Problemet med Somalia står foran en opptrapping: ved utangen av desember vil etiopiske soldater trekke seg ut, og ingenting vil kunne beskytte regjeringen i Mogadishu. Al Shabaab står klar. De kontrollerer allerede 80 prosent av Somalia.

Det har skjedd en radikalisering av Al Shabaab, og man frykter at Somalia kan bli et sted hvor internasjonal terror planlegges. Somaliske miljøer i Europa, bla. Norge, samler inn penger til Al Shabaab.

Al Shebab, the fanatical armed wing which broke from the Islamic Courts Union which ran Somalia for the second half of 2006, now holds more than 80 per cent of the country – more territory than the Courts controlled during their reign.

Rashid Abdi, Somalia analyst for the Brussels-based International Crisis Group said: «They may be forced to moderate their radical line once they take over just to stay in power.

«But there are those who predict al Shebab turning into some kind of Frankenstein’s monster taken over by, or at least sympathetic to, foreign elements who have ambitions outside Somalia, to spread radical Islam or mount terror attacks, in northeastern Kenya or eastern Ethiopia.»

The group, listed as a terrorist organisation by Washington, has been accused of sheltering the al-Qaeda cell which bombed the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998 and blew up an Israeli-owned hotel on the Kenyan coast in 2002.

Last month, the US embassy in Nairobi warned that it continues to receive indications of potential terrorist threats aimed at American, Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya including threats of «suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels».

Ingen ønsker å bli trukket inn i Somalias interne problemer. Men krigsskip patruljerer kysten på jakt etter pirater, og hvem vet hva resultatet blir på land. Det eksisterer allerede en prekær humanitær situasjon.

Motstanden mot etioperne har kostet flere tusen sivile livet. Totredeler av Mogadishus befolkning har flyktet. 1,1 million lever i elendige leire, og 3,3 million – halvparten av befolkningen – er avhengig av nødhjelp, som er farlig å levere.

Hva skal verden gjøre? Hvordan skal man reagere på Somalias problemer?

There are fears that al Shebab, whose stronghold is the Somali port of Kismayo just north of the border with Kenya, could launch an attack on coastal resorts popular with Western tourists over the Christmas holidays.

The United Nations office in Nairobi has warned staff of a «heightened level of alert along the coast».

Al Shebab’s chief military commander, Muktar Robow, said earlier this year that he was ready «to take orders from Sheikh Osama bin Laden».

His forces were swelled by foreign fighters who answered a call to jihad when the Ethiopians invaded, in December 2006, to crush the Islamic Courts Union.
There is some hope that once the Islamists seize control – and few doubt that they will – they will curb their insurgency, which largely targets the Ethiopians, and that Somalia might enjoy a level of stability as was seen under the Islamic Courts Union.

But there are concerns whether al Shebab, whose name means «the youth» and whose forces are largely illiterate and disaffected young men, can peacefully consolidate their power once they are in charge.

En sikkerhetsanalytiker mener at USA nå angrer bitterlig på at de oppfordret Etiopia til å rykke inn og styrte Unionen av islamistiske domstoler.

«I think it is finally starting to sink-in in Washington, two years too late, that sending in the Ethiopians as a proxy force to deal with the Islamists was just madness,» said Andrew McGregor, terrorism editor at the Jamestown Foundation, a right-wing think tank in Washington.

Radical Islamists linked to al-Qaeda set to take control of Somalia

Hardline Islamists are poised to take control of large areas of southern Somalia, opening a possible new front in the war on terrorism.