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Al Qaeda's ties with Al Shabaab grow.

Interesting Article: Mysterious al Qaeda 'envoy' dispenses aid in Somalia by PAUL CRUICKSHANK / Somalia published Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A recent article by a CNN terrorism analyst spoke about a mysterious figure that was in Somalia, with fair skin speaking in near perfect North American English delivering aid that al Qaeda had purportedly collected, including food, clothing and $12,000 converted into Somali currency. So who is he?


According to the article, the figure was surrounded by al Shabaab militants and his name is Abu Abdulla Almuhajir. Supposedly he is an envoy of al Qaeda leader, Ayman al Zawahiri. A video showing the images and audio recording was posted to Islamist websites last week. U.S. counter-terrorism agencies are still trying to ascertain Almuhajir's identity and whether he really was an al Qaeda envoy -- about which there is some doubt. If authentic, the event suggests a strengthening of the relationship between hard-line factions of al Shabaab and al Qaeda. Though factions of the group have long been allied with al Qaeda and share its vision of global jihad, the video of the meeting would be a rare demonstration of such ties. In September, the U.S. Africa Command warned that Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram in Nigeria and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb were trying to synchronize their efforts to launch attacks on U.S and Western interests, but had yet to show a significant capability to export terror. The al Shabaab-run camp that Almuhajir visited is on Mogadishu’s outskirts, and it is where the al Shabaab have been essentially imprisoning thousands of starving people. Witnesses said al Shabaab fighters had plucked desperate people off buses and taken them to their camp at gunpoint, and recent pictures sneaked out by Somali aid workers revealed skeletal children, their skin cracking off and their entire rib cages visible. It is thought to be al-Qaeda’s first aid distribution in famine-hit Somalia. Muhajir also praised bin Laden for waging jihad in Somalia for three decades. He alludes to the infamous two-day-long First Battle of Mogadishu, in which 18 US soldiers and hundreds of Somalis were killed. Al Qaeda claims to have trained the local Somali militia and participated in the fighting and the shoot-down of a US Army Black Hawk helicopter. Over the years, several Americans and Canadians are believed to have joined al Qaeda and risen through the group's hierarchy threfore, analysts have been trying to place who this individual is; the most prominent has been Oregon-born Adam Gadahn, 33, al Qaeda's English-language spokesman who joined forces with the group around a decade ago. But counter-terrorism analysts say that Gadahn's voice (and waistline) is very different from that of the mysterious al Qaeda envoy pictured in the Al-Shabaab video. Another candidate is Adnan Shukrijumah, 36, an American citizen born in Saudi Arabia who spent much of his youth in New York and South Florida, who joined al Qaeda around the time of 9/11 and rose up the ranks to become a planner for the group's external operations. Then there is Jude Kenan Mohammed, 22, from Raleigh, North Carolina. He is believed to be still at large in Pakistan after leaving the United States in October 2008 to allegedly wage jihad. Just after he arrived, he was arrested by Pakistani officials, charged with weapons possession and released on bail. The following year, he failed to show up to his court hearing, suggesting he may have slipped into tribal areas. Another candidate might be Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, a 27-year old from Alabama, whose real name is Omar Hammami, has produced Al-Shabaab hip-hop videos in an effort to extend the group's appeal to English-speaking youths. Despite several unconfirmed reports that he had been killed, Hammami remains on the FBI's most-wanted list. But his voice is not an obvious match to that of the mysterious al Qaeda envoy. In June, 2011, Shabaab's spokesman said that the Somali terror group has sworn allegiance to Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda's new leader, and will follow his orders. Zawahiri was officially appointed to lead al Qaeda by the terror group's central command on June 16. Zawahiri has succeeded Osama bin Laden, the co-founder of al Qaeda and emir who led the terror group over the course of three decades. Shabaab merged with al Qaeda in November 2008, after requesting to join the international terror group in September 2008. Top al Qaeda leaders, including slain emir Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, and Abu Yayha al Libi, have praised Shabaab in propaganda tapes and encouraged the group to carry out attacks against the Somali government, neighboring countries, and the West. Foreign al Qaeda operatives also hold key leadership positions in Shabaab. Shaykh Muhammad Abu Fa'id, a Saudi citizen, serves as a top financier and a "manager" for Shabaab. Abu Musa Mombasa, a Pakistani citizen, serves as Shabaab's chief of security and training. Mahmud Mujajir, a Sudanese citizen, is Shabaab's chief of recruitment for suicide bombers. Abu Mansour al Amriki, a US citizen, serves as a military commander, recruiter, financier, and propagandist. Al Qaeda's central leadership, which is based in Pakistan, in early 2011, even instructed Shabaab to downplay its links to the terror group but to continue to target US interests in the region. Shabaab has lost ground in Mogadishu but is still in control of large areas of the center and south. With such public displays, al Qaeda seems to ramping up their propaganda in Somalia, and with the help of al Shabaab, they seem to have set their sights on a new location for their leaders to hide.

References:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/17/world/africa/al-qaeda-brings-food-aid-to-somalia-famine-victims.html
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/10/american_al_qaeda_op.php#ixzz1bGMfYeRd  
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/06/somalias_shabaab_vow.php#ixzz1bGNL1weP



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