Friday, August 20, 2010

Al-Qaeda Advises Shabaab to Keep Low Profile on Links, Attack US Interests

Via The Long War Journal -

Al Qaeda's senior leadership has advised Shabaab, its affiliate in Somalia, to downplay links between the two terror groups and suggested that future attacks be directed at US interests in East Africa.

"Al Qaeda's top leadership has instructed Shabaab to maintain a low profile on al Qaeda links," a senior US intelligence official who closely follows al Qaeda and Shabaab in East Africa told The Long War Journal. The official, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, said the information was passed between the top leadership of both groups.

"Al Qaeda has accepted Shabaab into the fold and, and any additional statements would only serve to draw international scrutiny," the intelligence official said. "Al Qaeda is applying lessons learned from Iraq, that an overexposure of the links between al Qaeda central leadership and its affiliates can cause some unwanted attention."

Shabaab's double suicide attack in Uganda on July 11 was well received by al Qaeda's top leadership, who want Shabaab to continue to hitting US interests in Africa.

"Al Qaeda is pleased with the double suicide attack in Uganda, but suggested Shabaab reserve future strikes at US interests in the region," the official said.

"I targeted places where many Americans go," Luyima said in a press conference hosted by Ugandan police on Aug. 12. "I was made to believe that Americans were responsible for the suffering of Muslims all over the world."


Evidence of Shabaab's attempts to minimize its regional reach could recently be seen in Somalia's north after Shabaab commander Mohammed Said Atom and Shabaab both downplayed any ties after security forces attacked terror training camps operated by Atom in the Galgala Mountains in late July.


Shabaab's former spokesman and top military commander, Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, admitted that many Shabaab leaders have trained with and take instruction from al Qaeda. "Most of our leaders were trained in Al Qaeda camps," Robow told The Los Angeles Times in August 2008. "We get our tactics and guidelines from them," he continued. "Many have spent time with Osama bin Laden." Other Shabaab leaders have also admitted to links with al Qaeda.

"We will take our orders from Sheikh Osama bin Laden because we are his students," Robow continued. "Al Qaeda is the mother of the holy war in Somalia."

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