News / Africa

Al-Shabab Attack Unlikely to Prompt Western Intervention

Al-Shabab Attack Unlikely to Prompt Western Interventioni
X
October 01, 2013 6:30 PM
The September 21 assault by al-Shabab gunmen on Kenya's Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi claimed the lives of at least 67 people - many of them foreigners. Despite calls for greater Western involvement in the fight against the al-Qaida affiliate, analysts say regional forces will continue to take the lead. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Henry Ridgwell
The September 21 assault by al-Shabab gunmen on Kenya's Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi claimed the lives of at least 67 people, many of them foreigners. Despite calls for greater Western involvement in the fight against the al-Qaida affiliate, it appears regional forces will continue to take the lead, analysts say.
 
The victims of the Westgate Mall attack included citizens of countries as far apart as Australia and Britain, Canada and South Korea. Witnesses say the gunmen singled out foreigners and non-Muslims.

But the targeting is unlikely to translate into greater Western intervention against al-Shabab, said Sajjan Gohel, Security Director of the London-based Asia-Pacific Foundation.

“What we’ll probably see is more impetus by the international community, especially the United States, in trying to encourage Somalia’s neighbors in becoming more active, more involved, in trying to dismantle the infrastructure of al Shabab.”

Shiraz Maher of Kings College London’s Center for the Study of Radicalization said Western powers are far more cautious, after tough interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“I think the West now favors having localized countries who are responding to regional crises taking the lead," Maher said.  "And they will support from behind the scenes. The level of support might increase, but I don’t think you’d see anything like American direct intervention for example.”

Eliminating the threat from al-Shabab will be highly complex, said Gohel.

“This is a group that has splintered," he said. "Its factions are displaced in a number of countries, not just Somalia. They are recruiting from the refugee populations that exist throughout the Horn of Africa and East Africa. It’s a challenge, it’s a big challenge. And unfortunately, they are also able to recruit from the West," he said.

For now the 17,000-strong African Union contingent in Somalia known as AMISOM will continue to take the lead in battling al-Shabab, alongside government forces.

Nicholas Kay, the United Nations’ envoy for Somalia, has called for the international community to put more resources into fighting al-Shabab.

“Particularly extra resources for the military effort where the AMISOM are under-resourced," Kay said. "They have, for example, not a single military helicopter for a campaign in a country that is the size of Afghanistan."

There is a pressing need for a better-funded African Union force able to respond to threats across the continent, said Helmoed Romer Heitman, a South Africa-based analyst for Jane’s Defense Weekly.
 
“Outside powers coming into Africa to do it, well the Europeans aren't that willing, and most of them no longer have the clout because they have had to scale down so much," he said. "Do we really want China or India or somebody else doing that? Because they are not going to do it in our interests. They are going to do it in their interests. The U.N. takes too long. We have seen that. So there is a need for a continental force, and in fact regional forces on the continent.”

Analysts say the Westgate mall attack shows that al-Shabab is still a potent force and has a reach extending well beyond Somalia.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs