Moderator: That’s brought me, if you take a step back to this period in the 1990s up to 2001 that you suggest that there was lot of a degree of optimism during that time and that entrepreneurial activity was going on, the economy picked up and some sort of, at least at local and community level, there were some form of government going on and that there was no real sort of presence of extremists; yet at the same time we know that we had these terrible bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania back in 1998 and there’s always been suggestions that the people involved, or they not Somali necessarily may have operated either from Somalia or going back there. Similarly in 2001 when you had a missile attack on an Israeli aircraft in Mombasa and an attack in hotel in Mombasa as well, similarly people have made those links to terrorist or terrorist suspects, Al-Qaeda links suspects again operating from Somalia. So, does this not suggest that you may be right, there was no domestic and powerful extremist leader’s movement but the danger of disengaging from Somalia became apparent because these people were allowed to use Somalia as a base instead of a lawless place that they were able to freely operate from that?

Bronwyn: Yeah. That’s really good… it’s a good point to raise. I think it is important to distinguish between sort of Somalia as a haven where terrorists run after they’ve done something horrible, and Somalia’s value as an operational platform. Somalia has not been useful as an operational platform. I don’t think it has ever been used as a launching pad for attacks because it’s really impossible for people to keep things secret in Somalia before they happen and it’s a lawless territory, and it makes it very hard for organized groups to operate there. The perpetrators of the 1998 embassy bombing certainly did flee into Somalia after the attacks and they were able to hide there and ultimately to escape many of them, so of course, that did raise concerns. But a lot of the concern about Somalia I think has been sort of a theoretical concern about ungoverned spaces in general, we’re a little of the worry about Somalia has been based on an actually examination of the country itself. I mean, there’s just a sort of mentality that nation building is the best response to terrorism and ungoverned spaces will allow criminal activities to take route, they’ll allow terrorist ideologist to take route. But if you look at the Somalia context, the actual truth of the matter is what’s actually most allowed terrorist ideologist to flourish in Somalia is the intrusiveness of international attempts to impose order on the country, to impose a political solution on the politics of Somalia and to really to pick a winner in the conflict. I mean it’s basically, the thesis of my work that in order to stop Somalia’s downward spiral, the very first thing that the United States should do is to step back from the conflict and to say basically, ‘we’re not going to interfere in your politics, we’re not going to try to pick a winner in the country and if you come up with an Islamist government, we’re going to co-exist with it because we don’t want to be the ones who are imposing a solution.’ And that if we do that, it’s very, very likely that the situation will normalize and that it will get back to that positive trajectory that we saw before 9/11 in the country.

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