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Despite already facing a slew of difficulties, including rising unrest over stalled federal elections and an increased risk of extremist violence after a recent U.S. troop withdrawal, Somalia appeared to provoke a new crisis this week. The government is threatening to quit a grouping of East African nations after the bloc’s other members sided with Kenya in a spat between the two countries.
Nairobi says Mogadishu is escalating the diplomatic row to distract from its troubles at home. Regardless of the intent, experts warn the move could further isolate Somalia at a fraught moment and hinder regional efforts to contain al-Shabab, the Somalia-based al-Qaida affiliate.