Hidden in so far as the vast majority of front-page mainstream media is concerned, that is.
The United States has sent a shipment of weapons and ammunition to the government of Somalia, according to a U.S. official who said the move signals the Obama administration’s desire to thwart a takeover of the Horn of Africa nation by Islamist rebels with alleged ties to al-Qaeda.
The shipment arrived in the capital, Mogadishu, this month, according to the official, who is helping craft a new U.S. policy on Somalia and spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
“A decision was made at the highest level to ensure the government does not fall and that everything is done to strengthen government security forces to counter the rebels,” the official said.
The Obama administration’s approach is different in many respects from that of the Bush administration, which focused almost exclusively on targeting several suspects in the embassy bombings and other rebel leaders with alleged al-Qaeda ties.
The Bush administration paid a group of notorious Somali warlords to hunt terrorism suspects. But the policy backfired, giving rise to a diverse Islamist movement, including al-Shabab, which gained popularity by defeating the hated warlords. The Bush administration then tried backing an Ethiopian invasion in 2006 to overthrow the Islamists and install a transitional government, a move that triggered the al-Shabab rebellion that continues today. The Bush administration conducted airstrikes targeting al-Qaeda suspects, but only one of those targeted was ever confirmed killed.
Meanwhile, the rebels continued to advance across southern Somalia and eventually helped force the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops this year.
To cut off the rebels’ weapons and supplies, the United States has stepped up pressure on Eritrea, and foreign warships patrolling Somali waters to combat piracy have begun blocking cargo ships heading to the rebel-held port of Kismaayo in southern Somalia. Source