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The Terror of al Shabaab

Somalia, foreign aid, and terrorism.

12:00 AM, Feb 23, 2010 • By CHRIS HARNISCH
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Humanitarian aid to southern Somalia will not improve the plight of the Somali people, nor will it enhance America’s security.  In fact, quite to the contrary, humanitarian aid to southern Somalia will strengthen a terror group that brutally oppresses the people under its control and has threatened to attack the United States.  But while withholding humanitarian aid to terrorist-controlled parts of Somalia successfully limits the worsening of conditions there, it alone fails to significantly reduce the threat posed by al Shabaab and improve the conditions for the Somali people.  The U.S. and its international partners must act urgently to develop a complete strategy to weaken al Shabaab.

The U.S. State Department made the grudgingly painful yet correct decision to cut humanitarian aid to Somalia, and it must continue to ward off the pressure and criticism thrown its away by the United Nations.  Unfortunately though, the suffering of the Somali people will continue and the U.S. will remain at risk until the Obama administration recognizes the severity of the threat posed by al Shabaab and develops a comprehensive strategy to mitigate that threat. 

Chris Harnisch is a researcher and the head of the Gulf of Aden Team at the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute.

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