Al-Shabab Claims Deadly Attack on Military Base in Somalia

  • Somali-based, al-Qaeda affiliate group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for an attack at the General Gordon Military Base in Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday, which killed at least five people. Associated Press (LR: 3 CP: 5)
  • The deceased were identified as four members of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces — two staff warrant officers, a corporal, and a brigadier — as well as an officer from the Bahrain Defense Force. The National
  • Reuters have reported, citing an army officer, that a newly trained Somali soldier opened fire on officers at the UAE-controlled base as they gathered to pray. The gunman was shot dead at the scene. Reuters (LR: 3 CP: 5)
  • This comes as the Emirates has increased humanitarian and military support for Somalia to help Pres. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud fight against al-Shabab, which controls parts of the country and has sought to overthrow the federal government since 2006. Bloomberg (LR: 3 CP: 5)
  • The group aims to establish a new government based on its interpretation of Islamic law. Within its statement claiming responsibility for the attack, al-Shabab described the UAE as an "enemy." Al Jazeera (LR: 2 CP: 1)
  • The US designated al-Shabab as a terrorist organization in 2008, with the UN Security Council following suit two years later. CNN (LR: 2 CP: 5)

Pro-establishment narrative:

  • This latest incident — a desperate and cowardly attack on UAE forces — shines a light on how important the UAE is in conflict against jihadist terrorism. It is important that such incidents do not deter Abu Dhabi from joining other actors, notably the US, to coordinate operations to tackle the threat of al-Shabab once and for all.

Establishment-critical narrative:

  • Bush, Obama, Trump, Biden, and all of the Somali security partners in the so-called Quintet have failed to understand that counterterrorism measures alone won't help defeat al-Shabab. This attack should serve as a warning that merely containing the group is a strategy doomed to fail. Rather than deepening conflict, Somalia needs financial and moral support for stabilization and peacebuilding.

Nerd narrative:

  • There's a 50% chance that at least 24K deaths will be caused globally by terrorism in 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.
    METACULUS (LR: 3 CP: 3)
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