Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Somalia for Yemen is becoming like what Pakistan is for Afghanistan"

This according to Saeed Obaid, a "Yemeni terrorism expert who wrote a book on al-Qaeda's Yemen affiliate," quoted in Sudarsan Raghavan's piece in today's Washington Post.

Thousands of Somali boys and teenagers fleeing war and chaos at home are sailing to Yemen, where officials who have long welcomed Somali refugees now worry that the new arrivals could become the next generation of al-Qaeda fighters.

As the United States deepens its counterterrorism operations in Yemen, officials are concerned that extremists could find growing Somali refugee camps fertile ground for recruiting. U.S. and Yemeni authorities also fear that Islamist fighters from Somalia could slip into the country among the throngs of refugees, deepening ties between al-Qaeda leaders in Yemen and the particularly hard-line militants of Somalia.

Fleeing a failed state for a failing one, the Somali youths arrive daily in this refugee outpost, which is filled with rickety tents and tales of misery, in the vast desert of southern Yemen. They bring stories of brutality and forced conscription by al-Shabab, an Islamist force battling Somalia's U.S.-backed transitional government.

Considering the national media's Yemen-gasm over the last couple of weeks, I suppose it's about time we linked to something on the subject. Here's a start.

1 comment:

  1. I take it you saw this BBC story from last month - another interesting link between the two countries:

    Hundreds of Somali refugees are being forced at gunpoint to join rebel fighting in north Yemen, a Somali diplomat has told the BBC.