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Press Releases

Al Qaeda and Affiliates Gear up in Africa
The NEFA Foundation has released several new videos that show how much emphasis al Qaeda and its affiliates are placing on Africa, as well as the growing ability to plug into the radical Islamist propaganda machine, which keeps churning out its hate-laced videos in an effort to attract new recruits.

The most interesting are these videos of the training camps in Somalia and the English-language videos.

Islamists operating in Somalia, some have repeatedly argued, are largely an indigenous group with few real ties to al Qaeda central or broader militant movements. These videos, and the accompanying texts of the statements show that, while that may have been true in the past, it certainly is not now.

Somalia is attempting to become the new Afghanistan on the African continent, and perhaps has already achieved that goal.

The conditions are favorable. Chaos, no government to speak of, a large pool of potential recruits, anger at the current situation and lack of significant international response, and established veterans to lead the movement who have ties to the al Qaeda core.

The fact that the Ethiopian troops and modest peacekeeping mission have not succeeded in establishing an functioning government is testament to the group's strength (and to the government's weakness.)

Al Qaeda has made no secret of its desire to open as many new fronts as possible, in the belief that it can bleed the rest of the world into submission. With combatants leaving Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia have become the new points of concentration.

The footage includes scenes of mujahideen recruits practicing using automatic weapons, RPGs, and anti-tank weapons—all under the watchful eyes of such instructors as Shebaab military chief Shaykh Mukhtar Robow (a.k.a. Abu Mansuur) and FBI Most Wanted terrorist suspect Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan. The video also shows recruits receiving lessons in the fabrication of explosives and advanced urban warfare/assault tactics.

There is nothing subtle in the English-language appeals to Muslims to join the jihad.

"We have a global mission, that's why America puts us number 41 in the terrorists' list... I sincerely advise my beloved brothers and sisters to make hijrah and come join us and defend the religion of Allah." Another Shebaab recruit, sitting in front of an anti-tank missile, directed a menacing call "to the filthy dogs of Denmark, may Allah(SWT) break their hands for what they have drawn. We will never forget their mockery of the best of mankind and the last Messenger. So, sleep with the thoughts of our swords dripping with your blood." He added, "I'm calling on all Muslims in the world to stand up and avenge for their religion, their books, their prophet. Stand up, and resist the oppression of the kuffar [infidels]... and fight the kuffar [infidels] and their apostate puppets. O' Muslim brothers, migrate to the lands of jihad and fight alongside your brothers.

On the other side of the continent, Al Qaeda's Committee in the Islamic Maghreb has also been issuing statements on their recent activity.

One thing that stands out in this announcement, as well as several other al Qaeda-related announcements, is the constant warning against fraudulent statements put out by other groups. It seems there is a large amount of propaganda, put out as part of black ops or by competing Islamist groups, that have these guys on edge. Interesting.

But the larger point is that, as AFRICOM stands up, it is facing a growing Islamist threat, and one that has already made significant inroads in building armed groups that are loosely affiliated but tied by their hatred of anything non-Islamist. They are clearly reaching a new level of sophistication, both on the ground an in their propaganda operations.
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