Blogging will remain light and laconic for the foreseeable future, it seems, because WordPress runs very slowly in internet cafes here in Kano. So I would probably have more to say about al Shabab’s recent bombings in Kampala, but I’ll settle for just linking up a few good articles.
al-Shabab has shown its ability to threaten its East African neighbors as well. It’s a scenario that has kept East African counterterrorism analysts sleepless for years: a functional jihadist cell that can plan and execute civilian attacks internationally.
In Somalia’s two-decade history of ungoverned chaos, it has been well-meaning foreign intervention — whether military or political — that has consistently refigured the country’s course. Usually, for the worse. Now the attempt to address al-Shabab’s broadening capabilities could kick off another round of international intervention in Somalia, with equally dismal results.
“It’s meant to send a signal to others in the region, mostly Ethiopia, that meddling in Somali affairs, whether its peacekeeping or occupation, would have consequences,” said Philippe de Pontet, Africa analyst at New York-based Eurasia Group.
U.S.-backed Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia in December 2006, ousting the Islamic Courts Union government that had captured the south of the country. The army occupied Mogadishu and the southern town of Baidoa in an effort to bolster the government, though the forces became bogged down in a guerrilla war with the Islamists who now control most of the country. The Ethiopians withdrew in January 2009.
“Al-Shabaab hates the Ethiopians because they’re the people that kicked the Islamic Courts out of power in Mogadishu,” Stewart said. “They really have an axe to grind against the Ethiopians.”
What do readers think? Anyone versed in Ugandan politics have a perspective on what the response will be there?