U.S. strategic interest in Somalia: From Cold War era to War on Terror
Mohamed, Mohamed A.
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis examines United States' policy toward Somalia from the era of the Cold War to that of the more recent and ongoing War on Terror. It asserts that U.S.'s change of policy from Cold War alliance with Somalia to the use of Somalia as a battleground in the War on Terror has resulted in a disorganized and disjointed policy framework. In 1991, an alliance of warlords defeated President Siad Barre's regime that supplied Somalia's last central government and that was allied to the US. Subsequently, the victorious warlords turned on one another, resulting in clan feuds that destabilized the Somali state. In March 1994, this chaos engulfed US troops engaged in a humanitarian mission, resulting in the death and humiliation of several American soldiers in the so-called Black Hawk Disaster that led to the withdrawal of US troops and interests from Somalia. However, following the events of September 11, 2001, in which Islamic extremists attacked the Twin Towers in New York City and the ensuing launching of War on Terror, the United States became suspicious that Somalia was now a breeding ground for terrorist attacks against American interests in East Africa. This threat increased when Islamic Court Union (ICU) consolidated its power in southern Somalia after defeating US-allied warlords in June 2006. The ICU did bring a respite of law and peace for some six months, following fifteen years of warfare and chaos. But this was short-lived. Armed with economic and political support from Washington, neighboring Ethiopia invaded southern Somalia and occupied Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, under the pretext of the War on Terror. As many as 1 million people are reported to have been displaced and more than 10,000 were estimated to have been killed in Mogadishu.