February 12, 2010

Quick Take: The Terror Threat from Somalia

On Christmas Day 2009, an operative from the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) nearly killed three hundred people over Detroit. Few Americans had heard of AQAP at the time, and many policymakers had failed to recognize the importance of Yemen as a national security threat.

Today, just across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen, another major national security threat exists in Somalia. A militant Islamist group called “al Shabaab” poses a danger to the United States on a par with that posed by AQAP. The group controls much of southern and central Somalia, has close ties with al Qaeda, and has hundreds of foreign fighters, including dozens from the United States and Europe. Most alarmingly, the group has threatened to strike the United States.

CTP has produced a comprehensive report on al Shabaab and the threat it poses to the United States. The report, which includes maps showing the group’s strongholds, is divided into the following sections:

    1) Origins of al Shabaab

    2) Gaining Control, Governing, and Maintaining Control

    3) Al Shabaab’s Relationship with al Qaeda, The Global Jihad Movement, and Its Global Ideology

    4) International Recruiting and Its Impact

    5) Al Shabaab’s International Threats

    6) Threat Assessment and Conclusion

The release of this report and new Somalia maps coincides with the unveiling of the CTP Somalia page.