Multilateral negotiation as a counter-terrorism strategy; a case study of AI-Shabaab
The specific objectives of this study were to examine the effectiveness of counterterrorism strategies in Somalia and to investigate whether multilateral negotiation as a counter-terrorism strategy would work with AI-Shabaab in Somalia. The findings show that the existing counter-terrorism strategies have not been effective against terrorism in Somalia due to the fact that these measures address symptoms rather than root causes of terrorism in Somalia. Strong international engagement to bring peace internally and to reconstruct the failed state in Somalia is required if longer-term counter-terrorism objectives are to be achieved. The failed externally driven counter-terrorism strategies of the last few years have not only produced the opposite of the desired results but have also sown the seeds of homegrown terrorism. The findings from this study show that negotiation with AI-Shabaab produces mixed results with the overall leadership and foreign foreigners opposed to negotiations. The regional leaders and members are amenable to multilateral negotiation. AIShabaab has the hallmarks of a rational political actor constrained by clan politics and negative public opinion. Ordinary Somalia youth that join AI-Shabaab do not necessarily share the terrorist ideology of th group. They join the group for immediate and specific reasons such as a charismatic clan leader, economic reasons or as an opportunity to further political aspirations.