"For the first time in a very long time, people here have hope," says Liban Mahdi, one of scores of diaspora Somalis who have returned to Mogadishu since al-Shabaab were routed from the city by African Union and Somali forces in August 2011. Parts of the battle-scarred capital are experiencing a construction boom, with hospitals, homes, schools, shops and hotels rising from once rubbled neighbourhoods. Streets hum with cars and hawkers. "We have traffic jams in Mogadishu now," says Ismail, who works in construction. "I never imagined I would see that here."
Authors: Abdalle Ahmed, Spencer Ackerman, and David Smith
"What had been invisible to Sheikh and other residents of Barawe was the stealthy advance of navy Seal team six – the same unit that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan – in a speedboat towards the Somalian coastline before first light. The team consisted of about 20 Seals, according to leaked accounts, and their craft was flanked on the Indian Ocean by three small boats to provide back-up."
Al-Shabab is a militant group fighting for the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic state in Somalia. An African Union military campaign in recent years has weakened the group, yet it remains a threat in a politically volatile, war-torn state. Al-Shabab's activities have mainly focused on targets within Somalia, but it has also carried-out deadly strikes in the region. This interactive timeline looks at the recent history of Al-Shabab from 2004 to present.
The UN Security Council's Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea submitted this report on July 12, 2013, pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea and in accordance with paragraph 13 (m) of Security Council resolution 2060 (2012). These resolutions address how the UN Security Council will monitor peace and security efforts in the region and report on violations such as trading arms and charcoal or funding terrorist organizations.
The Obama administration relies on drones for one simple reason: they work. Drone strikes have devastated al Qaeda at little financial cost, at no risk to U.S. forces, and with fewer civilian casualties than many alternative methods would have caused.
Asked by Charlotte Stafford, from Columbia University
The United States restored official relations with Somalia in January 2013 after years of civil unrest there, reflecting an increasingly stable Somali political environment. Better relations with Somalia, however, have little to do with the decrease in piracy, and the drop in offshore piracy cannot be attributed to Somali government efforts.
A surge in pirate attacks off the Somali coast in recent years has prompted the deployment of an international coalition of navies. But experts say that military force alone cannot address the underlying issue of failed Somali governance.
Somalia's growing famine partly stems from a global failure to act on warning signs, but it's exacerbated by militant group al-Shabaab, factions of which are blocking aid delivery and might have to be negotiated with, says Africa analyst Rashid Abdi.
The Nation's Jeremy Scahill offers a look into CIA counterterrorism operations in Somalia, particularly the CIA presence in Mogadishu. Washington is intensifying its focus on Somalia, including targeted strikes by U.S. Special Operations forces, drone attacks, and expanded surveillance operations.
As part of Under Suspicion, a Washington Post series on the lives of American Muslims in the decade following 9/11, Eli Saslow examines the case of Abdirizak Bihi, a Somali-American Muslim activist at the helm of a community-based counterterror group in Minnesota.
Somali pirates have been resilient against efforts to stop them, but a new approach that includes legal measures, controlling financial flows, building regional capacity and more could be the combination that defeats piracy, writes CFR's Michael Lyon Baker.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »