Sunday, May 03, 2009

Add more challenges to Obama's list...Somalia and Yemen

President Obama has come into office facing as many big challenges as any President in my lifetime, to be sure. And the list continues to grow, with the recent addition of a flu pandemic and a legacy-building opportunity to select a Supreme Court Justice. Obviously, beyond the economic meltdown he is trying to contend with, there are major foreign policy challenges in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea, and the ever-present Israeli-Palestinian conflict. All of these are important in the fight against terrorism as well as nuclear proliferation and stability in unstable portions of the world. But as luck would have it, two more nations are, in my opinion, about to make the list of major problems: Somalia and Yemen.

These nations have certainly been on the radar screen, with the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen and the Somali pirates. However, growing evidence and international concern are showing that these largely lawless nations are home to ever-increasing numbers of Al Qaeda fighters, with Yemen being the most recent making headlines. I am fairly convinced the blinders our previous administration had on Iraq is the primary reason this has been occuring, as a lack of attention and resources in other parts of the world has taken its toll. There were multiple years of time for al Qaeda and other militant groups to establish themselves and begin gaining more recruits in impovershed areas of the world. We must hope for large-scale success in Pres. Obama's attempts to re-establish our alliances with the rest of the world and win support in assisting us in breaking down new militant networks and financing, for we certainly cannot do this alone.

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