Friday, April 27, 2012

Al Shabaab's Threat to Kenya .

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, released a message April 23 informing U.S. citizens in the country that it had received credible information regarding a possible attack against Nairobi hotels or prominent Kenyan government buildings. According to the message, the embassy has reason to believe the attack is in the last stages of the attack planning cycle.

The warning comes as thousands of Kenyan troops occupy much of southern Somalia. Along with a force of Ethiopian troops, local militias and a contingent of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops, the Kenyans are placing heavy pressure on the al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group al Shabaab in southern Somalia.

This external military pressure has exacerbated internal frictions within al Shabaab between nationalist elements and those with a more transnationalist ideology. Mukhtar Robow, aka Abu Mansur, leads the nationalist faction, which is based in the Bay and Bakool regions. Ahmad Abdi Godane, aka Abu Zubayr, leads the transnationalist faction, which is based in Kismayo.

It has been almost two years since we last examined al Shabaab's interest in conducting and ability to carry out transnational terrorist operations. The current warning in Nairobi provides a convenient opportunity to do so once again.

Al Qaeda in East Africa and the Birth of al Shabaab

Al Qaeda and Somali militants have long interacted. In a 1997 CNN interview, Osama bin Laden told Peter Bergen that his fighters helped the Somali militants in the 1993 battle of Mogadishu, the events memorialized in Mark Bowden's book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War (1999). Bin Laden and a good portion of the al Qaeda leadership relocated to Sudan in 1992, where they remained until 1996. During that period, they established a network of business and operational contacts across East Africa. By that point, they had trained militants in camps in Afghanistan for years. They could well have had operatives in Mogadishu in 1993 and could have provided training to militants involved in the incident.

After leaving Sudan in 1996, al Qaeda maintained its network in East Africa. It used the network to plan and execute the August 7, 1998, twin bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The Nairobi attack proved deadlier. A massive vehicle-borne improvised device (VBIED) heavily damaged the embassy in Nairobi and several nearby buildings, including the adjacent Ufundi Cooperative Plaza, a high-rise that collapsed from the blast. The attack killed 213 people, including 12 Americans, and wounded some 4,000 others.

Some of the men allegedly affiliated with the 1998 attacks, such as Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, Abu Taha al-Sudani and Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, would later be accused of planning and executing the Nov. 28, 2002, attacks in Mombasa, Kenya, in which a VBIED was used to target the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel and two SA-7 shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles were launched at an Israeli Boeing 757 passenger jet departing Mombasa's airport. The missiles missed the aircraft, perhaps due to countermeasures, but the VBIED killed 10 Kenyans and three Israelis.

Abdullah Mohammed, al-Sudani and Nabhan all fled to Somalia, where they worked with and were protected by organizations, such as al-Ittihad al-Islam, a long-standing Somali militant group later folded into the Supreme Islamic Courts Council (SICC), formerly the Islamic Courts Union. When Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia in late 2006 and overthrew the SICC, many of the more hardcore elements joined the SICC youth wing, al Shabaab, which then became a separate militant organization. As noted, al Shabaab is not a unified organization. Instead, it is comprised of a number of factions led by individual warlords who each possess a slightly different ideology. The al Qaeda-linked foreign fighters in Somalia tend to associate with the more transnationally minded militants, such as the group led by Godane.

Since al Shabaab's spinoff, al-Sudani was killed in an airstrike in southern Somalia in January 2007. Nabhan was killed by a helicopter ambush in southern Somalia in September 2009, and Abdullah Mohammed was reportedly shot at a police checkpoint in Mogadishu in June 2011.

Al Shabaab Attacks Outside Somalia

Just over a month after we published our assessment of al Shabaab as a transnational threat, the group conducted suicide bomb attacks against two targets in Kampala, Uganda, on July 11, 2010. The twin attacks, which targeted people watching a World Cup soccer match, reportedly killed 74 and wounded another 70.

Following the Kampala attacks, al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage claimed credit for the attacks and said they came in response to Uganda's participation in AMISOM. Rage threatened additional attacks against Uganda and also threatened Burundi, which has furnished forces for AMISOM. But the group has not followed up on these threats, and there have been no additional attacks in Uganda or attacks in Burundi.

Kampala is not the only regional capital where militants associated with, or sympathetic to, al Shabaab have conducted attacks. On Oct. 24, 2011, a Kenyan who claimed to be affiliated with al Shabaab conducted two hand-grenade attacks in Nairobi, one at a bus stop and the second at a disco. The attacks killed one person and wounded 20 others. On March 10 of this year, several hand grenades were thrown at a busy bus stop in central Nairobi while a bus was loading passengers headed to Kampala. The March 10 attack killed six and wounded 63. Kenyan officials have called the March 10 attack the deadliest terrorist attack in Nairobi since the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing.

To date, the attacks in Nairobi have involved only grenades and have all been directed against soft targets (as were the Kampala attacks). In Somalia, by contrast, al Shabaab has carried out devastating attacks against hardened targets. For example, on Feb. 22, 2009, the group launched a suicide VBIED attack against an AMISOM base in Mogadishu that killed 11 Burundian soldiers. On Sept. 17, 2009, a suicide VBIED attack against the AMISOM headquarters at the Mogadishu airport killed 21, including AMISOM's deputy commander, and wounded 40. And on Oct. 4, 2011, al Shabaab detonated a massive VBIED outside a compound that housed government offices in Mogadishu. The attack killed at least 65 people and wounded hundreds of others. Al Shabaab can also conduct standoff attacks with rocket-propelled grenades or mortars launched at hardened targets, as seen by the frequent targeting of the presidential compound in Mogadishu.

Al Shabaab has also shown the ability to attack hotels in Mogadishu. On Dec. 3, 2009, a suicide bomber dressed as a woman attacked a graduation ceremony in a hotel meeting room and killed some 20 people, including four government ministers. On Aug. 24, 2010, al Shabaab gunmen disguised as government security forces conducted an armed assault on a hotel near the presidential palace in Mogadishu that killed 30, including seven parliament members and two government officials. On Feb. 8, 2012, a suicide VBIED was rammed into a cafe outside the Muna Hotel, killing 11.

Capability and Intent

Whenever judging the threat posed by a group, one must examine its capabilities and its intent to conduct such an attack. In this case, we need to look at al Shabaab's capability and intent to attack prominent government buildings and hotels in Nairobi.

Al Shabaab has proved it can conduct attacks against soft targets in Nairobi. The group has also demonstrated the ability to strike soft targets in Kampala, though it has not shown the ability to follow up on its threats to conduct attacks in Burundi. Inside Somalia, the group is capable of conducting devastating attacks against hardened targets and against hotels in Mogadishu, as outlined above.

It is interesting to note that two days prior to the Oct. 24, 2011, Nairobi grenade attacks, the U.S. government posted a warning that the U.S. Embassy in Kenya had received "credible information of an imminent threat of terrorist attacks directed at prominent Kenyan facilities and areas where foreigners are known to congregate such as malls and night clubs." In the wake of the warning, it appears the attackers shifted from high-profile malls and places where foreigners congregate toward softer targets in the form of a low-profile local bar and a bus stop. This is perhaps due to the increased security at high-profile venues because of the warning and Kenyan government initiatives to crack down on al Shabaab in Somali neighborhoods in Nairobi. Likewise, the March 10 attacks were against a soft target in the form of a bus stop. This suggests the attackers were either unable -- or unwilling -- to target a more heavily secured facility. Notably, none of the incidents in Kenya were suicide attacks.

The wording in the April 23 warning is similar to that of the October 2011 warning, and the October 2011 warning proved accurate. Therefore, the U.S. Embassy likely has received credible information that another plot is being planned. Unless the attackers change their mode of attack, they are highly unlikely to succeed in targeting a prominent government building or a hotel housing Westerners -- especially in the wake of the warning, which undoubtedly has resulted in increased security at such sites.

In order to change their mode of attack from those using merely grenades to an attack that could damage a government building or a well-secured hotel, such as an attack involving a VBIED, al Shabaab would have to devote significant resources. While al Qaeda was able to do this in Nairobi in 1998, the present security environment in Kenya is quite different. While ordnance is still available in the country, it is far more difficult to obtain a large quantity of explosives today than it was in 1998. Even smuggling them in from Somalia in small batches would be a difficult, though not impossible, task.

For al Shabaab to undertake such a process, it would need good operational security, something that would be difficult to achieve given the fractious nature of the jihadist movement in Somalia. As the warning prior to the October 2011 attack demonstrated, there was an intelligence leak somewhere.

Furthermore, al Shabaab would have to expect significant benefits from such an attack to warrant such a risky mission. And it is doubtful they would. At present, Kenyan troops with the help of local Ras Kamboni militants have occupied a buffer zone in southern Somalia, but they have not made much effort to approach al Shabaab bases in cities farther southwest than Afmadow, such as Kismayo. Kenyan public opinion has been quite outspoken about the price tag attached to the Somali Surge, known as Operation Linda Nchi. Many Kenyans consider it an expensive venture that adds to the country's mounting debt. A repeat of the August 1998 bombing, only this time directed against a Kenyan government ministry, could radically change public opinion, steeling it in favor of dramatic military action against al Shabaab. Even though the current Kenyan military offensive has been poorly supported and planned, an angry Kenyan public could see the military offensive become much more aggressive, directly targeting al Shabaab. The issue would also gain notable political traction in the unfolding 2013 Kenyan presidential election.

Because of this dynamic, it seems the group is more likely to take any explosives it could devote toward a VBIED attack in Kenya and use them to conduct attacks against Kenyan forces in Somalia to make their presence in Somalia as uncomfortable -- and bloody -- as possible. The goal would be to influence Kenyan morale enough to encourage them to withdraw. Kenya, and specifically Nairobi, is also an important financial and logistical hub for al Shabaab. If the group did something to rouse the anger of the Kenyan government and alienate the population, its ability to use Kenya as a logistical hub for its operations in Somalia could be severely hampered.

Due to the importance of al Shabaab's Islamic base in Nairobi, Kenya's backlash against that community has been a point of concern in intra-al Shabaab politics. Notably, al Shabaab has denied responsibility for the past attacks in Nairobi, blaming them instead on its supporters. A major attack in Nairobi demonstrating an advanced degree of terrorist capability would make it difficult for the group to deny responsibility.

Even if al Shabaab could somehow muster the capability to conduct a spectacular attack in Nairobi, it would seem unlikely it would want to conduct a spectacular attack inside Kenya. We therefore believe it will stick to low-level attacks in Kenya for the foreseeable future. Via  Rightsidenews

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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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