01 August 2011

Are al-Shabaab & Al Qaeda linked?

Reading the press or listening to the TV news you could be forgiven for thinking that these organisations are tied a the hip.

What are the facts?

According to Karen Greenberg in Guardian America CiF:

"According to the National Counterterrorism Centre, al-Shabaab's links to al-Qaida have not reached the organisational level; it can therefore in no way be classified as a strong partner in the al-Qaida network. To quote from the NCC's website:

"While most of [Shabaab's] fighters are predominantly interested in the nationalistic battle against the TFG and not supportive of global jihad, al-Shabaab's senior leadership is affiliated with al-Qaida, and certain extremists aligned with al-Shabaab are believed to have trained and fought in Afghanistan."

A summary report by the Council on Foreign Relations concurs:

"Experts say there are links between individual al-Shabaab leaders and individual members of al-Qaida, but any organizational linkage between the two groups is weak, if it exists at all."

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