Shabab Militants Learning to Kill on a Shoestring (JEFFREY GETTLEMAN of the NYT)

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“In the pecking order of the world’s leading terrorist groups, the Shabab militants, based in Somalia, operate on a shoestring budget. But as the attack on a Kenyan university last week showed, they have become proficient in something terrible: mass murder on the cheap.”

See the full article here.

Condemnation of Attacks on Somalia Central Hotel (State)

Press Statement

Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
February 20, 2015

“The United States strongly condemns al-Shabaab’s terrorist attack on the Central Hotel in Mogadishu today. We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed in the attack, and wish the injured a speedy recovery.

This murderous attack, targeting government ministers and Members of Parliament, once again highlights that al-Shabaab stands only for death and destruction, and is firmly opposed to the Somali people’s efforts to build a secure and prosperous future.

The United States will continue to support the Somali people and their government as they rebuild their country. Those who stand in the way of Somalia’s progress will not succeed.”

See the article at:

Launch of ICSR report: ‘Al-Shabaab’s Western Media Strategy’


Published on Nov 26, 2012 – “On Wednesday 21 November ICSR’s Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens and Shiraz Maher presented the findings of their latest report, ‘Lights, Camera, Jihad: al-Shabaab’s Western Media Strategy’.”


Key take-aways from this International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation lecture include:


  • The report was not on the Somali Civil War or on the Somali Diaspora.
  • Since 2007, 1,300 Westerns have gone to fight for Al-Shabaab (1,000 were ethnic Somalis, 300 were non-Somalis).
  • Key triggers include the invasion of foreign powers (Ethiopia, AMISOM, and Kenya) as well as Al-Shabaab’s merger with Al-Qaeda.
  • For local nationalist Somali recruitment, money and clan relations are paramount.
  • For international recruitment, a clash of civilizations narrative, effective military competence, and action are vital.
  • Key media mediums include press releases, documentaries, and Twitter
  • Goals of Al-Shabaab’s propaganda are: provide an alternative to mainstream Western media, take control of actions and consequences, project a resemble of order within Al-Shabaab, and display the benefits of Shariah law.
  • The launch video contains a showing of Al-Shabaab’s news report “The Burundian Bloodbath,” the documentary “Under the Shade of the Shariah,” the press release on “Bilal al-Birawi,” and tweets from December 2011 to April 2012.
  • The Islamic Courts Union, a precursor to Al-Shabaab, provided governance to Somalia, which gained the the group remittances from members of the Somali diaspora.
  • A key propagandist of Al-Shabaab was Omar Hammani, who encouraged foreigners to come to Somalia to fight and to learn about Islam.
  • Motives for violent jihad are a desire for adventure, the defense of Muslim lands, the establishment of a caliphate, and faith must be link to action.
  • Key ideological conceptions include an ummah consciousness (Muslim solidarity) and making the hijra (an immigration).
  • Al-Shabaab had a physical infrastructure in the U.S. and U.K. – such as hawala networks for remittances.
  • Somalis within Al-Shabaab want to keep its struggle within Somalia, but foreign fighters want to internationalize jihad.

What is Al-Shabaab? (ICSR)


This video by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation features Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, the ICSR’s head of research, who provides an overview of Al-Shabaab. Key findings include:

1) Its objective is to take over Somalia and establish Sharia law in Somalia.

2) The leadership of Al-Shabaab is aligned with Al-Qaeda.

3) Al-Shabaab has fought guerrilla wars against Western forces since 2006.

4) Al-Shabaab has been routed from its strongholds in Mogadishu and Kismayu by AMISOM.

5) Al-Shabaab is still a regional and domestic threat – as observed in the Westgate attack.

6) Al-Shabaab runs a “Western outreach program” for foreign fighters.




7 awful conflicts that were under-reported in 2014 (WaPo)

This article details conflicts that unlike the fighting in Gaza, Ukraine, and Syria, were not in the media limelight. These conflicts include:

1. Libya

2. Yemen

3. Assam (India)

4. The Sudans

5. Nigeria

6. Pakistan

7. Somalia and Kenya

See the article at:

WaPo. 7 awful conflicts that were under-reported in 2014.” December 29, 2014.