Monday, November 27, 2006

U.N. OKs report on Somali Hezbollah links

November 24, 2006
U.N. OKs report on Somali Hezbollah links
By Shaun Waterman
UPI Homeland and National Security Editor

A U.N. Security Council sanctions committee has formally adopted a report
linking Hezbollah with Islamic militias in Somalia.

The endorsement came despite doubts voiced by experts about such a link.

U.N. Spokesman Yves Sorokobi told United Press International that the
committee -- set up by the Security Council to monitor its arms embargo --
had adopted the report, prepared by an experts group it appointed, on

The report, a draft of which was leaked to the media last week, said that in
July, during fierce fighting with Israel, more than 700 fighters from one of
the Islamic militias that now control much of Somalia had traveled to
Lebanon to fight alongside Hezbollah and that hundreds remained behind for
special training from the group, a designated terrorist organization.

The fighters were said to be from a militia group dubbed al-Shabab, "the
youth" in Arabic. The group had attracted the attention of U.S.
counter-terrorist officials because its leader trained in al-Qaida camps in
Afghanistan and is believed to maintain links with Osama bin Laden.

But several experts on the region told UPI that they were doubtful about the
claims, said to be based on intelligence reporting from the embassies of
Security Council member states in Nairobi.

"I am very skeptical," said former senior U.S. diplomatic official in the
region David Shinn.