Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Reuters: What an al-Shabaab win would mean for Somalia

I was quoted in an article today by William Maclean, a security correspondent at Reuters, titled "What would al Shabaab win mean for Somalia?" Here is the first quote:
Horn of Africa specialist David Shinn said foreign concern about al Shabaab and its recruitment of foreign fighters would translate into outside support for the domestic opposition, especially the moderate Islamist Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca group. The United Nations and the AU say hundreds of foreigners have flocked to join al Shabaab. Some analysts say these accounts appear exaggerated. But Western powers fear that if the government is overthrown, the militants will try to destabilise parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Yemen as well as central and northern Somali regions. "I don't see large troop movements into Somalia," said Shinn. "Opposition would be something not as visible to the naked eye, and it would begin rather slowly. But it would build over time if Shabaab seemed to have staying power."
And then later on in the article:
Would al Shabaab help or hinder such efforts? Back in 2006, the ICU was seen by aid experts as a relatively accountable partner in handling the practicalities of aid flows, at least in contrast to a chaotic and corrupt situation under the warlords who held sway before them. Analysts say it is possible the militia may want to emulate the Union in its handling of humanitarian shipments. But whatever approach it takes to aid, al Shabaab's harsh justice may make some donors think twice before funding aid purchases. "It would be a real dilemma for the donors," said Shinn.
The entire article is accessible here. Image: People walk outside the Sahafi hotel where two foreigners were kidnapped in Somalia's capital Mogadishu July 14, 2009. Somali gunmen stormed into a Mogadishu hotel on Tuesday and kidnapped two French security consultants working for the government, witnesses and officials said. REUTERS/Omar Faruk

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