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Somali Al Shabaab Movement Becoming Increasingly Powerful

November 9, 2010

Somali Al Shabaab Movement Becoming Increasingly Powerful

November 9- Militant Islam Monitor-In an article entitled "Somalia's Al Shabaab ‘youth movement' becoming ‘strongest Al-Qaeda force on the planet' journalist James Gordon Meek reports:

"If you make the assumption that the thousands of Shabaab adhere to the same ideology as their leadership, then that's the strongest Al Qaeda force we have on the planet," a defense official told the Daily News.

"If they are able to leverage those thousands, that is not good," the official said. "Just think about what a thousand people could do - a crazy amount of bad stuff."

Law enforcement in the United States are worried that naturalized Somalis living in this country will go abroad for training and return to commit terrorist attacks here.

One Somali American ,Shirwa Ahmed, became the first American suicide bomber when he blew himself up in an attack against the Somali government in 2008.

In a recent tape leading Al Qaeda cleric Anwar Al Awlaki praised Al Shabaab "brothers".


MIM: In an article circulated by the Foreign Policy Research Institute entitled "Al Shabaab in Somalia: An Assessment" David Shinn writes of the sucess Al Shabaab has had in recruiting members from abroad.


Al-Shabaab has developed one of the more effective
recruitment programs found among militant Islamist groups.
It has been particularly successful in the large Somali
diaspora in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Africa
and Australia. There are an estimated two million Somalis
living in the diaspora. While the number of Somali recruits
is tiny compared to the number living in the diaspora, the
relative success of the recruitment program has focused
unprecedented attention on al-Shabaab, particularly in the
United States. The earliest American recruits had a mixture
of backgrounds. A small number of American converts to
Islam arrived in Somalia late in 2006. By early 2007,
recruitment had begun in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area,
location of the largest Somali community in the United
States. Small numbers of young Somalis also began leaving
for Somalia from Seattle, Boston, Portland, Maine, and
Columbus, Ohio. These early recruitment efforts went largely
unnoticed by American security personnel.[14]

By mid-2009, more than 20 young Somalis, most of them from
Minnesota, joined al-Shabaab in Somalia. This is, however, a
minuscule percentage of the more than 100,000 Somalis in the
United States. One reason the numbers are so low is concern
that an al-Shabaab victory in Somalia would destroy the
Somali remittance system, which is the backbone of the
Somali economy.[15] The recruits from the United States
represent a wide variety of backgrounds. Some have criminal
and gang backgrounds; others are good students and were
thought to be upstanding citizens. Most seem to have been
motivated by a complex mix of politics and faith. The
arrival of Ethiopian troops in Somalia late in 2006 and a
surge of nationalism among young Somalis in the diaspora
motivated a significant number of them. Al-Shabaab
recruiters came to Minnesota and paid cash for their air
fare to the region.[16]

Diasporas in other countries have also been subject to
successful al-Shabaab recruitment. The Somali community in
the United Kingdom, estimated at 250,000, is the largest in
Europe. Somali community leaders there fear that up to 100
young men and women have joined al-Shabaab. The recruits
from the United Kingdom also include a few of Pakistani,
Bangladeshi and West African origin. The head of MI5, the
United Kingdom's counter-intelligence and security agency,
said it is only a matter of time before there are terrorist
attacks in the UK inspired by those fighting with al-
Shabaab.[17] There are about 25,000 Somalis in Sweden. The
Swedish state security police estimate that about 20 people
have joined al-Shabaab or one of the other armed opposition
groups in Somalia. The Swedish government believes that five
have been killed and at least ten remain at large in
Somalia.[18] The Australian government charged several young
men linked to al-Shabaab with a plot to attack a Sydney
military base.[19] The security and intelligence service in
Denmark, which has a Somali community of about 10,000,
warned that several members of this community have been
recruited by al-Shabaab.[20] Small numbers of Somalis in
Canada, Germany and Norway have also responded to al-
Shabaab's call to arms.

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