My guess is that many of them see terrorism not as goal in and of itself, but as part of war. Al Shabab’s attack in Uganda this summer was unquestionably an act of international terrorism, but the movement’s primary goal seems to be conquering southern Somalia. Some of al Shabab’s supporters in the US probably do not even identify with the goals of transnational terrorist movements like Al Qaeda – and in fact so far Al Shabab’s US supporters have concentrated on helping the movement with its activities in Somalia rather than, say, plotting attacks outside of the Horn.
The biggest danger to American security is if Al Shabab’s US supporters decide, as Al Shabab decided in the case of Uganda, that terrorist strikes outside Somalia will advance the movement’s cause inside Somalia (the Uganda attacks were partly meant to intimidate one of the largest source countries for the AU mission that helps fight al Shabab in Mogadishu). Everything in this situation leads back to the situation in Somalia itself, and that is why this remains a policy problem as well as a law enforcement issue. Federal and state authorities are succeeding at the task of finding and arresting criminals, but Washington must do its part to address the root causes of the situation as well. So long as the war in Somalia goes unresolved, so too will the phenomenon of US residents supporting al Shabab. Washington will have to balance its political desires in Somalia against the imperative of dealing with the problems resulting from the growing anger over the situation in Somalia amongst a small but radicalized group of residents here.
According to a report by the United Nations refugee agency, the past two weeks of fighting in the Somali capital city of Mogadishu has left at least 230 civilians killed and over 400 others wounded. An estimated 23,000 people were displaced by the clashes pitting Government forces against Al-Shabaab insurgents during the same period, according to Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). “So far this year over 200,000 civilians are estimated to have fled their homes,” she told reporters in Geneva.
Al-Shabaab on Tuesday demanded that Uganda withdraws her peacekeeping troops from the war-torn Somalia, or face more attacks. Accordingly, security has been stepped up to counter the threats, said Police spokeperson Judith Nabakooba.
Kenyan police have long harassed Somalis, demanding bribes under threat of arrest or deportation, generating resentment. Since the Kampala attacks, police have rounded up hundreds of people in Eastleigh and other areas, including four Kenyan Muslims who human rights activists say were illegally extradited to Uganda for interrogation.
Related NY Times article on how al Shabab is increasingly looking like the Taliban.
Ahrnens, Anette. Lund University, Sweden; 2007
A Quest for Legitimacy: Debating UN Security Council Rules on Terrorism and Non-proliferation.
Berger, Michael Andrew. St Andrews University, U.K.; 2010
How resisting democracies can defeat substate terrorism : formulating a theoretical framework for strategic coercion against nationalistic substate terrorist organizations.
Berrebi, Claude. Princeton University, U.S.A.; 2004
The causes and consequences of terrorism.
Biggio, Nancy Connors. The University of Alabama, U.S.A.; 2002
The rationality of the use of terrorism by secular and religious groups.
Binodah, Abdullah M. The University of Sheffield, U.K.; 2006
U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and the Bush War on Terror : elite opinion and the failure of U.S. strategy.
Boukalas, Christos. Lancaster University, U.K.; 2007
Brannan, David. St. Andrews University, U.K.; 20007
Cockley, David. Texas A&M University, U.S.A: 2009 – The media spectacle of terrorism and response-able literature.
Cunningham, William G. George Mason University, U.S.A.; 2006 – Terrorism and conflict resolution: Theory and practice .
Dalby, Andrew Keith. St Andrews University, U.K.; 2004
European integrationist influences on member states’ counter-terrorist co-operation and co-ordination.
Derin Gure, Pinar. Boston University, U.S.A.; 2009.
Essays in public economics and economics of terrorism.
Dulin, Adam. ISVG; West Haven ,CT, USA; May 2006
Development as Counterterrorism – An Examination of the Columbian Conflict
Egner, Michael. Pardee RAND Graduate School, U.S.A.; 2009
Between Slogans and Solutions: A Frame-Based Assessment Methodology for Public Diplomacy.
El-Ibiary, Rasha. University of Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.; 2006
Televisual representation of the ‘War on Terror’ : comparative analysis of Al-Jazeera and CNN in covering the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Engene, Jan Oskar. University of Bergen, Norway; 1998
Patterns of terrorism in Western Europe, 1950-1995
Eser, Tarik. ISVG; West Haven ,CT, USA; December; 2007
The Impact of the Turkish Policies Toward the PKK Terrorist Organization
Flarey, Dominick L. Breyer State University – Kamiah Idaho, U.S.A.; 2003
Terrorist Groups Are Aligning To Conduct Global Terrorism.
Franks, Jason. University of St. Andrews, U.K.; 2005
Rethinking the roots of terrorism: through the doors of perception.
Ginbar, Yuval. University of Essex, U.K.; 2006
Torture, terrorists and ticking bombs : moral, societal and legal aspects of the ‘ticking bomb’ justification for torture in the struggle against terrorism.
Grevi, Giovanni. Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium; 2007
The Common Foreign, Security and Defence Policy of the European Union: Ever-Closer Cooperation. Dynamics of Regime Deepening.
Hadjimatheou, Katerina. The University of Essex, U.K.; 2009
Ethnic profiling in counter-terrorism: Justice in practice.
Hale, William Chris. ISVG; West Haven ,CT, USA; May 2005
Twenty-first Century Terrorism, Twenty-first Century Answers – The Why and How of Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination of Open Source Intelligence
Harrison, John. St. Andrews University, U.K.; 2006
The evolution of international aviation security : from politics to warfare.
Kalidheen, Rufus. University of South Africa, South Africa; 2008
Policing mechanisms to counter terrorist attacks in South Africa.
Kim, Joongho. University of Hawai’i at Manoa, U.S.A.; 2008
The sources of North Korean terrorism: Analyses at three levels.
Kiser, Steve. Pardee RAND Graduate School, U.S.A.; 2005
Financing Terror; An Analysis and Simulation to Affect Al Qaeda’s Financial Infrastructures.
Le Sage, André. University of Cambridge, UK; 2004
Somalia and the war on terrorism: political Islamic movements & US counter-terrorism efforts
Levi, Michael Abraham. King’s College (University of London), U.K.; 2006
Rethinking nuclear terrorism.
Markovic, Vesna. ISVG; West Haven ,CT, USA; December 2008
Suicide Bombings and Lethality – A Statistical Analysis of Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures
Sproat, Peter Alan. University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; 1997
An investigation of the concept of state terrorism .