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


“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.


US law enforcement accused of using entrapment to ensnare ‘terrorists’ (Al-Jazeera)

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“The recent arrests on terrorism-related charges of six young Somali-Americans from Minneapolis and others throughout the United States have prompted renewed questions over the issue of entrapment, and over the degree of real security achieved by disrupting plots that law-enforcement had helped shape.

The six, ages 19 to 21, were charged with conspiracy to aid and support a terrorist organization, and are accused of trying to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also called ISIS).

“These were focused men who were intent on joining a terrorist organization,” Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andy Luger said at a news conference.

But the case relies partly on a confidential human source (CHS), who had been a part of the group seeking to join ISIL before he began cooperating with the FBI.”

Read the full article here.

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: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/02/237728.htm#

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.