The groups were even able to control the majority of Mogadishu for a short period. These extremist groups aim to emplace an Islamic caliphate in Somalia and they will do so at the peril of the people. One of the extremist groups has been able to extend its reach outside Somalia and recruit from western nations. This organization has demonstrated a clear threat to American interests, not only abroad, but also within American borders. To understand how these extremist groups came to power one must first examine the make up of the Somali identity.
The lack of central government has also resulted in three significant separatist movements named Somaliland, Puntland, and Southwestern Somalia. Somaliland had separate independence from Great Britain prior to union with Somalia in 1960, which they claim was never ratified. They declared independence from Somalia in 1991. The international Community does not recognize their independence. A council of elders proclaimed Puntland as an autonomous state of Somalia in 1998.
Somali pirates are a growing sub-culture with which Somalia, the United States and the majority of world powers must contend. Piracy off the coast of Somalia within the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa Area of Responsibility adversely influences the region, is of global importance and continues to have a negative effect on U.S. interests. “Fighting piracy is a vital element of the United States' strategic objectives in Somalia, which are to help this stressed nation to regain stability, eliminate terrorism and respond to the humanitarian needs of its people” (U.S. Department of State, 2011). After the collapse of the central government in Somalia during the 1990s, local Somali fishermen took it upon themselves to police the waters through a form of vigilante justice in order to stop over-fishing and illegal dumping by foreigners. Although these fishermen began policing these waters with good intentions, they soon turned to piracy to supplement their lack of income.
The terrorist threat posed to United States (U.S.) interests within the Horn of Africa (HOA) is represented by one terrorist organization in particular, al-Shabaab. Areas of concern towards key strategic interests for the U.S. consist of armed conflicts, violent extremism, global trade, and maritime security in which al-Shabaab possess an influential capacity to disrupt, which effects political, economic, and social stability throughout region. As countries within the HOA continue to gain strategic importance to U.S. interest and policy makers, al-Shabaab and the various entities they collaborate with affect the stability of the region and remain a prevalent threat. Al-Shabaab initially began operations within the Somalian borders in resistance to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Ethiopia, and later dictated their role in opposing western influence in the region. The ultimate driving force behind the organization is to establish an Islamic state in Somalia.
PIRACY IN SOMALIA The Rapidly Deteriorating Security Situation in Somalia and the Threat to US Interests The increasing violence and continued growth of piracy off the coast of Somalia has threatened international shipping in one of the world’s busiest shipping corridors and raised the awareness of maritime-based Islamist terrorism (Stevenson, 2010). Somali piracy threatens commercial shipping and poses a potentially significant threat to international peace and security. Pirates have threatened and seized many ships, contributing to a rise in shipping costs, insurance premiums, and impeded the delivery of food aid shipments. Controlling piracy should be an utmost priority for United States policymakers. Somalia is slightly smaller than Texas and approximately the size of Afghanistan with a population of approximately 10 million.
The CIA World Factbook states that Ethiopia is approximately 1,104,300 square kilometers (686,180 miles). To give a better perspective of the sheer size of this country, it is about twice the size of the state of Texas. The CIA World Factbook also states that Ethiopia’s area ranks 27th when compared to the area size of all other countries in the world. Ethiopia is a completely landlocked country. Access to the Red Sea is blocked its former autonomous region, Eritrea, which is located to the north of this country.
From 1969-1975 there was no legislature, and for the remainder the regime there was an elected legislature with one candidate. Barre came to power through a military coup, he would slowly ruin a promising nation. Barre’s regime would last an impressive 32 years, but Somalia would experience a steep economic decline. Economic resources are still required to maintain power in a dictatorship and Barre would acquire his monetary supplies from means other than natural resources. Barre would squander every resource he had and ultimately Somalia would suffer the most from his mistakes.
8 Sep. 2001 Photius.com/wfb/wfb1999/Somalia/Somalia_government.html>. 9. “Somalian People.” 1 March 1999. Country Profiles. 8 Sep. 2001 Photius.com/wfb/wfb1999/Somalia/Somalia_people.html>.
The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the increasing terrorist threat to the United States, and western interests alike, by a growing radical group named Al Shabaab, primarily located in Somalia. The United States (U.S.) and the United Kingdom (U.K.) have described this radical group as a terrorist organization with strong ties to Al-Qaida. Due to the presence of Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, Al-Qaida has been on the hunt for a new, more permissive territory from which to operate. Somalia is an unstable country plagued by decades of political corruption, violence, and economic instability that make it a prime refuge for Al Shabaab to operate. As Al Shabaab tries to gain a stronghold in Somalia, any forces that threaten their goals are vulnerable to retaliatory or offensive attacks at the hands of this terrorist organization.