June 29, 2014
Al Arabiya quotes Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham on US foreign policy in Somalia:

However, J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank which has hosted powerful figures including NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the now-Secretary of State John Kerry, told Al Arabiya News that he believes that the United States should not get further involved with Somalia’s weak federal government.

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“The evidence assembled by U.N. experts pointed to key advisors of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as being involved in the actual planning of weapons deliveries to militants,” said Pham.

“All of this begs the question of why we would even recognize, much less appoint an ambassador, to such a regime. Is the administration simply ignorant of widely reported facts?” he added.

Currently, the United States maintains relations with Somalia through a diplomat based in the capital of Kenya, who intermittently travels to Mogadishu, while the future ambassador would not yet take up an office in Somalia, a state department official said earlier this month.

Therefore, the lack of any physical immediate diplomatic presence could mean that U.S. overtures toward Somalia are insincere, according to Pham.

“It is a legitimate question whether the appointment of an ambassador to Mogadishu is not just another empty gesture covering for the current administration’s lack of a real – and realistic – foreign policy,” he said.

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