Country Report on Terrorism 2009

Somalia. A small number of al-Qa’ida (AQ) operatives remained in East Africa, particularly Somalia, where they posed a serious threat to U.S. and allied interests in the region. These elements were disrupted in late 2006 and early 2007 as a result of Ethiopian military actions and again by the death of AQ operative Saleh Nabhan in September 2009. Somalia remained a concern given the country’s long, unguarded coastline, porous borders, continued political instability, and proximity to the Arabian Peninsula, all of which provide opportunities for terrorist transit and/or safe haven and increased the regional threat level. AQ remains likely to make common cause with Somali extremists, most notably al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab has expanded its area of control during its protracted insurgency against the Transitional Federal Government and particularly since the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces in early 2009. The group controlled most of southern Somalia at year’s end.