Somalia’s terror group al Shabab to support al Qaeda operations in Yemen
In an interview al Shabab spokesman Ali Rage said the Somali terror group intended to provide manpower to Yemen’s al Qaeda group (al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) , and that the Yemeni terrorists had provided generous support to al Shabab in the past.
Closer coordination between Somalia’s al Shabab and Yemen’s Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) heightens risk of a coordinated attack on the NATO anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden.
AQAP in an online posting asked for any information on the US vessels in the Gulf of Aden, including the names and home states of individual American sailors, blueprints, suppliers and operating procedures.
In a missive released yesterday, AQAP said, “Today, the duty of our Muslim nation is to declare Jihad against the infidels and their apostate cooperatives; not only on land but on sea and in the air too. The Crusader warships are present in the Gulf of Aden, in the Arabian Sea and in the Red Sea, and the American surveillance jets occupy the sphere over the Arabian Peninsula..”
This echoes a May 2008 statement from Al Qaeda’s central leadership calling for naval jihad. “The mujahideen have successfully established units of martyrdom-seekers on land; the sea is the next strategic step towards controlling the world and restoring the Islamic caliphate,” a posting at the now defunct al Eklass website stated. The article stressed that the seas off the coast of Yemen, the Gulf of Aden, the Bab Al-Mandeb strait and the Red Sea are of critical strategic importance in the terror groups long term plans.
Droves of Yemeni jihaddists and Somalis in Yemen traveled to Somalia when Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government was battling the International Courts Union. Afterward, the US noted an exodus of jihaddists to back to Yemen. The intersection of networks for piracy, arms smuggling, human smuggling and terrorists in the Gulf of Aden was noted by the UN’s monitoring committee on Somalia.
Al Shabab’s spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Rage discussed their strategy for the upcoming year.
“We have received fighters from the Arabian Peninsular I mean in Yemen to bolster our fighters on the ground, and there is no any other alternative for us to do, but to do as the saying goes One Good Turn Deserves Another,” the Somali website Somaliweyn reported. Mr. Rage also noted that al Shabab has received substantial support from Islamists in Yemen.
Reuters notes that AQAP military commander Qasim al-Raymi fought in Somalia and called for support of the Somali jihad. Yemenis are a substantial contingent of al Shabab. Of about 5000 al Shabab members, nearly a tenth are thought to be foreigners.