Miscues at U.S. counterterrorism base put aircraft in danger, documents show (WaPo)

Djibouti

“The skies above the U.S. military’s counterterrorism hub on the Horn of Africa have become chronically dangerous, with pilots forced to rely on local air-traffic controllers who fall asleep on the job, commit errors at astronomical rates and are hostile to Americans, documents show.

Conditions at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, the base for U.S. pilots flying sensitive missions over Yemen and Somalia, have become so dire that American warplanes and civilian airliners alike are routinely placed in jeopardy, according to federal aviation experts and documents obtained by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act.”

Read the full article here.

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OSINT – Al-Shabaab

Also Known As: The Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin; al-Shabab; Shabaab; the Youth; Mujahidin al-Shabaab Movement; Mujahideen Youth Movement; Mujahidin Youth Movement

Description:  The United States designated Al-Shabaab, a paramilitary wing of the Islamic Courts Union, as a FTO on March 18, 2008. Al-Shabaab has fought against the Ethiopian occupation, the Somali Transitional National Government, the Somali Transitional Federal Government, and AMISOM. Al-Shabaab formally merged with AQ Central in February 2012.

Targets: Key targets of Al-Shabaab include Somali military and civic members, U.N. targets of opportunity, AMISOM troops, and soft targets in AMISOM-sponsoring nations (such as Uganda, Djibouti, and Kenya).

Activities: Al-Shabaab has executed numerous attacks against its targets, including cross border raids and bombings. The Kampala bombings on July 11, 2010 killed 76 people. The Westgate Mall siege in Nairobi lasted from September 21-24, 2013, resulting in over 65 civilian casualties from 13 foreign countries. Al-Shabaab also remains a potent force in Somalia, launching guerrilla raids against AMISOM and SNA troops, as well as governing rural patches.

Diplomacy: Al-Shabaab’s leadership has a mutually beneficial relationship with AQ affiliates in the Horn of Africa, such as Boko Haram and AQAP. Al-Shabaab receives ideological guidance and best practices from AQ, while the Al-Shabaab governed areas provides AQ with a safe-haven. Moreover, Al-Shabaab is able to work pragmatically with other actors in Somalia, such as tribal elders and pirates.

Propaganda: Al-Shabaab’s psychological operations wing is “Al-Kataib.”

Strength:  Several thousand, with regional affiliates in Kenya (MYC/Al-Hijra) and Tanzania (AMYC).

AO: Horn of Africa (Somalia, borderlands of Kenya and Ethiopia, and urban areas of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Tanzania, and Burundi).

Funding and External Aid:  Al-Shabaab uses TNOC, such as charcoal and sugar smuggling, to fund its operations.

Al-Shabaab's AO, courtesy of the NCTC

Al-Shabaab’s AO, courtesy of the NCTC

Local Media:

AllAfrica. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Coastweek. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Daily Nation.Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Dalkayaga. “Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

The East African. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Hiiraan. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Kenya News Agency. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Mareeg Media. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Ogaden News. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Sabahi. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Somali Current. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Somalia Newsroom. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Somalia Report. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Standard Digital. Al-Shabaab.” Accessed December 27, 2014.

The Star. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Wardheer News. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Global Media:

Al Jazeera. Inside Kenya’s Death Squads.” December 9, 2014.

BBC. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

BBC. In 60 seconds: Who are al-Shabab?” June 18, 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

BBC. “Who are Somalia’s al-Shabab?” May 16, 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

CNN. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Foreign Affairs. “Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Foreign Policy. “Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

The Guardian. “Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

The Guardian.Q&A: Somalia’s al-Shabaab rebel group.” August 16, 2011. Accessed December 26, 2014.

NPR. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

NYT. “Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

NYT. Backgrounder: Al-Shabaab.” March 2, 2009. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Reuters. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

VICE News. “Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

VOA. Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

WaPo. “Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Think Tanks / Academic:

AEI. “Somalia.” Accessed December 26, 2014.

Brookings. “Al-Shabaab.” Accessed December 26, 2014.

Brookings. “Al Shabaab: Background on the Somalia-based Terrorist Group that Attacked a Nairobi Mall.” September 23, 2013. Accessed December 26, 2014.

CFR. “Al-Shabab.” September 5, 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

CFR. “Al-Shabaab.” January 25, 2011. Accessed December 26, 2014.

CRS. “Al Qaeda-Affiliated Groups: Middle East and Africa.” October 10, 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

CRS. “Al Qaeda and Affiliates: Historical Perspective, Global Presence, and Implications for U.S. Policy.” Accessed December 26, 2014.

CRS. “Countering Terrorism in East Africa: The U.S. Response.” November 3, 2010. Accessed December 26, 2014.

CRS. “Horn of Africa Region: The Humanitarian Crisis and International Response.” January 6, 2012. Accessed December 26, 2014.

CRS. “The September 2013 Terrorist Attack in Kenya: In Brief.” November 14, 2013. Accessed December 26, 2014.

CRS. “Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace.” August 31, 2011. Accessed December 26, 2014.

CRS. “U.S.-Kenya Relations: Current Political and Security Issues.” September 23, 2013. Accessed December 26, 2014.

CSIS. “Al-Shabaab.” Accessed December 26, 2014.

CTC. “Al-Shabaab.” Accessed December 26, 2014.

ICG. “Kenya.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

ICG. “Somalia.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

ISW. “Al-Shabaab.” Accessed December 26, 2014.

Jihadology. “Al-Shabab.” Accessed December 26, 2014.

SITE. “Al-Shabaab.” September 21, 2013. Accessed December 26, 2014.

Stanford University. “Al-Shabaab.” Mapping Militant Organizations. September 30, 2013.  Accessed December 26, 2014.

TRAC. “Al-Shabaab.” Accessed December 26, 2014.

Government:

Defense Department. “Al-Shabaab.” Accessed December 26, 2014.

DIA. “Annual Threat Assessment.” February 11, 2014.

NCTC. “Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

State Department. “Al-Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

State Department. “AL-SHABAAB.” Chapter 6: Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Country Reports on Terrorism 2013.

USDOTSOMALIA. Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.

VOA Somalia. “Shabaab.” 2014. Accessed December 26, 2014.