Al Shabaab - History

To examine Terrorism it is important to first understand the definition of terrorism. The Oxford English Dictionary states “the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims” (Oxford English Dictionary Online). More depth is included in defining it as “a premeditated and unlawful act in which groups or agents of some principal engage in a threatened or actual use of force or violence against human or property targets”   (Understanding Terrorism Gus Martin). Terrorism is all around us from the UK, 28th June 2012 “Al-Qaeda terror suspect caught at Olympic Park” (Telegraph) and the world, 20th May 2013 “Car bombs hit Dagestan capital Makhachkala” (Euronews). It is clear we must gain as much knowledge and understanding of terrorism in order to attempt to prevent attacks.

Modern terrorist groups are plentiful. For this assignment I have decided to look outside the scope of UK based terrorism and into the most recent of groups as well as most topical. Somalia has come to the forefront of Terrorism in recent years mainly due to the much published “Pirate attacks”.

Al Shabbab

Al Qaeda is probably the most infamous terrorist group currently active in the world. Founded by the notorious Osama bin Laden in the late 1980s, they have been responsible for numerous attacks worldwide. These include the September 11 attacks on America and the 2002 Bali bombings. Less well known is the modern cell of al Qaeda called Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen based in Somali, known for short as al-Shabaab.   In Arabic this means “The Boys” or “The Youth” (The Oxford English – Arabic Dictionary). The cell is in control of much of southern Somalia operating its own strict version of Sharia Law.   Al-Shabaab was founded in the mid-2000s. They were formed from a branch of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which then broke into many smaller factions after its loss in 2006 to the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the TFG's Ethiopian...