In Dire Straits

Al Shabaab
For years the 100 to 170 nautical mile route across the Gulf of Aden between Somalia and Yemen has been well traveled.Tens of thousands of Somalis, neurologist fleeing almost two decades of war, clinic have been smuggled across to Yemen on highly dangerous journeys in battered wooden dhows. An equal volume of weapons is stuffed onto the boats on the way back.

Without a functioning central government since 1991, pharm Somali authorities have limited ability to stop the exodus. The poorest country in the Arab world, Yemen meanwhile is facing two active civil wars and a growing Al Qaeda insurgency. Stopping the dispossessed of other lands from entering the country has not made the government’s priority list.

But the game began to change recently, with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula actively smuggling arms to Somalia’s Islamist Al Shabaab militants, and Al Shabaab announcing they would send fighters to help Al Qaeda take on the Yemeni government.

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