Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Al-Shabaab's threats: primarily designed to attract international media attention

Radio France Internationale asked me to comment today on the threat by Somalia's al-Shabaab organization to attack Ethiopia and Ethiopia's response that it does not fear such an attack. I noted that there is a history from the mid-1990s of several terrorist attacks inside Ethiopia by a Somali organization known as al-Ittihad al-Islami. One such attack in 1996 nearly killed the then Ethiopian minister of communications, an Ethiopian from Somali region. Although al-Ittihad ceased to exist several years ago, some of its members almost certainly joined al-Shabaab. Consequently, there is the possibility that al-Shabaab could at some point carry out one or more terrorist attacks inside Ethiopia. On the other hand, al-Shabaab is not a serious threat to the security of Ethiopia or Kenya, another country that it recently threatened to attack. Al-Shabaab makes such threats primarily to attract international media attention. Image: The radical Islamist al-Shabab are accused of links to al-Qaeda. Source: BBC.

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