Should the Al- Shabaab Be Put on the EU Listing for Terrorist?

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Following the recent attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi by the Somali organisation al-Shabaab, it seems somewhat disingenuous to raise the question of whether or not such an entity should be considered a terrorist organisation. However, while al-Shabaab is considered a terrorist organisation by, among others, the US (1), Australia (2) and the UK (3), it is not currently included in the EU list of terrorist groups and entities (4). A recent motion to include al-Shabaab in this list has been made but is as yet unfulfilled (5). We must then seriously consider whether the actions of al-Shabaab to date constitute terrorist activity and whether this merits the addition of the organisation to the EU list of terrorist groups and…show more content…
Among the criteria for being considered terrorist in the EU guidelines are ‘attacks upon a person's life which may cause death’, ‘kidnapping or hostage taking’ and ‘causing extensive destruction to a Government or public facility, a transport system, an infrastructure facility’(9). It is obvious from the descriptions of the incidents in both Nairobi and Kampala that both intentionally caused many deaths, and the attack in Nairobi also included the elements of hostage taking and an attack on a public facility. However, the violent actions in themselves are not sufficient to be considered terrorist, but the EU guidelines also necessitate examining the motive behind the attacks. Among the potential motives listed in the guidelines is that the attacks ‘must be carried out with the aim of seriously intimidating a population, or unduly compelling a Government or an international organisation to perform or abstain from performing any act.’ Al-Shabaab has admitted that they carried out both these attacks in revenge for the intervention of Ugandan and Kenyan forces in Somalia, and to attempt to intimidate these and other countries in order to prevent further deployment of foreign troops in Somalia. There are also other characteristics of these two attacks that further mark them as terrorist activity. One can be seen in the victims of the attacks. It is illogical to think that al-Shabaab could have a gained any direct

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