U.S. believes Somali jihadists regrouping in Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, Yemen

U.S. believes Somali jihadists regrouping in Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, Yemen

“US in warning on Somali militants,” by William Wallis for the Financial Times:

The US believes militant Islamists from the ousted coalition that held sway over parts of southern Somalia may be regrouping in Saudi Arabia, Eritrea and also Yemen, Jendayi Frazer, US assistant secretary of state for Africa, said yesterday.

Speaking to the Financial Times in Addis Ababa, Ms Frazer said it was too early to tell who among the Islamist leadership had survived Ethiopia’s invasion last month and subsequent US air strikes on alleged affiliates of al-Qaeda.

“It is going to take some time for the fog of war to clear up and we have an ability to see who is still operating and how they are operating,” she said.

But she was “very concerned” that extremist elements from among the defeated Islamists were “trying to reconstitute themselves either out of Saudi Arabia or Eritrea”, and that international jihadist networks would see this as an opportunity.

“We have to engage with the Saudi government and their services to try to prevent that from happening as well as engage regionally.”

Ms Frazer described Eritrea, with whom the US has deteriorating relations, asa “source of regional instability”.

This had been “very clearly exposed” during recent events in Somalia.

Ethiopia, the US’s principle ally in the Horn of Africa, alleges that Eritrea supported hardline elements within the ousted Islamists by supplying arms, fighters and military advice.

“Eventually Eritrea will see the limits of its actions to destabilise the Horn,” said Ms Frazer.

Ms Frazer said the key to ensuring Somalia did not provide a haven for international terrorist networks now lay with the Transitional Federal Government, which emerged from peace talks in Kenya in 2004.

“They have to do it by reaching out. They have to do it through inclusive dialogue,” she said.

“Engaging” the Saudis. “Reaching out,” apparently, to the Somali jihadists. Albert Einstein once defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

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