Al Shabab's announcement that it is aligned with Al Qaeda’s global terror network confirms previous intelligence reports from the US and Somali governments, but it also complicates peacekeeping efforts in Mogadishu and Kenya.
Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP
• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.
The US and Somali governments have previously accused Al Shabab of having ties to Al Qaeda, but these have not been confirmed until now. The announcement suggests that the group’s identity is evolving: It has been focused on a nationalist agenda to establish an Islamic state in Somalia, but now seems to be moving toward a larger role in the global terror network.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the group issued a Somali- and Arabic-language statement on Monday claiming that it would “connect the horn of Africa jihad to the one led by al Qaeda and its leader Sheikh Osama Bin Laden."
The BBC reports that Al Shabab has also joined forces with Kamboni, a smaller militant outfit in Somalia, which was previously allied to Hizbul Islam, another antigovernment militant group. This alliance is seen as an attempt by Al Shabab to unite all extremist forces in Somalia to push for the imposition of Islamic law. Kamboni is led by Hassan Turki, a militant who is accused by the US of financing terrorism.