RealNews

SOMALIA: AN AL-QAEDA LOGISTICS BASE, WARNS THINK-TANK

The media spotlight may be firmly focused on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East, but the West should start paying more attention to Somalia because this East African country, torn apart by rival warlords and tribal gangs, provides a logistic centre for al-Qaeda, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) has warned. The ICG recently published a research report entitled “Counter-terrorism in Somalia. Are we loosing hearts and minds?”, edited by Suliman Baldo, the ICG’s Africa programme director. “Away from the spotlight, a quiet, dirty conflict is being waged in Somalia.” writes Baldo in the introduction. “In the rubble-strewn streets of the ruined capital of this state without a government, Mogadishu, al-Qaeda operatives, jihad extremists, Ethiopian security services and Western-backed counter-terrorism networks are engaged in a shadowy and complex contest waged by intimidation, abduction and assassination.” The United States “has had some success but now risks evoking a backlash.” It is not surprising: after the huge failure of the international peace efforts carried out between 1992-1995, Somalia still finds itself in total chaos, despite an October 2004 agreement reached to establish a transitional federal government. Full Story

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