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Old 11-07-2010   #81
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Default My brother and the deadly lure of al-Shabab jihad

Copied from Studies on Radicalisation thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=7188

The BBC have this article supporting a File on Four radio documentary, on the unclear impact of Al-Shabab on the Somali community in the UK:
Quote:
Jenny Cuffe investigates how British-based Somalis are being lured into fighting for the al-Qaeda-linked Islamists of al-Shabaab.

There have been consistent rumours that dozens, perhaps scores of British-based Somali men have travelled to Somalia to join the militant Islamist group which was banned by the British Government earlier this year.

File on 4 explores the techniques used by Al-Shabaab to persuade young members of the 250,000-strong British Somali community to sign up for Jihad in Somalia. Members of the close-knit and reticent British Somali community tell Jenny Cuffe of their fears that youngsters are being seduced through the internet and by shadowy recruiting sergeants for the Horn of Africa's most feared military force.

And the programme travels to the state of Minnesota to see how a vigorous FBI investigation and cooperation from the Somali community have laid-bare a pipeline which first lured, then transported young American Somalis to the training camps and battlefields of Somalia.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11667690 and the File on Four podcast:http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00vkxkc

I noted the references by US Customs to the issues around Khat being smuggled into the USA, via the UK originating from Kenya and the suspected fund raising for Al-Shabbab. Khat is not illegal in the UK, unlike the rest of the EU and USA.
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Old 11-30-2010   #82
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Default BBC goes to 'Mog"

Hopefully there will be more than this short report:http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereport...mogadishu.html

No great surprises and I am somewhat sceptical about polling there. This struck me as welcome:
Quote:
There's a growing consensus that the "top-down" approach to state building isn't working in Somalia, and it may be time to shift focus to the handful of local administrations that are actually making some headway. The northern region of Somaliland is a prime example.
Incidentally BBC Radio is reported President Museveni is in Mogadishu too now.
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Old 05-08-2011   #83
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Here is an article which is a great backgrounder to the greater Somalia problems.

Somalia, 1992 – Libya, 2011: Are they really as different as we imagine?

Actually it reads like a horror story. But it does attempt to answer a number of questions some around here like M-A have asked.

And once again the question must be asked... "where has all the money gone?"
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Old 05-08-2011   #84
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JMA,

A good find, although depressing and no wonder so few outsiders want to be engaged. Not much religious empathy and support on display, yes from the Muslim world. Instead a steady dribble of non-African money and a motley crew of African, mainly Christian soldiers fighting through a wrecked city sprawl.

I do wonder if both the West and the UN/AU mission left - plus no more money - what would happen. As I have said before that part of Somalia is slowly shrinking, as those who can leave for Somaliland, Yemen and far beyond. Who actually funds the conflict still, apart from inter-Somali trading?
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Old 05-24-2011   #85
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It's a gruesome display seen many times over the years in Mogadishu: The bodies of dead soldiers dragged through the streets. Somalis angry over 20 years of violence say they do it in hopes of driving out African Union forces.

The latest incident happened Thursday, when the body of a fighter who appeared to be a member of the AU's peacekeeping mission was pulled through the streets by a rope. The spokesman for the country's most dangerous militant group, al-Shabab, also displayed a body alongside documents that identified the man as a Ugandan soldier.

"Today we are celebrating the death and blood of your sons," Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage said at a news conference Thursday.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...mid=obinsource
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Old 05-24-2011   #86
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Originally Posted by AdamG View Post
A quote from the article states "The people drag the corpses to force these so-called peacekeepers to leave the country,..."

Do they think it will work because they think it was that which worked to get the US out or because that would work if applied against them?
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Old 07-14-2011   #87
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Default Somalia and the Yemen

In recent weeks the extent of a drought in the region has appeared, linked to reports of an increasing flow of refugees out of Somalia, notably into Kenya and a decision by Al-Shabaab to allow international aid into the areas it controls. All these matters are in the media.

The Quillam Foundation (London think tank) has published a short report on the links between extremists in Somalia and Yemen. I noted references to fighters and experts moving to the Yemen. Link:http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/im...ab14july11.pdf

Personally I am not convinced, partly due to geography and logistics. Sometime ago I did post on the flow of refugees across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, so there is a Somali presence already - who had fled what Al-Shabaab had helped create.
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Old 07-27-2011   #88
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Default We're Winning in Somalia (really?)

Forgiven my (comment), but I found this short article too optimistic and the sub-title 'With a little more donor support, international forces can help drive al-Shabab out of Mogadishu'. The author is the head of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Quote:
We now effectively control two-thirds of the city -- some 16 square miles -- with more than two dozen security outposts scattered throughout the city. More importantly, this has created a relatively safe haven for 80 percent of the estimated 2 million people who live in Mogadishu's southwestern neighborhoods.
Link:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...malia?page=0,0

Incidentally a more detailed, military account appeared in the June/July RUSI Journal by ANISOM's military commander.
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Old 08-03-2011   #89
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Default Somalia: some insight

Two complimentary articles on Somalia and Al-Shabab, which explain the complexities of the situation. First, written late June 2011 opens with:[quuote]While cooperation between international forces, the Somali army and allied militias have delivered victories against Al-Shabab this spring, the political infighting and corruption of the Transitional Federal Government prevents further successes.[/quote]

Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensec...-al-shabab-in-

Second, published today opens with:
Quote:
...looks at Somalia’s Al-Shabab insurgents, describing how they relate to the country’s more conventional governance structures, and the difficulties the East African famine has thrown up for the group.
Concludes:
Quote:
As long as the TFG remains an unviable alternative in the eyes of the local population to the insurgent movement, it is unlikely that Al-Shabab will disappear.
Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensec...habab%E2%80%99

Meantime a large part of Somalia suffers from a famine, although I note much of the recent TV footage of refugees arriving in Mogadishu has no adult-age males with their families. Which makes me suspect that the starving maybe being "encouraged" to leave the hinterland, largely Al-Shabab controlled, for Mogadishu, where any "failure" can be attributed to the TFG and it's Western friends.
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Old 08-03-2011   #90
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Meantime a large part of Somalia suffers from a famine, although I note much of the recent TV footage of refugees arriving in Mogadishu has no adult-age males with their families. Which makes me suspect that the starving maybe being "encouraged" to leave the hinterland, largely Al-Shabab controlled, for Mogadishu, where any "failure" can be attributed to the TFG and it's Western friends.
Al-Shabab can't feed them so they make it the problem of the traditional donor nations.

Almost clever. The removal of the civilian non-combatant population from A-Shabab controlled areas allows them to become virtual free fire zones and where the remaining food stocks can be targeted to deal Al-Shabab a solid blow.

Locate them with the aid of UAVs then visit them with significant air delivered ordinance.

Any takers?
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Old 08-06-2011   #91
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Quote:
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed said on Saturday his military had defeated Islamist rebels battling to overthrow his Western-backed government after the al Shabaab group began withdrawing fighters from the capital Mogadishu.

Rejecting Ahmed's claim to have quashed al Shabaab's four-year insurgency, the militants' spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, said their retreat was tactical only and that they were holding their positions elsewhere in the anarchic country.
http://af.reuters.com/article/topNew...110806?sp=true




Quote:
Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist rebels have pulled out of all positions in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, government and rebel spokesmen say. President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed declared the rebels defeated after they left overnight on trucks. However, al-Shabab described the move as a "change of military tactics".*
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14430283




What a change of Shabab tactics might look like
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Old 08-12-2011   #92
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Default Drought didn’t cause Somalia's famine

The reliable African correspondent, Aidan Hartley, for The Spectator has been in Somalia again; the article is sub-titled 'War did. And food aid may well make it worse':
Quote:
...For let’s get one thing right: the ‘Somalis’ are not starving. The victims are mainly the weak or minority clans — or anybody who has not armed himself to the teeth.....Across Africa’s Horn, vulnerable populations have been kept alive with food handouts that do not allow them to live well — but maintain their fertility so that their numbers have exploded.
Link:http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/al...s-famine.thtml

It appears we, those who support charitable relief, are being had again; in the UK there is a current emergency charity appeal and HMG have donated 25m UK Pounds. For details:http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Media-Room/Fe...a-aid-monitor/
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Old 08-13-2011   #93
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Default When NGOs are part of the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
It appears we, those who support charitable relief, are being had again; in the UK there is a current emergency charity appeal and HMG have donated 25m UK Pounds. For details:http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Media-Room/Fe...a-aid-monitor/
You might be interested in what Paul Farmer has to say here about the relationship between NGOs and (the absence of) governments.

A lot of Americans dream of living in a country where the government keeps its hands off of you. Really, there’s no need to dream. Just buy a one-way ticket to Mogadishu.
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Old 08-16-2011   #94
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Default Evaluating relations between Al-Shabab and Al-Qaeda

The full title is: Dangerous liaison? Evaluating relations between Al-Shabab and Al-Qaeda and ends with:
Quote:
The Al-Shabab-AQAP relationship, though probable, remains largely shrouded in supposition that is based on relatively scarce detailed information. From a logistical and strategic point of view, such a relationship makes sense, particularly given the relatively close geographic proximity of the Somali movement and AQAP as well as a significant number of stated ideological intersections between the Al-Shabab and AQAP leaderships. More concrete details may emerge from the trial of Ahmed Warsame or possibly from the two militant organizations themselves, but until more concrete evidence emerges, the nature of the Al-Shabab-AQAP operational relationship will continue to remain largely obscure.
Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensec...utm_campaign=0
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Old 08-17-2011   #95
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Default Detente appears?

From the BBC:
Quote:
Eritrea's President Isaias Afewerki is visiting Uganda in an attempt to boost peace in the Horn of Africa, a Ugandan presidential statement has said.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14543744

A curious diplomatic move especially after Al-Shabaab left Mogadishu.
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Old 08-17-2011   #96
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The reliable African correspondent, Aidan Hartley, for The Spectator has been in Somalia again; the article is sub-titled 'War did. And food aid may well make it worse':
Drought is rarely the primary cause of famine, especially in Africa.

Band-Aid redux is not something that the US should allow itself to get sucked into. Focusing on other more pressing geo-political concerns is not going to garner us any more enmity than we might otherwise get today, next year, or within the coming decade, so in terms of international street cred or image, I tend to say, "meh.'

I used to think about the dynamics of food and famine in Africa with soft eyes and a compassionate bent that overlooked some of the schizophrenia of the world's most dangerous places. After having seen with my own eyes what went on in even a fairly stable place like Mogadishu (as compared to the hinterlands), I think we have no obligation on this one, and should give it a pass.

Last edited by jcustis; 08-17-2011 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 09-30-2011   #97
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Default Yes, still here and starving too.

A thoughtful, if curious opinion article in FP Blog: 'Do Muslims Really Care About Somalia? With a sub-title:If they do, here's how they can save the country from famine.

Aside from the famine and lack of Muslim response, some historical background on internal politics.

I did note the comment, which struck me as odd; alas only cites one BBC report in support:
Quote:
...the U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion and occupation in 2006 and 2007 -- a war conducted in pursuit of just three al Qaeda suspects.
Link:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...tries?page=0,0

If there is a famine in the region, which having read a little I remain unconvinced of, I still doubt that the wider international community, whether Muslim or not, feel inclined to help.

By coincidence the BBC reports 3k more troops en route to join the African Unity presence, over the next six months:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15082141
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Old 10-06-2011   #98
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Default A quick briefing on Somalia: livelihood and politics

A short insight into this troubled land and sub-titled:
Quote:
Somalia's long civil war and political fragmentation define the country to the world. Yet the society also contains potent resources of allegiance and solidarity, says the doyen of Somali studies, Ioan M Lewis.
Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/ioan-m-...d-and-politics

The author Ioan Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, London School of Economics.
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Old 10-07-2011   #99
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Suggestions for a US role...

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articl...ate-in-somalia
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Old 10-20-2011   #100
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Default UK to Somalia via Kenya: wanting to fight?

There has been concern in the UK that citizens or residents will be radicalised and try to join the Al-Shabab / AQ fighters in Somalia. I'm sure it has been reported upon before, this is IIRC the first confirmed report and note the community response.

Edited slightly:
Quote:
Two 18-year-olds from Cardiff, Mohamed Mohamed, and Iqbal Shahzad, deported from Kenya on Wednesday, were detained by the Metropolitan Police under the Terrorism Act, have been released without charge, say police. The men had been arrested close to the Kenyan border with Somalia, over suspected links to Somali militants.
Quote:
The father of Mohamed Mohamed, of Somali descent, alerted police and flew out to find his son....

A joint statement from the Muslim community in Cardiff said the Somali and Pakistani community in particular, and the Muslim community in general, are anxiously waiting for the arrival of the pair.

"The families of the two youths are thankful to God that they are both safe and well," said the statement.

"Once the families realised that the two youths were missing, the authorities were notified. We are grateful that the authorities in collaboration with the communities were able to establish the whereabouts of the youths."
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-15384716

Note the Somali community in Cardiff have been UK nationals for a long time, they were originally sailors and IMHO one of the least likely communities to find this would happen.
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