December 14, 2006

HARRISONBURG—In his weekly column for the World Defense Review, Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, follows the latest developments in the unfolding crisis in the Horn of Africa where radicals of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) continue to face off against the internationally-recognized but powerless Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, its Ethiopian backers, and, since last week’s unanimously passed United States-sponsored United Nations Security Council Resolution 1725, the international community.

According to Dr. Pham, however, the UN resolution “raises more questions than it ‘resolves,’” for several reasons, including: it does not fund the 8,000 peacekeepers it authorized; is predicated on the extraordinarily dubious presupposition that the TFG offers “the only route to achieving peace and stability in Somalia”; by explicitly excluding Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) states bordering Somalia from participation, it effectively places the burden on other regional countries without the capacity; and it does not address the general hesitancy of the international community to actually get involved in a mission that will be resisted by the militarily-ascendant ICU.

The article concludes: “In the end, the only way to confront the Islamist storm that is gathering strength over Somalia is with a healthy dose of realism. And that means both recognizing the ICU for what it is and supporting those effective forces—especially Ethiopia’s and Somaliland’s—actually in a position to oppose the Islamists, rather than pretending the radicals are anything other than what they are and pursuing fanciful (and dangerous) schemes which will do nothing to stop them.”

To read Dr. Pham’s article, “Not Being Had by al-Itihaad,” click here.