The International Crisis Group (ICG) published on 26 June 2014 a solid and detailed analysis titled "Somalia: Al-Shabaab -- It Will Be a Long War."
ICG concluded that al-Shabaab represents a culmination of the long-term shift toward social conservatism in Somalia that is difficult to reverse. As an insurgent group, al-Shabaab retains core constituencies in many parts of south-central Somalia that are not currently addressed by locally-acceptable governance alternatives. As an organization, al-Shabaab has demonstrated an aptitude for strategic planning that should not be underestimated. It remains rooted in its Somali context, is willing to learn and benefit from external influence--notably al-Qaeda--while retaining a strong inclination toward local autonomy.