Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Assessing Somalia’s Terror Threat"

I'm quoted in Georg-Sebastian Holzer's article for ISN Security Watch. Here are the quotes:
Looking for a trigger In any case, the increased movements of young members of the Somali diaspora to fight in their country of origin have to be put into context. Most of the 20 Americans joined al-Shabaab in 2007 and 2008 when Somalia’s ‘Christian’ archenemy Ethiopia invaded and subsequently occupied the country with US encouragement and logistical help. Al-Shabaab was perceived as the only resistance force willing and able to confront the Ethiopian military, thereby developing a large domestic constituency as well as strong support from the diaspora. With the Ethiopian troop withdrawal, this polarizing effect of foreign occupation led to diminished grievances, making it ever more difficult for al-Shabaab to motivate members of the diaspora to join their fight. David H Shinn, former State Department coordinator for Somalia during the UNOSOM intervention and now professor at the George Washington University, told ISN Security Watch that he thinks “this recruitment activity may have peaked in the Somali diaspora of western countries.” Looking at the self-regulating power of the clans, Shinn points out that “the families of these young men now understand the threat to their children, and they are paying closer attention to the problem.”
Here's the full text of the interview: ISN Security Watch Questions on Somalia UPDATE 12/13: Quotes from my ISN Security Watch interview also appear in Global Policy Forum.

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