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6705Somalia: US Envoy Pays For Opposing Somalis Bankrolling

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  • Zafar Khan
    May 30, 2006
      US Envoy Pays For Opposing Somalis Bankrolling
      IslamOnline.net & News Agencies
      Tue, May 30, 2006

      http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2006-05/30/05.shtml

      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,"
      Kerr argued.

      Frustration

      Reuters learnt that various other diplomats involved
      with Somalia, including those from Washington's
      allies, have expressed frustration at US aid to
      warlords.

      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
      inflaming infighting.

      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
      Islamic courts.

      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
      militarily.

      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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      More on Somalia at:
      http://www.islamawareness.net/Africa/Somalia/