As I write, news is appearing that Captain Phillips of the Maersk Alabama
has been freed from his Somali pirate captors. This may mark the end of the extraordinary American passivity towards this major public menace. Maybe even President Obama will be tempted by the celebration to speak on the issue. (My theory on his silence
: given the choice between black pirates and white American sailors, he sides with the former.)
An aspect of Somalia which does
interest the Administration, however, is the activities al-Shabab militia which holds much of southern Somalia.Obama Team Mulls Aims Of Somali Extremists By Greg Jaffe and Karen De Young The Washington Post
Saturday April 11 2009
is essentially a log-rolling effort by elements in the Defense Department who want military action against this group. They are trying to justify this by claiming al-Shabab is contemplating terrorist acts within the US, for which, others argue in the piece, there is really no evidence at all.
There is however, evidence of significant recruitment by the group of Somali â€?Americansâ€?
The FBI and intelligence officials have said that at least 20 young Somali American men have left this country for Somalia in recent years to train and fight with al-Shabab against the Somali government and occupying Ethiopian military forces. In February, a naturalized American — 27-year-old Shirwa Ahmed of Minneapolis — killed himself and many others in a suicide bombing in Somalia.
are also said to be present. As Allan Wall recently noted
, living in the West apparently does not erase willingness to endure hardship and danger for the Good Old Cause. This makes Somalis a very unwise import
Separately, a fascinating example of US media self-censorship has arisen today with the report from Britain that Obamaâ€™s half brother, traveling from Kenya to Obama`s inauguration, was not allowed to stop off in the U.K. because the authorities there suspect him of involvement in an attack on a woman on a previous visit. (He was
admitted into this country.) Obama half-brother â€?linked to UK sex attackâ€™ Dominic Tobin Times Online
April 12 2009
As I write, this story is 20 hours old and has been picked up by 181 newspapers all over the world. But Google News
shows only one US paperâ€¦