Al-Shabaab’s Somali Safe Havens: A Springboard for Terror

Josh Meservey

Abstract


Al-Shabaab’s recent terror attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi is not, as some have argued, a sign of the group’s desperation, but rather reveals its strength. Its most radical leader recently consolidated his control of the group, and the AMISOM offensive has stalled, ceding safe havens within the country that allow al-Shabaab to regroup and prosecute the insurgency it has launched. But the anti-Shabaab coalition has neither a sufficient number of troops nor the trained counterinsurgent forces required to root out the group. The coalition instead has to find a way for now to keep al-Shabaab off-balance in its sanctuaries, perhaps with elite unit and UAV strikes, while the international community trains adequate indigenous forces. The ultimate solution to the al-Shabaab challenge is the long-term project of building a legitimate Somali government; but in the meantime, Shabaab cannot be allowed to gather its strength to launch more attacks from its sanctuaries.


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ENHANCING SECURITY THROUGH COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH

Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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