Changing Organization of Al-Shabab

The al-Shabab organization has clearly been evolving over the past months, perhaps leading to its spectacular attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, last week.

Westgate Mall-destroyed

Analysts who study terrorist organizations and religious violence have been tracking the changing profile of al-Shabab. Ahmed Abdi Godane seems to have taken control of the al-Shabab in June 2013 in a move that has been described as a “coup” by some.

A number of leaders and long-time members of al-Shabab were ousted from the organization during the summer and had to flee for their lives. Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a spiritual leader of al-Shabab, fled and was arrested by government troops in Somalia. Abu Mansoor al-Amriki (the American) and another former al-Shabab leader were later killed by al-Shabab militants.

Bruce Hoffman, professor at Georgetown University and an expert on terrorism, was interviewed by NPR on the attack at Westgate Mall. Hoffman argues that al-Shabab has been “successful in staging an enormously bloody terrorist event … and it’s catapulted itself back into prominence as one of the major terrorist forces in the world today.”

The attack on the Westgate Mall may reflect tensions within the al-Shabab organization about the group’s religious and political mission.

The Guardian reports on the changes in the al-Shabab leadership. NPR reports on the transformations of al-Shabab.

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This entry was posted in Atrocities, Islam and Religious Violence, Purity and Pollution, Religious Militants, Religious Terrorism. Bookmark the permalink.

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