Sunday, February 26, 2012

Charcoal is Fueling Al Shabaab

Via CNN's Security Clearance Blog (Feb 23, 2012) -

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in London to attend a conference that will focus on how the international community can help stabilize the chaotic situation in Somalia. One issue getting attention – the role of charcoal.

A British sponsored resolution, currently making its way through the United Nations Security Council, aims to expand the current amount of troops in the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Somalia, and to expand their mandate to work beyond the Somali capital of Somalia. It also calls for a ban on charcoal out of Somalia because such exports have been used by al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda linked terrorist group in Somalia, as a means to finance their operations.

“Much of the charcoal that flows out of south central Somalia is either taxed or owned by al-Shabaab’” a senior State Department official told reporters traveling aboard Clinton’s plane as it flew to London from the United States. “When charcoal flows out to Yemen, to Saudi Arabia, to places in the Gulf, al-Shabaab is able to tax this charcoal and to gain the resources from it.”

In addition to choking off a source for al-Shabaab coffers, the State Department says the charcoal ban would "help protect the very fragile ecological balance," in the southern part of Somalia.


Recently, al Shabaab (and it's affiliate in Kenya) officially merged with al Qaeda, forming al Qaeda East Africa (AQAE).

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