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February 26, 2013 0

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.

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