Solutions to Violent Conflict

Archive for the ‘Somalia’ Category

Al-Shabaab: Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?

In Counterterrorism, Somalia on January 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Ryne Clos

The United States has adopted a static and stark picture of al-Shabaab that has magnified the truly dangerous aspects of the organization and alienated dimensions of the movement that could contribute to a solution to Somalia’s problems.

Al-Shabaab is an armed social organization and movement that has expertly framed the Somali conflagration in such a way as to maximize its mobilization efforts. It depicts itself as primarily a youth movement, having started its recruitment as a nascent court militia in 2004 among Mogadishu’s orphans and abandoned children. In fact, the name al-Shabaab means “youth.” The youth are a new voice, with a different message and set of experiences than the traditional government elites, and they are more willing to accept al-Shabaab’s anti-clan ideology. Read the rest of this entry »

From Isolation to Engagement: Strategies for Countering Violent Extremism

In Counterterrorism, Somalia on January 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Hundreds of people fleeing drought, famine and civil war in Somalia wait in line to register at Ifo refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. According to the U.N., 3.7 million Somalis are in crisis. (Photo: Internews Network/Flickr)

John Paul Lederach

The U.S. government’s list of “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” is a central part of a counter-terrorism strategy based on the isolation of individuals and groups who espouse violence defined as terrorism. This strategy makes it illegal to provide material support to those individuals and groups, which increasingly is interpreted to prohibit any contact or consultation with groups on the list. Read the rest of this entry »

Removing the Barriers to Engagement

In Counterterrorism, Somalia on January 25, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Laura Weis

In July 2010, in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment does not protect groups or individuals who provide “expert advice or assistance” or “training” to proscribed terrorist groups, even when they do so to further peacebuilding efforts.

This means that “any service that can be construed as having tangible or intangible monetary value—such as providing advice, reviewing a contract, covering transportation costs—can be considered a violation of U.S. material support statutes.”[1] The ruling makes it illegal to convene meetings or conferences for a proscribed group or to act as a negotiator on its behalf. Read the rest of this entry »