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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lord Malloch-Brown Warns us About Somalia's Role for al Qaeda

While Lord Malloch-Brown's change of stance on the adequacy of helicopters in Afghanistan is widely reported (Report, 23 July), his opinion that Somalia poses a greater threat to the UK than Afghanistan receives little analysis.

Almost the whole of Somalia falls under the control of one or other jihadist-inspired faction, and extremist sharia punishments have been carried out.

  • Vast land areas, airports and seaports are available to armed groups to carry out training, marine piracy and disruption of shipping lanes can be pursued with impunity. Increasingly, IEDs and suicide bombers are beings used as battleground strategies.
Jihadist groups include al-Shabaab, its umbrella affiliate Hizbul Islam and possibly al-Muhajiroun, which have reportedly drawn in seasoned fighters from Chechnya, Pakistan, Afghanistan and probably the US, UK and Scandinavia.

Secondly, the space is being created in the Horn of Africa for a Wahabist-inspired quasi-state, imposing by force its radical ideology on the Somali people. It is not only in close proximity to Europe, but it threatens to destabilise neighbouring states as the groups lay claims to parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, seek allies in coastal Tanzania and have threatened to blow up "the tall buildings of Nairobi" should Kenya intervene.

Concurrent to this, there is a vast outflow of Somali refugees.

Latest articles

Lord Malloch-Brown warns UK on Somalia

Should foreign troops leave Somalia?
Somalia has become synonymous with the term “failed state.” Even now, after nearly two decades of civ...

Somalia tops "failed states" 2nd year in a row

It is a sobering time for the world’s most fragile countries—virulent economic crisis, countless natu...

The UN approaches, financed by the EC Somalia unit at Nairobi, are ineffectual. Since both the transitional federal government and al-Shabaab advocate a regime of sharia, Muslim states such as Turkey, Indonesia and Algeria should be given roles in peacemaking. Saudi Arabia should also be invited to contribute.

Radical, innovative action is required to prevent a conflict that could have repercussions on our lives, potentially on a greater scale than Iraq and Afghanistan, but with a great deal more powerlessness to influence the outcomes. Malloch-Brown ought to be listened to.

The Rest @ guardian.co.uk

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