Sunday, March 15, 2009

Growing al-Qaeda activity in East Africa and the Horn

I interviewed live yesterday with Alhurra Television on the topic of growing al-Qaeda activity in East Africa and the Horn. The interview was translated simultaneously into Arabic. I explained that extremist movements such as al-Shabaab (The Youth) in Somalia have expanded their influence in recent years, and some of them do have links to al-Qaeda. On the other hand, it would be a mistake to assume that an organization like al-Shabaab has a command and control relationship with al-Qaeda. A small number of Somali-Americans have been recruited in recent months by al-Shabaab. While this is worrisome, it should not be overstated. Al-Shabab recruited some 20 or so Somalis in Minneapolis and St. Paul, the location of the largest Somali community in the United States and a few more in cities like Seattle, San Diego, and Columbus, Ohio. Image: Al-Shabaab insurgents in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008. Photo: AP, via Cleveland Plain Dealer. UPDATE 3/16/09: Below is the interview (posted with permission of Alhurra). Please not though that it is in Arabic.

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