"Winds of Victory from the land of Somalia," with pathways leading out from Somalia to all corners of the globe. "Winds of Victory" is the name used by the group to describe its ongoing insurgency against the interim government and its African Union backers.
Below is an English translation of a statement released yesterday in Somali announcing the merger of the Ras Kamboni Brigade, formerly a unit of Hizbul Islam, one of Somalia's two most powerful militant Islamist groups, with Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen [Movement of Warrior-Youth], which has become the country's premier jihadi-insurgent group. The latter movement has flirted with Al-Qa'ida Central (AQC) and has to some degree endorsed its global ideology, such as in a September 2009 video, Labayka Ya Usama [We Heed Your Call, O' Usama (bin Laden)]. Leah Farrall at All Things Counter Terrorism has written a good analysis of why some perspective is needed before prematurely and incorrectly declaring Harakat al-Shabab an "appendage" of AQC. The movement maintains a Somalia-centric ideology, as several other jihadi-insurgent groups have, though they pay some lip service to a globalized militant Islamism. There are also believed to be disagreements between the movement's leadership over this issue.
Harakat al-Shabab has enjoyed an influx of foreign fighters from Europe and North America, including the United States, mostly but not solely from Somali expatriate communities. It is also believed to have benefited from its contacts with various AQC leaders in East Africa, including the late Salah 'Ali Salah al-Nabhani, who was assassinated in a United States military ground and air attack in September 2009.
The most prominent foreigner to have joined Harakat al-Shabab, who has risen to a senior position of power, is the Alabama-native Omar Hammami, a young man raised by a Christian mother and Muslim father. Known by his nom de guerre, Abu Mansur al-Amriki, Hammami is held up as the epitome of the jihadi "hero," as I have written today on the main Views from the Occident blog.
Announcement of the Merger of the Ras Kamboni Brigade with the Movement of Al Shabaab Al Mujaahidiin, and their Commitment to establish an Islamic State in the Horn of Africa.
By the grace of Allah, the Al Shabaab Mujahideen Movement and the mujahideen of Ras Kamboni Camp today merged under one name: Al Shabaab Mujahideen Movement. The two sides agreed to continue the fight against the enemies of Allah and to seek the establishment of an Islamic government.
Sheikh Fu'ad Mohammed Khalaf and Sheikh Mohammed Dulyadeyn were among the leaders who jointly revealed this at a news conference in Baidoa. The agreement, which contains several items, was read out to the media by Sheikh Fu'ad, who said:
"We hereby state that the two mujahideen brother [groups] have agreed:"
Somalia's interim president, Shaykh Sharif Ahmed (right), is shown engulfed in the fires of Hell as Harakat al-Shabab members (left) led by Shaykh Mukhtar Robow celebrate.
"1. To unite the mujahideen of the two groups.
2. To seek to unify Muslims, especially the mujahideen who still remain out of the merger. We want them to join the mujahideen merger, and Allah will guarantee it.
3. To embark upon the establishment of an Islamic government that implements the law of Allah.
4. To support Muslims, particularly the Muslim people of east and the Horn of Africa living under enemy Christians who are the majority.
5. In order to restore the Muslims' damaged honor, political power, economic power, and military power, Muslims of the east and the Horn of Africa should be united and hostilities the colonizer has fomented among Muslims of this region be brought to an end.
6. To counter the international crusaders' war against Muslims and to combine the jihad of the Horn of Africa with the international jihad."
Sheikh Mohammed Dulyadeyn read out the names of the leaders from the two sides who took part in the talks and are signatories to the agreement. Signatories from the Ras Kamboni side are:
1. Sheikh Hasan Abdullahi Hirsi, also known as Sheikh Hassan Turki
2. Sheikh Mohammed Mohammed Ali, also known as Dulyadeyn
3. Sheikh Mohammed Ahmad Guhad, also known as Abu Sa'ad
4. Sheikh Abdiqadir Abdullahi Mohammed
5. Sheikh Ibrahim Adan Ibrahim
Signatories from al Shabaab Mujahideen Movement are:
1. Sheikh Mukhtar Abdirahman Abu Zubeyr, the Emir of al Shabaab
2. Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Ali, also known as Abu Mansur
3. Sheikh Fu'ad Mohammed Khalaf
4. Sheikh Abdirahman Ahmad Adan, also known as Abdirahman Siro
5. Sheikh Abubakar Zeyli'i
Allah is Great, Allah is Great
All praise is due to Allah
All praise is due to Allah