Inside Al-Shabaab

Inside Al-Shabaab

The Secret History of Al-Qaeda’s Most Powerful Ally
Harun Maruf and Dan Joseph, foreword by Christopher Anzalone
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/01/2018
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-03748-0
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One of the most powerful Islamic militant groups in Africa, Al-Shabaab exerts Taliban-like rule over millions in Somalia and poses a growing threat to stability in the Horn of Africa. Somalis risk retaliation or death if they oppose or fail to comply with Al-Shabaab-imposed restrictions on aspects of everyday life such as clothing, media, sports, interpersonal relations, and prayer. Inside Al-Shabaab: The Secret History of Al-Qaeda's Most Powerful Ally recounts the rise, fall, and resurgence of this overlooked terrorist organization and provides an intimate understanding of its connections with Al-Qaeda. Drawing from interviews with former Al-Shabaab militants, including high-ranking officials, military commanders, police, and foot soldiers, authors Harun Maruf and Dan Joseph reveal the motivations of those who commit their lives to the group and its violent jihadist agenda. A wealth of sources including US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks, letters taken from the Pakistani hideout of Osama bin Laden, case files from the prosecution of American Al-Shabaab members, emails from Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, and Al-Shabaab's own statements and recruiting videos inform Maruf and Joseph's investigation of the United States' campaign against Al-Shabaab and how the 2006 US-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia gave the group the popular support it needed to radicalize ordinary citizens and become a powerful movement.

Author Bio

Harun Maruf is Senior Editor in Voice of Americas Somali Service who has been covering Somalia and its struggles with war, terrorism, piracy, and drought since the early 1990s. With more than 100,000 followers, Maruf is the most followed Somali journalist on Twitter and a primary source of news to many people in the Horn of Africa. Prior to joining VOA, Maruf worked as a reporter for the BBC and Associated Press in Somalia and as a researcher for Human Rights Watch.

Dan Joseph is an editor in Voice of Americas central newsroom and has headed up its Africa desk since December 2005.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Christopher Anzalone

Sources and Acknowledgments

Prologue: Birth of A Militant

Origins and Rise

1. Jihad Arrives in Somalia

2. The CIA, Warlords, and Ethiopia

3. "The Real Jihad Has Just Started"

4. Godane

5. Al-Shabaab Americans

6. Radical Organization

The Battle for Mogadishu


8. "Send Troops Within 24 Hours

9. Zenith and Stalemate

10. The Ramadan Offensive

11. Withdrawal

On the Run

12. Divisions and Purge

13. The Road to Westgate

14. No Place to Hide


15. Arresting the Decline

16. The ISIS Incursion

17. Al-Shabaabs Future