2013 September » ADL Blogs
September 25, 2013

Westgate Attack Underscores Al Shabaab’s Battle With Jews And Israel

In an interview with Al Jazeera on Monday, Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Abulaziz Abu Muscab, said that in addition to Kenya’s military involvement in Somalia, the terrorist group attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi because it is a place “where there are Jewish and American shops. So we have to attack them.”al-shabaab-symbol-al-qaeda

Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda-linked ter­ror­ist group that claimed respon­si­bil­ity for attack­ing the West­gate mall on Sat­ur­day, has previously declared an “open bat­tle” against Israel, which it deems the “oppress­ing Zion­ist entity,” and Jew­ish inter­ests in Africa.

In 2012, Kenyan sup­port­ers of Al Shabaab published a pre­dom­i­nantly Swahili-language online ter­ror­ist mag­a­zine fea­turing English-language arti­cles that describe Jews as “the worst enemy of Islam.” The mag­a­zine, titled Gaidi Mtaani, roughly trans­lated as “Ter­ror­ism Street,” cast “the Zion­ist with their Amer­i­can part­ners” as the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the “cru­sade” in Soma­lia and crit­i­cized the Kenyan pres­i­dent for trav­el­ing to Israel to secure Israeli coop­er­a­tion for coun­tert­er­ror­ism efforts. 

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Screenshot from Gaidi Mtaani

The authors warned that they will not “dif­fer­en­ti­ate between civil­ians and com­bat­ants” and called on Kenya’s cit­i­zens to “reflect on the mag­ni­tude of what is yet to come,” cit­ing the 1998 bomb­ing of the U.S. embassy in Kenya that killed over 200 people.

Israeli inter­ests had previously been tar­geted by Al Qaeda in Kenya, includ­ing an attempt to shoot down an Israeli air­liner and an attack on an Israeli-owned resort in 2002.

In November 2009, Al Shabaab announced the establishment of Al Quds Brigade, a military unit specifically tasked with attacking Israel and freeing “Islamic holy places” from the Israelis.

See ADL’s Report: Al Shabaab’s Amer­i­can Recruits

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September 24, 2013

Neo-Nazi National Alliance No Longer Has Members

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Erich Gliebe

The National Alliance (NA), once the largest neo-Nazi group in the United States, has ceased to function as a membership organization. 

In a September 6, 2013 letter to members of the white supremacist group, NA chairman Erich Gliebe states that the organization will now be “supporter based.” Gliebe claims this decision comes after consulting with the organization’s board of directors and key members and supporters.

In reality, Gliebe, who took over the leadership of the NA in 2002 after the death of its founder William Pierce, has overseen a steady decline in the group’s membership.  The NA, which had about 1,500 members in 2002, has only a handful of active members today.

Gliebe’s lack of leadership skills and charisma, as well as his seeming poor judgment and apparent financial mismanagement, led to tremendous strife and disaffection within the NA. The group split into various factions in the mid-2000s and continued to lose members throughout Gliebe’s reign.  In addition, the NA stopped publishing magazines and ceased operations of its once-profitable white power music company, Resistance Records. 

The move to a “supporter-based” organization appears to be a face-saving device from Gliebe to detract from his many failures.  In his letter to members, Gliebe characterizes the move to a supporter-based organization as a “step forward for the organization,” which will lead “to a brighter future.”  Gliebe also optimistically requests his now-former membership to convert their membership dues into monthly donations of the same amount.

White supremacist Jim Ring, who resigned from the National Alliance in 2012, posted Gliebe’s letter on a website he created to oppose Gliebe. Ring also gave an interview in the September 2 edition on the American Free Press, an anti-Semitic conspiracy-oriented newspaper, in which he called Gliebe both incompetent and dishonest. Ring blamed Gliebe for the group’s demise and claimed Gliebe personally profited from the sale of Pierce’s gun collection and timber on the NA property.

Recently, Gliebe put the National Alliance’s property in West Virginia up for sale. Gliebe’s moves may well mark the endgame for the National Alliance.

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September 23, 2013

Al Shabaab Claims Americans Took Part In Mall Attack In Kenya

Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for attacking Nairobi’s Westgate mall on Saturday, has indicated via its Twitter account that three Americans took part in the assault that has killed over 60 people and injured over 150 others thus far.al-shabaab-recruits

Al Shabaab provided the names of the Americans on its Twitter account; Ahmed Mohamed Isse of St. Paul, Minnesota, Abdifatah Osman Keenadiid of Minneapolis, and Gen Mustafe Noorudiin of Kansas City, Missouri.

Since 2007, dozens of Americans have travelled to Somalia to fight with Al Shabaab. Many of these Americans have received weapons training alongside recruits from other countries, and have used the training to fight against the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and the international forces that have backed it. At least three of these American recruits have engaged in suicide bombings in Somalia.

One such recruit from Minneapolis, 22-year-old Abidsalan Hussein Ali, was one of two suicide bombers who attacked African Union troops in October 2011. The first American Al Shabaab suicide bomber, Shirwa Ahmed, carried out a suicide bombing at the Ethiopian Consulate and the presidential palace in Hargeisa in October 2009. The second, Farah Mohamad Beledi, carried out a suicide bombing in May 2011, targeting a military base outside Mogadishu, the Somali capital.

Most of the American men that have trained with Al Shabaab are believed to have been radicalized in the U.S., and have been recruited by Al Shabaab both on the Internet and in person. Omar Hammami, an American citizen from Alabama, is perhaps the most well-known American recruiter for Al Shabaab. The group disseminated online propaganda videos featuring Hammami to recruit young American men to join its insurgency.omar-hammami-twitter

Hammami was reportedly executed in Somalia last week by his former associates. Ham­mami appar­ently split with Al Shabaab over his belief that it was inter­ested only in local pol­i­tics and the fight in Soma­lia, rather than the cause of a global ”jiahd of the entire Ummah [Mus­lim nation].”

Although most of Al Shabaab’s violent acts have occurred within Somalia’s borders, it has expressed a willingness to attack outside targets. In July 2010 it committed twin bombings against targets in Uganda that killed more than 70 people, including an American aid worker. Danish intelligence officials have alleged that an attempt to kill a Danish cartoonist who printed controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in 2005 by a Somali national six months before the Uganda is linked to Al Shabaab as well.

The group has also declared an “open battle” against Israel, which it deems the “oppressing Zionist entity,” and Jewish interests in Africa. Israelis owned stores in the Westgate mall and the attack underscores Al Shabaab’s battle with Jews and Israel.

See ADL’s Report: Al Shabaab’s American Recruits

 

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