PBS News Hour quotes Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham on why right now isn’t the right time for the United States to appoint an ambassador to Somalia:

Now isn’t the time for the United States to officially recognize the Somali government, let alone appoint an ambassador, said J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

The Somali government has little influence beyond the capital. Instability within the current regime has meant the turnover of two prime ministers and “countless cabinet reshuffles,” he said. “Given the relatively brief tenures which they can expect to hold, senior government officials largely view their appointments as opportunities for self-enrichment and other corruption before they are forced to move on.”

The progress that Somalia has made recently is mainly on the military front against al-Shabab militants, and that “has been largely the work of the African Union forces which have deployed in larger numbers and with better training,” along with help from U.S. intelligence and special operations, said Pham.

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