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Somalia strategy has failed to assure Kenya security, so it’s time to rethink it

President Kenyatta has a crisis on his hands, one which he has inflicted on himself through his poor handling of the country’s security and which could lead to his fall if he does not get smart, rather than angry. There are two ways of looking at the security failures around the attack by Al-Shabaab last week in which 28 people, mainly teachers, were executed. The first one is the accountability view, where ...

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Frailty and Gladiatorial Combat in Somalia

It is that cyclical season of winner takes all. It is that all too familiar gladiatorial executive combat all over again. Yes, the Villa Somalia has once again turned into a roaring amphitheater. The president and his prime minister are at each other’s throat, and as engraved on the walls of the theatre, the worst is yet to come. Of course, there is nothing new in this latest drama. A year ago, after curren ...

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Somali media: Deaf and blind?

As world's attention focuses on offensive against al-Shabab, Somali government begins to shackle the local media   “I know they will catch me. I know they will torture me. But silence is not an option.” Those were Mohamed Bashir’s words – the senior most editor at Radio Shabelle, an independent radio station based in the capital Mogadishu - as I met him early last month while he was on the run hiding f ...

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Imprisoning, killing and spying: Suppression of the innocent inside Ethiopia

Imprisoning, killing, spying Wrapped in dishonesty, arrogance and paranoia, Ethiopia’s ruling regime (as all such brutal brigades), are following a nationwide policy of violent suppression and constitutional vandalism. It was the 24th June – midsummer’s day – in the adopted homeland of Andargachew Tsige, when he was detained by ‘Yemeni officials’ (State heavies in suits) whilst transiting through Sana’a to ...

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Somali military courts are producing executions but nothing like justice

Recent executions in Somalia put the quality of justice delivered by military courts into question.   Somalia's military court sentenced three men to death on July 30 for alleged membership in the armed Islamist group Al-Shaabab and involvement in attacks in Mogadishu, the capital. Four days later, the Somali media posted to Twitter photographs of their limp, hooded bodies tied to poles.   Such ra ...

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My SMS relationship with Al-Shabaab

Al-Shabab, the militant Islamist group operating in Somalia and Kenya, likes to communicate with journalists by SMS. But receiving their text messages and talking to them on the phone can be an unnerving, and at times surreal, experience.   The other morning I woke up to a text message and missed call from al-Shabab. As always, the message was written in perfect English. It informed me about a film al- ...

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Globalisation has not reached Somalia, but ‘junglification’ has

Considering the violent political unrest in various parts of the world, many accept the claim that the 21stz century will go down in history as a period of global reorder, perpetual insecurity and bloodshed. If the grim headlines of the first decade could be taken as forecasts of the storms ahead, many nation states are likely to morph into something radically different than they currently are. While most a ...

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American-Somali relations: What’s in the words?

As a former detractor who has not been a fan of the Obama administration’s foreign policy toward Somalia, it is an overstatement to say that I watched Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman’s speech on June 3 with certain level of skepticism. Of course, nothing more than that healthy dose necessary in politics to clear the vision and fine-tune the mind. Nonetheless, I wasn’t expecting a ...

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Al-Shabab’s ‘halal’ football a different game

Barawe, Somalia - As thousands of football fans descend on Brazil for the World Cup and millions across the world get ready for a summer of football festivities, in Somalia’s rebel-ruled territories a slightly different kind of football is played. It is exactly 3.45pm local time in the picturesque port town of Barawe which acts as the al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabab’s headquarters, and dozens of young men a ...

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Jihadist Recruitment in West Difficult to Stop

Abdi Mohamud Nur seemed like a pretty average American kid. Part of Minneapolis’ sizable community of Somali-Americans, Nur was obedient and good-natured, his sister, Ifrah, said. He loved basketball. He graduated from a Minneapolis high school last year and enrolled at a local college. In March of this year, Ifrah said, things changed. Nur, 20, joined a local mosque in the Minnesotan city. He became “reser ...

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