Saturday, February 25, 2017

Somalia: The Forgotten War on Terror
10:48 25.02.2017
Andrew Korybko
Sputnik International

The capital of the war-torn state of Somalia was once again attacked by a devastating car bomb just days after the inauguration of President Mohamed, briefly propelling the country to global attention.

This isn’t by any means the first time that violence has ripped through Mogadishu, and it probably won’t be the last, but what’s different about this attack is that it came right after the country finally seemed to be back on the path of stabilization. The election of President Mohamed gave the international community hope that he could strengthen Mogadishu’s authority over the countryside and bring all of Somalia’s parties together in advancing the federal solution outlined in the 2012 constitution. In spite of the high hopes that the rest of the world has pinned on Somalia, however, there appears to be comparatively less commitment in helping it reach these goals.

Many people remember the months-long news about the rise of piracy off of the Somali coast and the subsequent naval deployments that many countries ordered in response to this threat a handful of years ago, but that was the last time that the international community ever lent considerable assistance to the country, and even then the motives of several players during that time were questionable. The African Union leads a so-called peacekeeping force in Somalia, but it’s been unable to stem the growth of the Daesh-linked terrorist group Al Shabaab, which has been suspected of carrying out the latest car bombing. This organization also threatens the neighboring countries of Ethiopia and Kenya, two of Africa’s most promising economies but each with their own challenges when it comes to the Somali minority within their respective borders.

The UAE and Turkey are also involved, too, as both of them have or are in the process of acquiring military bases in the country. Last but not least, one shouldn’t overlook the role played by the US over the years, whether it was through the disastrous conventional military deployment in the 1990s or the intermittent drone strikes and commando raids that its unleashed on the country since then. While it usually doesn’t make the global news much, this strategic state positioned in the Horn of Africa and along the maritime trade route linking Europe and Asia is extraordinarily important for geopolitical reasons, and that’s why the impact of Somalia’s forgotten War on Terror can easily reverberate far past its own shores.

Bischara Ali, political analyst from Somalia and the executive director of The Horn of Africa Center for Strategic & International Studies Center, and Aaron D. Chiroma, of the University of Jos (Nigeria) and freelance writer, commented on the issue.

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