U.S. senator slams Bush Policy on Somalia

December 6th, 2006 Print Print Email Email

WASHINGTON

Returning from a trip to Africa, Sen. Russ Feingold faulted the Bush administration for what he called a failure to develop a policy on embattled Somalia but praised President George W. Bush’s efforts to combat AIDS on the continent.

Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who will chair the Senate Foreign Relations African affairs subcommittee next year, visited Ethiopia and Kenya, neighboring countries to Somalia, during his weeklong trip. An Islamic militia has taken over much of Somalia, including the capital, Mogadishu, and the weak transitional government’s prime minister said this week his troops were bracing for war.

“The stakes are very high for us,” Feingold said in a telephone interview Tuesday, warning that the militants could have an impact not just in Somalia, but throughout the region. The United States says the Islamic movement has links to al-Qaida, which the Islamic leaders deny.

“So this is just the kind of situation that we should be paying real attention to, instead of only obsessing about Iraq,” he said. “Our failure to have a policy in this area is a threat to the American people, and our government has a very serious responsibility to turn this around.”

Asked for comment Tuesday, the State Department referred to remarks made last week by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer, in which she said the United States is working with all sides to prevent Somalia from becoming a haven for terrorists.

At a Senate hearing in July, Frazer rejected suggestions that Somalia is not a priority for the administration. “We’re fully engaged,” she said.

Feingold said the U.S. policy should be to try to get negotiations going between the current secular government, known as the transitional federal government, and Islamic Courts to bring about a coalition government in Somalia. The United States has supported such a dialogue, but Feingold argued it has done too little to bring one about.

In October, Feingold won passage of an amendment to a defense bill that requires the U.S. government to coordinate a comprehensive strategy for Somalia and the region.

In Minnesota, which has the nation’s largest Somali community, U.S. policy toward Somalia is a huge concern, said Omar Jamal, executive director of the St. Paul-based Somali Justice Advocacy Center.

“Somalis feel that the administration hasn’t done anything on the Somali issue,” Jamal said. “The administration’s main focus was the war on terror, and right in front of our eyes, Somalia is run over by Taliban-style extremists. The administration hasn’t done squat.”

Meanwhile, Feingold praised the impact that Bush’s AIDS initiative has had on the countries he visited. The initiative, announced in 2003, targets 15 countries which are home to about half of the world’s 39 million people who are HIV-positive.

“It’s hard to ever describe this issue as good news, but I am proud of the effect that the president’s program is having,” Feingold said. “We received profuse thanks for the very significant funding increases that are going into it.

“It appears that both in both Ethiopia and Kenya, the government is fully behind the efforts, and sees the American bilateral aid as being one of the most important things.”

Feingold said that while more needs to be done, the progress has been striking. He said he visited a slum in Kenya in 2002, where he witnessed a “pitiful” program to help people with AIDS.

“There was absolutely no money whatsoever for treatment,” he said. “Now there is significant funding “” not enough “” but at least significant funding to treat people who already have AIDS.”

http://www.iht.com/

  1. | #1

    HI DISPORA..ONE THING U PPL SHOULD KNOW IS. IF THE BUSH ADIMINSTRSTION FAIL TO DIVELOP A POLICY ON SOMALIA. SH***. MELES ADIMISTRATION IS STILL KIK’N . ALL ETHIOPIA PPL AND DA PARILAMINT IS PASS ON RESOIUTION TO KIK JIHADIST and SHABYA.i think that’s matter for us. we don’t need any help from no boudy. even u DISPORA. what we need from u is just SH*** da HELL UP. GOD BLESS ETHIO.

  2. Mesfin
    | #2

    What are you doing on this site “Mamo”? You can’t even put your thoughts in words. You have no logical point what is so ever. Africa has been a dark continent because of arrogant like you and Meles. You should be ashamed the fact that you have nothing good to offer to any one. All you do is heart full and destructive to all the people around you and yourself. Can you imaging (if you have a tiny bit normal brain) what Ethiopia would look like, if Meles and Isayas weren’t born. They and their followers made millions and millions’ people life miserable. Now, the time is coming that they will test the bitterness they create in our country. I hope and pray that they go to heal.

    If you haven’t notice the people who read you post on this site can think and analyze your messages. Next time, if you have anything to post, think about it a couple of times before you post it. The reason is that, it is low even for Woyanes like yourself to prove how stupid you are everyday with meaningless staff. One more advice I have for you is; read books and talk to your other Woyanne friend and see if you can come up with something presentable and constructive. Obviously your poor farmer father couldn’t manage to tell you Wright from wrong. That is why you have been pain on the neck”¦but hay, I don’t mind to fill the gap, if you have the will to learn. After all I hate to see any Ethiopian being a horse to carry evil Meles.

  3. mustefa
    | #3

    Bravo Mamo provoke them and every one is wasting his time to respond
    i realy appreciate u and the rests are fool which don’t know to ignore the ignorant

  4. Mesfin
    | #4

    Hi Mustefa, I don’t think that we should ignore the ignorant. I am sure you have a value for education and you know that well educated people contribute a lot to build civilized and developed nation. I personally believe that Woynes are ignorant that is why they just can’t figure out the evil nature of Meles. He has been using them at his will to do anything he wants. All Meles has been doing to hurt Ethiopia is hurting them, but obviously they have not figured that out yet. It is like (Brea Karajue). I have met and spoke with a couple of Woyanne’s solders and asked them their reasons to be members of Woyanne. Pretty much all of them gave me reasons that I have never heard of. Something that doesn’t add up or give any sense at all. I was shocked to learn that how far ignorant people can go even to die for something that is not worth their life. Well, that kind of convinced me that ignorance is one of the main reasons why Ethiopia is in the situation it is right now. So, teaching our people and enlighten them is one of the powerful way of fighting our enemies.

    Mamo happens to be around, and I thought I should use the opportunity to challenge him and make him to think a bit harder. I don’t think that is wasting time. As the same time, it is also equally important to let the heads of Woyannes know, what we think of them, in case if they are in any illusion and deceiving themselves. Look what they have done to our people and to our country in the last 3 decades. Look how they brought down their country to rock bottom. No reasonable person should be proud of that. It is a shame

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