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Mogadishu shows up wrong priorities of United States
Posted:Oct 17, 2017
 
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The death toll from Saturday’s twin truck bombs in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu has crossed 300. For a city that is inured to violence — there are, on an average, two large bombings every month — Saturday’s attack was unusual in scale and brutality. The al-Qaeda-linked terror group al-Shabab, which is responsible for most of the terror attacks in Somalia, is yet to claim responsibility. But there is little doubt of al-Shabab’s involvement given its decade-long war against the government to impose strict Islamic rule in the country.
 
The terror attack comes at a time when ISIS and al-Qaeda have suffered reverses in Syria and Iraq, and the Trump administration is busy calling Iran the biggest exporter of terror, even as it supports Saudi Arabia, which exports militant strains of Islam. Both ISIS and al-Qaeda need a hospitable and safe haven to regroup. Unlike the last time, Afghanistan may not be an option.
 
With its weak infrastructure, poverty and despair exacerbated by famine and given the presence of al-Shabab and its guerrilla operations, Somalia may well be that safe haven. There is a need to ensure that the Somali government, such as it is, does not collapse, and the gains of the past are capitalised. The terror attacks in Somalia must be treated as part of terror network fuelled by Sunni jihadists, whose tentacles spread out to Europe as well.
 
Working with the government to create opportunities and livelihoods for the Somali people, buttressing and training the security forces are efforts that the international community should double down on. This humungous international effort is not a selfless act of cross-border cooperation. Getting Somalia back on its feet is good for Africa, and the world, denying terror the safe haven it needs.
 
 
 
 
 
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