Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Terror Threat From Somalia: The Internationalization of al Shabaab

By Chris Harnisch - AEI   02/14/10
Three hundred people nearly died in the skies of Michigan on Christmas Day, 2009 when a Nigerian terrorist attempted to blow up a plane destined for Detroit. The terrorist was an operative of an al Qaeda franchise based in Yemen called al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The group operated known training camps in Yemen and had indicated a desire to strike American targets, but when the attack occurred, it still took the nation by surprise. Today, across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen, another terrorist threat on a par with that of AQAP is growing in Somalia.
A militant Islamist group with ties to al Qaeda called al Shabaab controls much of southern and central Somalia, where it operates terror and insurgency training camps. Al Shabaab is composed of both Somali and international militants, including dozens from the United States and Europe. The group has threatened to attack the United States, and it has previously shown the ability to carry out its threats. The danger posed by al Shabaab to American and international security is real and imminent. There will be no excuse for being surprised when this group tries to attack the U.S.
Al Shabaab, whose name literally means “the youth,” began operating as an independent entity in early 2007. It initially sought to drive Ethiopian troops out of Somalia and establish an Islamic state there. The Ethiopians had entered Somalia in December 2006 to establish the authority of the UN-mandated Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and destroy a coalition of shari’a courts that controlled much of the country called the Islamic Courts Union (ICU). Upon the Ethiopian invasion, the ICU disintegrated and most of its elements fled, but its military wing, al Shabaab, stayed to fight the Ethiopians. Al Shabaab used techniques characteristic of a terror group when targeting its enemies, including roadside bombs, suicide bombings, grenade attacks, and assassinations. Al Shabaab’s primary objectives at the time of the Ethiopian invasion appeared to be geographically limited to Somalia, and perhaps the Horn of Africa. The group’s rhetoric and behavior, however, have shifted over the past two years reflecting an eagerness to strike internationally.
Al Shabaab currently controls much of southern and central Somalia, including large portions of the capital, Mogadishu. It has evolved into a group resembling a hybrid of the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda. It provides government services to its constituents, enforces a strict interpretation of shari’a law, and maintains its grip on power by using violence and intimidation. The group also conducts terror operations, including suicide bombings, against its perceived enemies and views itself as part of the global jihad movement. It has established an effective recruiting strategy to attract militants from throughout Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, as well as the United States and Europe. At least twenty Americans and one hundred Brits have travelled to Somalia to fight for al Shabaab. The authority of the internationally recognized and U.S.-backed TFG has been relegated to a few city blocks, government installations, and strategic locations, such as the airport and seaport, in Mogadishu. Al Shabaab thus has the geographic space to train fighters, plan operations, and shelter its al Qaeda allies—which have included top al Qaeda in East Africa operatives responsible for the 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The United States appears to be high on al Shabaab’s list of international targets. The group began issuing threats against the United States in 2008, and it now professes an ideology resembling al Qaeda’s. It has pledged allegiance to bin Laden and views itself as fighting the global jihad led by al Qaeda. Intelligence reports indicate that the group may have intended to conduct attacks on the U.S. homeland around the time of the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, and there are now reports suggesting that it may attempt to strike U.S. targets in South Africa at the time of the 2010 World Cup. Al Shabaab’s threats are real, and the group appears to have the capacity to carry out such threats.
Al Shabaab operates training camps throughout the areas it controls. It has the funds, weapons, technical expertise, and human resources needed to conduct operations. It raises money by taxing international aid organizations, collecting zakat from citizens, receiving remittances from abroad, and receiving financial support from Eritrea. Al Shabaab has displayed both large and small arms in its videos, and it has proven its ability to succeed in battle against both conventional and irregular enemies. The group has also proven that it has the means to carryout sophisticated, mass casualty terror attacks. In 2009 alone, al Shabaab conducted at least five suicide operations. Al Shabaab benefits from the technical assistance, including bomb-making skills, of veterans of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Al Shabaab also contains one of the most valuable assets needed to achieve the feat of an international strike: foreign fighters. Al Shabaab militants from the United States and Europe possess, or should be easily able to acquire, the documents necessary to travel throughout much of the world. Striking American interests on the African continent would be likely much less challenging for the group. Many African countries have porous borders and are plagued by ineffective and corrupt intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Further, numerous East African countries, including Uganda, South Africa, and Kenya, have large Somali populations that could potentially provide shelter to al Shabaab terrorists. The group also has access to at least one expert document-forger, Fazul Abdullah, the current leader of al Qaeda in East Africa, which should facilitate the movement of non-western al Shabaab operatives, at least within the African continent.
Perhaps most alarming for Americans and their policymakers should be the fact that al Shabaab has demonstrated the ability to follow through on its threats. The group’s twin suicide bombings on September 17, 2009, at the African Union force’s headquarters in Mogadishu took place only days after the group vowed to avenge the assassination of Saleh Ali Nabhan, the former al Qaeda in East Africa leader, by U.S. Special Forces. Similarly, al Shabaab allegedly attacked a college graduation ceremony, killing numerous graduates and the country’s Minister of Education, in December 2009—just three months after the group warned the Ministry of Education about using “un-Islamic” textbooks. The group has regularly acted on its threats to attack perceived enemies. There is no reason for American policymakers to assume that al Shabaab will not follow through on its threat to attack the United States.
The group has made clear its desire and intention to strike beyond the borders of Somalia, and it currently has the means to prepare and execute such an attack. It is partners with and loyal to al Qaeda, and it continuously strives to earn the respect and recognition of al Qaeda’s leadership. America cannot afford to ignore the threat posed by al Shabaab.
Chris Harnisch is a Research Assistant focusing on al-Qaeda and its associated movements. He graduated with high honors from Middlebury College with a degree in International Studies, concentrating on the Middle East and Arabic. Most recently, Chris served on the staff of Vice President Dick Cheney. Chris has lived and studied in Yemen and Egypt. Download the full report here.

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Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

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