Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

U.S. clears way to arm, train Somali forces

Apr. 8, 2013 - 06:13PM   |  
  • Filed Under

WASHINGTON — President Obama cleared the way Monday for the U.S. to arm and train Somali forces, taking a step toward normal relations with the East African nation as it works to build confidence in its newly recognized government.

In a memo to Secretary of State John Kerry, Obama said he has determined that supplying defense equipment and services to “will strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace.” The move doesn’t immediately provide new assistance to Somalia, but allows Kerry to consider taking that step in the future.

Somalia is trying to preserve fragile progress toward establishing its first functional government after two decades of chaos. The U.S. formally recognized the African nation’s new government in January — the first time the U.S. had recognized a Somali government since 1991, when warlords overthrew longtime dictator Siad Barre and then turned on one another.

“The United States is committed to being a long-term partner in assisting the defense forces in Somalia defense to become a professional military force,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.

A relative peace has returned to Somalia’s war-battered capital of Mogadishu since African Union forces ousted al-Shabab — a militant group loosely associated with al-Qaida — from the city over 18 months ago. But al-Shabab rebels are not yet defeated, and the U.S. remains concerned about the threat the group could pose to the region’s stability. The U.S. designated al-Shabab a terrorist group in 2008.

Obama’s decision was not tied to any new threat assessment in Somalia, said a senior administration official, who was not authorized to discuss security assessments publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The move follows a decision by the U.N. Security Council in March to partially suspend the arms embargo on Somalia for 12 months, after Somali officials appealed to the U.N. to suspend the embargo. The council preserved a ban on exports of a list of heavy military hardware, including surface-to-air missiles, anti-tank guided weapons and night-vision weapons.

The U.S. government has provided funds and training to African Union forces fighting al-Shabab in Somalia, and has also provided more than $133 million to Somalia since 2007 in security sector assistance, intended to help the country build up and professionalize its security forces.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Air Force Times

This Week's Air Force Times

Best federal contractors
The companies hiring the most veterans now

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook