• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • London Somalia Conference: The First Step to Addressing a Crisis Is Acknowledging It

    British Prime Minister David Cameron (C) shakes hands with Prime Minister of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia Abdiweli Mohamed Ali

    Today world leaders met in London for a conference addressing the ongoing crisis in Somalia. The one-day event included deliberations on the failed state’s governance (or lack thereof), piracy, terrorism, famine, and the African Union’s Mission in Somalia. Considering these problems have wracked Somalia for two decades, the notion that any progress will be made in a few hours is dubious.

    The conference is further burdened by the feckless actors that claim to represent Somalia, otherwise known as the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). Days before the conference, equipped with a sense of entitlement and a begging bowl, Somalia’s interim prime minister, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, stated, “Somalia expects a lot from this conference. We expect the establishment of a trust fund for Somalia. We expect a complete reconstruction plan for Somalia. We expect a Marshall Plan for Somalia.”

    Considering that the TFG has stolen 96 percent of bilateral assistance to Somalia, Ali is in no position to request, let alone demand, more money.

    As long as the international community continues to recognize the TFG as a legitimate governmental body, the longer the crisis will continue. A bottom-up approach to governance—whereby politicians are elected by Somalis—is ideal, but such a structure is a pipedream unless the international community ceases to recognize the TFG.

    J. Peter Pham of the Atlantic Council sums up the TFG’s participation in the conference aptly: “The only result this has produced is to incentivize the rent-seeking behavior and corruption of so-called officials incapable of restoring a modicum of security and governance.… What is needed is a ‘bottom-up’ approach.”

    Despite these challenges, such attempts by British Prime Minister David Cameron to address Somalia are laudable as was Foreign Secretary William Hague’s recent travel to Mogadishu. For too long world leaders, including the Obama Administration, have viewed Somalia as a poor investment, one that would take too much time and resources away from a stretched foreign policy agenda.

    However, the U.S. can no longer afford to be a spectator to terrorism and piracy. Though the London conference is not likely to produce any meaningful results, it’s a step in the right direction and one the Obama Administration can learn from as it continues to develop its policy for the region.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.