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New American Ally in Somalia: ‘Butcher’ Warlord | Danger Room | Wired.com

New American Ally in Somalia: ‘Butcher’ Warlord | Danger Room | Wired.com
If you thought it was bad that Washington is paying a shady French mercenary to do its dirty work in Somalia, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Just wait to you see our latest ally: an admirer of Osama bin Laden with a gory past.

Richard Rouget, a notorious gun-for-hire who uses American funds to train African Union soldiers fighting in the ruins of Mogadishu, has been mentioned in connection with at least one murder. But U.S.-backed Somali government general Yusuf Mohamed Siad, a.k.a. “Indha Adde,” a.k.a, “The Butcher,” once ruled an entire region of Somalia with a bloody fist.

The U.S.-led international intervention in civil war-torn Somalia is unlike any of America’s other wars. Where the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are fought by tens of thousands of U.S. troops, in Somalia Washington pays others to do most of the fighting. These proxies include merc firms, regional bodies such as the A.U. and local allies including the nascent federal government.

That means less direct danger to American lives. But in another sense it means more danger. The more that the U.S. relies on proxy armies to do its fighting, the more it risks those proxies usurping American support and directing it towards their own dubious ends. That’s the subject of ace reporter Jeremy Scahill’s latest piece in The Nation and also of my own feature for The Diplomat.

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