News / Africa

US Denies Direct Military Aid to Somali Transitional Authorities

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson (File Photo)
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson (File Photo)

The U.S. State Department's chief Africa diplomat said Friday the United State is not providing direct military aid to Somalia's Transitional Federal Government, the TFG. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson also told reporters the military position of the TFG is not as precarious as depicted in most news reports.

The United States has acknowledged giving military advice and in the past brokering delivery of some weapons to the transitional authorities, while also providing training and logistical support for African Union peacekeepers in Somalia.

But Assistant Secretary Carson says the United States has no military advisors or troops on the ground in Somalia and does not want to Americanize the long-running conflict there.

Carson spoke to reporters at the State Department with the aim, he said, of refuting recent press reports - including an account by the New York Times - that covert U.S. forces may stage air strikes or otherwise become directly involved in helping the TFG in a planned offensive against Islamic insurgents. "The United States does not plan, does not direct, and does not coordinate the military operations of the TFG and we have not and will not be providing direct support for any potential military offensives. Further we are no providing, or paying for military advisers for the TFG. There is no desire to Americanize the conflict in Somalia," he said.

Fighting in the Somali capital Mogadishu has increased in recent days with insurgent fighters of the al-Shabab militia, said to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, fighting government troops and African peacekeepers near the national palace.

The transitional administration of President Sheikh Ahmed Sharif is frequently described in news reports as controlling only a small area of the capital, but Carson said the tenacity of the TFG has long been understated. "I think the TFG has demonstrated an enormous capacity to survive. When Sheikh Sharif took office as the head of the TFG approximately 16 months ago, there were individuals who predicted that his government would fall within a matter of months and that he would not be able to reside and govern from Mogadishu. That has not been true," he said.

At the same time, Carson said the long-term solution in Somalia is political not military, and that the TFG needs to widen its base to include major clans and sub-clans, along with Islamic moderates who want peace and denounce Al-Shabab.

The senior U.S. diplomat said a United Nations report this week that as much of half of the international food aid delivered to Somalia is being diverted to Islamist militants and others is a troubling allegation, but that the United States is still studying the document.

Officials say annual U.S. food aid contributions to Somalia are about $150 million a year, and that a similar amount goes to support the Ugandan-led African Union peacekeeping force AMISOM, formed in 2007.

Carson said direct U.S. aid to the TFG last year was about $12 million. He urged African states with an interest in regional stability to step up and contribute forces to AMISOM, which has never reached its authorized strength of 8,000 troops.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid