By Wayne Downing-General US. Army (retired), Distinguieshed Chair Combating Terrorism Center US Military Academy
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Extra info for Al-Qaida's MisAdventures in the Horn of Africa
Somalia, it is argued, plays a niche role for terrorists–mainly as a transshipment point for men, money and materiel into east Africa, and in a small number of cases as a safe haven for al-Qa’ida operatives fleeing from the law in Kenya. ” Foreign terror suspects operating in Somalia are prone to extortion and betrayal; can get caught up in clan conflicts; are easily visible in a context of few foreign visitors; and face difficulties of communication, transportation, disease and access to clean water.
Recognizing the vulnerability of the youth to recruitment techniques, al-Qa’ida sought “to establish a coordination and communications center to connect the youth in the different areas in and out of the country…. [I]t is important to strengthen the unity between the people…. ”75 Thirdly, successful jihadi operations resonated more with young people. ”76 More interestingly, in the one area in Somalia where al-Qa’ida may have established an enduring presence, it did so by providing local order. Omar al-Sumali won one village over by providing security and then immediately began ideological efforts.
Others, such as Tabliq, are missionary movements promoting rigid and strict adherence to Salafi interpretations of Islam but are focused on social, not political transformation. ” Second, the dozens of Somali Islamist movements which sprang up in the late 1980s and early 1990s emerged independently of al-Qa’ida support. Al-Qa’ida began expanding cooperation with AIAI only after the group had already been engaged in several losing battles in the Somali civil war and after one branch of AIAI established control over the district of Lu’uq near the Ethiopian border.
Al-Qaida's MisAdventures in the Horn of Africa by Wayne Downing-General US. Army (retired), Distinguieshed Chair Combating Terrorism Center US Military Academy