American American Government, Somalia, Al-Shabaab discussed on PRI's The World

PRI's The World
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

It's very typical for them to strike any kind of hotel restaurant or government office where either government officials or people supporting or engaging with the government would be located. It's important for us to understand that al-shabaab is not in conflict with the United States. The U._S. has been constantly hitting al-shabaab with strikes this year fifty so far which is a massive escalation already over last year which was a massive escalation Denver strikes the previous year al-shabaab is primarily interested in local politics. They want to control Somalia and their primary reason for existing is to fight the Somali government not the U._S. and so I think that the airstrikes have made it less easy for them to attack the government but they definitely as this strike is probably intended to show they are definitely able still to launch these massive attacks which is an indication that the strikes are not working very well. You're so what are those airstrikes accomplishing well. I think there's some evidence that they are putting great pressure on Al Shabaab and there's some splintering with Al Shabaab as a result but I think even the AFRICOM leadership has been quite candid that it's not very likely that these airstrikes going to destroy al-shabaab or even debilitate the organization the problem is that the government has been stalled for ten years and the U._S. has spent millions and millions of dollars trying to train soldiers for the government that coupon defecting and there's really no command and control in the Somali army and there's not a strong sense of loyalty so it's it's primarily a set of political problems that are not going to be solved through military force and the American American government in using military force in drone strikes in particular is running the risk of alienating the Somali people because obviously civilians are increasingly being caught up in these strikes does the U._S. have a policy for bringing peace to Somalia. The U._S. doesn't have any kind of plan for bringing peace to Somalia. It's consistently said that it's trying to build a government. It's trying to empower the government but it's not elected and I think there's still a lot of uncertainty in Somalia about what the government should look like Mike and certainly a lot of dissatisfaction about what this particular government looks like across the country you see regional administrations popping up that are basically clan feifdoms all of whom are at odds with the central government. It's really been a case of one step forward. Chew steps back. What you think is the best way the U._S.? Can Help Somalia right now in my view. The best thing that the United States can do is to negotiate with Al Shabaab we have for many many years described Al Shabaab as a terrorist organization but that's it's not all that they are all they have been very harsh. They've also increased the rule of law and and a lot of Somalia's depend on them and I think what's important for the U._S.. is to try to recognize the things that al-shabaab has accomplished and find a way to coexist I with them and to negotiate with them to get them to agree for example not to target neighboring countries not to target Christians. It's also important to point out that Al Shabaab relationship with Al Qaeda has been quite tempestuous as far as partners go. They've been pretty poor. One and I think that the alliance's quite weak and so again the possibility of working with Al Shabaab perhaps draw them away from al Qaeda and find a way to coexist with them is not impossible Bronwyn Bruton with the Atlantic Council..

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