Friday, March 15, 2013

Al-Shabaab's latest online magazine exposes weaknesses

The third issue of al-Shabaab's online magazine Gaidi Mtaani attempts to depict the militant group as united and prospering, but also offers insight into its growing weaknesses, Kenyan security analysts say.
Al-Shabaab released the third edition of its online magazine Gaidi Mtaani on March 3rd. [File]

Published on March 3rd in English and Swahili, the 42-page issue portrays democracy as incompatible with Islam, interprets accidents as divine intervention, and offers crash courses on topics ranging from mobile phone security to making a Molotov cocktail.
The cover shows a photo of Sheikh Aboud Rogo Mohammed, a charismatic cleric and supporter of al-Shabaab who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Mombasa on August 27th, with the headline "Catalyst of Change".
Al-Shabaab attempts to inspire Rogo's followers in Kenya to join its ranks by re-printing a statement the group released on the day of his killing and a publishing a feature story only in Swahili.
The statement urges Kenyan Muslims to "stand united" and "take all necessary measures to protect their religion, their honour, their property and their lives from the enemies of Islam".
The story blames the Kenyan government for colluding with Western countries in the cleric's death and legalising the killing of Muslims in the Coast region, which has long had grievances with the central government over development and allocation of funding.

Forging alliances to appear relevant

Gaidi Mtaani also goes so far as to accept an alliance between al-Shabaab and the Kenyan secessionist group Mombasa Republican Council (MRC).
"By joining MRC, al-Shabaab is hoping to have a partner in crime to replace the losses it suffered in desertions and defeats," said Coast Police Chief Aggrey Adoli. "It may also be seeking to be hosted by the MRC."
Adoli told Sabahi that security forces would crack down on criminal activities in the region, dismissing the magazine's allegations that Muslims have been persecuted as unsubstantiated.
"The group is using every propaganda tool to disrupt the harmonious co-existence of different faiths in the country, but we are alert to the fact," he said.
Wilberforce Onchiri, a Nairobi-based security consultant and retired army major, said the militants are attempting to exploit poor people who may be persuaded by reading the magazine to engage in violence because they feel disenfranchised.
"The group is targeting individuals who may be frustrated in any way … To al-Shabaab, it does not matter whether the killing is carried in the name of jihad or disgruntlement. Any mass killings will do just fine for them," he told Sabahi.
People such as these can afford to make the home-made bombs featured in the issue because they can be made from inexpensive and easily available materials, Onchiri said.
The tutorials show that al-Shabaab no longer enjoys safe havens and cannot conduct training sessions as easily as it used to.
"The bombs crash course is testimony that they do not have a place to train [recruits] and are willing to use anyone, regardless of their motivation, to cause instability," Onchiri said. "Their aim is to spark chaos of any kind and claim responsibility to show that they matter and have influence. They want to remain relevant."
The article about mobile phone security also indicates that the group is feeling the pressure from security forces, he said.

Al-Shabaab's growing desperation

The magazine's new issue continues al-Shabaab's string of public relations initiatives that aim to counter reports about infighting and financial challenges that plague the group and undermine its leadership.
On December 26th, the Muslim Youth Centre (MYC), which claims to be al-Shabaab recruiting arm in East Africa, released a press statement titled "Inciting and Inspiring Jihad: MYC in 2012", in which it boasts about the Kenyan mujahideen's supposed successes.
On February 18th, an unknown author who claimed links to al-Shabaab released a document titled "Turning away from the truth won't make it disappear: Demystifying the Abu Mansur saga". The document aims to discredit American-born jihadist Omar Hammani, also known as Abu Mansour al-Amriki, a former spokesman for al-Shabaab who has recently become publicly critical of the group.
On February 25th, al-Shabaab's media arm al-Kataib Foundation released a recruitment video called "Mujahideen Moments", which tried to underscore the group's message that all is well between local and foreign jihadists.
The latest edition of Gaidi Mtaani also takes issue with democracy, a day before Kenya's general elections on March 4th, making the case that elections and the parliamentary system are incompatible with Islam.
Yet Sheikh Mohammed Hassan, chairman of the National Muslim Forum's Wajir branch, said al-Shabaab is twisting the definition of democracy to suit its purpose of terror and take advantage of those who do not know any better.
Hassan pointed out that al-Shabaab defines democracy as granting man absolute power to make laws. "Owing to this, it has made him a god besides God and a partner concerning the right of legislating for the creation," the magazine says. "Democracy, with its parliaments and elections, is nothing but a deception which drugs the Islamic capacities."
But Hassan rejected al-Shabaab's depiction of democracy. "Politics and religion are very different," he told Sabahi. "No one is worshipped in politics to warrant the comparison with God. People participate in electing leaders so that they can have people to steer them to development."

Al-Shabaab lacking leadership

The first edition of Gaidi Mtaani, or "Terrorist on the Street", was published in April 2012 and mocked the Kenya Defence Forces' Operation Linda Nchi (Protect the Country) by changing the name to Operation Protect Islam. The second edition, published in July, focused on Kismayo, the militant group's last remaining major stronghold at that time, which it lost in September.
Eight months later, al-Shabaab's waning influence has left it with little choice but to ratchet up the propaganda, said Nairobi-based security consultant Reuben Ngugi.
"This third issue is all about reacting to events rather than providing the much needed leadership to the demoralised group," he told Sabahi.
The magazine's inconsistent frequency shows that al-Shabaab's military capability has weakened and it is desperately seeking new recruits, he said. In addition, its sustained rebuttals clearly reveal internal rifts.
"Where are the so called al-Shabaab leaders like [Ahmed] Godane at this moment when they are most needed to provide [leadership]? Why are the bigwigs delegating their roles to the foot soldiers to deliver calls to action? It can only mean that the group lacks clear leadership," Ngugi said
By Bosire Boniface in Wajir

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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

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Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

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