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U.S. relaxes terror rules against Somali extremists! August 2, 2011

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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The Obama administration sought to assure aid groups Tuesday that they can deliver desperately needed food to famine-stricken parts of Somalia without fear of prosecution, even if some assistance is diverted to Al-Qaeda linked extremists blamed for helping deliver hundreds of thousands of people to the brink of starvation.

Administration officials said the U.S. has issued new guidelines on laws prohibiting material assistance to al-Shabab, which have been criticized by humanitarian organizations as a contributing factor the crisis. Charities must only pledge their best efforts to combat attempts by al-Shabab to hoard aid or collect taxes on supplies, they said.

Drought has left some 12 million people in Ehtiopia, Kenya and Somalia needing help, though official famine zones are only in Somali areas controlled by al-Shabab. That has challenged aid groups because of al-Shabab’s hostility to them and the perceived threat of American prosecution in cases of inadvertent support for a U.S.-designated terrorist body.

The shift could allow more U.S. aid to be directed toward the World Food Program’s operations in Somalia. The U.N. said Tuesday that unless it sees a massive increase in donations, the famine will spread inside Somalia. It called for another $1.4 billion in support.

The shipping industry collectively should realize that the deteriorating situation in Somalia will only exacerbate the piracy problem and that more ships will be hijacked over the next several years.

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