USAID Must Overcome Legal Hurdle To Providing Humanitarian Aid In Somalia

Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s office said the U.S. is willing to provide humanitarian aid to Somalia, where the militant group al-Shabab controls parts of the country, but “[i]n reality, her hands are tied by paperwork,” Eliza Griswold, author and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, writes in a Daily Beast opinion piece.

“In places where U.S. aid might fall into the hands of terrorists, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the Treasury Department must issue any group working there a license. But OFAC isn’t issuing licenses for any group – including USAID – to work in south-central Somalia because of worries about running afoul of a murky law against giving money to terrorists. Unless this legal impasse is cleared, nearly three million people facing famine are likely to starve,” she writes (7/17).