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In Somalia is present one of the most ferocious terrorist organizations from the world - Al-Shabaab, a jihadist fundamentalist group based in East Africa, which is most present in Somalia. Most of the terrorist attacks are directed against Western companies that are present in Somalia and other neighboring countries. The Somali capital, Mogadishu, is frequently struck by Al-Shabaab attacks and thousands of people have already died.
Al-Shabaab in Arabic means the youth. It grew from the ashes of now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts Movement which briefly controlled Mogadishu in 2006 when Ethiopian forces drove it out. While some Somali opposed the Islamic Court practices based on a strict interpretation of law, others said the courts brought stability after years of civil war. After the Union of Islamic Courts, Somalia once again descended into chaos, with Ethiopian forces accused of widespread abuse and murders. It is unclear how many people were killed during that time, but estimates run in the tens of thousands.
An estimated 500.000 people have been killed in Somalia since 1991. Al-Shabaab has been responsible for thousands of these deaths and it is still active in parts of Somalia. The group's ties to the country's complicated tribal structures has a lot to do with how it has survived international intervention.
Tribalism has been the driving force of violence in Somalia since the collapse of central government in early 1991, because armed tribal rebel groups deposed the government. Even in Al-Shabaab tribalism exists. In the last 8 years, Somalia has been recovering and people started to acknowledge the problems caused by tribalism and extremist ideologies.
I even had one friend who told me that pretty much all of international humanitarian organizations refused to further participate in providing aid to Somalia because they were frequently attacked and lost many people. Somalia is a failed state and nobody wants to intervene anymore in the country, except those countries with military and strategic interests in that part of Africa.
Basically, each day there is a terrorist attack in Somalia, the most recent one that we know happened on the 2nd of January, where 5 people died and more than 14 has been injured. Also, two Turk citizens had died.
I will present below some of the most relevant things about Somalia and Al-Shabaab.
After the attack, the emphasis is on Turkey's relations with Somalia, as long as Turkish interests had been attacked. I think that the Somali government should cooperate with Ankara in order to build a stronger defensive and a more efficient offensive in order to eliminate these terrorists. History proved that AMISOM (African Union Mission to Somalia) and the United States did not manage to solve the ongoing crisis, that have started in 1991. Their military forces have not been able so far to eliminate Al-Shabaab or at least to weaken their organization. The sad thing is that many external actors benefit from this chaos and try to maintain Somalia as it is right now. Unfortunately, while others gain something, the Somali people die, have no homes or nothing to eat. I believe that their fate is sealed.
Many years ago, a Somali friend of mine told me that these radicals and terrorists groups have no objectives in the region. The only thing they care is to kill innocent people. I didn't agree with him at that time, but this was almost 10 years ago. My recent studies on Somalia led me to think that he could be right, in some measure. Also, he believed that the best way to eliminate the terrorists is for all Muslims to unite together, because by their brutal and atrocious acts have desecrated the bright image of Islam.
What is certain is that Somali people live this mayhem and test the bitterness of killing and destruction. Another possible explanation of why the the government cannot dislodge these blood thirsty gangs is because the government's hands are tied as there is an ongoing arms embargo. Many Somali people think that if this unfair arms embargo is lifted, peace will come.
The former US President, Donald Trump, ordered in December last year, the withdrawal of most of the American boots-on-the-ground. Not all American troops will be pulled out from Somalia, but the decision was a political decision. Trump promised to withdraw as much troops as he can from all countries. This doesn't mean that the US is not committed to help Somalia anymore or that Washington forgot Africa. Even Trump said that the US will remain committed to its African partners.