Text of unattributed report entitled "US commando advises government on declaring Somalia a no-fly zone" published by leading privately-owned Ugandan newspaper The Daily Monitor website on 31 July; subheadings inserted editorially
Gen. Carter F. Ham is the new commander of US Africa Command (AFRICOM), one of the US unified commands established to conduct sustained security engagements with African countries through military-to-military cooperation. Our reporter, Gerald Bareebe, met him at AFRICOM headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany and brings you his take on a wide-range of regional security issues.
No-fly zone over Somalia
Reporter Gerald Bareebe: President Museveni has proposed a no-fly zone over Somalia to limit the inflow of weapons into that country. How come the USA was quick to respond to a no-fly zone in Libya but has ignored a similar call over Somalia.
General Ham: The situation in Somalia and indeed across the region is especially very critical right now because of the drought which is causing a very difficult humanitarian crisis. Someone described this as 'the worse humanitarian crisis on the planet today' with at least 11 million people affected by the drought.
There is a need for the delivery of humanitarian assistance in all its forms, food, shelter, medical supply etc. And it's good to see UN, AU and others coming across the board. For the USA government side, we have contributed financially to the number of organizations that can deliver humanitarian assistance and, I think, that is probably the right approach.
With regard to the establishment of a no-fly zone over Somalia, my personal view is that there could be some utility in having such an effort but I note two particular concerns; first, to me it should be addressed by the African Union and UN and I believe President Museveni is trying to have those kinds of discussion with AU and UN, that is the appropriate way to do that. If there is an agreement by the UN and AU to support such an activity, I am confident that the international community will support it. That does not necessarily mean that the US need to be engaged in that activity, others have the capability to do that. But we should also be realistic; no fly-zone can have some effects but does not completely stop the war and can …