07 December 2009

An IO Blunder?

Last Thursday a suicide bomber attacked a Somali medical school graduation in Mogadishu. Among the 22 killed were 3 FTG ministers. Al Shabaab denied any involvement in the attack the next day, which initially confused me because at face value this seemed like a pretty big score on their part. It wasn’t until I came across this today on BBC that I realized this may have been a major setback to their propaganda efforts. It will be interesting to see if this continued anti-al Shabaab energy continues, and how al Shabaab reacts to the negative national and international attention it is receiving from this attack. A decreased group signature in response to the attacks would likely signify weakness on the part of al Shabaab. So while the group may curb operations in and around Mogadishu for a while, they will likely to become more violent in the southern portion of Somalia in an attempt to quell any dissent among the populace.



  1. A problem for insurgents is that they both have to convince the population that they can restore normality and make life safe while simultaneously also carrying out attacks to convince people that the official government isn't capable of protecting them. I never really understood how they managed to pull it off, it seems to me that it would make the people prefer a strongman government.

  2. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/08/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  3. Grant,
    That's the beauty of an insurgency, they just have to talk about normalcy and offer hope, they don't actually have to provide it. I don't think these attacks necessarily push people toward a strongman government, or the government in general. Instead I would contend that people clamor for SOME form of security, from someone. That is what makes the insurgent message through attacks like these so powerful, they merely have to show the people the government can't stop the group, and that the government is obviously incapable of protecting the populace if they can conduct spectacular attacks like these. As I've seen firsthand in Iraq, the average Iraqi just wants some form of normalcy in their daily lives. They want to feel safe, and if that safety net comes from an insurgent group, then they win and the counter-insurgent is SOL.

  4. Interesting update today from Europe: