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Is Al-Qaeda Being Defeated In Somalia?


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Al-Qaeda’s local affiliate, al-Shabab, is losing the war in Somalia and conditions in the capital, Mogadishu, are improving. African Union and Somalia Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops forced al- Shabab fighters out of the capital last August. The African Union’s AMISOM forces now number 12,000.



For the first time in 17 years, the UN is opening its political office in Mogadishu. Embassies are also restarting operations, reflecting greater confidence in the security situation.

This month the African Union and allied Somalian forces launched a new offensive that took Mogadishu University outside the city, allowing them to control the suburbs as well as the city for the first time in years.


Meanwhile, Ethiopian forces captured Beledweyne, 30 kilometers from the Ethiopian border. The town is quite strategic since the main north-south road passes through it. Next, Ethiopian forces rapidly advanced to the central regions of Hiran and Galgadud, forcing al-Shabab fighters there to retreat. And Ethiopian troops have continued their rapid advance southward into the heart of al-Shabab territory by forging an alliance with clan militias in the Shabelle River Valley.


In the south, a formidable force of Kenyan combat troops and local clan militias, backed up by fighter jets and heavy armor, is pressing al-Shabab hard. The Kenyans have been making significant territorial gains in Gedo and Juba.



Thus, al-Shabab is being forced to fight on multiple fronts at a time when the movement is wracked by internal leadership rivalry between Mukhtar Ali Robow and Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, on one side, and Ahmed Abdi Godane on the other. In addition, al-Shabab has also lost some of its most important military commanders, notably Fazul Abdul Mohammed, killed at a government roadblock in Mogadishu. Mohammed was al-Qaeda’s military operations chief in East Africa and a key Godane ally.Scissors-32x32.png

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The African Union and other forces also need to have a clear political strategy. Areas liberated from al-Shabab control, such as Hiran, Galgudud, or Mudug, are little more than tiny fiefdoms at the whim of the local clan militia commander. There are already 14 to 20 “mini-states” in the country where people’s needs are ignored, a possible motive for popular support for the Islamists in the future.


The situation in Somalia shows that revolutionary Islamist forces can be defeated but only if the combatting side gets its economic and political strategy together.



Groups like al-Shabab thrive in the dark disconnected places of the world. As Thomas Barnett says we need to "Shrink The Gap" Give people a reason not to support the Islamic terrorists.


This where people like Robert Spencer miss the point, it is not all about religion, it's just a lot more complacated than that.



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Well, I was willing to have an open mind on this subject until I read this sentence..."For the first time in 17 years, the UN is opening its political office in Mogadishu." The UN can screw up an empty parking lot. It's about the only organization in the universe (with the possible exception of ACORN) that could make Mogadishu worse than it already is.

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