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Monday, August 17, 2009

Autralian Shabaab? Perhaps, Perhaps Not

There have been reports claiming that a Group in Australia is associated with the Somali al Shabaab. I have been waiting to see where this falls out, becasue this doesnot fit into their normal way of operating.

For the Record, Some in Somalia have denied the Australia Connection - But the Shabaab are signficantly decentralized, and one of the four battlions could do such a move without informing the other.

It may be an group recruited by internet, or a dispora connection like the Minnesota Mujahadeen.

At the moment, I would say the jury is still out.

-Shimron Issachar

PROSCRIBING Somali-based al-Shabaab as a terrorist organisation could force its Australian supporters underground and make monitoring their activities more difficult for police and intelligence agencies, security analysts have warned.

On Tuesday, four men of Somali and Lebanese descent aged between 22 and 26 years, with alleged links to al-Shabaab, were arrested in a joint counter-terror police operation in Melbourne.

The group is accused of plotting a suicide attack on Holsworthy army base in Sydney in which they would have become Islamic martyrs.

Yesterday, Kevin Rudd said al-Shabaab had been considered for listing as a terrorist group in Australia.

But the federal government had not proceeded to list al-Shabaab because it didn't want to compromise Tuesday's counter-terrorism operation in Victoria.

"This has been the subject of some internal deliberation within the government ... for a period of time," the Prime Minister told ABC radio.

In Cairns, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said al-Shabaab's status was under review but no decision had been made to list the organisation as a terror group.

"These things are kept under constant review but, given the events of the last couple of days, it's obviously something we're now giving very serious consideration," Mr Smith said.

Al-Shabaab (The Youth) is a militant wing of the Islamic Courts Union that controlled much of restive Somalia prior to its invasion in 2006 by US-backed Ethiopian forces. Respected national security analyst Allan Behm said there were good reasons for not declaring al-Shabaab a terrorist organisation.

Many of the 5000-strong Somali community are former refugees who fled years of violence and lawlessness but have found it very difficult to integrate.

"This is a community under real stress," he said. "Many of them are not educated, many have not got good employment prospects unless they are educated, they are a very isolated community and they will stick together.

"When communities are in that sort of situation, they can fall victim to a lot of different sorts of things -- alienation and anger."

The Rest @ The Australian

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