Last updated: September 29. 2013 11:04PM - 841 Views

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The slaughter of innocents perpetrated by Islamic militants at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Kenya, a country that is a longstanding and important Western ally, should leave the international community in no doubt about the dire consequences when failed states are allowed to become breeding grounds for terrorism.

Somalia, the wreck of a country on the Horn of Africa from which the evil, al-Qaida-affiliated al-Shabab thugs responsible for the massacre emanate, has lacked stability since the regime of General Siad Barre, a Soviet toady, lost power in 1991.

In the ensuing anarchy - with the international community unable and unwilling to do much - the worst forms of malevolent Islamic extremism have spawned and thrived, leading to the attack by the al-Shabab terrorists that claimed the lives of scores of people. Another 200 people were wounded. …

Kenya, which has 4,000 soldiers in Somalia as part of an African Union military force battling to restore security to Somalia, is the al-Shabab terrorists’ immediate target, but Nairobi needs help and the international community should be unhesitating in coming to its aid because the threat posed by the Somali terrorists could spread beyond Africa. Al-Shabab is operating closely with al-Qaida and in conjunction with the equally vile Boko Haram terrorists in oil-rich Nigeria and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

Given the large Somali diaspora around the world, attacks could also be staged elsewhere. …

Recently, Senior US officials claimed the group was on the run after staging a tactical retreat from Mogadishu, the Somali capital, and losing control of the port of Kismayo from which they launched their piracy. The horror perpetrated in Nairobi shows the optimism was misplaced.

Such atrocities cannot be tolerated and the international community cannot turn a blind eye. It is to the credit of the African Union that it is leading the way in seeking to deal with al-Shabab, but far more than Africa’s interests are at stake in the battle. As the death toll in the Nairobi massacre again shows, Islamic terrorism threatens us all, and the international community must do all it can to confront it. Somalia’s chaos and the terrorism it has spawned as a failed state was allowed to fester for far too long..

The Australian

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