ecoi.net’s featured topics offer an overview on selected issues. The featured topic for Somalia covers events related to the armed islamist group al-Shabaab since October 2011. The featured topics are presented in the form of excerpts from documents, all coming from sources available on ecoi.net.
Last update: 30 January 2012
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By SLOBODAN LEKIC | Associated Press – Thu, Mar 22, 2012
BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union defense ministers endorsed on Thursday projects to develop joint air-to-air refueling capacities and field hospitals as part of a wider effort to share military resources in response to falling defense budgets.
The ministers also discussed the implications of a U.S decision to refocus its strategy on regions other than Europe.
Claude-France Arnould, who heads the EU’s European Defense Agency, said that in addition to approving the joint field hospitals and the air-to-air refueling initiative — which aims at increasing strategic tanker capacity and achieving greater cost-effectiveness by 2020 — ministers considered other ways to promote savings.
The areas discussed included joint pilot training, naval logistics, maritime patrols, maintenance, and shared infrastructure, she said.
“A major impulse has been given,” Arnould said, adding that the ministers had agreed on the need to develop a defense capability collectively.
The EU’s 27 governments still spend about €200 billion ($265 billion) on defense annually — only the United States spends more.Published May 15, 2012 Associated Press
BRUSSELS – The European Union says its naval force off the Somali coastline has carried out its first air strikes against pirate targets on shore.
A spokesman said maritime aircraft and attack helicopters took part in the attacks early Tuesday along the coastline. No casualties were reported in the raid, which occurred along Somalia’s central coastline in the region of Galmudug.
Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, says the action was part of a comprehensive approach to combating piracy.
The EU is the main donor to the Somali transitional government. It is also trains Somali army troops, and is reinforcing the navies of five neighboring countries to enable them to counter piracy themselves.Read more: thank you GregoryEU airstrike on Somali pirates echoes US drone strategy
An airstrike on Somali pirate logistics by EU helicopters puts EU members on footing similar to that of the US, which has used drones and special forces to target Islamist militant group Al Shabab.
Military commanders with the EU Naval Force, headquartered in Britain, took pains today to stress that the mission was conducted entirely from the air. “At no point did EU Naval Force ‘boots’ go ashore,” the force’s press office said in a statement.
France is the only European country known to have ever sent soldiers into Somalia, despite the fact that far more Europeans have been kidnapped than Americans.
Somali pirate: EU airstrike destroyed equipment
Bile Hussein, a pirate commander, said the attack along Somalia’s central coastline destroyed speed boats, fuel depots and an arms store.
“They destroyed our equipment to ashes. It was a key supplies center for us,” Hussein said. “The fuel contributed to the flames and destruction. Nothing was spared.”
He said nine speed boats were destroyed, and that three of them were on standby for hijackings.
Attack helicopters took part in the attacks early in the morning on the mainland, an EU spokesman said.
The EU is the main donor to the Somali transitional government. It also trains Somali army troops, and is reinforcing the navies of five neighboring countries to enable them to counter piracy themselves. The long coastline of war-ravaged Somalia provides a perfect haven for pirate gangs preying on shipping off the East African coast.
At a training camp in Uganda, a dozen soldiers crouch, weapons raised as they make their way down a dirt road between shipping containers set up to look like buildings in the Somali capital.
Standing by, observing the Ugandan troops at work, is a U.S. marine, Major Mark Haley.
“Here is where we are going to teach urban warfare, how to fight building to building,” Haley said as the Ugandans moved between containers scrawled with graffiti reading “City of Death” and “Hell Zone”.
The model of the Somali capital, or “Little Mogadishu” as it is known, was built by American military trainers to prepare the Ugandan soldiers to take part in the African Union mission propping up the Western-backed government in Mogadishu.
After al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebels pulled out of the capital last year, the United States has stepped up efforts to train Ugandan soldiers who will be part of the push by AMISOM to take more territory outside the capital.
The United States and other Western powers have been backing efforts to crush al Shabaab as they worry Somalia has become a safe haven for Islamist militants seeking to wreak havoc in the region and further afield.Al Qaeda manual offers tips to potential Western recruits
SANAA, Yemen – Al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate has released an English-language training guide for would-be Western recruits, telling them to imagine virgins waiting for them in paradise when they feel afraid.
Published on the internet and written by US-raised Al Qaeda propagandist Samir Khan, the manual for aspiring jihadists outlines what conditions and hardships they can expect when they travel to terror training camps in Yemen and elsewhere, ABC News reported Monday.
It suggests potential recruits get a taste for what life is like at the camps by going for a week without any electronic equipment, talking above a low voice or leaving their apartment.
After describing how tough and basic the situation at the training camps is, the guide even recommends sign-ups consider staying home and “attacking America in its own backyard.”
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