I'm sure everyone has heard the long touted explaination about how the new safe haven for the Taliban and Al Qaeda is in Africa, right? Maybe you read the article by Eliza Griswold of The Daily Beast detailing the African Taliban in Nigeria? (Boko Haram to be techical) Or perhaps you read the article a few years back in Newsweek about the Somali Taliban? No, you say? Well shame on you. Not to worry though, for you have come to the right place.
This morning I was finally able to get around to reading the articles I had tagged as interesting from the Al Jazeera English website, and sure enough the first one I read was fun enough for me to choose it as something to crow about. If you haven't guessed the topic by now, it was the all too familiar, or not, African Taliban.
SO what was the article about you ask, salivating at the mouth, as if you don't already know you Guerrillas of the Casbah. Drumroll please.... AL-Shabab.
What, not exciting enough? Well, if your not already versed on this ragtag group of misguided misfits, then you should be! So, getting serious, Al Jazeera did two feature articles on Al-Shabab this week, reason enough to chat about them here. The first front page article gives a brief explaination on exactly who and what Al-Shabab is, at least in reference to the armed organisation that operates in Somalia (Al Shabab is a name used by many organisations around the globe, an example being the football club in Iraq). The second front page article details the claim that the government in Nairobi is secretly recruiting and training youths from the region as soldiers to go to fight for the transitional Somali government against al-Shabab fighters.
So a quick synopsis of Al-Shabab in Somalia: Not much is known about the group, it is considered to be a well-organised, hierarchical organisation. Among the group's stated objectives is to implement its own strict interpretation of Islamic law, or sharia, in Somalia. It is believed that Adan Hashi Ayro, the group's former military, and his fellow al-Shabab patrons were trained in Afghanistan and built the group along the lines of the Taliban, that ruled in Kabul until 2001. The FBI has expressed concern that the group may be expanding its reach and actively recruiting western nationals to fight in Somalia and Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has spoken repeatedly of an influx of foreign fighters fuelling the war. No one knows for sure where al-Shabab gets its financial and logistical support, but Eritrea and some Arab nations have been accused of funding the conflict.
WHOA! Sound familiar?
Seems like the news agencies are catching on to the same vibe as I am. The huffingtonpost had an article from the BBC on its website today detailing the recent stoning (to death) of an accused adulterer. Apparently Al Shabab has stoned to death three people this year for this "crime", one was a 13 year old girl. The pregnant woman involved in the latest case has a similiar fate awaiting her. An official from the al-Shabab group said the woman would be killed after she has had her baby. Brutal.
Phew, convinced yet? No? Well, I haven't even begun to introduce the Somali coastline into the equation. Who hasn't heard about the rampant pirate attacks and kidnappings off the coast of Somalia? This alone has generated worldwide attention and multi-country Naval presence. It would make for an easy and convincing "two birds with one stone" argument if you ask me.
So, think my prediction is correct? Ok, ok, I know, we have all seen Black Hawk Down, and we all know the story behind former President Clinton's decision to pull out of Somalia. But hey, Somalia hasn't had a functioning government for 18 years. I just thought that since the United States government is now in the business of nation building, they might want to make their next targeted aquisition Somalia. Afterall, we have some unfinished business there right? And there has to be money to be made somehow...did someone in the back of the class mumble Military Industrial Complex?