MOGADISHU, SOMALIA – Membership does have its privileges: that goes for terrorist groups too.
How many ‘clubs’ do you belong to? How many credit cards do you own? Do you feel ‘special’ when you get an email offering an ‘amazing-one-time-never-before-seen-and-never-to-be-seen-again-so-hurry-now!’ discount?
Humans like to be part of things that are bigger than themselves: families, communities, towns, states, nations, etc. It makes us feel good to know that there are others like us and who may have our backs when it counts. At the lowest level, i.e. family, there is a genetic/evolutionary aspect to all this I imagine.
Terrorists sometimes see it as worthwhile to clump together, all this talk of ‘lone wolves‘ of late notwithstanding. Being attached to a larger group of terrorists gets you access to training, material, propaganda…and media attention. After all, who has NOT heard of the terrorist franchise Al Qaeda (AQ)?
Al Shabaab (AS), a Somali Islamist extremist organisation is one such example.
On this day in 2012
At least 15 people were killed and more than 20 people injured when a car bomb exploded near a cafe in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. AS said it was behind the atrocity and two days later officially ‘joined’ AQ.
There was a heavy explosion, a car full of explosives was detonated.MP Mohamed Iro
AS had long been seen as AQ-linked: this just made it official. Although it did not relabel itself ‘AQ in East Africa’ – as others have done (e.g. AQ in Yemen) – this move did serve to remind the world that AQ still held influence around the world (which it may have thought it needed to do after the May 2011 killing of its leader Usama bin Laden).
Ties will ebb and flow but when a group elects to hitch its wagon to a larger entity we might want to take notice: someone thinks it is worth the effort.
Read more Today in Terrorism:
On May 31, 1906 a Spanish anarchist threw a bomb hoping to hit King Alfonso XIII, killing 24 and wounding more than 100.
On May 30, 2009 two pamphlet-bombs exploded outside an Ecuadorian TV station and ministry: no victims or significant damage ensued.
On May 29, 2016 35 civilians were wounded in an ISIS attack using rockets containing chlorine gas in Iraq’s Nineveh Province.