In order to genuinely win the hearts and minds of the ordinary citizens, the Somali leadership must not hasten making decisions on their behalf or self-interest by signing any treaty at a disadvantaged position with countries that have more negative record than positive.
Al-Shabaab remains a real and credible threat and should be addressed as one. The likelihood of another spectacular commercial shopping center attack in the region remains as real today as it did a year ago.
Shukri Sheikh Ali thought this year would be different. It was to be a time of rebuilding, of recovering, of returning home. Instead, she is starting over once again from scratch, her land thirsty for rain and her village emptied by conflict.
Somalia may be at a turning point for the better. In recent months, the central government has made significant advances against al-Shabab. Little by little, government and aligned forces are expanding the territory under the TFG's control.
The new Dual-Track approach is based on engaging diplomatically and economically any and all Somali political actors -- armed or unarmed -- as long as those entities are not supporting the extremist group al-Shabaab.
Washington, which strongly condemned the Kampala bombings, should push for consistent accountability in East African countries so that the threat of terrorism is not manipulated to entrench authoritarian rule.