Somalia: Al Shabaab’s DEN of Terror
Al shabaab could turn into the next Al Qaeda, if the free world does not take them seriosly right now!
Image via Wikipedia
The world seems to have forgotten all about an East African country called Somalia it seems because no one appears to pay enough attention to her for the international community. This is full of lost souls that will jump at any opportunity that gives them a ray of hope, be it good or bad.
For me the most worrisome aspect of this all is the sheer porous nature of the borders of some if not all of Somalia’s neighbours. The stateless nature and lawlessness in most parts of Somalia is a perfect breeding ground of the much-dreaded terrorism.
While the USA and the entire world are obsessed with Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, a new terror superpower force is the works in the gutters and trenches in Somalia. Most of us think that Somalia is lost in the woods and sit on our laurels but the truths is that these guys are busy figuring out their next move after all millions of American Dollars are coming as remittances from friends and relatives in Europe and North America, but hold your breath because that is not the biggest source of income. The level at which the piracy is becoming ever so popular, attractive and lucrative in the last decade is due to the humongous and bountiful amounts of dough that come with it.
I mean what’s with hijacking a fuel tanker with a gazillion litres of crude oil or a cargo ship full of cars, ammunitions or industrial raw materials worth million and sometimes even billions of dollars sailing down to Mombasa port of Kenya or Port Elizabeth in South Africa or the in the opposite direction to Asia, Europe of the Americas? The answer is pure and simple, ransom. Ransom in millions of dollars from ship owners and you cannot really blame them because paying 10 or 20 million dollars is well worth it instead of losing a ship investment worth several hundreds of dollars if you consider the cargo they are carrying and insurance premiums.
If you have never been to school and you have never had a chance to get any decent skills in any trade, your life would be full of hopelessness. What happens next is to find someone to blame for your miserable predicament and seek to punish them at earliest opportunity. This is the way most Somali young men think according to Rager Omar, an acclaimed Al Jazeera TV reporter in one of his insightful documentaries about life in Somalia. Anything that presents a chance of making a dollar however bizarre and evil it maybe, is received by open hearts, hands and minds by these young Somalis.
All this comes in times when these young Somalis know one thing only, and that is radical Islam taught and instilled in them by Sheikhs and Mullahs who worship and idolise the teachings, ways, personas and lives of their radical counterparts of Al Qaeda and Taliban among others. These people [Sheikhs and Mullahs] believe that all non-Muslims are out to annihilate them, so they have a mysterious but blind calling to defend themselves pre-emptively. They teach young Muslim Somalis that it is the Christian and Jewish west that is responsible for their predicament. Therefore, all westerns in Europe and North America have to be attacked in revenge.
The worst part is that these people are not even willing to engage in dialogue with the outside world in order to air their sentiments are grievances. They only wish speak to the world through violence. You do not have to a westerner to be a target sometimes; associating with westerners is enough to make you one just as we saw with the 11th July terror bombings in Kampala, Uganda. Al Shabaab believes that countries like Uganda that are laden with a lot of westerners from Europe, North America and Australia are perfect and easy targets because all it takes is a bus ticket for as little as $30 in a round trip for a Somali leaving in Kenya for example to get into Kampala and blend in with the rest of the peace loving Ugandan-Somalis who have settled here years ago and plan an attack.
And the attack itself is simple because the equipment does not need to be smuggled in since it is readily available in the local market as was demonstrated by NTV-Uganda reporters soon after the 11th July bombings. NTV-Uganda went about town buying all the parts of the bombs as were described by Police and they succeeded quite easily and all the while spending less than $100 to buy an old cell Phone, Razor Blades [for shrapnel], a few meters of electronic copper wire and explosive chemicals from laboratory equipment dealers enough to assemble a home-made bomb.
In conclusion, I recommend that the powers that be go back to the drawing table and strategise on the course of action to take in Somalia and sort out the AL Shabaab problem before they gain Al Qaeda style capabilities of hijacking planes and flying them into towering buildings for yet another 9/11 dreadful experience. However, I do not think military force will achieve anything, aid and dialogue should be exclusively favoured.