The Horn of Africa and International Terrorism: the Predisposing Operational Environment of Somalia.
Osondu, Chukudwi Solomon.
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A fundamental driving factor to contemporary international terrorism is the role of religion. Since the 1980s, there have been not only a rise in the number of Islamist terrorist incidents but also of a more globalized and intense dimension. The casualties have risen to unprecedented levels. Africa, and the Horn of Africa, in particular, has experienced its fair share of terrorist activities. For instance, in December 1980 terrorists sympathetic to the PLO bombed the Norfolk Hotel, owned by an Israeli, in Nairobi, Kenya, killing sixteen people and injuring over a hundred. The 7 August 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, were more deadly: 240 Kenyans, 11 Tanzanians and 12 Americans died, with over 5,000 Kenyans and 86 Tanzanians injured. There was yet another terrorist attack on another Israeli-owned hotel in Mombassa and an attempt on a passenger plane on the runway at the Mombassa International Airport, Kenya. Both incidents happened in November 2002. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the 1998 and 2002 attacks. With rising terrorism in the Horn of Africa and the reality of the Somali state failure, there is a growing concern that the Somali environment is supporting terrorist activities in the region. The activities of the al-Itihad al-Islamiya (AIAI) and later the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), the Somali Islamist fundamentalist organizations, with their feared international connections and the security implications, are of concern not only to the region but also to global security monitors. There is not much debate regarding the level of collapse of the Somali state and the possible security implications of the territory as a congenial terrorist safe haven. Most experts have presented Somalia as a clear example of a completely failed state. Rotberg (2002:131) describes Somalia as “the model of a collapsed state: a geographical expression only, with borders but with no effective way to exert authority within those borders". Jhazbhay (2003: 77) quoted Ali Mazrui as saying that "the situation in Somalia now is a culture of rules without rulers, a stateless society‟. Menkhaus (2003: 27) has singled out protracted and complete state collapse, protracted armed conflict and lawlessness as aptly representing the Somali situation. “Somalia‟s inability to pull together even the most minimalist fig-leaf of a central administration over the course of twelve years places the country in a class by itself.