US soldier killed battling al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia

Long War Journal, by Bill Roggio, May 5, 2017:

A US soldier was killed yesterday outside the capital of Mogadishu while fighting Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia. The casualty took place just five weeks after the Trump administration approved the expansion of military counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda in the Horn of Africa.

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced the death of an American soldier “during an operation against al-Shabaab near Barii, Somalia, approximately 40 miles west of Mogadishu.” According to AFRICOM, American forces “were conducting an advise and assist mission alongside members of the Somali National Army.”

The nature of the operation against Shabaab has not be disclosed, and it is unknown how many casualties Shabaab incurred during the fighting. Previously, US forces have partnered with Somali forces to target training camps, bases, and other infrastructure used by Shabaab to launch attacks in the region.

AFRICOM described Shabaab as “a threat to Americans and American interests” and said the group “has murdered Americans; radicalizes and recruits terrorists and fighters in the United States; and attempts to conduct and inspire attacks against Americans, our allies and our interests around the world, including here at home.”

Scores of Americans are thought to have traveled to Somalia to wage jihad. Americans have served in top leadership positions in Shabaab, and three Americans are confirmed to have carried out suicide attacks in Somalia, more than in any other theater of war.

US forces are partnering with Somali and African Union forces to “to systematically dismantle this al Qaeda affiliate,” according to AFRICOM.

Shabaab has had success in disrupting one other special operations force raid in the past. In January 2013, Shabaab repelled a raid by French General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) commandos and killed one solider and captured another. The DGSE forces were attempting to free two of its members who were captured by Shabaab in Mogadishu. They were executed after the raid.

Expanding operations against Shabaab

The Trump administration has loosened the restrictions on the US military to use force against Shabaab. On March 30, the Pentagon announced that “The president has approved a Department of Defense proposal to provide additional precision fires in support of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali security forces operations to defeat Shabaab in Somalia.”

“This authority is consistent with our approach of developing capable Somali security forces and supporting regional partners in their efforts to combat Shabaab,” the Pentagon statement continued.

The Pentagon’s desire to actively target Shabaab reflects the growing concern that al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa is gaining strength despite the presence of both AMISOM and US forces. Over the past year, Shabaab has regained control of some towns and rural areas in the south that it lost during an AMISOM offensive that began in 2011. In addition, Shabaab has stepped up suicide attacks and guerrilla operations both in and around the capital of Mogadishu. Furthermore, Shabaab used a sophisticated laptop bomb in an attempt to down a Somali airline in 2016. This attack was cited by the US government as one of the reasons that electronics have been banned in the cabins of airplanes departing from ten airports in the Middle East. [See What’s really behind Trump’s laptop ban.]

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.

Also see:

The Truth Behind Media’s New Favorite Euphemism: ‘Muslim-Majority Countries’

Breitbart, by John Hayward, March 9, 2017:

Both versions of President Trump’s executive order have been caricatured as a “Muslim ban,” even though they applied to only six or seven specific countries, leaving 90 percent of the world’s population out of the mix.

The fallback euphemism is to say that Trump is “banning” immigration (they never say it is conditional and temporary) from several “Muslim-majority” countries. This is also misleading because those countries are not merely inhabited by a majority of Muslims. They are Muslim countries, period. They all have some form of Islamic law written into their legal codes.

With Iraq removed from the equation, the remaining nations affected by the order are Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia. The original executive order did not list the affected nations; it merely referred to Obama-era legislation that named them as nations of particular concern. The revised version of the order does name the affected nations because it explains why each of them is on the list.

The first version of the order did not mention Islam at all. The revised version does, but only to explain why the first order did not because this is not a “Muslim ban”:

Executive Order 13769 did not provide a basis for discriminating for or against members of any particular religion. While that order allowed for prioritization of refugee claims from members of persecuted religious minority groups, that priority applied to refugees from every nation, including those in which Islam is a minority religion, and it applied to minority sects within a religion. That order was not motivated by animus toward any religion, but was instead intended to protect the ability of religious minorities — whoever they are and wherever they reside — to avail themselves of the USRAP in light of their particular challenges and circumstances.

Islam is not a “minority religion” in any of the six countries named by the order. In fact, all six of them officially incorporate Islamic sharia law into their legal codes.

Of the six, Iran is an outright Islamic theocracy. Its Supreme Leader is the Ayatollah, a top-ranking Muslim cleric. Iran’s legal code is explicitly based on sharia, with a smattering of civil ordinances thrown in. Iranian courts have been known to invoke sharia for such judgments as requiring a woman to be blinded in retribution for throwing acid in a victim’s face.

Iranian law nominally has some protections for religious minorities, but the absolute supremacy of Islam is not questioned. Observers have reported that religious freedom is growing steadily worse in the theocracy.

Libya is the most complex of the six nations to classify, because it does not have a functioning central government at all, following Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s disastrous intervention – a fact the mainstream media prefers not to dwell on. “Libya’s post-revolution legal system is in flux and driven by state and non-state entities,” as the CIA World Factbook tactfully puts it.

The capital city of Tripoli was seized by an Islamist coalition, with the Muslim Brotherhood a major player. Another is Ansar al-Sharia, a Salafist Islamic militia. The presence of “sharia” in its name is not a coincidence; they declared Libya an Islamic “caliphate” in 2014.

There has been success in the battle against Libyan ISIS, but al-Qaeda is still a major player. U.N.-backed unity governments tend to include a lot of people from the more extreme wings of Libyan politics. They have to because Islamists are a powerful political force in the country.

Another major force in chaotic Libya is widely described as a “secularist,” General Khalifa Haftar. Some observers wonder just how “secularist” he really is, especially if he gains control of the country and has to make deals with the powerful Islamist elements he is currently fighting.

Haftar is an old Qaddafi hand, and while the late dictator is remembered as a brutal and mercurial secularist loathed by hardline Islamists in Libya, he was sometimes given to Islamist sentiments of his own. For instance, Qaddafi once declared Islam was the only universal human religion and said, “all those believers who do not follow Islam are losers.” He named his son and once-presumed successor Saif al-Islam.

Libya’s future is a question mark, but it is highly disingenuous to describe even its present state as merely “Muslim-majority.” The interim Libyan constitution of 2011 begins with the invocation of “Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate,” states that Islam is the official religion of the country, and declares “sharia shall be the main source of legislation.” Until and unless a different constitution is put into effect by an internationally-recognized national government, Libya is a Muslim nation.

Somalia officially imposed sharia law through its Cabinet in 2009. “Islamic Sharia is the only option to get solutions for the problems in this country,” one minister declared. Less than 0.1% of the population follows a religion other than Islam.

The Somali government banned Christmas celebrations in December 2015, because “having Muslims celebrate Christmas is not the right thing,” as a top official put it. He likened Christmas celebrations to apostasy and said they are “not in any way related to Islam.” Foreigners were graciously allowed to celebrate Christmas in their homes, but even hotels were instructed to prevent guests from holding celebrations.

The al-Shabaab terrorist organization thinks the central government is not Islamist enough and imposes an even harsher sharia code on the sizable portions of the country it effectively controls. Many of the people living under al-Shabaab control have told interviewers they support its legal code.

Sudan is officially an Islamic state with a sharia legal code. Even the leaders of breakaway South Sudan, which want to return to a common-law system on the British model, have been struggling to purge sharia from the legal system.

Sudan, like Somalia, is not “majority Muslim” – it is about 96% Muslim, and the 3% Christian minority is brutally persecuted, despite some nominal legal protection for other religions. World Atlas notes that “some interpretations of the Muslim Law in the country fail to recognize or accept apostasy and marriages to non-Muslims,” and concludes that “Sudan leads the world as the most difficult country for Christians since freedom of religion or belief is systematically ignored.”

Syria is an uncomfortable case, as some religious minorities say they fared much better under the Assad dictatorship. Some Syrian Christians bluntly refer to Bashar Assad as their “protector” and have similar hopes for the intervening Russians. Of course, critics of the brutal Syrian regime argue that Assad’s alliance with Christians is purely cynical, and even accuse him of inflaming the Christian fear of Muslims for political gain.

Assad’s government is nominally secular, while even most of the “good guy” rebels supported by Western powers practice Islamic law through sharia courts. Syrians in contested areas complain that different sharia courts loyal to various factions, from “moderates” to hardcore al-Qaeda Islamists, issue conflicting verdicts.

At the height of the rebellion, many Syrians expressed a desire to replace the Syrian Arab Republic with an Islamic state. Then they found themselves saddled with the Islamic State, which may have led some of them to reconsider. However, there are still calls to impose sharia across Syria, portraying it as an instrument of peace and justice.

Having said that, the constitution of the “secular” Syrian Arab Republic explicitly requires the president to be a Muslim, and requires that “Islamic jurisprudence shall be a major source of legislation.” This was true of both the older constitution and the revised document prepared in 2012.

The same article declares “the State shall respect all religions, and ensure the freedom to perform all the rituals that do not prejudice public order,” but there is no question: Syria is a Muslim nation, not a “Muslim-majority nation.” Islam enjoys a privileged position in its legal code that Western liberals would not tolerate without comment from any other religion.

Yemen practices a mixture of sharia law and common law in what passes for its central government – which, of course, was overthrown by the Houthis, a Shiite Muslim insurgency supported by the Iranian theocracy. The internationally recognized Yemeni government has said the Houthis want to transform Yemen into a caliphate ruled by lineal descendants of Mohammed.

Even Houthi spokesmen who strongly disagree with that characterization have said they think “sharia should be one of the main sources of the law in Yemen, not the only source.”

The large portions of Yemen controlled by al-Qaeda are noted for the strict rule of Islamic law, including the oppression of women. Al-Qaeda regards the failure to strictly obey sharia as “debauchery.”

The Constitution of the Republic of Yemen explicitly declares it to be an Islamic state, and stipulates “sharia is the source of all legislation.” Islam is unambiguously named as the official state religion. Denouncing Islam is a crime punishable by death. Over 99% of the population is Muslim.

Iraq: Even though it is no longer listed in Trump’s executive order, it should be noted that Iraq is an explicitly Islamic nation, according to its 2005 constitution. “Islam is the official religion of the State and is a fundamental source of legislation,” Article 2 declares. “No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.”

Religious freedom is nominally protected, as long as the supremacy of Islam is acknowledged by all: “This Constitution guarantees the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people and guarantees the full religious rights of all individuals to freedom of religious belief and practice such as Christians, Yazedis, and Mandi Sabeans.”

Some Iraqi clerics agitate for stricter adherence to sharia law, which introduces the dangerous question of whether Sunni or Shiite law should reign supreme.

The incorporation of Sharia law into the legal codes of these countries occurs to a degree that would revolt the American Left, if any religion except Islam was involved. Rest assured that no one in today’s mainstream media would describe, say, 15th-century Spain as a “majority Catholic” nation.

For that matter, they do not seem inclined to describe Israel as “majority Jewish”; they simply refer to it as a “Jewish state.” Israel is, in fact, only about 75% Jewish. A recent effort supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party to formally define Israel as a Jewish state failed, in part due to concerns that it could lead to discriminatory policies against the Arab population.

Its legal code includes extensive protection for religious minorities, and there are Muslim and Druze members of its parliament. Last November, one of them staged the Muslim call to prayer during a parliamentary session to protest a bill that would prevent all places of worship from using loudspeakers to summon their worshipers, because it was seen as unfairly targeting mosques.

Equivalent stunts are unwise for members of religious minorities in “Muslim-majority nations,” including the six listed in President Trump’s executive order.

In conclusion: all of the nations mentioned in both versions of President Trump’s executive order are Muslim countries, period. Every single one of them has Islam as the state religion and bases its legal code on sharia. Not a single one of these countries is a “Muslim-majority” nation that practices full and complete religious pluralism under a secular government.

Corruption, Terrorism, and Genocide: The 7 Nations Covered by Trump Executive Order

AP/Various

AP/Various

Breitbart, by John Hayward, January 31, 2017:

The media is misrepresenting President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugee admission as a “Muslim ban” – or, more cleverly, a ban on immigration from “Muslim-majority countries.”

In truth, the ban applies to everyone from seven specific countries. In fact, one of the first families caught at the airport when the executive order went into effect was a Christian family from Syria.

These seven nations were not chosen at random. They were all singled out as exceptional security risks in the Terrorist Prevention Act of 2015 and its 2016 extension. In fact, President Trump’s order does not even name the seven countries. It merely refers to the sections of U.S. Code that were changed by the Terrorist Prevention Act:

I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order.

A different section of the executive order does refer to Syria specifically, because it calls for the indefinite suspension of Syrian refugee admissions, until such time as the President believes security concerns have been adequately addressed.

The list of seven nations affected by Trump’s executive order was, therefore, compiled by President Barack Obama’s Department of Homeland Security, in a series of judgments that actually goes back to Obama’s first term, circa 2011. Barack Obama made this list, not Donald Trump, and there was very little resistance from congressional Democrats at any step in the process of arriving at the final list of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

Nor should there have been congressional resistance, because that list is eminently sensible. Several of these countries are disasters because of Obama foreign policy, while others were security nightmares long before he took office. Here is a review of current conditions in those nations:

Iraq: Of course, Iraq is currently fighting the Islamic State for control of Mosul and other captured territories. This is creating a flow of both retreating ISIS fighters and refugees from contested areas.

ABC News notes that while some Iraqi soldiers fighting in Mosul “feel a little bad” about Trump’s exec order, as one of them put it, others understand his reasoning. “We don’t want our doctors and professors to keep going to another country and make it greater than our own,” said one Iraqi soldier, who punctuated his comment by exclaiming, “Honestly, I love Trump!”

Many of the Iraqi refugees have been mistreated by local forces, which could easily make them targets for radicalization. The UK Guardian reported on Sunday that human rights groups are processing complaints about the outright torture of children suspected of connections to the Islamic State, which in turn has an extensive program for radicalizing children and turning them into brainwashed jihadi killers.

Shiite militia groups backed by Iran, some of which were murdering U.S. soldiers just a few years ago, are heavily involved in the fighting. There are concerns these emboldened, battle-tested, heavily armed militias will move into Syria and cause a new sectarian crisis. Many of these groups are units of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, for all intents and purposes, and would become shock troops for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as he finishes off the last elements of the rebellion against him.

The Iraqi government, it must be said, does not have the most sterling record for honesty and efficiency. Transparency International recently rated Iraq’s government as one of the most corrupt in the entire world. The Iraqi parliament reflexively responded to Trump’s executive order with an ill-considered “reciprocity ban” that will do significant damage to the Iraqi nation if enacted, at the very moment it is fighting a desperate battle to drive out ISIS. That is not the kind of government that can be readily trusted to provide the data needed for “enhanced vetting.”

Iran: Contrary to the fictions peddled by the Obama Administration, Iran is still very much an enemy of the United States. Its government is actively involved in subversive efforts across the Middle East, and around the world.

Even in the last months of the Obama administration, long after Obama’s huge economic concessions and cash payments to Tehran, the State Department continues to classify Iran as the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism. The State Department remains concerned about “a wide range of Iranian activities to destabilize the region.”

The Iranians are still taking hostages, including U.S. citizens. They put their hostages through sham “legal proceedings” involving secret courts and lawyers who are not always permitted to speak with their clients. They store their hostages in hideous prisons that would pass inspection in no civilized country.

On Sunday, Iran continued its defiance of Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with yet another secret test of a banned ballistic missile.

Syria: It is astonishing that anyone thinks “vetting” is possible for many refugees from war-torn Syria, whose sinister central government still does not control many parts of the country.

ISIS, of course, is headquartered in Syria, and al-Qaeda is one of the strongest military forces in the rebellion. Syrian resistance groups are so difficult to screen that the Obama administration could only find tiny handfuls of reliable “moderate” fighters to arm and train; they were promptly kidnapped, killed, or co-opted by terrorist groups after Obama deployed them. The “white hat rebel” program ended as a laughingstock across the Middle East.

Terrorist groups are still hunting down and destroying “moderate” rebel units to this very day, even during the “ceasefire” brokered by Russia, Turkey, and Iran. Worse, Syria has become a pressure-cooker for jihad, with groups once regarded as moderate becoming unmistakably radical over the past five years.

ISIS militants fleeing the battlefields of Iraq have been falling back into Syria, while Syrian ISIS fighters have been fleeing from their own battlefield reversals. The return of Islamic State militants, and other battle-hardened jihadis, from Syria to Western nations has long been seen as a major security concern.

The Syrian civil war is universally regarded as one of the worst humanitarian crises in history. Every party to the conflict has been blamed for causing civilian casualties, while some of them deliberately target civilians. The Assad regime has used indiscriminate conventional weapons, and weapons of mass destruction, against rebel-held districts. Civilians have been deprived of food, power, sanitation, and medicine in besieged areas for months, sometimes for years. This will create a huge population that is susceptible to radicalization by terrorists who blame Western powers for either inflicting horror upon civilians, or failing to prevent it.

Libya: Due to the U.S. media’s poor reporting on the continuing disaster of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya, most Americans probably do not realize Libya still lacks a functioning central government. The brief spate of coverage after the rise of Libyan ISIS ended with reports that a “Government of National Accord” had been installed, but in truth it only controls a portion of the country, and some observers believe it is on the verge of collapse. A Qaddafi-era general named Khalifa Haftar is working to seize power, and the Russians have been cozying up to him. The end result of Obama policy in Libya could very well be another Russian client state in the Middle East.

Haftar currently controls the government that used to be recognized by the international community as Libya’s legitimate administration. That government was chased out of the national capital, Tripoli, by a coalition of Islamist militias, widely known as Libya Dawn. They are still a force to be reckoned with, and constitute the third major Libyan government.

ISIS is still a serious problem in Libya, as demonstrated by U.S. air raids against Islamic State positions on President Obama’s very last day in office. “They have been largely marginalized but I am hesitant to say they’ve been completely eliminated in Libya,” a U.S. defense official said at the time.

Somalia: Somalia has been fighting a vicious insurgency from an Islamist terror organization called al-Shabaab, whose name means “The Youth.” It aggressively recruits young Muslims, including young Somalis living in the United States.

The group has links to both al-Qaeda and ISIS. The primary leadership decided not to swear fealty to the Islamic State, leading to something of a schism between different factions of al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab is not just a gang of furtive terrorists lurking in the shadows – it effectively controls large portions of rural Somalia, and has been waging war against neighboring Kenya. An attack launched just this weekend killed dozens of Kenyan troops, according to al-Shabaab claims disputed by the Kenyan government.

Al-Shabaab is one of the most savage Islamist terror organizations in the world, responsible for horrific massacres like the slaughter of 150 students at Garissa University College in April 2015, and 67 murdered at the Westgate shopping center in the Kenyan capital. An attack on the Dayah hotel in Mogadishu killed eight people just last week.

Al-Shabaab killers are notorious for asking potential victims to prove they are devout Muslims in order to spare their lives.

Somalia’s government was ranked the most corrupt in the world by Transparency International, in the same study that named Iraq one of the worst. That is not exactly news, because Somalia’s government has been listed as the most corrupt on Earth for ten years straight. For the sake of comparison, the Number Two and Three worst governments on Transparency International’s list are South Sudan and North Korea.

Somalia’s most recent elections were an absurd carnival of bribes and voter intimidation, even with U.N. oversight. The BBC declared the country “has not had a functional national government since the ousting of its former leader Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.”

Sudan: As mentioned above, the Sudanese government is a corrupt disaster. The country actually split in half in 2011. Over 1.5 million people have been killed in the Sudanese civil war, while 2 million refugees have been displaced from the Darfur region.

The president of the Republic of Sudan is an iron-fisted Islamist dictator named Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been in power for over 25 years, after seizing power in a 1989 coup that came after two decades of civil war.

Bashir is wanted for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. Those charges have been pending since 2009. There are actually three counts of genocide against him. He is supposedly under an international travel ban, but he travels anyway, occasionally cutting his trips short when he thinks he might be arrested.

The Sudanese government imposed sharia law on its provinces in the Nineties. Bashir has been linked to Janjaweed militias, which serve as his own personal storm troopers, noted for their scorched-earth tactics and indiscriminate use of mass-casualty weapons against civilians. Some observers fear the Janjaweed will eventually ship Bashir’s leash and overthrow the government in Khartoum.

Sudan is listed as a state sponsor of terrorism and, until recently, it was politically aligned with Iran. Sudan has proven to be friendly terrain for all sorts of gangsters and terrorists, although its political realignment over the past few years reportedly included more cooperation on counter-terrorism, in a bid to get off the American list of terrorist sponsors. Even after that realignment, Hamas terrorists seemed to have little trouble traveling through Sudan, or raising money there.

Yemen: Yemen is a horrifying bloodbath of civil war and terrorist insurrection, which ties many of the other nations on this list together. Sudan, for example, has been part of Saudi Arabia’s coalition in Yemen, ever since it turned away from Iranian patronage.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting a proxy war in Yemen, where there have been over 10,000 civilian casualties. The U.S. has been providing weapons to Saudi Arabia, whose coalition is blamed for many of the civilian deaths, so Yemeni resentment of the United States is a very real factor to consider when estimating the dangers of radicalization.

The U.S. blocked an arms sale to the Saudis in December 2016 after a Saudi coalition airstrike hit a funeral in the capital of Sana’a, leading to 140 deaths. The Saudi coalition has also been criticized for bombing Doctors Without Borders hospitals.

The internationally-recognized government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi was displaced by an Iran-backed Shiite insurgency from the Houthi minority, aided by forces loyal to the previous president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Describing the state of Yemeni government as “chaotic” would be a vast understatement. Major cities like Sana’a have been subjected to violent takeovers and sieges, while the Yemeni wilderness is largely controlled by al-Qaeda.

On Sunday, a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed, and three others wounded, in a firefight with al-Qaeda forces in central Yemen. Fourteen al-Qaeda fighters were reportedly killed, including the brother-in-law of the late al-Qaeda guru, Anwar al-Awlaki. It was the first counterterrorism operation authorized by President Trump.

In October, the U.S. Navy was obliged to strike ground targets in Yemen, after missiles were fired at American ships stationed off the coast.

Takfiri “Al Shabab” On Rampage in Somalia

640px-aqmi_flag_asymmetric-svg_-1

They have captured a town, murdered a theater troop, and attack an African Union military base within the last week.

CounterJihad, October 26, 2016:

Islamic extremist group al Shabab, a violent offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union that once attempted to govern Somalia, has staged a series of guerrilla attacks in the last week.  In Kenya, they struck a troop of non-Muslim actors trying to bring awareness of a new program to provide textbooks to regional schools.  Twelve of the actors were killed in an attack that featured grenades and homemade explosives, finished off by militants with guns who stormed the building and murdered the wounded.

The attack is part of a campaign to drive non-Muslims, and especially Christians, from educational facilities in the region.  In this it is similar to Boko Haram, another African Islamist group that targets educators and schools in an attempt to control the minds of the youth.  Though the claim is that Western education is a kind of propaganda, Western mathematics and medicine are being denied to the people of these regions in an attempt to make sure that they learn nothing that might cause them to question the conservative interpretations of Islam favored by these militants.  Though they are quite similar in this way, the two groups are not formally aligned.  Boko Haram is allied with the Islamic State (ISIS), whereas al Shabab’s affiliation is with al Qaeda.

Separately, yesterday another group of Shabab militants attacked an African Union (AU) military base hosting troops from Djibouti.  The complex attack featured a truck bomb followed by coordinated small arms fire.  The military forces claim that they not only repelled the attack, but killed all members of the attacking force.  Shabab’s spokesmen say that the attack was a reprisal for massacres allegedly conducted by the AU forces.  Djibouti is an American ally, hosting Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonnier, an old French Foreign Legion base that is currently the only permanent base for US forces in Africa.

In addition to this, al Shabab captured a city in Somalia in the last week.  Allied Ethiopian forces fled before them, leaving them to occupy the city of Halgan.  However, this is the third time this month that the militants have captured that city.  So far the Somali government has managed to put together enough of its own or allied forces to retake the city.  The Ethiopian forces built trenches and fortifications, but appear to have elected to destroy them and flee rather than use them to stand and fight against the Islamists.  While this does at least deny al Shabab the benefit of the fortifications, it is unclear why these professional soldiers would not or could not hold their posts against guerrilla forces from a dug-in position.

Early this month al Shabab even managed a car bomb attack on a restaurant in the capital city of Mogadishu.

How Islamic terrorists infiltrate U.S. airport security

Yusuf Abdi Ali, a Somali Muslim and suspected war criminal, was deported from Canada and given refuge in the U.S., where he worked as a security guard at one of the nation’s busiest airports. (Credit: CBC)

Yusuf Abdi Ali, a Somali Muslim and suspected war criminal, was deported from Canada and given refuge in the U.S., where he worked as a security guard at one of the nation’s busiest airports. (Credit: CBC)

Booted from Canada, Somali ‘war criminal’ finds new ‘rights’ in America

WND, by Leo Hohmann, June  3, 2016:

The fact that a Somali Muslim war criminal booted from Canada could somehow land a job at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., appears shocking on its face – but at least six dozen other employees with suspected terror links have been caught working at U.S. airports.

A CNN investigation found that Yusuf Abdi Ali, who is accused of committing atrocities while he was a military commander during Somalia’s civil war, has been living a quiet suburban life in posh Alexandria, Virginia, for about 20 years, CNN reported.

He was deported from Canada after that country found out about his past. But he found refuge in the U.S., which gave him a visa based on his marriage to a Somali-American woman who claimed to be a refugee fleeing war in Somalia. But even that claim turned out to be bogus, as the woman had falsified her refugee application. Still, nothing has been done to remove either Ali or his wife from the U.S.

Watch CNN report on Somali war criminal employed as security guard at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.

As shocking as it may sound, this is not the first incidence of an immigrant with ties to Islamic terrorism or other crimes working at an airport in America.

Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request in March reveal 73 people employed by major airlines at 40 airports nationwide were flagged for potential ties to terrorism.

Terrorism-linked employees have also been flagged at Boston’s Logan International Airport, Seattle’s Sea Tac Airport, Denver International Airport, Honolulu International Airport, Dallas Love Field, San Francisco International Airport, and Los Angeles International Airport, among others.

These employees were not properly vetted because the TSA said it did not have full access to terrorist databases during their hiring, according to an Inspector General’s report.

“Without complete and accurate information, TSA risks credentialing and providing unescorted access to secure airport areas for workers with potential to harm the nation’s air transportation system,” the report found.

In 2014, three Somali “refugees” with ties to either ISIS and/or al-Shabab were arrested after it was discovered they had plans to travel overseas and fight with the terrorist organizations. All three had security clearances for jobs at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport that allowed them to go into areas travelers were not allowed, Fox 9 reported.

Read more

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Islamic State Expands to East Africa With New Allegiance Pledge

Illustrative picture. (Photo: ISIS propaganda)

Illustrative picture. (Photo: ISIS propaganda)

Clarion Project, April 10, 2016:

A new terrorist group in Somalia has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State styling itself “Jabha East Africa” (The East-African Front).

In a statement the group recognized the Islamic State’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the “rightful Khalifa (leader) of all Muslims.”

“We in Jahba East Africa are advising all East Africans to leave al-Shabaab and their sponsor groups, like Al-Muhajiroun, Al-Hijra and Ansar Islam,” the statement said.

“Like Al-Shabaab the sponsor groups have not understood the binding obligation of the Khalifah (caliphate).

“We are telling the mujahideen in East Africa that al-Shabaab has now become a psychological and physical prison.

“To pledge bayah to Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is freedom for the mujahideen in East Africa and opportunity to wage jihad according to the Sunnah against the enemies of Allah.”

Despite rumors circulating that Somalia’s primary jihadist group Al-Shabaab was considering pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, the group has not yet done so. The Islamic State has accepted pledges of allegiance from terrorist groups around the world. The most notorious of the Islamic State’s vassals is Boko Haram, now styling itself the Islamic State in West Africa. Boko Haram reportedly has a higher body count than the Islamic State’s main army in Syria and Iraq.

Other important ISIS vassals include Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in the Egyptian Sinai.

On Saturday April 9 a car bomb killed three people at a restaurant in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.

U.S. Air Strike Kills 150 al Shabaab Fighters in Somalia

SOMALIAWashington Free Beacon, by Morgan Chalfant, March 7, 2016:

The United States carried out an air strike in Somalia over the weekend that killed approximately 150 militants belonging to the terror group al Shabaab, the Pentagon said Monday.

The air strike was carried out Saturday at the al Qaeda-linked terror group’s “Raso” training facility, which is located about 120 miles north of the Somali capital Mogadishu, Reuters reported. U.S. officials said that the fighters were training for a large-scale attack against American Special Operations forces and their allies in the region.

“We know they were going to be departing the camp and that they posed an imminent threat to U.S. and to Amisom, African Union mission in Somalia forces, that are in Somalia,” Capt. Jeff Davis, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said.

Davis described the strike as an “air operation” and said no U.S. forces participated on the ground.

The Defense Department had been monitoring the training camp for weeks leading up to the air strike and had evidence that the militants posed an imminent threat to American troops and their allies. Davis refused to provide specific information about who or what the group may have been intending to target.

“Their removal will degrade al Shabaab’s ability to meet the group’s objectives in Somalia, which include recruiting new members, establishing bases, and planning attacks on U.S. and Amisom forces there,” Davis stated.

The Pentagon spokesman added that up to 200 fighters were present at the training camp when the strike occurred. The Defense Department is confident that no civilians were killed.

It is believed that the al Shabaab operatives were struck during a graduation ceremony, the New York Times reported. One official said that the fighters were “standing outdoors in formation.”

Al Shabaab militants have claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks across the region, including the 2013 attack on the Westgate mall in Kenya and, more recently, the February attack on the SYL hotel in Mogadishu.

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