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Al Shabaab's Influence in Somali Government

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Somalia has been a land of strife since its modern history began in the early 1900’s, when British rule was challenged through constant attacks led by Mohammad Abdullah, AKA “Mad Mullah”, a folk hero amongst modern day Somalis (African Affairs, 2011). Conflict in Somalia continues to thrive thanks in large part to the terrorist group Al Shabaab (“the youth” in Arabic), a radical Islamic based organization that maintains control over a large portion of the central and southern part of the country. Al Shabaab has ties to Al Qaeda (AQ) with the main goal of installing a fundamentalist Islamist government in Somalia and is conducting an insurgency against both the UN-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) (Kahan, 2011). On 16 October 2011, U.S. backed Kenyan forces advanced into Somalia in an effort to root out Al Shabaab militants (Haywood, 2011). In addition, Al Shabaab has lost public support from Somalis because the group denied western aid in the midst of epic famine and droughts in the country (Haywood, 2011). The purpose of this paper is to show that despite recent adversity Al Shabaab will continue to wield influence in Somalia due to recently made ties to AQ and because of instability due to famine, drought, political weakness and corruption throughout the country.

In January 2011, newly appointed AQ leader Ayman Al Zawahiri pressed Al Shabaab to officially change its name to Al Qaeda in East Africa and offered to make the organization a designated regional franchise. This indicates that Al Shabaab has more than a passing relationship with the main AQ body as well as a strong relationship with Al Zawahiri. In addition, reporting indicates that Al Shabaab ...

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