Africa is a rich continent with an abundance of resources, diverse cultures, exotic people and exciting traditions, yet it seems as though it is perpetually facing armed conflict (Lukunka, 2012). Of the conflicts Africa is facing currently, Somalia is the center for some of the largest conflicts. The history of Somalia has been hit with conflict after conflict, not only between rival clans but also with other countries, most recently between not only regional powers but also the US and Al-Qaida. The current conflict in Somalia differs from the rest due to the number and type of players involved; the large numbers of foreign players involved in local affairs and the role radical Islam is playing in the conflict. With most of the population of Somalia being Sunni Muslim has that played a factor in the current war on terror currently being fought by local, regional and global parties, and will it remain that way due to their religious beliefs and strategic location and how will this affect U.S. interest in that region?
In the past decade U.S. security policy has been driven largely by counterterrorism efforts, which past and present administrations have identified as a top national security priority. The 2002 National Security Strategy concerning Africa reflected a need for a more focused strategic approach toward the continent: “In Africa, promise and opportunity sit side by side with disease, war, and desperate poverty. This threatens both a core value of the United States—preserving human dignity—and our strategic priority—combating global terror.” (Ploch 2011)
The 2006 National Security Strategy expanded on the initial strategy and identified Africa as “a high priority” and “recognizing that our security depends upon partnering with Africans to strengthen fragile and failing states and bring ungoverned areas under the control of effective democracies.” (Ploch 2011) Recently, the United States policy makers have noticed a growing strategic importance in Africa to U.S. interest. Among those are oil and global trade, maritime security, armed conflicts and violent extremist that are tied to radical Islamic views like al-Qaeda. With protecting the homeland being one of the U.S. top priorities Al-Qaeda and their sympathizers are their number one concern.
U.S. interest in Somalia has shifted back and forth over the decades with changing security and strategic interest. Currently U.S. interest in Somalia range from piracy, trade, humanitarian issues, broader regional stability and terrorism, with the principle interest to the U.S since 9/11 being terrorism. With extremist such as youth militants and Al- Shabaab clearly stating their jihadist intentions and abundant opportunity to cause disorder both in Somalia and abroad, the international community is left wondering if these insurgent groups have the long term means to implement their religious visions or whether the government, with or...