J Peter Pham, Director of the Africa Center for the Atlantic Council, said that Al-Shabaab is “morphing” “into a transnational regional terrorist organization” on Monday’s “CNN Newsroom.”
“In recent years, the United States, the European Union, the international community have assisted building up a military capacity to defeat Shabaab on the battlefield as an insurgent group. We haven’t paid as much attention to building up police capacity, intelligence capabilities to beat Shabaab as a terrorist organization. And this attack is a wake-up call. we may have won the battle the against insurgents, but the same group is morphing more and more into a transnational regional terrorist organization. And we need to up the game. it’s shifted tactics but it’s not completely done yet” he stated.
Pham added that the recent attack by the group on Garissa University “attempt to reassert their relevance…this is not an isolated incident, Shabaab has been rapidly, as it’s degraded militarily, been turning to terrorism…we might expect more of this.”
He concluded, “the United States and our other allies have to help Kenya and other states on the front lines facing Shabaab. We’ve helped them very effectively on the counter-insurgency part, military support. Now, we need to help on the terrorist policing and intelligence part. Secondly, unlike other groups, Al-Shabaab has demonstrated in the past an ability to reach into the American homeland. We’ve had recruits come from the United States to join Shabaab. We’ve had people arrested and prosecuted by the Department of Justice for supporting Shabaab materially. So, although these sympathizers represent a very, very small minority within the Somali diaspora in the United States, the fact is they do exist. And unlike other terrorist groups, who might have self-radicalized lone wolves, there is a network of support for Shabaab, however small, that we need to be watchful for in our own homeland.”
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