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Cutting Humanitarian Aid To Somalia Essay

1156 words - 5 pages

Cutting humanitarian aid by the United States significantly effected Somalia and aid organizations. This unfortunate but necessary decision had to be made because of fear aid was going into the wrong hands. Al Shabab, an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist organization, who wages global Jihad and vows to attack the United States (U.S.), played a key role in the halt of humanitarian aid to Somalia. This organization is a threat to the U.S., National Security, Somalia and its neighboring countries. In order for humanitarian aid to resume by the U.S. and its allies, al Shabab needs to be eliminated from the region.
Somalia has been torn by years of conflict since the collapse of its government in 1991. Today, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) backed by the United Nations (UN) and allied forces has been appointed to run Somalia. This has been challenging due to opposition from al Shabab, an anti-Western Islamic militia, who feel they should be in control of Somalia. TFG mainly occupies Northern Somalia while al Shabab controls the South-Central regions. Fierce fighting amongst the government and militia continues as al Shabab attempts to gain control. “The group also has a well-trained and well-armed militia that includes hundreds of foreign fighters, including dozens from the U.S. and Europe. It has conducted sophisticated terror attacks, including twin car bombings, on its targets inside Somalia” (Harnisch, C. 2010). As the humanitarian aid crisis grew worse, the country’s worst drought in years settled in causing famine, while the U.S. cut humanitarian aid. Al Shabab took advantage of this opportunity to further establish them as a legitimate, well-structured organization capable of stepping in as a government. “Tragically, al Shabab has exploited the generosity of the United States and the broader international community by using foreign humanitarian aid to bolster its capacity and maintain its control of southern Somalia. The group has raised funds through “taxing” aid distributors or forcing them to pay fees at checkpoints in order to operate in a given area” (Harnisch, C. 2010). Al Shabab sells portions of the humanitarian aid food supply in order to buy weapons for its militia. It has created its own administration to regulate humanitarian aid flowing into the affected region. “This administrative function achieves two significant objectives for al Shabab. First, it allows the group to define itself as the sole governing authority in southern Somalia. Al Shabab presents the impression to the Somali people and the international community that it is the legitimate authority in the region by dictating regulations to international organizations, such as the U.N., and violently enforcing those regulations. Second, by regulating foreign humanitarian aid, al Shabab also defines itself as the protector of the Somali people and the United States as the enemy” (Harnisch, C. 2010). Al Shabab has contributed significantly to the...

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