Al Shabaab Highlights Global Role in New Video » ADL Blogs
February 26, 2013

Al Shabaab Highlights Global Role in New Video

Al Shabaab, the Somalia branch of Al Qaeda, released a new English-language and English-subtitled video yesterday directed at Western audiences. 

The video, “Mujahideen Moments,” highlights the role of foreign fighters in the terrorist organization, featuring statements and speeches by two Kenyans and an American, identified only as “Abu Ahmed al-Amriki.”

Abu Ahmed’s face is obscured in the video and it is impossible at this point to verify his true identity.  Abu Ahmed urges listeners to join the battlefronts “whether it’s here in Somalia, whether it’s in Mali, whether it’s in Afghanistan, whether it’s in Iraq, or whether it’s in Al-Maghrib Al-Islami [North Africa],” saying that they should fight because there are no excuses from the obligation of jihad.  He also promises victory and that “America is going down, and the Khilafah [Caliphate] is rising.”

The video encourages foreigners to join jihad, or if they cannot travel, to “fight the enemies of Allah where you find them.”

While Al Shabaab has long used foreign fighters in its propaganda to attract Western recruits, the video seems to be, in part, a response to its former American spokesperson, Omar Hammami. Hammami apparently split with the group 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].” In messages released late last year, Hammami highlighted the tensions between “the muhajireen [Arabs and foreign fighters] and the Ansar [local supporters of Al Shabaab].”

By featuring foreign fighters in the video, especially Abu Ahmed, Al Shabaab may be trying to counter Hammami’s allegations and show that it maintains a significant international support base.