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“State Department Policy is Fueling Al-Shabaab Resurgence”: A Rebuttal

by Abdullahi Ahmed Suleiman
Monday, December 16, 2019

Michael Rubin, a member of American Enterprise Institute and great lobbyist for Somaliland recognition with Somaliland president Muse Bihi Abdi - Photo Somaliland Standard

Michael Rubin once again published a new article, this time alleging the State Department of driving Al-Shabaab resurgence in Somalia. In his article, Mr. Rubin accused Yamamoto, the American Ambassador to Somalia of pursuing an opposite strategy to that which he promised Congress during his confirmation hearings because he said, rather than helping Farmaajo build democratic institutions, Yamamoto kept silent while Farmaajo went his own way.  First of all, there is no shred of evidence that state department is inspiring Al-Shabaab resurgence. Secondly, US foreign policy is based on non-interferences’ in the domestic affairs of the host country and finally his accusation against the President is unfounded.

US foreign policy key priorities in Somalia comprise promotion of political and economic stability, prevention of the use of Somalia as a safe haven for international terrorism, and easing man-made humanitarian crisis. The US has trained several counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism elite units who are playing a significant role in the fight against Al-Shabaab, an enemy that is tough and determined.  The group is currently weakened thanks to the US unwavering support. Hence blaming the State Department policy as fueling Al-Shabaab resurgence is insane.

Mr. Rubin further objected the statement of Col. Charles Bergman, the lead integrator for U.S. Africa Command operations in Africa, who six months ago said that “Somali security forces are demonstrating command and control of their forces, success against al-Shabaab, and are holding ground.” He called such assessment as nonsense, but with no evidence to validate. We need to keep in mind that he is not a military expert who has first-hand knowledge of the Somali National Army, but as an amateurish writer on Somalia, his intent was to make a noise.

Two key issues emerged from his article 1) his client is unhappy, that the USA has forged a good relationship with the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the fighting against Al-Shabaab is going in full speed.  2) His writings are propagandistic in nature and full of nonsense and are written merely to please his client.

Mr. Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, but his publications show that he is a hack writer- paid to spread rumors.  Based on Wikipedia “a hack writer” is a term used for a writer who is paid to publish rush articles of low quality, often with a short deadline. The origin of the term “hack” comes from shortening of “hackney”, which means a horse that is easy to ride and available for hire. Although he denied receiving money from a foreign country in an interview he gave on March 2, 2019.  In this interview, he said as a resident scholar of the American Enterprise we don’t lobby and we don’t take money from foreign governments, but rather we work as individuals to engage in debates about ideas and policies. He highlighted that one of the broad themes of my work over the past 15 years is that the United States needs to treat democracies better and reward countries for doing the right thing.  Contrary to his interview, Mr. Rubin’s writing prove otherwise.  Thorough scrutiny of his articles display that he is a man on a paid mission often aiming at swaying the opinion of US policy makers.  The following articles, all carrying similar messages proof that he is a paid man with a specific task.

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1)      The US and UN are repeating Iraq-style mistakes in Somalia ...  Michael Rubin- The Hill-Feb 19, 2019 

2)      U.S. Africa Policy Cannot Afford to Ignore Somaliland – Michael Rubin- The National Interest, Feb 26, 2019

3)      U.S. Missteps in Somalia Benefit Our Enemies- Michael Rubin- National Review, Mar 25, 2019

4)      State Department Policy is Fueling Al-Shabaab Resurgence”. Michael Rubin- The National Interest- Dec 7, 2019.                              

Why all these if not for a motive? They cannot be all about rewarding Somaliland for doing the right thing.  It is also unclear how his articles are engaging his audience in debates about ideas and policies as he claimed in his interview.  All he writes about Somalia is stressing his disapproval of US foreign policy on Somalia, smearing the image of Somalia and the Somali government and praising Somaliland in every piece of his articles.

 Another piece of evidence corroborating my assertion comes from his recent trip to Kenya, where he was flown to Nairobi to speak at the 2nd Somaliland-Kenya Investment Forum, although investment and finance are not his specialty.  His tweet confirms his attendance- @mrubin1971 “Excited to be speaking at 2nd Somaliland-Kenya Investment Forum in Nairobi about the strategic importance of #Somaliland’s regional integration; Somaliland’s stability, security, and transparency; and its liberal economic policies”.  These are clear evidence that the man works for foreign entities who are troubled by the progress made so far by the FGS. These foreign entities are using Somaliland to promote their national interest as they continue widening our differences in order to keep us apart for years to come. 

Somali people are proud people and their resilience is remarkable; no one can deter their goals, dreams and aspiration. Under the leadership of President Farmaajo, Somalia is undergoing a remarkable transformation in a short period. The FGS political priorities include, but not limited to stabilization of the country, defeating Al-Shabaab, and thereby creating appropriate environment for Somali business people and international investors to invest in the country.

Mr. Rubin is a hired gun for money. Pope Francis called people who benefit from human disaster as “true bloodsuckers” who “live by spilling the blood of the people. This man is exploiting the political, and social disputes that dominates our country. He is an agent working for the enemy that is determined to divide us, derail our stability and progress.  Rest assured that our (Somalia/Somaliland) future is intertwined and our history is a testimony that no foreign entity can separate us apart. It is just a matter of time.  Politics aside, actually the reality depicts a different picture. Our ethnicity is Somali, our genetic makeup is Somali, our language, history, culture is Somali, and our love for Somalia is indescribable.

 I like to conclude with the following quote from Zig Ziglar “The person who dumps garbage into your mind will do you considerably more harm than the person who dumps garbage on your floor, because each load of mind garbage negatively impacts your possibilities and lowers your expectations”. We say no to Mr. Rubin’s attempt to dump garbage into our minds.

Abdullahi Ahmed Suleiman
[email protected]

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