Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Danger, Again, in Somalia

Douglas Farah

After the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) was driven from power in Somalia by Ethiopian troops 15 months ago, the region, and its ongoing turmoil, largely fell from public view and the the official policy agenda.

That is a serious mistake. As this BBC story shows, the radical Islamists have regrouped, have increased their ability to strike across the country, and are more formally allied with al Qaeda than in the past.

The most important of the Islamist groups now fighting is al Shabab (meaning "The Lads," in Somali), a group recently designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist entity. The State Department statement on the designation said the following:

Al-Shabaab is a violent and brutal extremist group with a number of individuals affiliated with al-Qaida. Many of its senior leaders are believed to have trained and fought with al-Qaida in Afghanistan.

Al-Shabaab has used intimidation and violence to undermine the Somali government and threatened civil society activists working to bring about peace through political dialogue and reconciliation.

No comments: