Building States While Fighting Terror: Contradictions in US Strategy in Somalia from 2001 to 2007

"This report suggests that US policy in Somalia since 2001 represents many strong trends in US security thinking.For instance, there has been a revived emphasis on state stability and, conversely,a problematisation of state weakness as a threat. US officials have focused on ‘failed states’, such as Somalia, as havens and recruiting grounds for terrorists. Correspondingly, state building has been declared a key tactic of counter-terrorism. US officials have argued that the best long-term defence against terrorism is the existence of functional central governments,especially those willing to cooperate with Washington. Therefore, the US State Department recently stated that the two pillars of state building and counter-terrorism drive US policy in Somalia. The purpose of this report is to consider the interaction of those pillars in policymaking and, especially, their application at the scene of action. This report investigates the following questions:How and why has US policy, at least to date, contributed to this instability? How do the two pillars of US Somalia strategy relate to violence and prospects for peace? What can be learned from Somalia about the merger of counter-terror operations and external support for state building?"