Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Situation in Somalia

The grave situation in Somalia was discussed today at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars by Ken Menkhaus, professor at Davidson College, Chris Albin-Lackey, Senior Researcher in the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, and Harun M. Hassan, a distinguished Somali journalist. While all parties involved generally agreed on the severity and urgency of immediate action to quell the violence and minimize deterioration into further anarchy and unrest, each brought distinctive expertise and unique experience to this highly informative panel.

The panel’s remarks served to “ring the alarm”, so to speak, about the necessity of drastic overhaul regarding policy towards the Somali situation. The humanitarian crisis is severe across the country, but it is especially poor in and around Mogadishu, the capital city, where nearly two thirds of the residents have fled. Somalis are faced with indiscriminate artillery bombardment on almost a daily basis, tremendous unmet demand for humanitarian assistance, drought, decimation of the market economy, piracy, assassinations, suicide bombings, and complete lack of rule of law.

The panel also described a growing resentment and dislike of the United States, and, more broadly, the West. Clearly, this is an unintended, undesirable result of failed policy in the region, giving additional weight to the argument that a change in course regarding policy towards Somalia is beneficial and necessary.

Sponsor: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Date: September 3, 2008
Time: 10-11:30 am
Representative Attending: Sarah Shebby

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