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John Kerry is in Somalia—but couldn’t leave the airport

John Kerry is in Somalia—but couldn’t leave the airport

Yes, it’s that bad.

It’s not just those lunchtime margaritas messing with your brain—John Kerry finally did something productive.

John Kerry went to Somalia. He’s the first U.S. Secretary of State ever to do it, and the most senior U.S. official to make the journey since President George H.W. Bush went in 1992 as part of a massive humanitarian operation.

The country—and especially the capital of Mogadishu—is so unstable that Kerry was unable to leave the heavily-fortified airport. He met there with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and other civil leaders, and released a video message to civilians discussing the importance of reclaiming a functioning government.

From NBC News:

Kerry was greeted upon arrival in Mogadishu by Somalia’s President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who called the visit “a great moment” for his nation.

“I’m glad to be here,” Kerry said, asking if the president had spent a “long time” waiting for his arrival.

“It’s worth waiting,” Mohamud replied.

A senior State Department official said the “historic” visit would “send a strong signal” to the Somali people about U.S. commitment to the nation.

“It will send a strong signal to al Shabab that we are not turning our backs on the Somali people and that we will continue to engage with Somalia until we bring al Shabab’s terror to an end,” the official said ahead of the visit.

(I think it’s worth noting that neither Kerry, nor the State Department, nor the Administration as a whole, is being overly cautious when it comes to security in Mogadishu. Choosing to remain at the airport was not a cowardly move. It really is that bad.)

Al-Shabaab is still causing problems for the people of Somalia. Back in March, a suicide bombing kicked off a siege at a downtown hotel by the Islamic militants lasted for over 12 hours and left 17 people dead.

Then, in mid-April, the group attacked stormed the Somalia Higher Education Ministry and killed ten people via suicide car bomb and heavy gunfire. (Note: the Ministry is kept under heavy, armed guard.)

In the last days of April, al-Shabaab again attacked, this time targeting Somali and UN officials:

Somalia’s al Shabaab militants killed two city council officials, a former parliamentarian and a senior prison officer in Mogadishu, police and the rebel group said on Sunday.

The al Qaeda-allied group has stepped up its gun and bomb attacks in the Horn of Africa nation over the past week. Six people were killed in an attack on a vehicle carrying U.N. staff in the semi-autonomous Puntland region on Monday, and a suicide bomber killed 10 in a restaurant in Mogadishu on Tuesday.

Gunmen shot dead the former lawmaker and two city council officials on Saturday, and a senior prison officer was killed near the Bakara market in Mogadishu on Sunday, Major Nur Afrah, a police officer, told Reuters.

They also claimed responsibility for an attack that killed 148 people at a Kenyan university.

And blew up 7 people who were having lunch.

This visit was brave, and historic, and should be in the headlines—it’s a great optic that puts al-Shabaab on notice; but that doesn’t mean that the end game will be everything we want it to be. Kerry said he “…visited Somalia today because [the] country is turning around,” but any language that optimistic makes me nervous.

My nerves are justified. “Footprints” were discussed:

The secretary of state and Somali President HassanSheikh Mohamud discussed the fight against al-Shabaab and plans for 2016 elections, said Daud Awies, a spokesman for the Somali leader. Somali officials have said the vote will go forward as planned, despite security concerns.

A senior State department official who briefed reporters ahead of the trip said the elections will likely be “not elections as we know them,” but that Washington expected a process that would allow a representative government to be chosen.

Somali Foreign Minister Abdisalam Omar said they also discussed reopening a U.S. embassy in Mogadishu and assistance with military training and equipment. The previous embassy closed in 1991 and consular affairs are now handled in Nairobi.

“We’re making plans to make our presence more enduring in Somalia,” the senior State department official said. The official added the U.S. main diplomatic mission would continue to be in Kenya for the near future, but that the U.S. “footprint” in Somalia will be larger.

I’m nervous because I don’t know what that means. I don’t know how this Administration will translate whatever intelligence they’re fielding out of the region to make decisions about what it will mean. The Obama Administration’s knee-jerk diplomacy has caused more trouble in more parts of the world than it has helped; imagine that trouble magnified by 1000, and thrown into the most infamously devolved state on the planet without a true, native leadership structure to control it.

We’re talking about a country that has lacked a true government for more than two decades. Terror reigns supreme. The people who remain don’t understand diplomacy—they understand what it means to be hungry, to be poor, and to die at the hands of both local warlords and internationally-backed terror organizations.

Does the Obama Administration understand that? Will it play into their strategy to increase our “footprint” in this Hell?

I’m nervous.

Featured image via the Daily Mail.

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Comments

No doubt Kerry sees this Somali bash as a stepping stone to the White House.

Just about everything perpetual abject failure pResident Barack Hussein Obama touches inevitably turns to crap. And, what’s his end-game in Somalia at this point? To influence yet another national election in a foreign country? To make up for the millions of dollars given to Somalia for humanitarian aid and relief ending up in the pockets of the corrupt government despots and the terrorist thugs themselves? I mean, heck, who didn’t see that coming before the money was even slated?

Also, why is the red stain resembling blood on the shirt of the person with the apparent head wound in the “featured image” blurred out…? It’s not blurred out at the linked source.

Actually, it’s not even the same picture as at the linked source.

I’m confused.

I like seeing ballsy foreign policy gestures, even from John F’in Kerry.

I’m confused; didn’t we pull Special Ops folks, the 10th Mountain Division, and the UN out of there twenty years ago? Oh, that was Clinton. (the first?) Guess that makes it okay for Kerry to stop by now and get himself some creds – to replace the ones he threw into the Reflecting Pool in Washington all those years ago. ‘Staying the course’ for these people means two years, or, until the next election.

My heart goes out to the Somalis, Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans…all of them. It really does. They need help desperately and the country has the means, I no longer believe it has the will. John Kerry most definitely does not.

“…John Kerry finally did something productive.”

He did something productive? By showing up? How is that productive?

“This visit was brave, and historic, and should be in the headlines—it’s a great optic…”

Oh, of course. It’s the optics. Sorry, sweetie. I seriously doubt Al-Shabaab shares your enthusiasm for the “optics.” As for the rest of it, spare me if I lack your awe over the historic importance of showing up for a meeting at the airport.

Somalia is a train wreck. Somalia has been a train wreck for a very long time. But it’s THEIR train wreck. Unless we are willing to commit to forcibly sorting out the train wreck and to staying on the premises for a LONG time post-sorting, we would be wise to stay the h*** out of it. Our half-a**ed meddling only makes a bad situation worse.

TotallyPeeved | May 5, 2015 at 7:09 pm

By all means, keep importing these retarded, filthy, koranimal savages to this country. Because all cultures are equal, die-versity and multi-culti works so well.

McAllister | May 5, 2015 at 7:34 pm

Kerry being in Somalia can mean only one thing. Somalia leaders are about to get some big U.S.taxpayer bucks that will disappear and never be traced.

Al Shabaab? I’m confused, Mr. Secretary. I thought you said Climate Change was the foremost danger we face on this planet.

“…but couldn’t leave the airport’

Damn, was hoping he was stuck in Somalia.

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