By Wayne Downing-General US. Army (retired), Distinguieshed Chair Combating Terrorism Center US Military Academy
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Additional info for Al-Qaida's MisAdventures in the Horn of Africa
The Islamist movement briefly enjoyed rapid growth and strong support from cadres across clan lines in 1991, at one point boasting over a thousand men under arms and control of key seaports at Merka and Kismayo. The movement nearly took control of the northern seaport of Bosaso as well, but a combination of poor command and control, inexperience and clan divisions helped to produce serious setbacks which convinced most of the members that Somalia was not ready for an Islamic state and that da’wa, or preaching and proselytizing, was needed rather than jihad.
The case of Somalia suggests a more complex relationship between “ungoverned space” and terrorist activity. Recent research reviewing empirical evidence of Islamic terrorist activity in the 33 Horn of Africa demonstrates that al-Qa’ida and its affiliates in the Horn have found Kenya a much more conducive country from which to operate than state-less Somalia. Somalia, it is argued, plays a niche role for terrorists–mainly as a transshipment point for men, money and materiel into east Africa, and in a small number of cases as a safe haven for al-Qa’ida operatives fleeing from the law in Kenya.
In some cases, local government officials, internal security organizations and other institutions derive benefits from tolerating a certain level of terrorism. S. definitions of a 81 “Somalia says al-Qaida embassy bombing suspect believed killed,” The Guardian, January 10, 2007. The following figures and analysis are adapted from Joseph H. , Combating Terrorism (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Academic, 2005). 83 Ultimately, it may not be politically viable for some state leaders to move from T* to T0 as depicted below given the internal demands and aggregated interests of their constituents (See Figure 3).
Al-Qaida's MisAdventures in the Horn of Africa by Wayne Downing-General US. Army (retired), Distinguieshed Chair Combating Terrorism Center US Military Academy