The Impact of Failed States on the Growth and Spread of International Terrorism: a Case Study of Somalia
State failure and its effects on international security has been a major issue in global security discourse in the 21st century. From terms such as ‘fragile states’, ‘failed states’ and ‘failing states’ among others used to denote states that have challenges in functioning as modern sovereign states, state failure has emerged as an issue of concern owing to its threat to international security particularly in the post-9/11 period. In the aftermath of Al Qaeda’s terrorist attacks within the US, the link between failed states and international terrorism has been highlighted. A failed state refers to a political entity which lacks the capacity to meet the fundamental requirements of a nation-state. The most crucial of these requirements is the capacity of a state to guarantee its own security, both internally and externally. This is essentially why a state enjoys the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within its defined territory. Thus, failed states fall short in this aspect as most of them are characterized by a cycle of violent conflict and fail to deliver the political goods expected of them such as security, physical infrastructure, healthcare and education. This creates opportunities for non-state actors such as transnational terrorist groups, organized criminal organizations, guerilla movements and rebel groups to establish themselves within such ungoverned spaces and exploit the conditions therein to spread their networks at national, regional or international levels. This study thus seeks to establish the impact failed states have had in regard to the growth and spread of international terrorism. An analysis of the emergence and growth of some of the major terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS reveals an inter-linkage between state failure and their growth/spread internationally. The main objective of the study is to provide a critical analysis of the impact of failed states on the growth/spread of terrorism and will use Somalia as a case study. It will seek to establish the link between failed states and the manifestation of international terrorism and analyse how Somalia’s prolonged instability has impacted on the growth and spread of terrorism. The study will also explore some of the challenges in dealing with terrorism in failed states. From the analysis, some of the findings of the study are that there is an inter-linkage between failed states and the growth/spread of international terrorism in that failed states due to weak state capacity are incapable of securing their territories hence serve as attractive sanctuaries for terrorist groups to establish themselves and operate unhindered.
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