout his administration — in both foreign and domestic policy — the Supreme Law of the Land appears to be of little concern. Like previous presidents, the current White House occupant has been lawlessly arming and training various regimes and militant groups around the world despite the lack of any constitutional authority to do so. The results have been disastrous.
According to news reports about the executive branch “determination,” Obama claims that it is somehow in the national security interest of the United States for the U.S. government to be able to provide more military assistance to the Somali regime. Arming, training, and funding authorities in Mogadishu could also help to promote “peace” and “stability” in East Africa — a troubled region with a long history of tyranny, war, famine, and more. The move would contribute to “world peace” as well, the president claimed without elaborating.
"It does not constitute a decision to provide particular assistance or to change the nature or our assistance for Somalia's security sector," White House National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden was quoted as saying in media reports, adding that the move allows Kerry to “consider” providing weapons. "The United States is committed to being a long-term partner in assisting the defense forces in Somalia to become professional military forces."
An international “arms embargo” on Somalia was partially suspended last month by the UN Security Council, paving the way for foreign governments to start sending more weapons to the African Union-backed regime in Mogadishu. The Obama administration, meanwhile, formally recognized the Muslim Brotherhood-linked regime of Somali “President” Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in January — the first time a U.S. administration has officially recognized a Somali “government” since 1991.
While most media reports have painted the recent memo purporting to authorize arms to Somali authorities as a startling new development, the AFP news service highlighted the fact that American taxpayers have been forced to provide more than $130 million in so-called “security sector assistance” to Somalia since 2007. That aid was supposed to help the central regime build structures to provide “security.” In other words, the money was meant to help the favored faction solidify its grip on power.
Despite increasing international acceptance, large swaths of the Somali population view the government in Mogadishu — headed by a “social democrat” with extensive links to the radical Muslim Brotherhood — as illegitimate. Among the most powerful forces opposing the central government is another radical Islamist faction known as al Shabab, allegedly a “loose affiliate” of al-Qaeda that reportedly benefited from the extensive arms stockpile supplied to al-Qaeda-linked rebels during the Libyan “revolution.”
"We will only recognize a process run by Somalis and not manipulated by Ethiopia, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti and the West," al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage told the AFP news agency after the dubious election that brought Hassan Mohamud to power last year. "Hassan is operating under a constitution drafted by the enemies of Somalia, who have a nefarious geopolitical agenda, especially neighboring countries."
The central government is clinging to power with strong backing from a UN-backed and U.S.-funded international military force composed primarily of troops from the so-called “African Union.” With help from foreign soldiers, the “transitional” central government succeeded in ousting most al-Shabab militants from Mogadishu over a year ago. However, despite losing some towns in recent months, the radical Islamist group still controls huge areas within Somali borders.
The international AU-UN military presence in Somalia is also receiving funding and training from the U.S. government. However, as The New American reported years ago, the global mission has been wreaking havoc in Somalia and beyond, with numerous reports of civilian massacres, rape, and wanton human rights abuses perpetrated by foreign troops.
“The United Nations forces in Mogadishu are indiscriminately shelling civilian populated areas and markets,” reported Ali Osman in 2010 for Mareeg.com, a Somalia-based news outlet. “In the last three months alone the United Nations forces in Mogadishu have killed more than 160 civilians and have injured more than 400.” According to Osman, the figure was a conservative estimate since many victims were never even taken to the hospital or reported. Other analysts documented similar findings.
In the United States, outrage about Obama’s recent decision is growing as well. “This administration is intent on incrementally disarming Americans while at the same time funneling arms that regularly find their way into the hands of terrorists and insurgents eager to kill Americans overseas," former police training officer Kelly Laughlin was quoted as saying by the Law Enforcement Examiner. "There are reports that strongly suggest the arms given to Libyan rebels in their fight against a dictator are now being found in the hands of rebels in Syria, many of whom are members of Islamic terrorist organizations."
Since Obama took office, the U.S. government has taken a much more active military role on the African continent. Indeed, as The New American reported in December, Obama is plotting to put American troops in as many as 35 African countries, not to mention the president’s mass-murdering drone program that has been killing civilians from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Yemen and Somalia under the guise of targeting suspected “militants.”
Among the most significant recent interventions in Africa was Obama’s unconstitutional decision to wage war on Libya without even asking Congress, with the administration citing UN resolutions as the supposed “authority” for a brutal “regime change” operation that ultimately left the nation in ruins. During the war, the president offered overt military assistance to Islamist rebels, many of whom were openly affiliated with al-Qaeda. Libya today is in total disarray as various militias battle each other for power. The U.S. ambassador was also killed in a scandal that has since become known as “Benghazigate.”
More recently, again without asking Congress, the Obama administration decided to join the UN-backed war effort in Mali. Among other measures, the U.S. government is helping the Socialist French government, the African Union, and the illegitimate Malian regime — installed after a military coup led by a U.S.-trained officer removed the elected government in Bamako — to defeat a separatist movement seeking independence in the north. According to human rights groups, UN-backed forces have been responsible for mass atrocities and slaughtering civilians in Mali as well.
Another country where Obama and his UN allies intervened in recent years was the Ivory Coast, where international forces helped oust the Christian president and replace him with an Islamic central banker. Like in other international interventions, UN-backed troops and a coalition of Muslim militias were accused of slaughtering innocent Christians and civilians to install the new regime. The new authorities have since started shutting down critical newspapers and rounding up dissidents.
Whether the recent decision by Obama to permit more U.S. military assistance to Somali authorities will result in deeper foreign entanglements remains to be seen. If history is any guide, however, it almost certainly will. What sort of “blowback” might result is also not yet clear. Critics, though, argue that it is time for the bankrupt U.S. government to obey the Constitution and avoid further foreign policy fiascos before the deadly consequences explode onto the scene.
Photo of Somali soldier in Mogadishu: AP Images
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at
U.S. Troops to be in up to 35 African Countries