Somalia

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Somalia

Post  polka23dot on Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:00 pm

Somalia bans Christmas celebrations: http://www.citifmonline.com/index.php?id=1.1645511

The UN is trying to pressure the Somali government to halt the criminal activity by their troops and pro-government militias... Some al Shabaab have fled to Kenya, where they kill Kenyans or, more frequently, raid the main refugee camp in Kenya, where half a million Somali refugees are staying. Because of this violence, and fewer al Shabaab in Somalia, many of these refugees are returning to Somalia. Al Shabaab ordered one of their members, American born (but with a Syrian father) Abu Mansoor al Amriki (Omar Hammami), to turn himself in by the 19th or be hunted down and killed. Hammami apparently did not surrender and is now being hunted by al Shabaab. Last December it was announced that Hammami had been expelled from al Shabaab. Hammami had previously been a video (via the Internet) spokesman for the terrorist group...  Hammami has been with al Shabaab for seven years and has been a public face of the terrorists via his video releases on the Internet. Hammami grew up in Alabama but came to Somalia and joined al Shabaab seven years ago... The FBI named Hammami one of their most-wanted felons last November. source: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/somalia/articles/20130121.aspx

A  major problem is the new police force, which tends to commit most of the crimes. Looting and assault by cops is common and the government seems unable to do anything about it... The Somali government is negotiating to get Puntland, Somaliland, and Jubaland to agree to a federal form of government where the regions would have a lot of autonomy. In return, the central government would provide muscle to help control bandits and warlords throughout the country. This is not that compelling for most of the clans, who are accustomed to having no government at all ordering them around. For nearly all of the last few thousand years the clans answered to no one. European colonial powers arrived in the 19th century and established central government which didn’t really take, nor did similar efforts by previous conquerors. Once all the colonial powers were gone by 1960, the newly established Somali government began to come apart, a process that was complete by 1991, and no one has been able to get all the clans to submit to a new central government since. source: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/somalia/articles/20130311.aspx

13-year-old Somali girl (named Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow) was stoned to death because she was raped: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/dont-kill-me-she-screamed-then-they-stoned-her-to-death-1003462.html

The loss of Kismayo last year was a major blow to al Shabaab finances because that port could be used to smuggle illegal goods (especially ivory) out of the country. Al Shabaab also collected fees on anything leaving or entering via Kismayo. Now al Shabaab has limited, and irregular, access to smaller ports on the coast. The financial loss to al Shabaab has been huge. Al Shabaab charged fees (for protection from al Shabaab retaliation) to businesses in all areas it controlled. This covered an enormous amount of legal and illegal trade via Kismayo. Kismayo alone was worth over $50 million a year to al Shabaab. For every million dollars of income, al Shabaab could keep 400-500 armed men in action. Major operations, like suicide car bombings, can cost several thousand dollars (to get the car, build the bomb, and train the suicide bomber) and intelligence gathering costs money, if only because bribes are an easy way to find out things, but that can be expensive, even in Somalia. With most of that income gone in the past year, al Shabaab has begun to unravel. The loss of income led to many desertions and the inability to make attacks within Somalia. This is a common pattern in Islamic terror organizations. The less cash they have the fewer senior staff they have. This group includes skilled leadership and technical experts (for building bombs, planning attacks, and working the media). These core members usually have families to support and need cash to do their work. Without the spectacular attacks, potential recruits and donors won’t know you exist and you will fade away. Counter-terrorism efforts now try to induce this form of natural selection and al Shabaab is one of the primary targets. Al Shabaab is adapting and trying to establish branches in nearby countries with ethnic Somali populations. Thus, al Shabaab becomes a more widespread threat and it becomes weaker overall. When the rats abandon a sinking ship the rats show up somewhere else. source: http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htterr/articles/20131019.aspx

Al Shabaab is now committed to being a regional terrorist organization, using the ethnic Somali communities found throughout the region as a base. This has increased hostility against these Somali minorities, who tend to be feared for their aggressive and violent attitudes. A lot of the organized (and unorganized) crime in the region is dominated by Somalis. This pattern has made Somalis unwelcome in many countries. South Africa has been particularly hostile and many (up to ten percent) of the Somalis who have moved there in the last two decades are moving back to Somalia. source: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/somalia/articles/20131023.aspx

Peacekeepers and Somali troops continue to chase al Shabaab gunmen out of towns and villages in central and southern Somalia. Most of these Islamic terrorists have basically become bandits, living off terrified civilians who were not able to organize an armed militia to defend their neighborhood. The constant pressure from the better armed, organized and trained troops is wearing down al Shabaab, which is losing vehicles and weapons they have a difficult time replacing. Al Shabaab leaders are scrambling to obtain cash from the illegal Islamic terrorist donor network. This consists of wealthy Arabs in the Gulf oil states as well as Somali communities in the West. The latter is under growing pressure from local police and intel agencies and has become less able to fund al Shabaab... Somalis tend to be unwelcome wherever they settle because Somalis are aggressive, troublesome and many turn to crime. Now some are turning to Islamic terrorism. All this makes it more difficult for the many Somalis who just want to live legally and in peace. But the locals can’t ignore the crime and especially not the Islamic terrorism. A UN study concluded that Somali pirates had received at least $339 million in ransom money through the end of 2012. Investigators found that most of that money went to a few hundred leaders and foreigners who brokered the ransoms and took care of supplying the pirates and handling their financial needs. This included helping to “launder” a lot of that cash via legitimate (or semi-legitimate) businesses, mainly in Kenya (but also in Yemen and some of the Arab Gulf States.) The wealthy pirate leaders also expanded into other criminal enterprises (drugs and smuggling). Favorite investments in Kenya included real estate, retail businesses and agriculture. The pirate threat still costs the world and local (East Africa) economy some $18 billion a year in direct costs and lost GDP. Kenya wants half a million Somali refugees living in Kenya to return home. The main reason for this is that the main camp for these refugees has become a hideout for Islamic terrorists and gangsters of all sorts... In Mogadishu, the largest radio station in the country, Radio Shabelle, was shut down and its headquarters compound seized. While often attacked by Islamic terrorists, Radio Shabelle also angered many politicians and warlords for publicizing their crimes. source: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/somalia/articles/20131106.aspx

Al Shabaab is still active, having largely settled an internal power struggle and found new sources of income by more aggressive use of extortion. This is done via widespread use of terror out in the countryside. Anyone with money (businesses and large farming operations) are expected to pay or face attack (beatings, death or taking family members as hostages). The loss of Kismayo last year was a major blow to al Shabaab finances because that port could be used to smuggle illegal goods (especially ivory) out of the country. Al Shabaab also collected fees on anything leaving or entering via Kismayo. Now al Shabaab has limited, and irregular, access to smaller ports on the coast. The sudden loss of income from Kismayo led to many desertions and the inability to make attacks. But not all of the Islamic terrorists were gone and the hard core fought each other in June and July to decide who would control the organization and what the post-collapse strategy would be. Young men were still willing to join for religious, nationalist or financial reasons. Living off extortion and other criminal enterprises has always been popular in Somalia where warlords who could cobble together and maintain a private army were respected. The difference this time is that al Shabaab considers itself part of an international Islamic terrorist movement (al Qaeda) and welcomes foreign recruits. Generally, foreigners are not popular in Somali culture and are looked on as source profit not a welcome guest. These Islamic terrorist foreigners are often used for suicide attacks because they are more fanatic and not experienced fighters (and can’t speak the local languages). These foreigners boost morale among the Somali members because it indicates international support for their cause. On the down side the terror attacks kill more civilians than peacekeepers, police or local soldiers and makes the Islamic terrorists unpopular with most Somalis. That is not a concern with al Shabaab right now as they would rather be feared than loved. This is especially true within the organization, where there are still many Somali men who consider themselves al Shabaab but disagree with the current leadership. Paranoia and ready recourse to violence still defines the organization, which now considers itself part of an international movement... Kenya wants over 500,000 Somali refugees in the Dadaab refugee camp to go home as soon as possible, The UN, which runs the camp, says this could take up to ten years. Kenya is now talking about ignoring the UN and speeding up the repatriation process a lot. The Dadaad population is a source of crime and economic disruption in northern Kenya. Islamic terrorists are known to live there and were often recruited there to begin with. Kenya already plans to force foreign aid agencies to move to Somalia, believing the refugees would be inclined to follow. About 50,000 Somali refugees have left Dadaab and gone back to Somalia this year, but even more have arrived at Dadaab from Somalia. There are over 500,000 additional Somalis in Kenya illegally, often using false documents. These will be harder to find and sent back to Somalia. source: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/somalia/articles/20131126.aspx

Al Shabaab gave Internet providers 15 days to shut down all landline Internet service in the country. The Islamic terrorist group already banned Internet access via cell phones in January. Most Internet providers have complied with the cell phone Internet ban. This is extortion, with the Islamic terrorists basically threatening to attack the Internet providers and their customers if Internet access is not shut down. There are about 130,000 Internet users in Somalia. source: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/somalia/articles/20140214.aspx
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