MH60S

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Global war on terror: Somalia, Iran, etc.


I've been laying off on Somalia lately because there are so many wheels in spin and piracy is down, but you ought to read Counterterrorism Blog: Somalia and Lebanon to get a feel for some of the potential badness that can come out of the chaos that was, and is, Somalia.

Especially worth noting is this comment:
However, Tehran et al are providing support for the Islamic Courts Union and that is worrisome. Besides the possibility of access to uranium deposits in Somalia, influence in Somalia gives Iran a foothold on the strategic Horn of Africa. This, combined with Iran's dominant position on the Staits of Hormuz, gives Iran leverage over two crucial shipping channels. Somalia is already a haven for piracy, and with professional help, this piracy could become a major international problem.
It ain't just piracy, but the potential for mischief stirred up by organized military forces on another important Sea Line of Communication that will make you worry. See here for some thoughts on risks in chokepoints posed by asymmetric forces. And Bill Roggio's piece "Of Pirates and Terrorism"> about ocean threats. More here, here (sea lane basics), here (pirate recruitment in one chokepoint). DOE EIA's World Oil Transit "Chokepoints".

Though Somalia does not sit on the a major chokepoint, its position on the Gulf of Aden (though the position is now taken up by the breakaway areas of Puntland and Somaliland) could pose a future threat.

Bill Roggio has been keeping an eye on Somalia here with a link to this, here (Iran & al Qaeda in Somalia), Puntland and Islamic Court Somalia fighting here (by the way, Bill is headed off to embed in Iraq again and could use your support ($) see here).

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