Where Doing Less Helps More Bronwyn Bruton
Washington's repeated attempts to bring peace to Somalia with state-building initiatives have failed, even backﬁred. It should renounce political intervention and encourage local development without trying to improve governance.
BRONWYN BRUTON is an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
One of Washington's concerns today is that al Qaeda may be trying to develop a base somewhere in Somalia from which to launch attacks outside the country. Another is that more and more alienated members of the Somali diaspora might embrace terrorism, too. Somali nationals were arrested in Minnesota in early 2009 after returning from fighting alongside al Shabab, and in August 2009, two Somalis were arrested in Melbourne for planning a major suicide attack on an Australian army installation. The first American ever to carry out a suicide bombing did so in Somalia in October 2008. These isolated incidents have generated more hype than they deserve, but they have nonetheless put the Obama administration in a tough position. If only to avoid seeming weak in combating terrorism, it must prevent these threats from escalating, but it is entering the fray at a time when almost any international action in Somalia is likely to reinforce the Somalis' anti-Western posture.http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/65462/bronwyn-bruton/in-the-quicksands-of-somalia