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May 28, 2020

This episode marks the end of the first season of the Eurasia Group Foundation podcast, None Of The Above. We conclude our season with a topic that gets far too little attention in the mainstream media: the history of the U.S. military’s involvement in Somalia, a country deeply mired in terrorism, poverty, and war. Mark sits down with Nairobi-based journalist Amanda Sperber and anthropologist Catherine Besteman to unpack why the United States is waging an unofficial drone war in Somalia and explores the history and human costs of this conflict. They discuss the evolution of Al-Shabaab (an affiliate of Al-Qaeda), civilian casualties from U.S. airstrikes, and how Somalia exemplifies what many consider to be the strategic and moral failings of America’s global war on terror. Have a listen, let us know what you think, and we’ll see you in August when we return for Season 2.


Amanda Sperber is a Nairobi-based award-winning investigative journalist, foreign correspondent, and multimedia storyteller. Her work focuses on East Africa, specifically on Somalia, and the consequences of U.S. drone strikes. She is the author of “Ilhan Omar Demands Answers on Civilian Deaths in Somalia” in The Daily Beast. @hysperbole


Catherine Besteman is Francis F. Bartlett and Ruth K. Bartlett Professor of Anthropology at Colby College in Maine. Her work focuses on U.S. militarism in Somalia. She is the author of The Costs of War in Somalia from Brown University’s Costs of War Project, and the upcoming book Militarized Global Apartheid (2020).