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Thread: Somalia: not piracy catch all thread

  1. #121
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    Default Americans joining al-Shabaab

    Seven foreigners including a former US soldier have been arrested in Kenya in the last two weeks over links to Al-Shabaab.

    Kenyan soldiers also killed six of the militants in Somalia on Tuesday.

    The seven were arrested as they tried to enter Somalia to join the militant group for training.

    Other suspects were from other European countries, said police spokesman Eric Kiraithe.

    Mr Craig Benedict Baxam, the ex-US soldier was charged in an American court on Monday with attempting to provide material support to a terrorist group, CNN reported.

    The TV station said he was arrested by Kenyan authorities on December 23.
    http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Seven+A...z/-/index.html

    Link to photo:http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?q=Cra...J1Cl5KOo2IveXY

    Baxam is not the first American to join, or attempt to join, al-shabaab. There is a long history of former US (an soldiers for other countries) becoming mercenaries in battles around the world. How new is it for former US troops joining jihadist groups?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-01-2012 at 10:08 PM. Reason: Link to photo added. Was in a separate thread and merged today

  2. #122
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Before traveling to Africa, Baxam cashed out his retirement savings and destroyed his personal computer, according to the complaint. He told authorities he found music and pictures in America disrespectful and was "looking for dying with a gun in my hand."
    http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/...49234?sac=Home

    Sounds like something written by Coppola : Sell the house. Sell the car. Sell the kids. Find someone else. I'm never coming back.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-01-2012 at 10:09 PM. Reason: Was in a separate thread and merged today
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


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  3. #123
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chowing View Post
    How new is it for former US troops joining jihadist groups?
    Not unheard of. There have been cases before of former US military personnel going on Jihad in Bosnia and Chechnya; probably Afghanistan in the 80’s - 90’s too. There was a Chechen field commander that the Russians killed who they said had served in the USMC, Kadyrov and the FSB made a big deal out of it.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-01-2012 at 10:09 PM. Reason: Was in a separate thread and merged today
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

  4. #124
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Is Somalia's al-Shabab on the back foot?

    A relatively long BBC News analysis by an ICG regional analyst.

    Foreign military intervention is deeply unpopular in Somalia and hugely counter-intuitive, at least from a historical perspective. It inflames public passions, radicalises society and exacerbates political polarisation.So far, Somali opposition to the Kenyan and Ethiopian interventions has largely been muted. We have not seen the huge visceral blowback predicted by some critics...

    More interestingly, the extremists appear to have failed to rally Somalis or to effectively play the nationalist card as they did in 2006. The more plausible explanation is that the insurgent groups are deeply unpopular.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16510716

    Rightly the comment asks is there a
    clear and coherent long-term political strategy?
    davidbfpo

  5. #125
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    Default Al-Shabaab successful at recruiting foreigners

    Al-Shabaab is not only using the popular social media Twitter, the host of the account is believed to be British. The terrorist group has an American Muslim using hip hop to appear to the world's young people to join the group. The seem very skilled at communication and more foreigners are listening and following. I report a whole list of foreign recruits including a British woman in my newest blog article http://terrorisminafrica.com/2012/01...ng-foreigners/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-01-2012 at 10:08 PM. Reason: Was in a separate thread and merged today

  6. #126
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    Default and africans too

    Kenya arrests 29 Ugandans 'headed to Somalia to fight'
    The group warned of the danger of "a new generation of East African jihadists" including some recent converts to Islam and others attracted mainly by promises of money from the Islamist recruiters.

    Many Kenyans are among detainees held by Ugandan authorities on suspicion of involvement in twin bomb attacks in Kampala in July 2010 that claimed 76 lives.
    http://www.rnw.nl/africa/bulletin/ke...omalia-fight-0

  7. #127
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Drone strike hits veteran Al-Shabaab leader

    I spotted an initial report over the weekend IIRC, now NYT has a fuller account, entitled 'U.S. Drone Strike Kills Foreign Commander Fighting for Militants in Somalia':http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/23/wo..._r=1&ref=world

    Taken from the report: Bilal al-Barjawi was of Lebanese origin, who had been a UK citizen till it was revoked ayear ago, his wife and children remain in London and:
    joining them (Al-Shabab) in mid-2006 after having fought in Afghanistan.
    We've heard of ethnic Somalis returning from the USA and Europe, suggestions that other groups, notably AQ, have links with Al-Shabaab, but nothing IIRC like this - an experienced fighter who was Arab by birth, British by nationality. Now what made him take the violent Jihad route?
    davidbfpo

  8. #128
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    Default U.S. and Danish Hostages free by Seals

    Navy Seals successfully rescued two hostages (an American and a Danish national) in Somalia in an overnight raid.

    http://terrorisminafrica.com/2012/01...om-al-shabaab/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-01-2012 at 10:07 PM. Reason: Was in a separate thread and merged today

  9. #129
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    Default Somalia's al-Shabab join al-Qaeda

    A BBC report and not unexpected:
    Islamist militant group al-Shabab, which controls much of Somalia, has released a joint video with al-Qaeda, announcing the two groups have merged...

    BBC Somali editor Yusuf Garaad Omar says the merger of al-Shabab and al-Qaeda has the potential to change the dynamics of the conflict in Somalia.

    Al-Qaeda needs to project power and influence, particularly given its own operational impotence, Al-Shabab's acceptance under the al-Qaeda umbrella probably came with permission from Zawahiri for the group to launch external operations against the West (said Leah Farrell)
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16979440
    davidbfpo

  10. #130
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default AQ & Al-Shabaab - assessing the threat

    This commentary on AQ's merger has been placed on the AQ in Africa thread. Hat tip to FP Blog:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...erger?page=0,0

    A good summary and ends with well made points:
    It's one thing to have a loaded gun; it's another to pull the trigger and safely walk away. Al-Shabab might elevate its status in the jihadi world by hitting an American target on U.S. soil, but in doing so it would risk an even harsher crackdown on its bases in Somalia.

    But then, al-Shabab has earned one more dangerous distinction: It is the only jihadi organization ever to convince Americans -- at least four, so far -- to serve as suicide bombers. It would not be wise to count on al Qaeda's newest affiliate to act in its own self-interest.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-15-2012 at 06:11 PM.
    davidbfpo

  11. #131
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    Default Watching Somalia: two websites

    i am sure this website has popped up before, but was re-discovered today and explains itself as:
    Somalia Report is a privately funded, non-partisan website that hires Western editors to work with Somali journalists inside the country to cover all aspects of the region: piracy, conflict, terrorism, government, local news, culture and key issues. The hour-by-hour coverage is targeted to professionals who need expertise, situational awareness and in-depth background to breaking news.
    Link:http://www.somaliareport.com/index.php

    Secondly and the link that took there, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has assembled a dateline of events from 2001 onwards 'Get the data: Somalia’s hidden war':http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com...as-hidden-war/
    davidbfpo

  12. #132
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    Default Somalia and the London Conference: the wrong route to peace – By Richard Dowden

    Some interesting views on the recently concluded conference on Somalia.

    At first I withheld judgment on the British government’s decision to hold a major international conference on Somalia. It was so good to hear the government at last taking an interest in this battered country, so I thought it would have been perverse to pour cold water on it.

    From the start it was clear that piracy and the subsequent cost to the City of London’s marine insurance business, as well as the fear of terrorism, were the main drivers for David Cameron’s concern. The interests of the Somali people were always going to be secondary. Since Britain had done nothing during the past 20 years of war and suffering, it seemed unlikely that concern for Somalis would be the top priority.

    But I am shocked at the government’s lack of understanding. Reading the reports of the conference, one would think that the cause of the war was Al Shabaab, the Islamic fundamentalist movement. Hilary Clinton spoke as if this was simply an extension of the American war or terror.

    But the roots of Somalia’s state failure lie in its social structure not in Islamic extremism. When the civil war, or rather wars, started back in the late 1980s Shabaab did not exist. The wars were clan-based uprisings against a domineering dictatorship in a centralised state and against the dictator’s clan. That fragmentation of Somali society still exists beneath the surface. But this was hardly mentioned.

    As order, security and hope were obliterated by clan warfare, leading to impoverishment, hunger and death, people turned to religion. Saudi funded fundamentalism spread rapidly throughout Somalia. It is hardly surprising that many young people who had never know anything but war and misery felt the appeal of the simplistic answers of fundamentalism.

    Furthermore, Cameron does not appear to have learned from Britain’s own experience in Northern Ireland and the decolonisation process of the 1960s. In both cases Westminster tried to build coalitions of moderates and exclude the extremists and “men of violence”. But in the end in Northern Ireland peace came when the extremists were brought into the process, just as Britain 40 years earlier had been forced to release the jailed ‘terrorists’ throughout its empire and hand power to them.

    Not inviting elements of Shabaab to London (and threatening to continue bombing them) has ensured that the war will continue. Excluding the Eritreans, major players in Somalia was also a mistake.

    This conference was predicated on persuading the present but ineffective Somali politicians who form the Transitional Federal Government to step down. This is a nice dream, but Somali politicians are not known to commit hari kiri. They are better known for living in luxurious Nairobi hotels, talking at internationally funded conferences and chewing khat. A recent audit of aid money given to them said that 96% was unaccounted for.

    The agenda of the Somali politicians at Lancaster House on Thursday was clear: to get the British and Americans to fight their war for them or pay others to do it and bomb their enemies. That will enable them to hold office – even though they have little power – and keep stealing the aid.

    The parts of Somalia that work and are safe have evolved their own structures and agreements with their neighbours and rivals. Somalia’s social structure is unique and still very powerful and the systems in Puntland and Somaliland are built on them. No such system has emerged in the south of the country which includes the capital – the only part of Somalia still at war.

    This conference should never have attempted to deal with anything more than helping to establish effective local government in the ports along the eastern seaboard and thereby providing a base for controlling piracy.

    The attempt to reestablish a strong Somali state was a mistake. It will fail.

    Richard Dowden is Director of the Royal African Society.
    http://africanarguments.org/2012/02/...ichard-dowden/

  13. #133
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A Fine Talking Shop: The London Conference on Somalia

    I expect not a few SWC readers have little time for grand diplomatic conferences, let alone on Somalia, especially as there have been eighteen to date since 1981.

    Here is another viewpoint by a Somali analyst, ex-RUSI and now at SOAS:http://www.rusi.org/analysis/comment...4F46C3CD21920/

    Leaving aside piracy which is symptom of the Somali problem, the author Anna Rader, says:
    ...the focus on AMISOM has obscured the need to restore and rebuild Somalia’s national forces. These are the only ones ultimately able to secure Somalia in the long term, but the communiqué is weakened by insufficient mention of this issue, and particularly of police and coastguard capacity-building, which are obvious counterparts to the national army.
    Given the various missions training Somali soldiers outside the country, who according to reports rarely stayed loyal upon returning home, what is the point of 'capacity building' every actor except the (TFG) government?

    Sadly nothing has yet happened to persuade me that Somalis via their "leaders" have found a route map to leave their current position.

    Incidentally I was intrigued to note the call for ending the supply of charcoal from southern Somalia, via Kismayo, to the Persian Gulf; alongside the suspicion that Al-Shabaab gain some money via port taxes.
    davidbfpo

  14. #134
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    IRIN News - Soldiers' Stories

    A short film (about 30 minutes) about Ugandan peacekeepers in AMISOM. The focus is on a female Ugandan vehicle gunner and a male Ugandan medic, with some interesting interviews with Ugandan officers. This was in early 2011, prior to AMISOM ejecting al-Shabaab from Mogadishu.

  15. #135
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    Default Al Shabaab’s British Accent

    A commentary on the links:
    The evidence indicates it is not a mono-ethnic community of Somalis that is being drawn back, but rather a diverse group that reflects every aspect of the British Muslim community.
    This passage will not impress UK officialdom:
    The lesson appears to be clear: the West has still not figured out domestic counter-radicalization and the British-Somali connection is one that needs to be watched very carefully.
    Link:http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/0...ritish-accent/
    davidbfpo

  16. #136
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    Default Being Somali doesn't mean you're a threat

    There was a demo in London, which coincided with the conference on Somalia and this is a comment by a press photographer (it is within a longer story):
    I started to take a few shots and was surprised to find the protesters posing for the camera. There were none of the masked youths found at Congolese demos. The crowd were colourful, friendly and noisy. I asked them for details of the protest - why, what, where, etc. It was explained to me that these protesters came from the north of the country and referred to this area as Somali-land. They want recognition of their part of the country as an independent state. They hated the Somali people and the transitional govt. This was the biggest demo in Whitehall for ages and I did not see one arrest. They left at the designated dispersal time, some shaking hands with the cops as they left.
    Link:http://mitchell-images-blog.blogspot...way-innit.html
    davidbfpo

  17. #137
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    Default Omar Hammami's Plight Amongst al-Shabaab & al-Qaeda's Game of Thrones

    For those interested in the recent video of Omar Hammami claiming he's been betrayed by al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda, Andrew Lebovich and I wrote a short commentary entitled, "Hammami's Plight Amongst al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda's Game of Thrones."

    The concept of the article is that Hammami's troubles signal larger infighting in al-Shabaab and potentially al-Qaeda.

    As always, I appreciate any feedback from the SWJ crowd.

    Here's the summary:

    "AmericanHere's the summary: al-Shabaab commander Omar Hammami, known as Abu Mansur al-Amriki, on Friday sat alone in front of a flag commonly associated with al-Qaeda and said that the organization for which he’d fought for much of the last five years, al-Shabaab, might be trying to kill him. The video, the first public message from Hammami since last October, caught many counterterrorism analysts off guard.

    The release is an unprecedented public admission of fear and weakness from a jihadist figure. But it has brought to the fore a game of thrones occurring in Somalia as rival al-Shabaab factions compete for power and eliminate their rivals, even as the organization has more tightly joined itself to al-Qaeda’s global jihad. Hammami’s video confirms not only a power struggle within al-Shabaab, but may also point to a larger battle for leadership supremacy in a post-Bin Laden al-Qaeda.

    Counterterrorism analysts promoting Hammami as the clear successor to Anwar al-Awlaki were off the mark. Recent machinations should serve as reminders to analysts and commentators alike that jihadist groups--like other militant organizations--are rarely unified, and are often subject to a number of internal and external pressures."
    Thanks,

    Clint Watts

  18. #138
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    Default Further Hammami Debate....

    For those interested in the Hammami story,

    I've compiled diverging opinions of those debating the story and have published them in three scenarios.

    Here's a quick intro.

    Last week, I focused on Hammami’s disaster as it related to larger al-Qaeda. In my opinion, Zawahiri and those in AQ Central pushing for a merger have the blood of AQ members and foreign fighters in Somalia on their hands. Zawahiri either deliberately knocked off some internal AQ adversaries or through poor decision making inadvertently let al-Shabaab eliminate AQ members. One of the reasons I postulated Zawahiri agreed to an AQ-Shabaab merger was to gain access to Western foreign fighters. Hopefully, Zawahiri’s poor judgment will undermine the recruitment of some foreign fighters to AQ – especially al-Shabaab in Somalia – and sideline one of AQ’s main purposes for merging with al-Shabaab.

    With this post, I’ll try to sum up the input of those debating Hammami’s plight and how it relates to al-Shabaab’s internal dimensions. I’ve included a a quick chart outlining key players mentioned and three theories as to what Hammami’s disaster may signal inside al-Shabaab.

    Here's the link.

  19. #139
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Why is Uganda fighting in 'hellish' Somalia?

    I missed this BBC item:
    Ugandan troops make up the bulk of the African Union force helping Somalia's UN-backed government. With much of the country under the control of al-Shabab Islamist militants, it is probably one of the most dangerous missions that a soldier could embark on. So why are Ugandans choosing to take part?
    Leaving aside politics for their government:
    For an individual soldier, the financial incentive to fight in Somalia is clear. The lowest paid Ugandan soldiers earn around $120 (£76) per month; if they opt to fight in Somalia they earn more than $1,000.
    Citing a Ugandan journalist another answer:
    Uganda has never had a peaceful transition of power. Guns and soldiers have always been involved in a change of regime.

    "The ruling NRM party does not want thousands of soldiers hanging around in barracks with time on their hands. And there is no work for them outside the army - unemployment is 50% here," he says.

    "President Museveni has been in power for almost 26 years and his popularity is waning. Military officers are already getting restless. From the government's point of view, better for them to be fighting in Somalia.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16853499
    davidbfpo

  20. #140
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Two steps forward, one step back.

    Outside, on Mogadishu’s streets, the thwat-thwat-thwat hammering sound that rings out in the mornings is not the clatter of machine guns but the sound of actual hammers. Construction is going on everywhere — new hospitals, new homes, new shops, a six-story hotel and even sports bars (albeit serving cappuccino and fruit juice instead of beer). Painters are painting again, and Somali singers just held their first concert in more than two decades at the National Theater, which used to be a weapons depot and then a national toilet. Up next: a televised, countrywide talent show, essentially “Somali Idol.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/04/wo...mogadishu.html

    At least 10 people were killed in a suicide bombing at Somalia's national theater in Mogadishu. The capital of the wartorn country had been experiencing a revival of sorts.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/terro...-budding-peace
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

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