News / Africa

U.S. Extends Reevaluation of Security Threats to Yemen and Somalia

Multimedia

Audio
  • President Obama Remarks After a White House National Security Meeting 5 January 2010

  • Interview with University of Minnesota Professor Abdi Samatar

President Barack Obama acknowledged Tuesday that the United States has stepped up the fight against al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and has also begun focusing on other countries, including Yemen and Somalia. 

U.S. Extends Reevaluation of Security Threats to Yemen and Somalia
U.S. Extends Reevaluation of Security Threats to Yemen and Somalia

   
Somali-born geography professor Abdi Samatar of the University of Minnesota says that the intensification of fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt by Nigerian-born Umar Abdulmutallab have helped shift the focus of conflict to al-Qaida in the Arabian peninsula, particularly to Yemen.  But he notes that reports of recent arms shipments from Yemeni rebels to Somalia’s Islamist al-Shabab fighters have so far had little impact on the rebel insurgency against Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

Al-Shabab insurgents control much of southern Somalia, including the city of Kismayo.
Al-Shabab insurgents control much of southern Somalia, including the city of Kismayo.

   
“I don’t think that the amount of weapons that are going from Yemen through al-Qaida to al-Shabab is significant.  Shabab has many other sources of weapons, both in the domestic market, and, remember, Somalia has one of the largest small weapons markets in Mogadishu itself,” he said.
   
Despite al-Shabab claims of sending fighters to help al-Qaida resist Yemeni and foreign-assisted efforts to quash its insurgency, Professor Samatar says a Somali presence in Yemen is limited to longtime refugees who have lived in northern Yemen for decades, but not a significant infusion of terrorists or resistance fighters.
   
“Containing refugees and others in particular localities I don’t think is going to be a significant element in tackling the terror matter,” he noted.
   
As for Yemenis operating in Somalia, Samatar says the security threat is also low. But he does acknowledge that the stepped up fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan have expanded the arena of doing battle with al-Qaida back to the Gulf region, where it was extremely active ten years ago.
   
“The military pressures in Pakistan and Afghanistan are having a significant effect on al-Qaida’s ability to further decentralize itself so that they cannot be holed in one particular locality.  And this is a fact that should be taken into account in both Somalia and in Yemen,” he observed.
   
Does this mean a more intensified struggle in Somalia at this point? Samatar says not as far as expecting an infusion of fighters from Yemen to add to Somalia’s woes.  He says al-Shabab continues to lead insurgents’ attempts to bring down the internationally endorsed TFG.

   
“I think Shabab controls much of southern Somalia at the present, and in the last week or so, they have had military celebrations in Mogadishu itself, to show the caliber of their troops and the size of their troops.  So they are already what they are, and they control what’s left of Somalia….small strips in south Mogadishu and a few other pockets.  And I just don’t think further pressures are going to make any difference in those spots because those are where the African Union forces are, and I don’t think al-Shabab will have the wherewithal to confront them head-on,” he said.

   
The answer to U.S. and British efforts to bring greater stability to both Somalia and Yemen can be found in new initiatives to democratize both countries rather than focusing on the anti-terror threat, according to Professor Samatar.  He warns that stepped up foreign military involvement can foment resentment among local populations in both countries, which have long been discontent with the authoritarian qualities of their own failed states’ leaderships.
   
“I think the Somali people would welcome a very genuine support from the United (States) government to help themselves rebuild their country.  I think the project that the United States helped take part in in Djibouti, which ultimately produced the Transitional Federal Government was both illegitimate and incompetent.  And so what the Somali people are looking for is support from Britain and the United States people and governments that are genuinely democratic, that will support civil society, and Islamic movement that is also democratic,” he maintains.
   
Samatar asserts that Yemeni and Somali resentment are stirred up against western interference when it is being engineered to serve outside interests.
   
“Genuine democratization of the political process in Somalia, pushing the Transitional Federal Government into becoming more inclusive, more accountable, more effective, and bringing on board people with capacity who are Somalis who can deliver for the local population, if the U.S. and Britain push things in that direction, the Somali people will genuinely welcome that, in my opinion,” he noted.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid