Ask Obama NOT to increase military support to Uganda or Somalia!

Please call the White House today (202-456-1414) and ask President Obama NOT to increase military support to Uganda or Somalia in the wake of the Kampala bombings. Encourage him to instead support the establishment of democratic institutions that will deter extremist recruitment and will generate true security for Ugandans, Somalis, and citizens of every country currently under threat from violent extremism. You can also send the White House an email here.


Sample script: “Hi, my name is _________ and I am calling to ask President Obama to reconsider sending increased military support to Uganda and Somalia in the wake of the Kampala bombings. I believe that my tax dollars would be much better spent on the building blocks of true security in Africa – things like education, health care, and infrastructure. More military training and equipment will not create increased security in the long run, but may in fact reinforce the terrorist threat. Thank you!”

Made the call? Tell us about it!


UPDF in action. Photo credit: Africom
On July 11th 2010, a Somali extremist group named al-Shabaab set off two simultaneous bombs in Kampala, Uganda, killing over 75 people. The attacks were allegedly in retaliation for Uganda’s strong troop presence within the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia, AMISOM. Until (last week), the force mainly supported the U.S.-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu, an enemy of al-Shabaab and a weak representation of the Somali people.

At the recent African Union Summit in Kampala, leaders agreed to change the rules of engagement of AMISOM from one of peacekeeping to peace enforcement, allowing troops to take preemptive military action in the face of possible al-Shabaab threats. Uganda is heading up the campaign against al-Shabaab and has said that it will “go there alone” if other countries do not pledge the necessary troops and military hardware to effectively pursue the militant group.

Al-Shabab has links to al-Qaeda, therefore increasing international attention on this issue. The United States supports Uganda’s position   – it has gone so far as to offer logistical assistance and encouraging the government of Uganda to stay the course in Somalia.

Uganda already receives $33 million annually for its 2,500-strong AMISOM troop contribution, and that figure is expected to increase dramatically in the wake of the Kampala bombings. The Ugandan government is also a major recipient of U.S. military equipment and training, primarily due to its continued pursuit of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Central Africa. Considering Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s dictatorial leanings, such a high level of security assistance is troubling. Without necessary and stabilizing democratic institutions, a strengthened military will only draw further instability to the country and region. This is particularly disturbing with presidential elections on the horizon – elections that, if improperly handled, could easily turn violent.

On Somalia’s side, more military hardware and troops is the absolute wrong response, especially as the humanitarian situation continues to worsen. After the 2006 U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, Somali’s do not take kindly to foreign intervention. Given the repeated AMISOM missile attacks on communities in Somalia, its no wonder Somalis question whether AMISOM is sent to keep peace or wage counter-insurgency operations. Furthermore, a recent New York Times article detailed the TFG’s use of child soldiers within the military, signaling the expenditure of U.S. taxpayer dollars to arm and train children in Somalia.

Clearly, global leaders have yet to learn from past mistakes. Increased military involvement in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa has only caused greater sympathy among the population for extremist movements. Terrorism is not won with weapons but rather by providing civil society with the tools necessary to establish true security – education and health care systems, jobs, and infrastructure construction. With these building blocks and additional opportunities, individuals are less likely to join a rebel group or militant army.

Learn More!

  • Organizations of the Africa Human Security Working group submitted a letter to Secretary Clinton on this issue Read it here! 
  • Africa Action's Gerald LeMelle has spoken widely on the importance of a non-military approach to Somalia. Check out the latest here!