In many cases, the countries most in need of humanitarian aid are also least equipped to distribute that aid. Take North Korea, for example, where Kim Jong-un takes money intended for aid and funnels it into his military.
The situation is similar in Gaza, where Hamas uses international aid to build rockets and attack tunnels.
In Somalia, foreign aid is falling into the hands of al-Shabaab.
“The murderous al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab is making millions of dollars each year by exploiting foreign aid money sent to Somalia by the very western nations who are trying to eliminate the terror group,” reports CNN.
An estimated two million people, many of them children, have been driven from their homes by drought, conflict, and demands for money from al-Shabaab – which now controls a full third of Somalia.
“The UN fears that the ongoing drought will once again threaten Somalis with famine and provide al-Shabaab with even greater opportunities to make money from foreign aid – particularly if the group maintains control of the main routes through the interior of the country.”
The UN was forced to intervene in the early 1990’s when al-Shabaab purposefully sustained a famine in order to exploit foreign aid. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis starved to death.
Today, the UN is focused on helping a group of 270,000 internally displaced Somalis living in tents in Baidoa. Each month, the UN provides refugees with $80-$90. The money comes in the form of a cash card, which they can use to buy local food and goods.
But Al-Shabaab taxes local merchants, leading to higher prices. Al-Shabaab also operates checkpoints on the main roads into Baidoa, where it taxes supply trucks. The terrorist group can make up to $5,000 per day from a single checkpoint.
Al-Shabaab also earns money from companies and aid groups who pay the organization in exchange for the safety of their employees. On top of that, merchants throughout the country are required to cough up an annual fee to Al-Shabaab (even in areas not under the group’s control).
To make matters worse, Somalia’s disorganized military has no hope of defeating al-Shabaab.
The African Union contingent has made a valiant effort to protect the fledgling Somali government from al-Shabaab, but is slowly withdrawing from the country.
AU leadership has admitted it is unable to defeat al-Shabaab.
“This leaves a growing number of American troops – more than 500, including Special Operation Forces – shouldering the ever-increasing security burden in Somalia,” reports CNN.
Editor’s note: Well-meaning bureaucrats with no overseas or operations experience send aid money to a corrupt government where it is stolen by our allies or into insecure environments where the extra resources are stolen by the bad guys. As a former intelligence officer, I can tell you this is typical State Department behavior, no grasp on reality.