Thursday, March 27, 2014

Jihadis Killing One Another: More of this, please . . .

Ahmed Godane

Probably, most readers recall that Osama Bin Laden was killed in May 2011, though Al Qaeda still seems to be active, albeit more decentralized, and in an article titled "ISIS's Rise After al Qaeda's House of Cards," Part 4 of "Smarter Counterterrorism" (Geopoliticus: The FPRI Blog, March 22, 2014), Clint Watts explains the decline of Al Qaeda as an organization that is, in part, devouring itself:
To understand how al Qaeda has faltered since Bin Laden's death and to anticipate where jihad will go in the future, we must examine the leadership transition to Ayman al-Zawahiri. Through the summer of 2011, senior al Qaeda leaders and conduits to affiliates were being eliminated every month, Anwar Awlaki in Yemen, Ilyas Kashmiri in Pakistan and strangely the elusive Harun Fazul in Somalia. Fazul, once Bin Laden's personal secretary, died at a Somali government checkpoint similar to ones he likely passed through easily dozens of times before. In the following months, rumors swirled that al Shabaab's leader, Ahmed Godane, had arranged for Fazul's timely death to settle a score with the 'Old Guard' al Qaeda leader floating in his turf. The mysterious pattern of al Qaeda foreign fighters being killed in Somalia continued through 2011 and 2012 and rumblings of internal rifts in Shabaab's ranks grew while a plan for formal membership to al Qaeda was in the works. With Bin Laden gone, al Qaeda princes across many affiliates were making their own plays in a 'Game of Thrones' where politics and power became the priority over ideology and al Qaeda's grand strategy . . . . Stories of al Qaeda foreign fighters being killed in Somalia by Shabaab's leader, Ahmed Godane, continued to surface via the social media pleas of American foreign fighter Omar Hammami. While not the most important foreign fighter or American in Shabaab's ranks, Hammami's rants proved fortuitous of larger splits in al Qaeda's ranks. Shortly after Hammami's public complaints came a call from an original Afghan mujihadeen member in Somalia, Ibrahim Afghani, begging Zawahiri to unseat Godane. Al Qaeda stood silent as Godane's loyalists killed off both Hammami and Afghani. Shabaab has since crumbled under Godane's leadership and Zawahiri has publicly ignored these upheavals in Somalia.
These flaws in Al-Qaeda -- the jihadis killing each other over power despite identical, or nearly identical ideologies -- should be widely publicized, especially among Muslims, so as to show the potentially radicalizable ones just how corrupt so many jihadi leaders are.

Make this publicizing part of the "Smarter Counterterrorism" promised above.

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