6705Somalia: US Envoy Pays For Opposing Somalis Bankrolling
- May 30, 2006US Envoy Pays For Opposing Somalis Bankrolling
IslamOnline.net & News Agencies
Tue, May 30, 2006
NAIROBI The US State Department has relocated the
political affairs officer at its Kenya embassy to Chad
after he spoke out against bankrolling warlords
instigating Mogadishu's worst fighting in decades,
diplomats revealed on Tuesday, May 30.
"He really decided to take up the battle. He realized
very well what he was doing," a Western diplomat close
to the transferred envoy, Michael Zorick, told Reuters
on condition of anonymity.
Zorick opposed a US intelligence plan to capture a
handful of Al- Qaeda suspects believed to be in
Somalia, by paying warlords, including government
ministers, to hunt them down.
"He felt it was wrong in the sense that it didn't
achieve the objectives," the diplomat said.
Zorick was part of the peace process in Kenya to
create the Somali government, formed in late 2004 in
the 14th such attempt since president Mohamed Siad
Barre was ousted in 1991.
The diplomat could not be reached for comment and
e-mails sent to his State Department address, which
had previously worked, were returned as undeliverable.
Bob Kerr, a spokesman for the US Embassy in Nairobi,
which is responsible for neighboring Somalia, said
Zorick was due to leave his post in a few months but
left early in April by mutual agreement with
Ambassador William Bellamy.
"There were no unwilling transfers from the embassy,"
Reuters learnt that various other diplomats involved
with Somalia, including those from Washington's
allies, have expressed frustration at US aid to
They believe this has further undermined Somalia's
already weak government, seen as the best hope for
peace in the African country.
Analysts say Zorick's punishment exposes a rift inside
the Bush administration on how to handle Somalia and
the effect Washington's perceived role has had in
They believe Washington's links with the warlords have
had the contrary effect of rallying Islamist groups
and increasing support for them among Somalis.
At least 320 people, mostly civilians, have been
killed since February in battles between the warlords,
who call themselves the Alliance for the Restoration
of Peace and Counter-Terrorism, and gunmen allied to
Although Washington has not explicitly confirmed its
support for the alliance, US officials have told
Agence France-Presse (AFP) the group has received US
money and is one of several it is working with to
contain the alleged threat of Islamists.
The interim government has accused the US of fanning
the flames of civil war in the African country by
backing the warlords, not only financially but also
Washington has invested considerable military and
intelligence resources in the Horn of Africa, starting
with a base in Djibouti, and is known to operate in
tandem with local security services.
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