Foolish Fools and the Fools that Report Them
I don’t know who to blame, the “experts” who believe that “Shabaab influence is fading” or the reporters that pass that info on to a country eager to return to the 9/10 status quo. People, let me break out the soapbox yet again.
1) Who are the Shabaab? They are al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia.
2) Why are they dangerous?
a) Because, unlike any other al Qaeda affiliate, they actually control large portions of a country. While their power is still limited, they are in fact the “government” of much of Somalia, including the capital of Mogadishu. Think of Afghanistan, but instead of the Taliban harboring al Qaeda imagine the country actually governed by al Qaeda.
b) Because a small segment of the Somali American community supports them. Luckily, most Somali Americans despise them. Unfortunately some second generation Somali Americans have bought into the Salaafi jihadi ideology espoused by Shabaab. Some of these American born and raised sympathizershave gone to Somalia to fight with Shabaab , including the only known American suicide bomber Shirwa Ahmed. And they have American passports. Think about it.
3) Is their influence waning? No. Their power is growing. Daily they take more territory and day by day they begin to implement Taliban style sharia law on those areas already under their control. It is doubtful they will ever fully control all of Somalia as Puntland and Somaliland are hostile to them, but remember that the Taliban never fully had control of all of Afghanistan either.
4) Is their influence among young Muslims waning? Unknown. Certainly interest and statements of support online by known American eHadis has increased since al Qaeda central has begunan open campaign of support for them.
The threat of the Shabaab is real. I am not certain how to quantify that threat, but if Shabaab is not already more of a threat than the Taliban and al Qaeda central, they soon will be.
You are now free to return to Starbucks and pretend nothing is happening.