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After embrace of war criminals, time to cut off Somalia

Published on October 1, 2019 by   ·   No Comments

Not only to see Abdi Ali -Tuke attending the opening of the new Somali embassy in Washington, but also to pose for pictures with Farmajo.

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The annual U.N. General Assembly is an orgy of symbolism. Who meets whom on the sidelines? Who tried but failed to secure a meeting with the U.S. president? Who walks out of whose speech? Whom do security officers interecept when they try to exceed the permissions of their visa?

But there’s a second chapter to the diplomatic saga: Who continues on to Washington? What they do there matters. Some go to the White House, others to Congress, and still others hold meetings with their respective diasporas.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, or Farmajo as he is known to his Somali constituents, visited Washington, D.C., to formally open the Somali embassy. Farmajo was once the State Department’s great hope for Somalia. Long a refugee in the United States, he acquired American citizenship and even worked in various local government posts in Buffalo, New York, before returning to Somalia to become president.

The State Department sent Donald Yamamoto, one of its highest ranking Africanists, to head the U.S. mission in Mogadishu. Yamamoto, in turn, promised Somalia almost a billiom dollars in aid, although that number has shrunk considerably because of Farmajo’s ineffectiveness against (if not participation in) endemic corruption and a host of unanswered questions about his governance and priorities.

U.S. priorities in the Horn of Africa are promoting peace and stability, countering terrorism, and preventing Chinese inroads. On the latter two counts, Farmajo has already become a liability. He has sold somali waters to chimese interests. for example, undercutting Somali fishing and aiding a revival of piracy. In recent months, he has appeared to endore terrorism as a policy tool against neighboring states.

His visit to Washington should now end any question about whether the Farmajo regime deserves U.S. support.

Less than six months ago, the revelation that an Uber and Lyft driver in the Washington, D.C., area was a confirmed war criminal made international headlines. At the time, numerous Somalis testified that the driver, Yusuf Abdi Ali (better known as Colonel Tukeh), had directed torture and gruesome executions of prisoners during the 1980s

In one case, he had tied prisoners to a tree, doused them with oil, and lit them on fire. In another case, he tied a prisoner to a military vehicle and dragged him to his death. The cases were well documented, and so when Abdi Ali was found living in Canada, the Canadian government deported him. He later entered the U.S. and found works as an aiport screener until he was recognized. Ultimately, after a long legal battle, the Federal Court in Alexandria, Virginia, found Abdi Ali guilty and fined him $500,000 in the case of Farhan Tani Warfaa, a Somali whom Abdi Ali had tortured and shot five times while Warfaa was a teenager.

Human rights activists and Somalia watchers were shocked, therefore, not only to see Abdi Ali attending the opening of the new Somali embassy in Washington, but also to pose for pictures with Farmajo. Politicians might get a pass when asked to pose by well-wishers whom they do not know. But in this case, Abdi Ali appeared to be working for Farmajo, setting the security perimeter

Even before Farmajo’s Washington trip, there were ample grounds for the State Department or Congress to review Somalia policy. For a leader such as Farmajo to pose with a war criminal should be grounds for automatic cessation of support. Somalia cannot recover with Farmajo in power. Both Somalis and American taxpayers deserve better.

Michael Rubin (@Mrubin1971) is a contributor to the Washington

source. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/after-embrace-of-war-criminals-time-to-cut-off-somalia?fbclid=IwAR0-oVjM67yKZ7Ly9Lf7rjdTrOyEzms8DTX_zYb7amtED1Er_7E2w3wCZes

 
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