As the violence in Somalia escalates,
is there any hope for peace? The
Transitional federal Government (TFG) continues to battle militias, the most
powerful of which is al-Shabaab.
al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Beledweyne, killing
Somalia's security minister, among others.
Shinn, adjunct professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at
George Washington University and former US ambassador to Ethiopia, is watching
developments in Somalia.
al-Shabaab, in fact, carried this attack out…it indicates that they're
increasingly using these terrorist tactics of political assassination and car
bombings," he says.
More foreign fighters reported in Somalia
are not traditional Somali tactics at all.
But they do suggest that it's the work or the training of persons coming
from other parts of the world, particularly the Middle East and South Asia,' he
and others have long called for a Somali solution to the problems in the
country. But with the ongoing conflict,
is that still possible.
still hold to that. It's difficult
though because you find the Somalis themselves fighting something of a
asymmetrical kind of warfare, where one group, which is using terrorist
tactics, has something of an advantage, at least over the short term, because
these tactics are obviously very effective," he says.
Long-term use of terror may backfire
the longer term, though, what these tactics do is to alienate Somalis…. I think it already has happened to some
extent. I don't think Somalis generally
approve of this kind of approach and it's going to make the short-term
successes of groups like al-Shabaab perhaps pyrrhic victories," he says.
victories refers to King Pyrrhus of Epirus (now southeastern Europe), who
defeated Roman armies around 280 BC, but at very great cost to his own forces.
continuing violence creates problems for international efforts to help bring
peace and assistance.
would hope the international community would step up both the training and the
equipping of security forces for the Transitional Federal Government. And this
is tricky because you have to have loyal followers in order to do the training
and equipping. Otherwise, you'll end up
training a lot of folks who are not sure whose side they're on," Shinn says.
Somalis should do the job
"I just don't see the purpose of
having a very large foreign presence, a military presence, in the country,
either in the form of the African Union forces of United Nations' forces. I think that creates so much resentment," he