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Somali soldiers at the scene of a suicide car bomb attack, which al-Shabab quickly claimed responsibility for, Mogadishu, Somalia, Jan, 2, 2017 (AP photo by Farah Abdi Warsameh).

As ISIS Struggles for Influence in Somalia, al-Shabab Remains the Main Threat

Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017

The so-called Islamic State received some modest good news recently from Somalia, in what has otherwise been a dismal stretch of losses for the jihadi group. In October, a small militant faction aligned with the Islamic State took and held Qandala, a port town in northern Somalia, for more than a month before withdrawing. It was the first time a group linked to the Islamic State has occupied a town in Somalia.

Talk of the Islamic State dominated much of the debate on counterterrorism issues during the U.S. presidential campaign. Yet as concerning as the Islamic State’s Qandala operation is, President-elect Donald Trump should not be distracted from what remains the primary threat in Somalia. Al-Shabab, the terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaida that has been ensconced in Somalia for years, is far more dangerous than the Islamic State is likely to ever be in the country. The incoming Trump administration should commit to fighting it with determination. ...

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