Somali PM Sought Major US Strikes, Shrugged Off Civilian Death Fears

In Wake of Failed 2009 Offensive, Self Described Govt Sought US Aid

In the wake of the failed May 2009 offensive, Somali Prime Minister Omar Sharmarke met with US officials in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss addition requests for US money and military aid, as well as to encourage the US to launch such military strikes.

Sharmarke, according to a newly released cable, repeatedly confirmed that the self-proclaimed Somali “government” was willing to accept any negative publicity resulting from major US air strikes against the country, and gave the US and update about how its money had been spent so far.

The cable also reported that Sharmarke had directly called for US strikes against an al-Shabaab – Hisbul Islam meeting in Afgoye, but that the US balked at the attack over fear of civilian deaths. Sharmarke again repeatedly insisted that he had no problem with any potential civilian killings.

It closes by noting that Sharmarke believed the “government” could win some major political points with allegations that al-Shabaab was increasingly reliant on foreign fighters. The US noted, though apparently not to Sharmarke’s face, that the exact same allegations are being levied against his forces, which only survive on a combination of US funding and African Union troops.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.