Challenges Posed by Al Shabaab
Since Somalia emerged from colonialism era under Britain and Italy, the country has gone through civil war, famine and military dictatorship to regional fragmentation. Recently, pirates operate from the coast of Somalia coast hijacked ships attracting global attention.
The biggest threat in the country though is as a result of lack of internal order which has exposed the country to rise of Islamist groups that use hard stances. The greatest threat is that posed by Al-Shabaab which has risen from obscurity to become the most prominent international threat.
The ideological commitment the Al-Shabaab has to global jihadism, military capabilities, Al-Qaeda connections and ability to control and capture territories clearly suggests it will continue posing strategic challenge to Somalia neighbors and the United States.
Since the emergence of the group:
- It has played a significant role in insurgency that helped drive Ethiopian forces out of the country
- It received endorsement from Osama bin Laden
- A large number of Somalis from the West have been flocking its camps
Al-Shabaab is committed towards implementing a strict Shari’a version into key regions of Somalia. It has spread throughout the country with camps from which western Muslims graduate. It is because of this reason that the Al-Shabaab has become a major security threat to several countries and that includes the US.
Terrorist training is one of the major challenges posed by the group as it includes interlocking leadership and affinity in its training. There are also worries about the connections Al-Shabaab have to transnational terrorism. The concerns of terrorism are further bolstered by the operation of training camps for terrorists and ICU successor camps.
Most of the terrorist training camps in the country have been reopened and there are reports of young men from different regions such as Minneapolis-St. Paul and other regions of the US joining the training. Additionally, young Somali men go missing from Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia and Europe which only proves that training has commenced.
The major isn’t what the individuals do in Somalia but rather, what follows once they get back to their countries of origin. This is a major concern for Britain and the US as well. While it is not easy to determine the total number of militia men that make up the Al-Shabaab, it is estimated they are somewhere between six thousand and seven thousand. Overall, the group will continue been a major threat and challenge to the rest of the world.
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