Friday, May 22, 2009

First Rule In Terrorism - Location, Location, Location

Somalia is starting to look like prime real estate to set up a base for terrorist operations. This NYT article reports that the mostly ineffectual Somali government launched a counteroffensive against rebel Islamist groups in the capital of Mogadishu. The major rebel group in Somalia right now is al Shabab which is affiliated with al Qaeda, and they now seem to be joined by another group called Hizbul Islam. The counteroffensive was in response to the beating that the rebels had been issuing the government troops up to that point. The effectiveness of the attack is up in the air, and it is questionable whether the government won back any of its territory.

I think that Somalia could be the next big name in terrorism. Things are getting pretty uncomfortable for al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan so it would make sense for them to start moving their operations out of the area. Somalia is the perfect place to relocate. The central government is extremely weak and government troops seem to be at a loss at figuring out how to eradicate the problem. You couple that with the fact that the U.S. will have little resolve to enter into another ground offensive in a new country after the challenges we've faced in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as the bad memories of Somalia left from what happened in 1993 (think Black Hawk Down), and you have an ideal situation for al Qaeda to set up shop in Somalia.

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