Flexing Some Muscle

By Ambassador Philip Carter III

Phillip Carter is the Executive Vice President at Jefferson Waterman International, an international consultancy firm in Washington D.C.  Prior to his current position, Ambassador Carter was a career foreign service officer with the State Department.  In addition to several senior positions at State's Bureau of African Affairs, Ambassador Carter served in Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Gabon, Madagascar, Malawi, Bangladesh, Mexico and Canada.  His last assignment in the Foreign Service was as the Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Engagement at the U.S. Africa Command.

Having carried out several attacks in the last couple of months, al Shabaab remains a “very high” threat to security in Somalia and surrounding countries, says Phil Carter, former U.S. Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea. According to Carter, the broader effort to combat al Shabaab really “comes down to the question of the development of the federal government of Somalia.” When analyzing the al Shabaab threat, “You have to look at the enabling environment in which they operate. It all comes down to governance,” he says.

The Cipher Brief: What is your assessment of al Shabaab’s current capabilities? Where are the group’s current bases of operation? 

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