Military strikes won’t help stabilise Somalia

The helicopter attack on terrorists in Somalia merely allows the US to tick another box on its ‘most wanted’ list

The Guardian: Tuesday 15 September 2009 19.30 BST


The killing of Saleh Ali Nabhan, a leader of al-Shabab, in Somalia yesterday dramatically reduced the list of wanted terrorist individuals in the country. I say dramatically, because the total number of known terrorists in Somalia is no more than half a dozen. This is the paradoxical story of the war on terror in Somalia.

On the one hand, the implication of terrorism, its related activities and global reach, were not significant enough to generate serious international involvement to deal with the country. This is why we continue to see ad hoc military strikes here and there without any coherent strategy to stabilise the country, dissociate thousands of young people from becoming radicalised and, most importantly, provide vital humanitarian assistance to millions of Somalis. On the other hand, the terrorist infrastructure in Somalia is severe enough to deny the country any sense of normality and stability, or for governance to take root.


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