President Obama has taken on this trouble spot directly, as he has Afghanistan. He's beefing up US military aid and training for Somalia's besieged government, which can barely hold onto the capital, Mogadishu. And on Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held a high-profile meeting with the country's elected president, Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed.
Mrs. Clinton boldly declared that Al Shabaab, the Islamic militants that are close to toppling Mr. Sharif, sees "Somalia as a future haven for global terrorism." A victory for them – much like the 1996 takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban – might also destabilize nearby countries, such as Kenya. She noted the group's attempt to recruit followers abroad and its alleged plot for an attack in Australia.
Such Bush-like talk and Mr. Obama's expansion of military aid sets down a marker for the US president to rid Somalia of the threat from Al Shabaab and its fellow foreign fighters.
The US, however, is unlikely to send its own troops to a country in which the American military infamously retreated after the 1993 "Black Hawk Down" incident in which two US helicopters were downed, resulting in the killing of 18 US soldiers. Instead, the new US aid is being coursed through other African nations. And an African force of nearly 5,000 is being beefed up in Mogadishu.
President Bush's major response to the threat of Al Shabaab was to kill its leader with an aerial bomb. But that only hardened the insurgency. ..more..http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0806/p08s01-comv.html