Ankara(Mogadishu24)-Somalia’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Mohamed Omar, emphasized the indispensable role of diplomacy in addressing the roots of terrorism, particularly spotlighting the crisis of al-Shabaab. Reflecting on Somalia’s harrowing experiences, Omar underscores the necessity of a diplomatic forefront to preempt the seeds of extremism.

The origin of al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group, is traced back to the aftermath of the Ethiopian intervention in 2006. This military action, executed without a cohesive regional consensus or a deep understanding of the local dynamics, ignited widespread frustration and despair.

These conditions proved fertile for al-Shabaab to cultivate and exploit nationalist sentiments, contributing significantly to its rise. The intervention’s toll was devastating, resulting in the loss of over 20,000 lives and the displacement of countless others, highlighting the unintended consequences of diplomatic and military missteps.

Drawing lessons from its tumultuous history, Somalia, under President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s leadership, has initiated a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy. This approach prioritizes diplomatic engagement and international cooperation over mere military intervention.

Somalia’s strategy is built on four pillars: enhancing international and regional relationships, discrediting extremist ideologies, and strengthening community resilience against terrorist influences.

Efforts to forge strategic partnerships have seen Somalia gaining crucial support from global and regional powers, including Türkiye, Qatar, the US, the UK, China, Russia, the UAE, and the EU. These alliances have not only bolstered Somalia’s political standing but also provided essential economic support in its fight against al-Shabaab.

A notable aspect of Somalia’s strategy involves delegitimizing the extremist narrative through engagement with Islamic scholars and religious communities, alongside empowering local communities to stand against al-Shabaab’s influence. This comprehensive approach has borne fruit, with over 100 villages and towns being liberated from al-Shabaab’s grip in the past year and a half.

Somalia’s journey underscores the critical importance of addressing the root causes of terrorism through sustained diplomatic efforts and international solidarity. The global fight against terrorism, as exemplified by the struggle against al-Shabaab, demands a balanced approach that combines military action with diplomatic and community-based interventions. Somalia’s experience offers a poignant reminder and a beacon of hope for the international community in the ongoing battle against terrorism.

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