Is Somalia’s Al-Shabaab Group Joining Al-Qaida?

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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today urged the international community to cut Al-Shabaab’s remaining financial lifelines to stop the extemist group in proliferating violence in war-torn Somalia.

On her remarks at the Intervention at the London Conference on Somalia Intervention, Ms. Clinton highlighted one of the reasons that Al-Shabaab’s apparently agreed to join with al-Qaida is because they think they will obtain more funding from sources that unfortunately still continue to fund al-Qaida.

“With its recent announcement that it has joined the al-Qaida terror network, al-Shabaab has proven, yet again, it is not on the side of Somalis but on the side of chaos, destruction, and suffering. It has also proven something else as well. It is weakening.” -Ms. Clinton

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A Ugandan platoon commander serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) 33rd Battalion stands at a defensive position in the Yaaqshiid District of Mogadishu, where AMISOM forces have pushed Al Shabaab militants beyond the city’s northern fringes. UN Photo/Stuart Price

She stresses that Al-Shabaab and al-Qaida have turned to each other because both are embattled and isolated, especially now as the democratic revolutions, underway in many countries, are showing young people who might once have been attracted to extremist groups that a more constructive path is open to them.

“That is the future; Al-Shabaab and al-Qaida are the past.” -Ms. Clinton

She cites that more and more Somalis are seeing the threat that al-Shabaab poses to Somalia’s peace and security, as well as to the peace and security of Somalia’s neighbors. Especially in south-central Somalia, it has turned an already bad situation into a nightmare.

She says the extremist group has dragged fathers and sons from their homes, forced them to fight in a hopeless, bloody conflict.

“It has forced young girls to marry foreign fighters. And when extreme food shortages struck last summer, al-Shabbab mercilessly helped turn those food shortages into a famine by blocking humanitarian assistance and letting children starve.” -Ms. Clinton

At the Conference in London in UK, the Secretary of State also welcomed the Security Council’s decision to impose an international ban on imports of charcoal from Somalia and urge the international community to begin implementing it immediately.

She notes that the illicit charcoal trade provides funds to al-Shabaab while also causing environmental harm and threatening food security.

She stresses that the interntaional community must seize the opportunity to strengthen development, particularly in areas recently liberated from al-Shabaab.

She underlines that Somalis need to see concrete improvements in their lives.

She states that the United States will work with Somali authorities and communities to create jobs, provide health and education services, build capacity, and support peace building and conflict resolution.

At the Conference, Ms. Clinton announced that the United States is providing an additional $64 million in humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa countries, bringing U.S. emergency assistance since 2011 up to more than 934 million, including more than 211 million for lifesaving programs in Somalia.

On August 2011, the Islamic insurgent group Al-Shabaab has left the capital, Mogadishu.

Fighting between Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Al-Shabaab militants had already uprooted tens of thousands of people in Mogadishu before the current humanitarian crisis began. Ongoing insecurity and drought, as well as famine in parts of southern Somalia, have caused a massive influx of starving adults and children into the city in the past two months.

Al-Shabaab militants are infamous for deliberately

blocking the delivery of food assistance in an area of south central Somalia which is under direct or indirect control of al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab militant group has been compared with the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan because of its opinions and beliefs.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.