The Somali Saga Continues
by NANCY HARTEVELT KOBRIN, PHD
July 12, 2012
Case # 1: Al Shabab British Somali -- "CF"
A Somali Al Shabab Al Qaeda affiliate member, age 24, referred to as "CF", was re-arrested after having violated his ban not to trespass the Olympic Park in London, while wearing his court ordered electronic tracking device. CF was reportedly doing reconnaissance as a suicide bomber for the Olympic Games. He tried to carry out a suicide bombing against British troops in Afghanistan. He reportedly went to Somalia.
There are few details about CF. He comes from a large family, suggesting emotional deprivation. Who else in the family is involved?
Cases #2 and #3: Al Shabab Swiss "Jordanians" -- Magd Najjar and "MN"
These Swiss Jordanians of Al Shabab are members of its foreign fighters' wing. Magd Najjar was denied the right to be extradited to Switzerland when released on terrorist charges in Kenya.
Najjar "the Jordanian" is reminiscent of Zarqawi, who was the Al Qaeda leader in Iraq from "Jordanian" who was however, actually a Palestinian. Zarqawi's mentor was the Palestinian hate monger Azzam Azzam. Zarqawi began his beheading rampage in Iraq the day after he ended his mourning for his mother. There is little information about Najjar. Could he also be a Palestinian?
"MN" is 19 years old of Jordanian "origins" who grew up in Biel and who disappeared in February 2011. He was apprehended in Kenya thus, showing that neutral Switzerland has a similar problem concerning radicalization as in Britain and America.
Ironically the initials "MN" are the abbreviation for the state of Minnesota. Just as the Somali families of Minnesota were shocked to find out that their youth were being recruited to Shabab, so were the families in Biel. The Swiss authorities fear a Mohammed Merah-type incident. I conducted a series of prison interviews in Minnesota and concur with Swiss concerns.
Case #4: Al Shabab Portuguese man whose name has not been released yet
In neighboring Somaliland, a Portuguese man was arrested with ties to Al Shabab. This was the first time an Al Shabaab terrorist had been apprehended by the Somaliland authorities. The phenomena and saga continue.
While all attempts should be made to stabilize Somalia, the February London summit along with other newspaper articles have tried to paint an optimistic picture of a new Mogadishu along with the impending elections in August. The country has endured more than twenty years of chaos, famine, and bloodshed with virtually little functioning infrastructure. While it is true that Al Shabab has been ousted from Adgoye, a town en route to Mogadishu, Somalia still remains the number one failed state world-wide.
There continue to be acts of piracy and kidnapping of aid workers with the criminality flowing into Kenya. Both types of criminal acts bring in significant revenue as well as "warped" prestige to shame riddled Al Shabab.
What's Palestine got to do with Al Shabab?
Few even remember a UN report in 2006 during the Lebanon War that there were reportedly 720 Al Shabab fighting there. While the report has been disputed, the former Israeli ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman confirmed that he knew of the Somali jihadis.
One wonders now how many Somalis have been able to infiltrate Israel hiding among the Sudanese and Eritreans making their way to Eilat, South Tel Aviv and other destinations? We hear nothing about this from the press or government.
Fewer know too that the Somali extremists identify themselves as the "poor Palestinians" and the Ethiopians as the cruel occupier "Israelis". This was communicated to me by the last young Somali Jew born and raised in Mogadishu who was forced to flee the country along with his mother two years ago. Somalia is now Judenrein. It once had a thriving Jewish community of about six thousand. The Somali Jewish community traced many of their ancestors to Yemen. In Minneapolis, which has the largest diaspora of Somalis outside of Mogadishu, it was common to see bumper stickers saying "Ethiopia get out of Somalia" reminiscent too of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Why is it important to understand this group identification with the Palestinians? First and foremost, Israel and Jews will continue to be targeted. Second, such hatred and relentless rage attacks cause an identification with the aggressor, Al Shabaab, which in turn precipitate underestimating what this terrorist organization is capable of doing. Third, the West continues to fail to factor in Somali clan dynamics, the level of rage of their male youth, the hatred of their own females and the lack of capacity for empathy for others.
Nothing will change until such naïveté as symbolized by placing an electronic monitor tag on such a harden criminal as "CF" is reconsidered. Why was "CF" not in prison in the first place? The "Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures" while well intended, proves to be inadequate and naive. There remain many more unanswered questions as the Somali saga continues.