According to an article by CBS News' Khaleed Wassef, Al-Shabaab, the largest Somali homegrown terrorist organization in Somalia, has ended ambiguity about its relationship with worldwide terror group Al Qaeda. For the first time, the Emir of Al-Shabaab [aka Shabaab Al-Mujahideen], Abu Zubair, declared his loyalty to Bin Laden's forces. This 48 minute video is a marked contrast to previous statements by Al-Shabaab and its affiliates, denying any organizational links to Al Qaeda.
This pronouncement follows last week's assassination of Al Qaeda's chief of operations in East Africa, Saleh Al-Nabhan, by a missile strike from a U.S. special forces working off the coast of the Somali city of Baraawe. It is a strong response to U.S. operations in the area, replete with Jihadi-style semantics such as, "The Mujahideen here are fine and the winds of victory are still blowing on them and the enemy's plans are collapsing one after another."
A large crowd of Al-Shabaab terrorists were also waving their guns and chanting, "Here we are O' Osama; We are your soldiers O' Osama."
Aside from the reaction to American actions in Al-Shabaab-held southern Somalia, the video is a vocal response to Bin Laden's call that Al-Shabaab rebel against the Somali Islamist [but somewhat less extreme] interim government. The al-Shabaab video featured audio clips from a previous Bin Laden video, "Fight on O' Champions of Somalia," to drive home the point.
In addition, the video featured Al Qaeda leader and American convert to Islam Abu Mansour Al-Amriki [Omar Hammami], supervising a small group of Al-Shabaab militants as they train in military tactics.
It is not fully known why Al-Shabaab has made such a drastic shift in policy by identifying directly with Bin Laden. Suggestions include linking to a more global dimension of jihad and clarifying the obvious connections in training that the two organizations share.
This new shift may also be a response to the 2008 U.S. State Department designation of Al-Shabaab as a terrorist organization. It remains to be seen what effect this will have on the recent influx of American Somalis to Al-Shabaab, including the first-ever U.S. suicide bomber who blew himself up in the Somali regional capitol of Hargeisa. However, it is certain that this will clarify the U.S. effort to suppress Somali-American terror links.
See the following IPT link for more information about Somali-American terror connections and the most recent success of the U.S. government in prosecuting this extension of terror.