Well, according to Omar Hammami’s tweet of January 4, 2013, he had 15 days to relinquish his weapon and succumb to potential imprisonment or even worse death at the hands of his former organization – al Shabaab. In the two weeks since this tweet was broadcast from the account allegedly belonging to Omar Hammami (@abumamerican), a battle has erupted between one of al-Shabaab’s most glorified foreign fighters and al-Shabaab’s current leadership under the command of Ahmed Godane. Hammami’s updated, detailed description of his falling out with Godane brought a protracted Twitter war between Shabaab & al Qaeda loyalists and Hammami himself.
Today, January 19, 2013 makes 15 days since Omar’s tweet ignited the Internet battle revealing clear fractures in the foundation of al-Shabaab as an organization. So would Shabaab follow up on their challenge to Hammami? Would Shabaab coming calling for Hammami?
Omar seems to suggest that al-Shabaab chickened out. Here’s the latest tweet from the account that may (or may not) be Omar Hammami.
Hammami’s public appeals seem to have worked. His complaints of Godane and support for the Raxanweyn clan may have garnered him protection from two rivals of Godane. This tweet suggests the “mujaahidiin in bokool”, likely under the command of Sheikh Robow, have committed to protecting Hammami. As has been discussed here, Robow and Godane have believed to compete for control of Shabaab for years and Hammami’s latest revelations suggest his advocating for Robow put him on the outs with Godane. Hammami also suggested he got backing from “Sh fu’ad”, I believe to be Sheikh Fu’ad from Galgala, who once was a Godane lieutenant but allegedly fell out with Godane in recent years. So Hammami maybe has a backer from the South (Robow) and the North (Fuad).
Also, if Hammami’s tweet is actually from Hammami and he in fact has secured the backing of Robow and possibly Fuad, does this mean there are two al Shabaab’s? Or is Robow out of Shabaab? I’ll be curious to hear more from Omar.