Thursday, June 18, 2009
I had a phone interview today with the BBC World Service "Network Africa" program on the situation in Somalia. In response to a question, I suggested the current violence in Somalia is not, as the interviewer commented, the worst ever in the country, but only a spike in violence. There have been a number of these spikes since 1991, some of which have been more serious than the current one. There is more activity by the extremist al-Shabaab organization that opposes the Transitional Federal Government. Al-Shabaab has also made increasing use of suicide bombers and political assassinations. This suggests a growing foreign jihadi element in support of al-Shabaab. While these tactics may have short-term success, I believe the vast majority of Somalis oppose them. Over the medium and long-term, these tactics will cause considerable resentment among most Somalis.