Saturday, June 23, 2012

Al Shabaab: Omar Hammami and Holsworthy Barracks Plot

The June 2012 issue of the CTC Sentinel has two articles dealing with al-Shabaab.

The first by Christopher Anzalone, a PhD candidate at the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University, looks at the case of American jihadi Omar Hammami, who grew up in Daphne, Alabama. The article examines Hammami's career in al-Shabaab, paying particular attention to his position in the organization and his strategic writings under the pen name, Abu Jihad al-Shami. Drawing from Hammami's writings, including his autobiography, the article seeks to provide a detailed analytical profile of one of the most famous and prolific western jihadist foreign fighters.

The author concludes that Hammami's radicalization was not solely the result of his attraction to the battlefield in Somalia. Rather, he sought to gain an audience that was much larger than simply members, supporters, and sympathizers of a single militant movement. His goal was to produce written material integral to the success of jihadists globally in the war of ideas.

The second article by Andrew Zammit, a researcher at the Global Terrorism Centre, Monash University, analyzes the August 2009 plot to attack the Holsworthy Army Barracks in Sydney, Australia. Five men were charged and three convicted of planning the attack on the barracks. All three were affiliated with al-Shabaab but only one, Saney Aweys, was from the Somali diaspora. The author concluded that the three plotted independently of al-Shabaab, which did not instigate or direct the attack.

Click here to read both articles.

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