Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Potential Implications of U.S. killing al Shabaab’s Leader In Somalia - Ahmed Godane

Yesterday, after a long pause in overt counterterrorism in Somalia, the U.S. launched a drone strike near Barawe aimed at a convoy. Separate reports indicate four missiles killed up to six militants; one of whom may be al Shabaab’s notorious leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane (aka Mukhtar abu Zubayr).

As al Shabaab’s emir, Godane officially merged the terror group with al Qaeda, swearing allegiance to Osama Bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri.  Since this merger though, al Shabaab’s trajectory under Godane’s leadership has been in decline with the group fracturing and shrinking over the past two years.  Despite his corrosive leadership, Godane maintained his grip on al Shabaab, continued to execute devastating terrorist attacks against a fragile Somali government and has successfully spread jihadist inspiration and terror attacks to nearby Kenya highlighted by last year’s spectacular attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall.  If Godane was killed by the U.S. drone strike (still an ‘if’), his death would likely have a significant impact on Somalia, the Horn of Africa and ‘Old Guard’ al Qaeda’s remaining adherents in the Horn of Africa. 
Potential Impacts of Godane’s Death on Somalia 
Godane, even by al Qaeda’s standards, demonstrated extreme levels of ruthless killing and excessive violence, alienating allied clan leaders and the local populace.  By some accounts, Godane forced the merger with al Qaeda to assert his dominance over what has always been a fractious al Shabaab.  Since February 2012, Shabaab has fractured and been pushed into the hinterlands of South Central Somalia.  Hassan Dahir Aweys, a stalwart of Islamism in Somalia, and Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, a Godane competitor for al Shabaab’s crown, both broke ranks with Godane over his excessive violence and passion for al Qaeda’s global agenda over the more important local objectives of the clannish al Shabaab.  Since breaking ranks, Robow’s militias have engaged in open combat with Godane’s al Shabaab. 
Even more revealing of Godane’s character has been his murderous repression of dissenters.  Under Godane, Shabaab took a preference for local Somali fighters vis-à-vis foreign fighters -- namely, Omar Hammami an American recruit from Alabama.  But then Hammami vocally broke ranks with Shabaab. The Hammami episode revealed intense dissension in the ranks eroding Godane’s support and Shabaab’s foreign fighter flow.  The Godane-Hammami debate led to Shabaab pursuing a year and half long manhunt ending in the murder of Hammami at the hands of Godane’s henchmen.  Godane’s ruthless side was further revealed by his murder of his own long-time aide and friend Ibrahim al-Afghani, a well-respected veteran and founding member of Shabaab,
Shabaab’s fractures and Godane’s elimination of dissenters created a Shabaab governance structure built on fear.  Godane ruled with an iron fist, and thus his death will/would have a significant impact on al Shabaab and the insurgency plaguing the country’s fragile new government.  I suspect, if Godane were killed, to see a case study in Somalia of how leadership decapitation as a counterterrorism tactic can have a major impact.  Somalia in general, and Shabaab in particular, presents a situation where clan leaders have an outsized sway in the direction of their group; leaders trump ideology. 
Here are several considerations if we find out that Godane was killed in Somalia yesterday:
  • When feared leaders die, fractures happen quickly and dynamically – Godane kept a close eye on his enemies and a closer eye on his subordinates through a dominating internal intelligence arm.  I suspect many of Godane’s lieutenants already had plans of their own should Godane die or they remove him via a coup.  My estimate would be the most hard core of Godane’s adherents will break off and form a particularly violent element of al Shabaab.  I’d also estimate that there will be a separate less committed faction of Shabaab that will break away and look to defect, setting up deals with the Somalia government – a positive sign.  Whatever happens, I would estimate major changes in the next month in terms of Shabaab loyalties with fractures emerging across clan and sub-clan lines. 
  • Robow comes out stronger amongst Somalia’s jihadists– If Godane is out of the picture, I suspect Robow will be strengthened and can consolidate some of his power in Bay and Bakool provinces of Somalia.  The larger question is whether Robow might look to settle with the Somali government.  Always more of a local jihadist leader rather than a globalist, Robow might be content to rule his own turf in Somalia’s interior if the Somali government and allied forces grant him a settlement – a tricky task seeing as how the U.S. has designated Robow a “Foreign Terrorist”.
  • An opportunity for the new Somali government – While we might expect some immediate retaliatory attacks by Shabaab loyalists on Somali government targets and international groups, I suspect Godane’s death might present an opportunity to create more truces with local clans ostensibly forced into Shabaab allegiance under Godane. 
Potential Impacts of Godane’s Death on the Horn of Africa  
If Godane were killed, I imagine there would be several regional implications as well:
  • Will jihadist affiliates in Kenya and Tanzania crumble or break out? – As Shabaab grew weaker in Somalia, Godane was surprisingly successful at spreading his influence to disenfranchised Muslim populations along Kenya’s coast, amongst Nairobi’s Somali slums and into northern Tanzania.  In one sense, Godane’s death might bring the fragmentation and dissolving of emerging jihadist elements in the Horn of Africa like al-Hijra.  Or conversely, maybe these young and now disconnected jihadist groups will be freed of Godane’s control to pursue disorganized but more frequent violence.  In either case, I expect Godane’s death will impact jihadist extremism through the Horn of Africa. 
  • Experienced and dangerous foreign fighters on the loose – With Godane dead, al Shahaab’s deadly external operations forces might be looking to either retaliate, relocate or both.  As seen by the successful and well-planned attack on the Westgate Mall last year and Harun Fazul’s interrupted plans to conduct an al Qaeda attack on a hotel in London, Shabaab has a proven capability to attack outside Somalia and hit Westerners.  Key Shabaab foreign fighters like Ikrima, Karate and the under discussed but important American Jehad Mostafa have a proven track record for delivering attacks and detecting their next moves will be crucial.  I suspect they will either wreak havoc by accelerating operations they already have in motion, or will rapidly move to a new battlefield and affiliate if they believe their Somalia safe haven is compromised. The closest option for their refuge would be al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, for whom Shabaab has a proven relationship, or if they seek a more relevant home they could try to infiltrate into Syria’s jihadist enclaves.  In all circumstances, keeping tabs on Shabaab’s Western foreign fighters will be crucial.
Potential Impacts of Godane’s Death on the al Qaeda versus ISIS battle 
Will Godane’s death be a seminal moment in the ‘Old Guard’ al Qaeda versus ISIS battle?
Finally, and probably most interesting, Godane represents one of the few remaining outspoken loyalists to Zawahiri and ‘Old Guard’ al Qaeda.  But, young jihadists are clearly more excited about ISIS and there have been recent reports of Somalis showing up to pursue jihad in Syria.  If Godane is dead, will Shabaab’s new leader swear allegiance to Zawahiri and ‘Old Guard’ al Qaeda, to abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and ISIS, or will he pursue an independent track for Shabaab in Somalia independent of today’s jihadi politics? 
Again, these implications will only matter if it turns out that Godane is in fact dead.  Godane may have survived this latest drone strike; it's quite possible given there are hardly any pictures of this secretive leader - he’s the terrorist equivalent of the ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ from the movie The Princess Bride.  However, these considerations might be informative for Godane’s future death if he turns out to be alive. Godane’s death now or in the near future is likely considering he lives in Somalia and has many enemies, both foreign and domestic.   by Clint Watts
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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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