Even as al-Qa’ida’s capacity to fund and carry out terrorist activity has been successfully diminished by international counterterrorism efforts, it continues to operate through its affiliates.
Even as al-Qa’ida’s capacity to fund and carry out terrorist activity has been successfully diminished by international counterterrorism efforts, it continues to operate through its affiliates. This strategy is particularly evident in the Gulf of Aden.
The Somalia-based Al-Shabaab terrorist group and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which operates primarily in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, have both demonstrated the ability to plan and launch terrorist attacks outside their safe havens. They represent a significant threat to regional stability, as well as to foreigners working in the area, such as aid workers and medical personnel.
To build U.S. partner nation capacity to counter this terrorist threat, the United States and Yemen last year co-sponsored the First Gulf of Aden Regional Counterterrorism Forum. One of the main goals was to link law enforcement, justice, and security officials in Yemen with their counterparts in Somalia and Djibouti.
Speaking at the second Forum, which took place in Djibouti in early February, U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti Geeta Pasi said the Gulf of Aden region is a critical front in the fight against terrorism.
The United States is working with governments in the region to boost counter terrorism capacity. In Somalia, we support peacekeeping operations, and offer mentoring, training, equipment, and logistical support for the Somali National Forces.
In Yemen, which is completing a political transition process and has taken important steps toward restructuring its armed forces, the United States provides capacity-building assistance to Yemen’s security forces to help them conduct counterterrorism operations, secure maritime and land borders, and defend territorial waters.
Through the U.S. interagency Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism program, the United States has provided training for the Djiboutian police, coast guard, and military, including peacekeepers currently serving in Somalia.
“Continuing our counterterrorism efforts demands creativity, flexibility, and—above all – partnership. Building, strengthening, and leveraging partnerships is vital to our counterterrorism efforts,” said Ambassador Pasi.
“The U.S. government is committed to the fight against both al Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula and al-Shabaab.”