Saturday, 23 February 2013

Denouncement of Abu Mansour al-Amriki from Within al-Shabaab

The seemingly endless saga of accusation and counter-accusation between Omar Shafik Hammami aka Abu Mansour al-Amriki and the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab appears to have entered what is in all probability its final stage. On 18 February 2013 the slickly produced 17 page document titled "Turning Away From The Truth Won’t Make It Disappear: Demystifying the Abu Mansur Saga" was released. The author of this document Abu Hamza Al-Muhajir, who may or may not be British based on some aspects of his writing, made the interesting choice to produce this document in English which despite his own professed weakness in Arabic nevertheless would indicate a more Western and perhaps even Somali Diaspora audience in mind.

While the document goes through a number of criticisms of al-Amriki ranging from his allegedly insufferable ego to his performance on the battlefield this document is also perhaps a new effort by al-Shabaab to present a friendly and welcoming face to would-be foreign fighters who may have been put off joining the jihad in Somalia due to the public statements and social media attacks on the group by al-Amriki or those close to him.

However, while the document presents a potential look into the mind of al-Shabaab, or perhaps at least some other foreign fighters, it is often easy to forget that the contribution of al-Amriki to the battlefield operations or theological thought of al-Shabaab were at most minimal despite whatever claims have been made in the past. The contempt now felt for the man who once served as a convenient token representative of Western foreign fighters can be found on page 5 where the author states:

Abu Mansur’s slanderous accusations against Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen do not warrant a response - neither from the leadership of HSM nor from the Mujahideen themselves - and while I do not feel entirely obliged to refute his claims, I believe that not only is it appropriate to shed some light into the reasons why things got to such a stage, but also to declare, unequivocally, the Muhajireen’s disavowal of his puerile antics and his insistence on speaking on their behalf.

Although this document is unlikely to end the Twitter war between the supporters and detractors of al-Amriki this may be the last official or semi-official statement from al-Shabaab in this matter - unless of course there is an announcement of his execution or expulsion from Somalia.


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