Somali Islamists form new leadership structure
BBC Monitoring Africa
July 24, 2012
Text of unattributed report in English entitled “the new structure of Al-Shabaab” published by US-registered Somali news website Somalia Report on 23 July
Al-Shabab, a hardline Islamic group linked to Al-Qaedah and battling for control of Somalia, has restructured their leadership, according to documents given to Somalia Report [website].
After four days of meetings in Baraawe, a port city in Somalia`s Lower Shabeelle Region, the leaders of Al-Shabab reorganized their chain of command and selected new leaders for a variety of key roles. The overall leader remains Shaykh Ahmad Abdi Godane (Mukhtar Abu-Zubeyr) who commands five regional administrations, each of which is responsible for its own military operations against the allied forces of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and African Union peacekeepers.
The newly formulated strategy of the leadership, declared on 17 June, is far different from the previous structure. Now every two or three provinces is headed by one leader, an amiir, who is assisted by a deputy and other subordinates in the overall administration of their respective provinces. The two Jubba regions (Lower and Middle) directly fall under the command of Shaykh Godane while all other regions now report to the second deputy.
An Al-Shabab official who spoke to Somalia Report said the new structure was implemented to improve military tactics. The official further explained that in the new structure, some regions are separately commanded by a single leader where the leader directly reports to the utmost leader in the overall three provinces. For example, Khalif Muhammad Warsame is the head of operations in Gedo Region and is commanded by Mahad Umar Abdikarim who is the overall amiir of Bay, Bakool and Gedo regions. The new structure accommodates the former districts leaders whose reports will be directed to the office of the province utmost leader but the structure omits the former local leader of every province.
“We are delighted with the new structure in place in our country as our leaders made the decision at the right time. It`s a crucial moment to adopt it and face the enemy with a rightful mind. The strategy is good in the current operations against the infidels. Hopefully, the structure will lead to defeating the enemies of God,” said Abdifattah, a senior Al-Shabab official for Kismaayo.
The new Shabab administration covers the entire country with the exception of the breakaway region Somaliland, from which Shaykh Godane hails, sparking a rift among top leaders.
Exacerbating the rift, some of the newly named officials were appointed to a region from which they do not hail, such as is the case with Shaykh Mahad of Bay, Bakool and Gedo.
The new structures comes as the militant group loses more ground against allied forces and is preparing to defend their stronghold of Kismaayo, in Lower Jubba Region.
Lower Jubba and Middle Jubba regions in southern Somalia
a). Abukar Ali Adan falls directly under Godane (Clan: Gaaljecel)
b). Hasan Yakub (Clan: Eelay)
c). Abdullahi Dige Hirow (Clan: Hawiye; sub-clan Murusade)
Mudug, Hiiraan and Galguduud regions in central Somalia
a). Yusuf Ali Ugas, head of operations in Hiiraan Region (Clan Hawiye: Sub-clan of Hawadle)
b). Awil Goda`a (Clan: Hawiye; sub-clan of Saleeban)
c). Fu`ad Muhammad Qalaf aka Shangole (Clan: Darod; sub-clan Oortable)
d). Abdishakur Ali Umar (Clan: Hawiye; sub-clan Habargidir Sacad)
e). Halane Abdullahi Hila`a (Clan: Hawiye; sub-clan: Habargidir Sacad)
Mogadishu, Lower Shabeelle and Middle Shabeelle regions in south
a). Shaykh Muhammad Abdullahi Hirey, leader (Clan: Shiikal; sub-clan Qudub)
b). Muhammad Hasan Umar Aby Abdurahman, ex-Banaadir officer in charge is now the head of military`s department of logistics. (Clan: Habargidir, sub-clan Ayr)
c). Shaykh Yusuf Ise aka Kaba Kutukade, head of Middle Shabeelle Region (Clan: Abgaal sub-clan Wa`eysle)
d). Ma`alin Muhammad Abdulle, head of operation (Clan: Hawiye; sub-clan Abgal)
Bay, Bakool and Gedo regions in southwestern Somalia
a). Mahad Umar Abdikarim, leader (Clan: Dir)
b). Qalif Muhammad Warsame, head of operation in Gedo Region (Clan: Habargidir; sub-clan Ayr)
c). Ma`alin Janow, head of operations in Bay and Bakool (Clan: Eelay)
Puntland, the semi-autonomous region in northern Somalia
a). Yasin Usman Khalid aka Kilwa (Clan: Darood; sub-clan Warsangali)
b). Shaykh Abdikadir Ali Mumin (Clan: Majeerten; sub-clan Ali Saleeban)
Somaliland, the breakaway region in northern Somalia seeking independence was not mentioned in the documents.
Source: SomaliaReport.com, in English 23 Jul 12
© 2012 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Mukhtar Robow: The Dark Horse of 2011
Biyokulule Online Editorial
Saturday, November 20, 2010
The heyday of the Fez-wearing sheikh-lords is over. The International Community and donors seemingly acknowledged their shortcomings, seeing clearly that the creation of Sheikh Sharif`s Administration was a messy and hurried affair. More and more donors are turning their backs on Sheikh Sharif`s Administration.
To begin with, the International Community has mistakenly accepted the face value of the self-justifying arguments of the Fez-wearing sheikh-lords. However, Somalis knew that these sheikhs` “Islamic Courts” were thinly disguised vehicles for the continued dominance of their clans over its rivals.
From 2006-2008, Sheikh Sharif, as the leader of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), urged Somalis to refrain from assisting President Abdullahi Yusuf`s regime. Sheikh Sharif frequently referred to Yusuf as an “Ethiopian collaborator”. He called on Somalis to oppose Ethiopian and AMISOM troops in Mogadishu, saying that their stay would be a “continuation of the Crusade against the Islamic World”. Giving a heightened attention to the people in Puntland region of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif said:
“I urge people of Puntland to confront (President) Abdullahi Yusuf`s plans to revive the 1990 civil war (between the Hawiye clan of Mogadishu against the Darood clan of President Yusuf) “No one is challenging Abdullahi Yusuf`s presidency. And I am telling him to spare his people and work on how to bring Somalis together. You should know that Ethiopian troops cannot defend you,” said Sharif…
…those Somalis who are collaborating with (Meles), while I am very sorry about it, I am telling them to keep away from him. Nothing Meles is doing will bring you or your country any good. Someone who wants to capture your country, what kind of benefits does he hold for you? A person destroying your country, killing your people and religion, what is he doing for you? Nothing at all. [Read More]
Under his leadership, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) incited further violence in southern Somalia, portraying the Somali clan infightings as wars against the “Crusaders”. The Courts` motto became “no dialogue with Abdullahi Yusuf and his collaborators except with the sword”.
The irony is the man who once uttered such pompous speeches is now the President of Somalia and close friend of Ethiopia. He is kowtowing with Meles Zenawi and constantly appealing military help from Addis Ababa.
Are They Still in Love?
In the middle of 2008, when the governments and organizations that were piece and parcel of forming a Somali Transitional Federal Government saw their efforts and projects end in failure, a new scheme was devised.
This new scheme was to engage the religious factions that had spread like wildfire on the Somali political scene in the past twenty years since the demise of the Central government. Thus, the top leadership of the Somali Government were offered to some members of those religious factions.
The International Community believed that by including and giving the top leadership role to the moderate Islamists it will have a credible partner in Mogadishu – even though at one point those same Islamists were among the extremists.
Unfortunately, it is a well known fact that, in the last two years, the Shabaab movement in Somalia has gained a sweeping domination in the South and “especially the economically critical urban nodes of Kismayu and Mogadishu”. It wreaked havoc on the less powerful Hizbul Islam and Ahl al-Sunnah Wa al-Jama`ah movements. The Shabaab has also reduced the government`s territorial control to a few streets in Mogadishu, making it Somalia`s Vatican State. President Sheikh Sharif is hoping that the new government that was formed this month will launch an intensive military campaign on the restless Shabaabs, so that, at least, Sheikh Sharif`s territorial control could match to that of Monaco (Monte Carlo), which controls about 2 km2 of land.
UNPOS, IGAD, and AU must admit something many of them still deny: since the formation of Sheikh Sharif`s Administration, their importance in the eyes of Somalis has dropped dramatically. Their tendency to tolerate the sins of the new Fez-wearing rulers as trivial compared with the sins of the former (Abdullahi Yusuf) led to curious double standards in both local and the international arena. They further have to face the unpleasant fact that AMISOM forces in Mogadishu are in worse shape today than they were at the time of Abdullahi Yusuf`s rule. Everyday, there is public outcry over the battles in Mogadishu, which has displaced over 100,000 people.
This is a time of uncertainties between UNPOS/IGAD/AU offices and Sheikh Sharif; and both sides have doubts about their future cooperation. Fearing being betrayed, Sheikh Sharif and his Fez-wearing team might be asking themselves: what if the International Community was to engage the younger and restless Shabaabs as partners? On the other hand, Donor countries also ask themselves: why are things the same? And why have the Shabaabs emerged on the international scene and became a new “global” Jihadists? The beginnings of an answer has probably already unfolded.
Nowadays, the formation of a Somali central government has became a betting game in which a small core of stakeholders (neighboring countries) reduced the destiny of Somali people as a “betting for fun” game. Probably, these stakeholders have already endorsed their 2011 dark horse that is staking claim to the government`s seat of power.
Since betting is along predictable line, Biyokulule Online also forecasts the 2011 dark horse. Biyokulule predicts a new vertical chain of command in 2011, emanating from the already strained relations within the Shabaabs. Surely, the “dark horse” will illuminate from those Shabaab rival flanks that are now repudiating each other, on the grounds that the other does not represent the “true” path of Islam.
Although there are various flanks within the Shabaab movement(s), our pick is Sheikh Mukhtar Robow (aka Abu Mansur). We are aware of facing with the absurd task of patching together a credible profile for him, from the career of a jihadist who gets tired and runs away from being a “global” jihadist. Nevertheless, we put forward some of Abu Mansur`s lyrical oratory or media coverage that exhibits his high profile political drama:
MYM Spokesman Eulogizes Senior Al-Qa`ida Leader On 2 February, a jihadist website posted a statement issued by the spokesman of the Mujahidin Youth Movement, Abu Mansur, in which he eulogized Abu-al-Layth al-Libi, a senior leader of the Al-Qa`ida organization. The statement was attributed to the Sada Al-Jihad Media Center of the Global Islamic Media Front. [Read More]
In the interview, Shaykh Abu-Mansur talks about the progress of the jihad in Somalia and lists some mujahidin “victories.” He says that the jihad “has never surrendered to pressure and its will has never weakened.” He talks about US “campaigns of conspiracy” against Somalia and says it is an “honor” to be included on the US list of terrorist organizations. Asked about Ethiopian, UN and AU forces in Somalia, Abu-Mansur says that he does not differentiate between them because “all of them are Crusader occupiers aiming at destroying our nation.” He says the Ethiopian Army “can neither continue their military occupation nor can they confront the mujahidin for long.” He also discusses relations with other Somali groups, and says he would not attend a conference on Somalia held in another country. He says that the jihad in Somalia belongs to the “global jihadist movement” and calls for more foreign fighters to come to Somalia. [Read More]
Who Are al-Shabaab`s Leaders?
The group communicates very little and has no clear hierarchy. Nevertheless, a number of commanders have asserted themselves. Sheikh Mukhtar Abu Zubair has been at the top since 2007, but it has been during the past two years, as Al-Shabaab has moved in the direction of jihadism, that he has gained importance. This native of Somaliland (the country`s northern region), 32, is called “emir,” a title borrowed from Islamist terminology. Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, who served in Afghanistan and is a radical ideologue, is also a recognized military commander and a major spokesman for the group. Other less radical leaders have been pushed aside. Aden Hashi Ayro was eliminated by an American air strike in May 2008. [Read More]
“We know that America never favors Islamic movements anywhere in the world and such statements are part of a incorrect Zionist-inherited ideology,” said Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, the Islamists` deputy defense chief. “America misleads its own people by giving such baseless warnings but we will never falter because we stand ready to defend our religion and people from the enemy of Allah,” Robow said. [Read More]
An Al Shabab connection?
While there is the potential for these two conflicts to become “increasingly intertwined,” as Shabab senior commander Muqtar Robow claimed recently Somali Shabab fighters were leaving to help Islamists fight the government in Yemen. [Read More]
When Washington added al-Shabab to its terrorism list last year, the decision was welcomed by one of the movement`s leaders.
“Al-Shabab feels honoured to be included on the list. We are good Muslims and the Americans are infidels – we are on the right path,” Sheikh Muktar Robow told the BBC. [Read More]
“We repelled the local militias who tried to stop the light of the Islam religion,” said an Islamist commander and spokesman, Sheikh Muktar Robow. “We aim to implement Islamic Sharia (law) in the country and any force that tries to stop (us) will regret” it, added the spokesman, a leader of the Shabab organization, the military wing of the Islamic Courts Union which briefly controlled large parts of Somalia in 2006. [Read More]
[Abu Mansur says]: The Mujahidin attacked a base belonging to the apostates who work with the Ethiopians and [President] Abdullahi Yusuf in Daynunaay. The Mujahidin took over the camp and sentenced the apostates according to the laws of Allah by beheading them, thanks to Allah. [Words in distinct] I would like to respond to [words in distinct] saying the Mujahidin are not in Baydhabo and surrounding areas. Ask Shino Ma`alin Nur [Deputy governor of Bay Region] whether the Mujahidin took control of Daynunaay last night. [Read More]
Abu-al-Zubayr [Godane] is regarded as the first openly acknowledged amir of the new organization, which confined itself a few months ago to the appointment of Moukhtar Robow (Abu-Mansur), another Al-Qa`ida-affiliated figure, as its official spokesman. Abu-Mansur declined to answer Al-Sharq al-Awsat`s question about the significance of appointing an amir of the Mujahidin Youth Movement at this time in particular. [Read More]
A Somali maxim says: “Boqol-u-taliye boqol ulood buu leeyahay”; and as we know that those that are covertly involved in Somali Affairs have many sticks (i.e. collaborators), and that they choose among those that were recently being hit.
It is a fact that the UIC was contained with the help of some of its top leaders, which precipitated the decline and collapse of that organization.
It is thus possible that the same fate awaits the Mujahidin Youth Movement and that this faction will be severely hit with the stick of collaborators, that will be among the chosen to lead.
In the first place, we know that nine Somali individuals are on the US and UN Terrorism list. The following are their names:
1) Yasin Ali Baynah
2) Hasan Dahir Aweys
3) Hasan Abdullah Hersi al-Turki
4) Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud
5) Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed (al Godane)
6) Fuad Mohamed Khalaf (Shongole)
7) Mohamed Sa`id “Atom”
8) Abshir Abdullahi
9) Mohamed Abdi Garaad
Quibble with US and UN Terrorism Watch List
It took some pondering before it occurred to us that the above observation raises, at least, few questions that will allow our readers to open for further inquiry and debate. Here in this small contribution, we want only to try to place these questions, however sketchily, within their historical framework.
The questions that beg answers and for which we can not find any, knowing fully well that Mukhtar Robow (Abu Mansur) has time and again stated both in writing and in person that he supports Al-Qaida and that he is an extremist, are as follows:
Why has Mukhtar Robow not been added to the USA and UN Terrorism list?
Why is Mohamed Said Atom included on that list even though there are no proofs against him as is the case for Mukhtar Robow (wearing military outfit on video and threatening the West)?
Are the UN and the US trying to accommodate Somaliland and Puntland?
Or could it simply be because the International Community wants/is grooming Mukhtar Robow as the future President of Somalia?
Biyokulule Online, predicts that if Robow does not become the top leader of Somalia, that he will at least be part of the ministerial cabinet in the near future.
If that is the case, then the US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs` speech, regarding the dual track approach for Somalia, is very dubious.
What is questionable is why certain individuals, such as Mohamed Said Atom, are on the Terrorism watch list, whereas others, such as Mukhtar Robow are being groomed for the top leadership role in Somalia?
The questions asked above are those that many Somalis repeatedly ask each other.
It remains to be seen what will happen in August 2011, when it is time for the West to change its stick.
Biyokulule Online Editorial