02-19-2017  7:59 pm      •     

On a quiet Monday morning, when all the U.S. was focused on the run up to the primaries in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont, the Bush Administration, as part of the Global War on Terror, carried out air strikes in a small town in Southern Somalia.
Despite the fact that, as one U.S. military official maintains, the U.S. military "used precision missiles to strike a known terrorist target" on a possible fugitive from the al Qaeda terrorist network, reports from the local community leaders bear witness that three woman and three children were killed, as well as 20 civilians injured.
This bombing of innocent civilians in Dhoobley, Somalia is the latest in a disastrous two-year campaign of U.S. intervention in Somalia which has further destabilized that country, the region, and resulted in the death and displacement of large numbers of the Somali population. 
Somalia has been mired in civil war since 1988. In 1991, U.S. backed dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown by a coalition of opposing clans that united to form the United Somalia Congress. Shortly after the ousting of Barre, the United Somalia Congress fell apart and Somalia was plunged into a civil war that has resulted in the death of 400,000 people and displaced another 1.5 million. 
U.S. formal engagement began in 1992, under the administration of George H. W. Bush, with the airlifting of 48,000 tons of food and medical supplies to remote areas in Somalia over a six month period. 
By 1993, the Clinton Administration had shifted U.S. policy from delivering food supplies to nation-building. This nation-building policy was a failure that ended disastrously in the first Battle of Mogadishu where 19 U.S. soldiers were killed and another 79 were injured.
For the next 14 years the U.S. government's engagement with Somalia shifted to quiet diplomacy and covert intelligence gathering until the beginning of George W. Bush's Global War on Terror (GWOT).   
As part of the GWOT, the U.S. government quietly poured weapons and military advisors into Ethiopia in the hopes that Ethiopia would become involved in Somalia's civil war and help to overturn the fundamentalist Islamic government, the Islamic Courts Union. The Bush administration maintained that the Islamic Courts Union was supported by al-Qaeda. 
In July 2006, a few thousand heavily armed and U.S.-trained Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia and opened a new front in the Bush administration's war on terrorism.   
And while the Ethiopia government had reasons of its own for intervening in Somalia's civil war, there can be no doubt that Ethiopia's actions were largely done on behalf of the United States.
The U.S. government has never publicly taken responsibility for their role in further destabilizing Somalia and the Horn of Africa region, which also includes Eritrea and Djibouti.  
The Bush Administration has admitted that the U.S. and Ethiopian militaries have "a close working relationship," which includes intelligence sharing, arms aid and training that gives the Ethiopians "the capacity to defend their borders and intercept terrorists and weapons of mass destruction."
By January 2007, within six months of Ethiopia's invasion of Somalia, the United States began to conduct air strikes in southern Somalia against suspected al Qaeda targets and members of the as part of the U.S. Global War on Terror. Those January 2007 air strikes, similar to the bombing on Monday, were confirmed by U.S. officials as a failure. Now almost one year later, the Bush Administration is reengaging in this failed tactic. 
For the 80,000 Somalis and Somali-Americans living in Minneapolis, Portland, Washington, D.C., Seattle, the question remains: Why is their government and the U.S. government continuing to act in ways that terrorize their families in Somalia under the guise of fighting terror? That is a question that we, as American citizens, have to also ask. 

Nicole C. Lee is the executive director of TransAfrica Forum.

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. 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Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. 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