Saturday, February 11, 2012

Shabaab formally joins al Qaeda

Shabaab and al Qaeda have announced their formal merger, according to a video disseminated online today and translated by the SITE Intelligence group. In the video, Mukhtar Abu al Zubayr (a.k.a. Ahmed Abdi Aw Mohamed or Godane), the emir and cofounder of Shabaab, pledges his organization's allegiance to al Qaeda, and Ayman al Zawahiri, the emir of al Qaeda, accepts.

"O our beloved Emir, on behalf of my brothers in al Shabaab al Mujahideen Movement, commanders and soldiers, I say: We give allegiance to you to follow the Book of Allah and the Sunnah [traditions] of His Messenger, to listen and obey in good and bad, to have altruism and not dispute with people in their fields except when we see clear unbelief that is proven in the revelation from Allah as much as we can," Zubayr says in his address to Zawahiri, according to SITE's translation.

"Lead us on the path of martyrdom and jihad, on the steps drawn by our martyred Imam Usama [bin Laden]," Zubayr adds.

In his portion of the video, Zawahiri claims that the "jihadi movement is growing...despite the fiercest Crusader campaign in history launched by the West against Muslims." Zawahiri continues:
"Today, I have pleasing glad tidings for the Muslim Ummah that will please the believers and disturb the disbelievers, which is the joining of the Shabaab al Mujahideen Movement in Somalia to Qaedat al Jihad, to support the jihadi unity against the Zio[nist]-Crusader campaign and their assistants amongst the treacherous agent rulers who let the invading Crusader forces enter their countries."
The announcement is hardly surprising. Al Qaeda and Shabaab have long been closely linked. And Shabaab's leaders have repeatedly proclaimed their allegiance to al Qaeda.

During an interview in December 2011, Zubayr highlighted the role al Qaeda has played in Somalia since the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu. In 2010, according to an account published by Reuters, Zubayr signed a statement saying that Shabaab had "agreed to join the international jihad of al Qaeda."

Al Qaeda has praised Shabaab and its predecessor, the Islamic Courts Union, for years prior to accepting Shabaab into the fold. And for years al Qaeda has helped produce propaganda for the Islamic Courts and Shabaab, and has addressed the group in its own propaganda tapes. Osama bin Laden endorsed the Islamic Courts during a speech back in 2006.

"We will continue, God willing, to fight you and your allies everywhere, in Iraq and Afghanistan and
in Somalia and Sudan until we waste all your money and kill your men and you will return to your country in defeat as we defeated you before in Somalia," bin Laden said. Al Qaeda leaders Ayman al Zawahiri and Abu Yahya al Libi have also directly addressed Shabaab and voiced their support for the terror group's activities.

During the summer of 2008, Shabaab sought to formally join al Qaeda. By the end of that year, al Qaeda had indicated that it had all but formally accepted Shabaab as its official affiliate in East Africa.

In September of 2008, Shabaab formally reached out to al Qaeda's senior leadership in an effort to better integrate with the network and its strategic nodes across Africa and the Middle East. The effort came in the form of a 24-minute video that featured Saleh ali Saleh Nabhan, a dual-hatted al Qaeda and Shabaab leader.

In the tape, Nabhan declared an oath of bayat (loyalty) on behalf of Shabaab to bin Laden and al Qaeda and encouraged fighters to train in Shabaab-run camps and participate in the fight against the transitional federal government, Ethiopian forces, and African Union peacekeepers. A public response to Shabaab's declaration came two months later, on Nov. 19, 2008, when al Qaeda operations chief Ayman al-Zawahiri acknowledged the group in a propaganda video by calling them "my brothers, the lions of Islam in Somalia."

"[R]ejoice in victory and conquest," Zawahiri said, in an official transcript acquired by The Long War Journal, "and hold tightly to the truth for which you have given your lives, and don't put down your weapons before the Mujahid state of Islam and Tawheed [oneness with god] has been set up in Somalia."
Despite the close ties between the two terror groups, al Qaeda's senior leadership "instructed Shabaab to maintain a low profile on al Qaeda links," a senior US intelligence official who closely follows al Qaeda and Shabaab in East Africa told The Long War Journal in August 2010. The official, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, said the information was passed between the top leadership of both groups.
"Al Qaeda has accepted Shabaab into the fold, and any additional statements would only serve to draw international scrutiny," the intelligence official said.

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Roadside bomb kills 5 Afghan police, wounds another

Map of Afghanistan with Oruzgan highlighted
Image via Wikipedia
TRINKOT, Afghanistan, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Five policemen were killed and another sustained injuries as a roadside bomb struck a police van in Uruzgan province, 370 km south of Kabul on Friday evening, a police official confirmed Saturday.

"A mine planted by anti-government militants struck a police vehicle outside provincial capital Trinkot yesterday evening, leaving five policemen dead on the spot," deputy to the provincial police chief Gulab khan told Xinhua.

Another police was injured in the incident, he said.

He also blamed the enemies of peace, a term used by Afghan officials against Taliban militants for organizing the attack; but the outfit has yet to make comment. 
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Suicide bomber detained in eastern Khost province

According to local authorities in eastern Afghanistan, Afghan security forces curb a suicide bomber to target Afghan government officials in eastern Khost province.

The officials further added, a government employee who was working in provincial governor office was detained in connection to insurgency attack plot.

Barilai Rawan a spokesman for provincial governor media relations office said, the detained suspected militant was recognized as Samdullah and was looking to carry out a suicide bomb attack at governor’s office.

Mr. Rawan further added, Samiullah used to work in the secretariat of the provincial governor office and was employed by the militants group for the job to carry out insurgency attack.

He also added, the detained suspected insurgent is currently under the probe of the security forces and he has confessed to his crimes during the preliminary investigations.

Samiullah the detained suspected militant said, he was employed by the militants group to carry out suicide bomb attack at the administrative secretariat of the provincial governor office.

This comes as several other insurgents have been detained in connection to the suicide bomb attacks in this province recently.

A teenager suicide bomber, Shafiq 13 resident of South Waziristan was detained around 2 years ago who wanted carry out suicide bomb attack at the provincial governor compound, and was later freed by Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai last year also freed another 20 teenager suicide bombers and vowed to send the detained suicide bombers outside of the country to continue their education.

Ismail Haqmal, Khost province.

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Taliban leader detained in southern Helmand province

According to a statement issued by International Security Assistance Force, Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban leader during an operation in Nad ‘Ali district, Helmand province.

The statement further added, the leader used specialized weapons to conduct direct-fire and roadside bomb attacks against Afghan security forces throughout Marjeh district.

The statement also added, 1 additional suspected insurgent was detained during the operation.

In the meantime combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered an explosives cache during a patrol in Kajaki district, Helmand province.

According to coalition security force officials, the cache consisted of approximately 1,280 pounds (582 kilograms) of explosive materials and approximately 370 improvised explosive device components.

The security force destroyed all explosives and IED components on site without incident.

Afghan led and coalition supported security force conducted a security operation in Maiwand district, Kandahar province.

During the operation, the security force seized several improvised explosive device components and a number of Afghan police uniforms.

Several suspected insurgents were detained by Afghan security forces for further questioning. No civilians were harmed during the operation.
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