Last week at the hearing in the Senate Homeland Security Committee on recruitment activities (of American former Somali refugees) by Al-Shabaab in the US, law enforcement officials played down the connection between Al-Qaida and State Department designated terrorist group Al-Shabaab. In fact they attempted to lead us all to believe that Al-Shabaab’s militant activity was primarily in response to Ethiopian troop involvement in Somalia and now that the Ethiopians have left the country, Al-Shabaab would lose steam.
From the East African:
Andrew Liepman, deputy director for intelligence at the National Counterterrorism Center, told senators: “”They are going to Somalia to fight for their homeland, not to join al Qaeda’s jihad against the United States, so far.”
Looks like with the release of a new audio tape, OBL thinks Somalia and saving his buddies in Al-Shabaab is pretty important.
CAIRO – Al-Qaida’s chief Osama bin Laden urged Somali militants to overthrow the country’s new president in a new Web audiotape posted Thursday, trying to torpedo a new push for peace in a lawless African nation where many fear al-Qaida is gaining a foothold.
The 11 1/2-minute audiotape aimed to rally Islamic militants at a time when the new president, moderate Islamist Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, is working to split their ranks and pull in some to support his government.
For years, Islamic militant groups — including ones linked to al-Qaida — have battled the feeble U.N.-backed central government, which controls only a small part of the capital, Mogadishu.
Ahmed, elected by parliament in January, is a moderate from the Islamist opposition and has succeeded in drawing several other groups out of the insurgency. The aim is to isolate hard-line militants, particularly the main group al-Shabab, which is believed to be allied to al-Qaida and which controls a large swath of the country.
Bin Laden’s message was entirely focused on Somalia, a sign of al-Qaida’s intense interest in the country….
U.S. counterterrorism officials have warned of al-Qaida’s growing ties with the powerful al-Shabab group, which frequently battles government troops and militia allies and is blamed in attacks on African Union peacekeepers in the country. In Feb. 2008, the U.S. State Department added al-Shabab, which means “the Youth,” to its list of foreign terrorist organizations.
The gist of the testimony I heard last week at the Senate hearing was that there is no confirmed evidence of a linkage between Al-Qaida and Al-Shabaab. If such a linkage would occur, we were told, then that would signify a greater problem for American law enforcement in assessing possible motives for recruiting American “youths” for international Jihad.
I think they got some linkage here.
* Somalis are bullies from Strategy Page:
The showdown between the moderate Moslems, as represented by the Islamic Courts (who currently control the government, such as it is), and the Islamic radicals (al Shabaab) is basically about traditional Somali practices (the Islamic Courts) and the new ideas (al Qaeda and the effort to conquer the world for Islam). However, al Shabaab does represent one practice found often in Somali history; being a bully. Somalis are big on intimidation and getting their way. That’s the main reason why Somalia has had no government for the last 18 years. The Islamic Courts, now in control of the government, are imposing Sharia (Islamic) law throughout the country (or wherever they control the population). Al Shabaab also is imposing Sharia, but favors a much stricter form, which is less popular. But al Shabaab is also more ruthless, having been accused of murdering four more moderate clerics recently.
* American Chronicle says Al- Shabaab is on the run and losing in Somalia, sounds like wishful thinking to me. But if true it would help explain why OBL released this cheerleading tape. This news should make those Minnesota mothers pretty unhappy because it says Al-Shabaab is being hunted down. Read it all here.
Now, many of the same observers say that the Alshabab have been rendered toothless, and their bloodshed is near an end.
* Our missing Somali youths may have been found! On Facebook. From Fox News. Hat tip Blulitespecial.
The FBI investigation is looking into two key questions: Where are the missing men now? And how were they radicalized and recruited inside the Unites States? Facebook could help find the answers.
One law enforcement official told Fox News the FBI is “aware that there were some missing [Somali] community members on Facebook,” but the official declined to discuss whether any “investigative activity has or hasn’t been carried out.” The official also declined to specify how many of the missing men were found to be on Facebook.
But are they dead or alive?