A commentator writing for the American conservative website, the Washington Examiner, has questioned why the US State Department continues to support Somalia given that the country’s intelligence agency director, Fahad Yasin, has been linked to several terror organisations.
In an opinion piece, the commentator links Fahad Yasin to al Ittihad al Islamiya, which used to fight in Somalia, as well as the Islamic Courts Union and Al-Shabaab.
That the Somali spy agency director wields so much power in President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo’s administration is even more alarming, writes Michael Rubin, a contributor to the Washington Examinor.
“Farmajo may be president, but perhaps the most powerful man in Somalia is Fahad Yasin Haji Dahir, the head of the country’s National Intelligence and Security Agency. Farmajo might try to stitch together political coalitions, but it is Fahad who is the point man in efforts by Somalia to defeat terrorism and, in theory, the point of contact between the various intelligence services who seek to defeat the al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabab,” Rubin claimed.
“That the United States also reportedly funds Somalia’s intelligence agency makes him directly the target of American largesse. Off-books, Fahad also reportedly receives money from Qatar and perhaps Turkey as well.”
While the US continues to pour money into Somalia and into efforts to defeat Al-Shabaab, “a deep dive into Fahad’s biography suggests he could very well be al Qaeda’s inside man in the Somali government”, Rubin further writes.
The commentator also claimed that Fahad Yasin had made “a deal with his terrorist allies”, in which Al-Shabaab was to reduce its attacks in Somalia while the government would let the group continue collecting taxes from businesses.
Rubin concludes that ambassador Donald Yamamoto, the US ambassador to Somalia, and other officials at the US State Department were turning a blind eye to the risks in dealing with Fahad Yasin for the sake of convenience.
“Yamamoto and others in the State Department’s Africa Bureau have invested years in seeking to build Africa up from the rubble and are unwilling to accept clear evidence that the process has derailed. There is no clearer example than in Somalia, where the desire to maintain business as usual has led the State Department and other government agencies to pour funds into a government organization whose leader embraced radicalism at a young age, blames the West for the death of his father, and has, for two decades now, had uncomfortably close ties to al Qaeda affiliates.”
The claims made by the American commentator in the article are difficult to ascertain.