Seven years after the death of al-Qaeda’s founding leader, Osama bin Laden, the Sunni jihadist movement stands divided. Al-Qaeda remains a powerful player, primarily because of the strength of its affiliates, those groups that have sworn allegiance to al-Qaeda. But al-Qaeda also faces a major rival: its former affiliate in Iraq, the Islamic State.
Their alliance — formed in 2004 — was troubled from the outset. Al-Qaeda was constantly frustrated with its Iraqi affiliate’s excessive violence, prioritization of Shiites as an enemy, infighting with other Sunni militants in Iraq and refusal to heed al-Qaeda’s counsel. Yet their alliance withstood those problems for years.… Seguir leyendo »
On June 14, the terrorist group al-Shabab — an al-Qaeda affiliate — attacked a pizza restaurant in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, by detonating a car bomb and sending in assailants. More than 30 people were killed. Earlier in June, al-Shabab overran a military base in the semiautonomous area of Puntland, killing dozens. The group recently surpassed Boko Haram as the deadliest terrorist organization in Africa.
But it’s not the violence that’s attracting followers. My recent field research in Kenya and Somalia, the two East African countries where al-Shabab is most active, suggests that al-Shabab is thriving because it’s still offering a comparatively attractive alternative to the Somali government.… Seguir leyendo »