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

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid