Somalia. Many methods to tame al-Shabaab, every with care
EDITORIAL | Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre stunned many this week when he co-opted a former al-Shabaab chief into his cupboard in what some safety specialists imagine will revamp the conflict on terror.
Mukhtar Robow “Abu Mansur” was usually seen because the badge of terror, ordering suicide bombings and different acts of brutality marketed by al-Shabaab. This week, he smiled wryly alongside different Cabinet colleagues, wearing a swimsuit and never sporting his suspenders.
But the query is, is he a modified man? Is he now a saint to guide Somalia to the promised land of peace? The jury might be gone for a very long time. This doesn’t name into query the knowledge of Prime Minister Barre, nonetheless. Indeed, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud himself has promised to return Somalia to peace with itself and with the world. How to realize this has by no means been labored out, however many imagine he advised a brand new sort of deal with in opposition to al-Shabaab.
For the previous 15 years, Somalia has been within the grip of this distinctive terrorist group recognized for its massacres, roadblocks, extortion and suicide assaults. This continued regardless of an present continental army mission, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), which was initially solely a fight mission (AMISOM). Indeed, everybody agrees that the military alone can not defeat al-Shabaab.
And Robow, a former terror seller, could be the proverbial thief stationed to catch one other. A specialist in faith, he may counter the ideology that the group has used to recruit children. Not to say his robust political affect in his Southwest yard. He was anticipated to be elected state president earlier than being arrested in 2019.
But you’ve got to be very cautious. The first is that we nonetheless do not know if Robow has repented of his sins or is solely searching for sanctuary from rival terrorist gangs. We additionally do not know if he remains to be a person of affect inside Al Shabaab, given the militants’ sample of cruelty to converts.
Somalia can deploy each army and anti-ideological instruments. But the most important affect on Shabaab has been a way of marginalization. Many children desire to serve terror as a result of they really feel poor or ignored by the system. This group could also be resistant to a counter-ideology for spiritual causes. This group joined for financial causes and will not hear something in regards to the sin of killing. Somalia should additionally reply this query, as a result of an important a part of al-Shabaab is there for causes aside from jihad. This is why current UN experiences have proven that Shabaab has infiltrated establishments, together with tax authorities and municipalities. Al-Shabaab has advanced from a purely spiritual group right into a prison gang.
We welcome options that may deter al-Shabaab from their terror. But every of those strategies ought to be deployed with care.