al Qaeda, al Shabaab, and ISIS: Recruiting and Taking Ground

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By Nicholas Hanlon:

The recent interplay between al Shabaab and the African Union military mission in Somalia offers new data on the role of ground troops, the holding of territory, and Islamist recruiting.   After conventional ground forces deprived the al Qaeda linked group of its last stronghold in Baraawe, al Shabaab retaliated with a failed assassination attempt on the Somali president in Baraawe.  To a more tragic effect, they succeeded in killing thirteen innocent civilians in Mogadishu with a car bomb yesterday.  The loss of Baraawe was a big loss for al Shabaab.  They once enjoyed control of two major port cities where they could earn money in exports and bring in weapons and new recruits unchecked.

It is important to keep in mind that as far back as 2007, the FBI was mobilizing to counter al Shabaab’s successful recruiting of Americans among the Somali refugee community.  In 2010, fourteen people were indicted for trying to support al Shabaab.  Individuals among them came from California, Alabama, and Minnesota.  One of the attackers at Westgate Mall in Kenya last year was believed to be from Kansas City, Missouri.

It also helps to keep in mind that al Shabaab was started by lieutenants of Osama Bin Laden.  Now, ISIS internet recruiting strategies are being compared to Al Qaeda’s as next-generation in technical innovation.   Why? The giant terrorist recruiting boon has long since begun.  That fact overshadows the differences between the groups and highlights their overarching unity of purpose.

Harken back to when the pillar of our now president’s foreign policy debate was that Gitmo caused terrorist recruiting.  If only we could close down Gitmo, we could stem terrorist recruiting world wide.  Another re-hashing of counter recruiting strategy also emerges.  Namely, did invading Iraq serve the cause of terrorist recruitment on a grand scale?  Would another boots on the ground campaign amplify recruiting once again in Syria?

Consider the basic elements at work: 1. Globalized social media with a propaganda capability 2. Freedom and ease of individual travel  3. Porous borders and poorly governed territory

Now apply those elements to each case regarding Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and al Shabaab in Somalia.  These categories clearly do not represent the complexity or all of the scenarios involved in the current threat matrix but do serve for an acceptable base line comparison.

In Afghanistan al Qaeda has good propaganda instincts but it is first generation stuff and there is physical distance between terrorist strongholds and a communications infrastructure.  Freedom and ease of individual travel is made difficult by remoteness and lack of transportation infrastructure.  The low level of governance, however, falls in the plus column.

In Iraq and Syria, ISIS is not only the benefactor of al Qaeda and former al Qaeda, they have more travel infrastructure and communications infrastructure.  It is much easier for Americans and Europeans to travel in and out, gain battle experience, and receive training before they return home.  Add to their globalized propaganda capability a free microphone from HBO’s Vice.  Their ability to take territory and govern speaks for itself.  But here is the twist.  Upon return, their media capability extrapolates as it already had been doing among the Somali jihadists.

Al Shabaab in Somalia had success early on with recruiting and importing foreign fighters due to the absence of an opposing force on the ground and control of vital seaports.  The freedom of individual travel beget effective globalized social media even without great communications infrastructure.   The FBI remains deeply concerned about those who have joined the jihad in Somalia carrying out attacks in the U.S. after returning.

What does all of this say to the debate about putting boots on the ground?  Does military intervention not play right in to Islamist strategy?  To be fair, let us quickly paraphrase the Iraq invasion strategy.  The idea was that it is better to fight terrorists with voluntary soldiers on foreign soil than to leave them unchecked and able to mobilize over seas to then launch attacks on U.S. soil.

It may sound simplistic but the ground force operations in Iraq and Afghanistan gave us an intelligence capability and a special forces capability we would have never had otherwise.  Without it, we would have never gotten Bin Laden and a lot of other bad guys.  That capability is no where near what it was since before the Iraq withdrawal.   Further, the U.S. had the un-articulated strategic advantage of new strike capabilities in a theater where we needed more geo-strategic leverage.  That’s gone too.

For the sake of argument, however, let’s say that the Iraq invasion did bring more terrorists out of the woodwork then would have ever otherwise confronted the U.S. unprovoked.   As Sam Harris has recently highlighted, the same ideas animate the overarching actions of all three groups; al Qaeda, al Shabaab, and ISIS.  It is a strategy for global dominance.  In Somalia, early al Shabaab had an ideological enemy, the Siad Barre military regime, long before U.S. foreign policy provided the foil.   His rise had to do with the Soviets whose foreign policy also provided the foil for Bin Laden’s early propaganda successes.

It will  help Islamist propaganda generally when they can use a Western or secular foreign policy or ideology as a foil.  Letting them determine when and where to fight is to concede that jihadists will name the tune that the West will dance to.  As the list of no-good options grows, there is healthy debate and a lot of good reasons why we should not invade  Iraq for a third time.  But a recruiting coup is not one of them.  The factors listed above can account for a robust propaganda and recruiting capability for ISIS, al Shabaab, and al Qaeda.  Further, thanks to social media, the viral effect is in effect.  That ship has sailed and Western leaders are in more dissarray than ever as to what to do about it.

Baraawe reminds us that taking territory away from Islamist terrorist groups can deprive them of money, weapons, and new recruits in the short term.  Iraq teaches us that if we don’t hold the ground taken from Islamist groups, they will take it back.  Neither case address the blood lust or sense of righteousness for their cause in the long run.  Yet their ideas can draw fighters to their banner with or without a U.S. presence on the ground.  A counter ideology capability for the West will not likely emerge in the American political climate.

U.S. Hit on Al-Shabaab Terror Head Called ‘Game-Changer’

Ahmed Abdi Godane, left, leader of Al-Shabaab, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike

Ahmed Abdi Godane, left, leader of Al-Shabaab, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike

By Ryan Mauro:

The Pentagon has confirmed that a U.S. airstrike killed Ahmed Abdi Godane, the leader of Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda’s branch in Somalia. The affiliate is known for its recruitment of Americans. The group has chosen a new leader and reasserted its allegiance to Al-Qaeda.

Al-Shabaab is best known for the September 2013 attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya, killing 63 people. The group is fighting to turn Somalia into a sharia-based state.

The new leader’s name is Sheikh Ahmad Umar Abu Ubaidah. In a statement, the group pledged to retaliate against the U.S. for the assassination of Godane, who has led the group since 2008 and was one of its founders.

“Avenging the death of our scholars and leader is a binding obligation on our shoulders that we will never relinquish nor forget, no matter how long it takes,” the statement read.

Al-Shabaab said he was chosen unanimously, likely to tamper down speculation that a previous internal rift in the organization would be revived. Last year, an important American member of Al-Shabaab named Omar Hammami (also known as Abu Mansur al-Amriki) was killed by the group after a public falling out.

The U.S. airstrike happened 105 miles south of Mogadishu outside the city of Barawe. The U.S. obtained specific intelligence about an Al-Shabaab meeting he was attending and the convoy he was traveling in. Ten other Al-Shabaab terrorists were killed, including five senior commanders.

Witnesses said U.S. commandos arrived after the airstrike and captured the bodies. After the attack, Al-Shabaab began carrying out mass arrests in search of a spy and reportedly beheaded some people found with cell phones.

Western and Somali officials sound optimistic that the killing of Godane will have a profound impact on Al-Shabaab operations.

The Pentagon described it as a “major symbolic and operational loss.” Abdi Aynte, head of the Mogadishu-based think tank Heritage Institute, explained that Godane centralized control of the group. He said his death “is definitely a game changer for al-Shabaab and probably a turning point for the organization.”

Read more at Clarion Project

Also see:

US targets Shabaab’s leadership in southern Somalia

Al Shabaab soldiers sit outside a building during patrol along the streets of Dayniile district in Southern Mogadishu, March 5, 2012. CREDIT: REUTERS/FEISAL OMAR

Al Shabaab soldiers sit outside a building during patrol along the streets of Dayniile district in Southern Mogadishu, March 5, 2012.
CREDIT: REUTERS/FEISAL OMAR

By

The US military is rumored to have targeted Shabaab emir Ahmed Abdi Godane and other senior leaders of al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia as they met at a training camp south of the capital. The US military confirmed it conducted an operation in Somalia yesterday, but did not detail the nature or outcome of the attack.

“We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said yesterday.

Somali officials have said that an airstrike, possibly carried out by the remotely piloted Predators or Reapers, hit a training camp between the villages of Dhay Tubako and Haway along the Shabelle River south of Mogadishu.

The governor of Lower Shabeelle told a Somali-language news site that Godane, who is also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubayr, and Shabaab leaders Muhammad Abu Abdallah, the group’s shadow governor of Lower Shabelle; Muhammad Abu Sham, Godane’s aide; Ali Muhammad Gulled, a logistics officer; Muhammad Husayn Nur (a.k.a. Abu Hamza Al Ayman); Sheikh Muhammad Dulyaden; Iqri Ubayd, a Sudanese operative; and Mubarak Abdallah, a Yemeni, were all present at the camp during the strike.

Shabaab has not released a statement noting the recent death of any senior or mid-level leaders. But the group’s intelligence service, known as the Amniyat, is reported to have rounded up 15 people in the area who are suspected of spying on the group for the US. Shabaab has brutally executed US “spies’ in the past.

US has targeted top Shabaab and al Qaeda leaders in Somalia before

In the past, the US has targeted top Shabaab leaders in drone and conventional airstrikes, as well as special operations raids.

Most recently, on Jan. 26, the US killed Sahal Iskudhuq, a senior Shabaab commander who served as a high-ranking member of the Amniyat, in an airstrike in Barawe, a known stronghold of Shabaab.

The last confirmed US drone strike in Somalia took place on Oct. 29, 2013. The remotely operated US drones killed Anta Anta, also known as Ibrahim Ali Abdi, and two lower-level commanders. Anta Anta was a master bombmaker and suicide operations coordinator for the terror group.

Read more at Long War Journal

ISIS, AL-SHABAAB, AL-QAEDA, MUSLIM RADICALIZATION NETWORKS PROPEL SAN DIEGO TO #4

Douglas-McArthur-McCain-APby MICHELLE MOONS:

Recent discovery of terrorist ISIS fighter Douglas McAuthur McCain’s body in Syria has spurred investigation into the radicalization of Muslims within the United States.

San Diego is fourth on a list of five cities with the most “known or suspected terrorists,” according to recently leaked classified government documents. Following the 9/11 attacks, investigations in San Diego uncovered terrorists and their links to terrorist organizations al Qaeda, al-Shabaab, and ISIS, among others.

Classified government documents obtained by The Intercept include statistics on watch-listed individuals in the U.S. The 2013 document, prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), lists the top five cities with the highest number of known or suspected terrorists (KST) in the U.S. (in order): New York, New York; Dearborn, Michigan; Houston, Texas; San Diego, California, and Chicago, Illinois.

NCTC reports have noted the high level of terrorist activity in Somalia, as terrorist groupal-Shabaab has intermittently controlled various key regions of Somalia. A Center for Disease Control and Prevention document cites Office of Refugee Resettlement statistics that list Minnesota, California, Georgia, and Washington, D.C. as locations where the majority of Somalis have settled in the U.S. Thousands have come to the U.S. as refugees under the banner of fleeing war and persecution in their home country. Current population estimates of Somali-born individuals living in the U.S. range from 35,760 to 150,000.

In fiscal year 2014 so far, October 1-July 20, 290 Somalis either turned themselves in or were caught trying to sneak into the U.S. undetected through official ports of entry, according to a leaked U.S. Customs and Border Protection report obtained by Breitbart Texas. In 2010, KPBS reported on circuitous routes taken by Somalis looking to cross into the U.S. over the southwest border. Those routes would take Somalis through locations including Cuba and Tijuana, Mexico before crossing into the U.S.

In November, 2013, three Somali men in San Diego, cabdriver Basaaly Saeed Moalin, local mosque imam Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud, and money transmitter Issa Doreh were sentenced for crimes involving conspiring to or providing material support to the Islamic Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab. An FBI press release described jihadi group al-Shabaab as “a violent and brutal militia group that engages in suicide bombings, targets civilians for assassination, and uses improvised explosive devices.”

Somalia has been marked “a desirable haven for transnational terrorists, something al-Qaeda has tried to capitalize on before, and is trying again now,” according to a Council on Foreign relations analysis.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said of the three men sentenced, “Months of intercepted phone conversations included discussion of suicide bombing, assassinations, and jihad,” according to the release. Evidence at trial showed that the defendants “conspired to transfer the funds from San Diego to Somalia through the Shidall Express.”

Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and the U.S. Attorney’s office were commended by multiple people involved in the 2013 case for their tireless and effective efforts to dismantle the effort to provide support for terrorists.

A fourth man, San Diego cabdriver Ahmed Nasiri Taalil Mohamud, was also convicted for charges of conspiracy. “Moalin, a taxi driver, reportedly taught weekend classes at the local Somali mosque. Mohamud, an imam, has led prayer services at Masjid Al-Ansar for the past 10 years,” according to a 2010 post on the Anti-Defamation League website. Masjid Al-Ansar is located just over a block from Masjid Nur.

Breitbart recently reported that Masjid Nur is the mosque associated with Douglas McAuthur McCain, an American recently killed fighting for ISIS in Syria. McCain was from Minnesota, but worked and went to college in San Diego.

August 29, Breitbart Texas released a newly leaked document from the Texas Department of Public Safety, warning federal agents of ISIS’s active efforts to exploit weaknesses in the U.S. southwest border. The warning referred to “Outright calls for ISIS to infiltrate the southwestern border through Mexico to stage terrorist attacks.” Though the report focused on Texas, Breitbart Texas confirmed agents received the ISIS terror warning across the entire U.S.-Mexico border.

Read more at Breitbart

Also see:

Recognizing the risks of Somali remittances

Somali HawalaBy  A.D. Kendall:

Last week, Bell State Bank in North Dakota announced that it would stop doing business with companies that remit money to Somalia.  The move follows decisions by Minnesota banks in 2011 to stop providing Somali remittance services, and an attempt by Barclays last year to cut off its partnership with Dahabshiil, a money transfer company with primary operations in Somalia.  The banks have been challenged in courts on both sides of the Atlantic, and advocacy groups have heavily criticized the banks’ decisions on humanitarian grounds.

Indeed, humanitarian considerations are of the utmost importance.  Unfortunately, money transferred to Somalia, particularly through Dahabshiil, all too often falls into the wrong hands and perpetuates the cycle of violence in Somalia.  Banks should stand fast in their original decisions, and here are five reasons why:

1.  The risks are real.  The frequency of cases involving Somalis in the West transferring funds to al-Shabaab over the last few years presents genuine concerns to financial institutions.  For instance, four men in California were found guilty last year of transferring money to al-Shabaab through Shidaal Express, a Somali hawala business.  Two Somali women in Minnesota were sentenced in 2013 for sending money to al-Shabaab through several remittance channels including local hawala dealers and Dahabshiil.  A Saudi-American was also indicted last year for wiring money to al-Shabaab.  In 2012, a man in London admitting transferring £8,900 to fighters in Somalia.  Danish intelligence revealed in 2012 that the equivalent of thousands of dollars a day is sent to terrorist organizations outside of Denmark—mostly to Somalia, and often unwittingly.

Apart from the risks on the ground in Somalia, Western banks have real reasons for concern that if they continue relationships with Dahabshiil, they could subsequently be fined by regulators at a future date if political winds change.  U.S. banks are surely aware, for example, that decisions on whether to fine, settle with, or prosecute banks with lax compliance programs have a great deal to do with the shifting political and prosecutorial priorities of whoever happens to be in charge at the Department of Justice and the financial regulatory agencies.  One official may take a very friendly view toward facilitating Somali remittances this year, but a different person will be calling the shots two years from now.

2. The risks are not decreasing.  Gone are the days of 2012 when al-Shabaab appeared to be on the ropes in 2012 both financially and militarily.  Al-Shabaab was able to turn around its financial situation after the fall of Kismayo by cutting deals with occupying forces.  Al-Shabaab continues to profit from imposing taxes on commodities such as charcoal and sugar, and their role as ivory trade middlemen between poachers and buyers appears to be growing.  Al-Shabaab is still capable of carrying out devastating strikes such as the Westgate Mall attack and the recent assault against Somalia’s presidential palace that left 11 dead.

Read more at The Terror Finance Blog

A.D. Kendall has been blogging about terrorist financing since 2009 at moneyjihad.wordpress.com Follow him on twitter @MoneyJihad

U.S. State Department Policy Facilitates Al Qaeda in Somalia, Syria

female syrian rebelBY TAREK FATAH:

Just when you thought amateur hour had run its full course at the U.S. State Department, events in Somalia and Syria — two war zones where al-Qaida is a major player — show American ineptness has a lot more to offer.

First, came news the man hand-picked by Secretary of State John Kerry to act as the sole conduit for aid to Syria’s rebels, Gen. Salim Idriss, has been dismissed by the very Supreme Military Council of the Syrian “moderate” opposition he was supposedly heading.

Now, with no leverage on the ground, it appears the U.S. has given a walkover to whoever wins the Iran vs. Saudi Arabia proxy war in Syria.

With an insurgency that’s dominated by Islamist factions, including groups with connections to al-Qaida, even the best outcome will leave Syria in the hands of hostiles.

Further south in Somalia, the government that is supposedly an ally of the West has been accused of smuggling Western-supplied arms meant for the Somali army straight into the hands of the pro al-Qaida army of al-Shabab .

The “UN Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group” last week issued a confidential report accusing the Somalia government of allowing the diversion of weapons meant for its own army into the hands of a leader of the al-Qaida linked Islamist militant group, al-Shabab.

Read more at Clarion Project

Londoners Sign Muslim Petition to Mutilate Girls Because “It’s Their Culture”

h-450x225By Daniel Greenfield:

Political correctness has wonCivilization has lost.

A Londoner who suffered female genital mutilation has warned that political correctness is hampering the fight to stamp it out after asking people to sign a fake petition in its favour.

Leyla Hussein, 32, said many were scared to speak out against FGM because they were worried about criticising another culture.

She decided to conduct an experiment to see “how crazy political correctness has become” but was left in tears by the end.

Approaching shoppers with the petition supporting FGM, she told them she wanted to protect her  “culture, traditions and rights”.

In only 30 minutes 19 people signed it with some saying they believed FGM was wrong but because it was part of Ms Hussein’s culture they would add their names. Only one person refused to sign.

Ms Hussein, who was cut when she was seven in Somalia, said: “Four women held me down and cut my clitoris. I felt every single cut. I was screaming so much I just blacked out.”

“I kept using the word ‘it’s just mutilation’. They were like ‘yes, you are right’. How can anyone think that’s okay?”

She added: “FGM is not culture, it is violence. Stop using the culture word. This is happening to children. We are human beings, we can’t watch children being cut, I don’t care what culture you belong to.”

People have been so trained to ignore their common sense and moral instincts when the right liberal buzzwords are uttered that they are capable of participating in the worst crimes.

 

Somali Norwegian Al Shabaab Suspects Revealed in Nairobi Westgate Mall Attack

Al Shabaab attackers inside Nairobi Westgate Mall Source:  Reuters

Al Shabaab attackers inside Nairobi Westgate Mall
Source: Reuters

By Jerry Gordon:

Both the New York Times and CNN have new reports discussing Norwegian Somali émigrés, including the planner involved in the  Al Shabaab attack on the Nairobi Westgate mall, September 21, 2013. See our NER report in the current October 2013 edition, “Al Shabaab is a Threat to the World at Large.” These latest reports resulted from Norwegian  Intelligence  (PST) investigations in both Norway and Kenya.   As noted in our October 10 Iconoclast post of a Long War Journal report , one of the Norwegian suspects was the subject of a failed US Navy Seals Raid at Baraawe in Somalia. We noted:

The Norwegian intelligence agency PST today announced the launch of an investigation into reports that a Norwegian was involved in the Shabaab massacre at the Westgate Mall in Kenya. The suspect is a Norwegian of Somali origin, and may be an acquaintance of the al Qaeda affiliate’s external operations chief, Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir, also known as Ikrima.

According to the BBC, the PST has dispatched investigators to Kenya to determine the extent of the Norwegian suspect’s involvement and to help prevent new terror threats. The inquiry also aims to see if the suspect is linked to Shabaab. PST section leader Jan Glent also said he could not rule out “more Norway-linked suspects,” Reuters reported.

These latest reports also reflect the forensic remains  that were found of only four Al Shabaab fighters secured from the rubble of the Westgate Mall in the rampage that killed 67 and wounded hundreds.  More than 1,000 escaped the upscale Nairobi mall that sustained significant and extensive damage from the counter attack by Kenyan security forces.

Watch this latest Reuters footage of the Westgate Mall CCTV video from the attack that was released on Thursday, October 17, 2013.

Counterterrorism officials who follow Al Shabaab movements in the West warn about the al Qaeda affiliate group’s ability to range beyond war torn Somalia to hit targets in major émigré centers.  The  US and Scandinavia being illustrative of what we have discussed in several Iconoclast posts and a major NER article, Foot Soldiers of IslamOne expert quoted in the CNN report on these latest developments in Norway commented:

“What you have to look out for, also in the United States and the United Kingdom and all these other Scandinavian countries, are these small  networks that are in one sense detached also from the Somali community leaders — radicalized groups of youths and radical preachers, sheikhs, that go traveling around the various countries to try to incite,” he said. “That’s what we have to watch these days.”

CNN profiled  Shabaab commander, Ikrima, a Kenyan Somali Muslim who spent time in Norway:

Kenyan intelligence sources say that Ikrima, who speaks six languages and grew up in Kenya, is the main “point person” between al Qaeda in Somalia and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and that he has helped pinpoint Kenyan targets.

Morten Storm, a former informant who has worked for several Western intelligence agencies, has told CNN that he developed a close relationship with an Al-Shabaab figure called Ikrima between 2008 and 2012. He said he is confident that it’s the same person who was targeted by U.S. forces.

Read more at New English Review

Kenya mall attackers prayed, talked on cell phone between shootings:

Possible Suspect in Westgate Mall Al Shabaab Massacre sought by Norwegian Intelligence

Ikrima-Norway-thumb-560x314-2519(1)

Unidentified Norwegian woman and alleged Westgate Mall Al Shabaab commander Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir, aka Ikrima  Source:  TV2

By Jerry Gordon:

A hat tip to Fjordman blogger.

A suspect in the Nairobi Westgate Mall massacre may be a Norwegian Citizen of Somali origin and a possible acquaintance of   al Shabaab commander “Ikrima” sought in an unsuccessful US Navy Seal Team Six raid in Baarwe, Somalia last weekend.  BBC reported that Norwegian Intelligence (PST) is investigating that possibility.  Kenyan security authorities have also identified the remains of four of the Jihad perpetrators   Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta apologized in a  Star article in for the bungled operation that witnessed more than 62 civilians and six Kenyan security personnel killed, extensive damage and looting  to the upscale mall in Nairobi.  The Star report cited police allegations that the Westgate Mall attack may have been planned in both Norway and Somalia. These reports indicate the broad reach of Al Shabaab recruitment among disaffected Somali refugees and asylees in the West.  One of the major UNHCR Somali refugee camps in Kenya at Dadaab might have been a staging area for the Westgate Mall attack.

The Long War Journal has this updated report on these latest developments,“Norwegian authorities looking for Westgate massacre suspect”.

The Norwegian intelligence agency PST today announced the launch of an investigation into reports that a Norwegian was involved in the Shabaab massacre at the Westgate Mall in Kenya. The suspect is a Norwegian of Somali origin, and may be an acquaintance of the al Qaeda affiliate’s external operations chief, Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir, also known as Ikrima.

According to the BBC, the PST has dispatched investigators to Kenya to determine the extent of the Norwegian suspect’s involvement and to help prevent new terror threats. The inquiry also aims to see if the suspect is linked to Shabaab. PST section leader Jan Glent also said he could not rule out “more Norway-linked suspects,” Reuters reported.

The PST statement did not identify the suspect by name, but said he was a Norwegian citizen who had allegedly been involved in the planning and execution of the attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall last month. Over 62 people were killed in the four-day siege, which has been claimed by Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia.

Norwegian press reports indicate that Shabaab external operations chief Ikrima spent time in Norway several years ago. He arrived in 2004 and applied for asylum there. Norway’s TV2 said he had stayed “at a reception center in Moelv in Hedmark from 2004″ and for several years after that.

Hamisi Zahidi, a fellow asylum seeker who knew Ikrima at the time, told the Norwegian news outlet that Ikrima disliked Norwegians and Norwegian culture, and was known to be involved in terrorist recruitment in Norway and elsewhere. While in Norway, Ikrima lived in the Oslo area but also visited Somalia, TV2 said. Ikrima departed Norway in 2008 without having received a decision on his asylum application.

The US failed to capture Ikrima in a raid in Somalia on Oct. 5, but reportedly two Shabaab operatives during the raid, including a “Swedish Somali” said to be Abdi Qadar. The Department of Defense said that Ikrima is “a top commander in the terrorist group al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda affiliate,” who had been “closely associated” with two deceased senior al Qaeda and Shabaab leaders, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed and Saleh al Saleh Nabhan.

Also on Oct. 5, Kenya named four of the Westgate Mall attackers: Abu Baara al-Sudani, a Sudanese; Omar Nabhan, a Kenyan; Khattab al-Kene, thought to be a Somali; and Umayr, whose surname and nationality were not disclosed. Shabaab has been known to use non-Somalis for attacks in the past, including American suicide bombers.

The subject of the investigation is a Somali Norwegian who holds a Norwegian passport, according to an NRK report, and is not Ikrima.

Read more at New English Review

Kenyan Parliament Rethinking Somali Immigration after Bloody Mall Carnage

410958-nairobi-westgate-shopping-mall-siege-450x300By :

It’s something that we should be thinking seriously about as well. We’ve already had a major Somali attempted terror attack here. That one was intercepted and prevented, but we can only get lucky so many times before we have our own Westgate.

A Kenyan parliamentary committee is to call for camps for Somali refugees in the country to close in the wake of the Westgate mall attack, a senior MP says.

Ndung’u Gethenji, head of the defence committee, told the BBC he had reports that “some of these facilities are being used as a training ground”.

More than 500,000 Somalis have sought refuge from war and poverty in Kenya.

Mr Gethenji said that Kenya had to rethink “its hospitality in supporting refugee camps within our borders”.

Kenya is host to the largest refugee camp in the world, Dadaab – home to about half a million people – while it is believed that more than 30,000 Somali refugees live in Nairobi alone.

Somalia is violent and Islamist run. Importing large numbers of Somalis into your country is simply asking for trouble.

In the past decade, Burmese have been the largest group of refugees resettled to the United States with 88,348 (or 17 percent of the total 515,350 refugees) being resettled since 2002. The next two groups are Iraqis (12 percent, or 62,902) and Somalis (11 percent, or 58,050).

Or to put it another way, there are three times as many Somalis in America as there are in Nairobi. That’s far too many. And the consequences are already ugly.

Read more at Front Page

See also:

Al Shabaab Recruitment of Somali-Americans Threatens National Security

SOMALIABY: :

Somali-American youth will remain vulnerable to recruitment by al Shabaab, the al Qaeda-affiliated group that perpetrated the attacks on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, last month, and pose a threat to national security absent a more effective U.S. strategy to prevent their radicalization, experts said Thursday.

The attacks on the mall in Nairobi by more than a dozen heavily armed members of the Somalia-based al Shabaab, reportedly including several Americans, killed more than 70 people and wounded more than 200.

More than 40 Americans from cities with large Somali immigrant populations such as Phoenix, Ariz. and Minneapolis, Minn. left to join al Shabaab between 2007 and 2010, either through the U.S.-Mexican border or by legally flying out of the United States, according to testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee by Seth Jones, associate director of the RAND Corp.’s International Security and Defense Policy Center.

Many become suicide bombers in Somalia because of their lack of direct clan ties to family members there, while others, like Kamal Said Hassan and Abdifatah Yusuf Isse from Minneapolis, have returned to the United States and have been convicted of providing material support to a terrorist group. Al Shabaab released a 40-minute video in August glorifying what it called its “Minnesota Martyrs,” three men who the group said sacrificed their lives in the name of global jihad.

Don Borelli, chief operating officer of the Soufan group and a former counterterrorism agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), said many of the Americans are lured overseas by al Shabaab’s “nationalist agenda” of expelling “foreign invaders” from the Somali homeland.

However, new American recruits to al Shabaab can easily be co-opted into the global jihadist movement, Borelli said. He pointed to a similar scenario in 2009 when authorities foiled the New York subway attack plot by Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan-American who originally traveled back to his homeland to fight but was convinced by al Qaeda that he could be more effective back in the United States.

“Just because a young person might be enticed to join al Shabaab to defend his Somali homeland, this doesn’t mean he isn’t a threat to the U.S.,” he said. “Our fear is that while Somalis here in the U.S. may travel to Somalia with a nationalist agenda and intend to stay and fight there, they could be converted into following the global agenda—the al Qaeda agenda—and return to the U.S. to launch attacks here.”

The Westgate mall attack outside of Somalia’s borders suggests al Shabaab is increasingly advancing the cause of international jihad, testified Richard Downie, deputy director of the Africa Program for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Read more at Free Beacon

 

U.S. Taxpayers to Pay for Spread of Turkish, Qatar Islamism

Erdogan and ObamaBY RYAN MAURO:

Millions of American taxpayer dollars will be spent promoting the Muslim Brotherhood brand of Islamism to counter the Al-Qaeda brand of Islamism. The U.S. is teaming up with the Islamism-promoting governments of Turkey and Qatar to try to influence Muslim youth in a more positive direction.

The U.S. and the Islamist government of Turkey have announced a $200 million fund for programs that will supposedly promote non-violence among Muslims in terrorist hotspots like Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

The total is to be raised over 10 years, with the U.S. provided $2-3 million (at first), along with Turkey, Canada, various European countries and “private sources.” The only other Muslim country mentioned as a partner besides Turkey is Qatar.

As the sole Muslim participants in the fund, Turkey and Qatar will be the ones crafting the Islamic message against Al-Qaeda.

The fund, called the Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience, will bolster local programs like vocational training, social networks and new school curriculums.

The thinking behind this fund is the same flawed thinking that upholds the Muslim Brotherhood as the moderate, democratic, non-violent alternative to Al-Qaeda. This logic was articulated by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in testimony on January 31, 2012—testimony that came after his previous embarrassingly inaccurate explanation of the Brotherhood:

“Al-Qaeda probably will find it difficult to compete for local support with groups like the Muslim Brotherhood that participate in the political process, provide social services and advocate religious values. Non-violent, pro-democracy demonstrations challenge Al-Qaeda’s violent jihadist ideology and might yield increased political power for secular or moderate Islamist parties.”

Read more at The Clarion Project

 

White Widow Samantha Lewthwaite ‘plotted Nairobi mall massacre from secret lair just 100 yards away’

samantha-lewthwaite-TOPIC-2294554By Russell Myers:

The fugitive White Widow plotted the bloody Kenyan mall massacre from a secret lair just 100 yards away, security forces believe.

British mum-of-three Samantha Lewthwaite – now the world’s most wanted woman – rented a house opposite the shopping centre where crazed Muslim fanatics later slaughtered up to 150 people, they say.

Police sources said a “delicate operation” was now under way to search properties around the Westgate mall since the horrific four-day gun siege erupted in Nairobi a week ago.

Interpol has issued a worldwide alert to find 29-year-old Muslim convert Lewthwaite and sources revealed that a huge part of the probe centred on her being “ghosted” into Somalia – base of terror group al-Shabaab, which has claimed r­esponsibility for the attack.

A source said: “Nothing is being ruled out, but a major strand of the investigation is looking at Lewthwaite having been in Nairobi more than once in the last few months but then travelling back across the border to Somalia.

“She has known links in the country and surrounding areas. Everything is being done to find her.”

A Turkish man arrested attempting to board an international flight at capital Nairobi’s JKI airport on Tuesday is said to own the property Lewthwaite allegedly used to plot the bloodshed.

The man, in his 40s or 50s, is also understood to be linked to a shop hired by the ­militants to store a deadly arsenal of weapons in preparation for the siege.

He has lived in the African country for three years and detectives were last night quizzing him over his potential connection to members of al-Shabaab.

It is also possible that he may have rented the shop to them unwittingly.

Sources said Lewthwaite, the daughter of a former British soldier, may have been seen in Kenya just 12 weeks ago.

She is the ex-wife of 7/7 suicide bomber Germaine Lindsay, who killed himself and 26 innocent people on a packed London Tube train in 2005.

The White Widow has previously travelled around the world under a number of false aliases and was forced to flee South Africa with her children after running up massive debts using a fake ID in the name of Natalie Webb.

She had been renting a home in a suburb of Johannesburg.

Read more at The Mirror

 

Separating the Kafirs from the Muslims

hsm tweetBy Bill Warner:

When the al Shabaab jihadi group from Somalia attacked the mall in Kenya, they gathered the crowd together and asked who were Muslims and let them go.  According to the media, they then started killing the non-Muslims who were left.  But “non-Muslims” is not the word what the terrorists would have used.  No, they would have called them Kafirs.  (Actually, they would have called them the Arabic plural of kafirkuffar.  “Kafirs” is the standard English plural form.)

Why did members of al Shabaab do this?  Why did they ask the Muslims to leave and keep the Kafirs and start killing them?  Let’s start with the word “terrorists.”  Members of al Shabaab are not terrorists; they are jihadists, or mujahedeen.  That is what they call themselves.

So what difference does it make which words we use?  It makes all the difference in the world.  You cannot think precisely with imprecise words, and a Kafir is much more than non-Muslim.

The word “non-Muslim” does not imply anything, except not being a believer in Islam.

Kafir, on the other hand, has enormous implications.  Kafir is the actual word that the Koran uses for a non-Muslim.  Indeed, one of the many remarkable things about the Koran is that over half of its text is devoted to the Kafir.  Think about that: most of the Koran is not about how to be a Muslim, but about the Kafir.  Every single verse about the Kafir is not just bad, but terrible.  Allah hates Kafirs and plots and schemes against them.  The cruelest punishments await the Kafir in hell, but who cares about that?  The real problem is what is promised to the Kafir in this life — torture, hatred, death, ridicule, rape, enslavement, political domination, and deception.

It is the same with “mujahedeen” or “jihadist” as opposed to “militant” or “terrorist.”  The words “militant” and “terrorist” do not tell anything about the motivation of the militant or terrorist — only that he uses violence.

Read more at American Thinker

 

Nairobi Attack Prompts Debate Over Shabaab’s Reach

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by IPT News: