Since Omar Hammami’s plea for help last March and autobiography Part 1, there has been only limited evidence that Hammami is alive. A tweet here, a silly YouTube video there, but one had to wonder over the past six months as Shabaab’s turf continued to shrink if Hammami had finally been rubbed out by Shabaab.
Well, recently al Shabaab in Somalia officially distanced themselves publicly from Hammami and the terror group appears to be deliberating over what to do with him. This seemingly has brought Hammami out into the media again via a Twitter account most believe belongs to the American foreign fighter. The account could be someone impersonating Hammami, or a close contact of Hammami, but I’m inclined to believe @abumamerican is actually Omar Hammami (despite his occasional lame attempts to appear to have a spokesman.)
Again, Omar doesn’t disappoint. He has apparently come to learn that joining al Shabaab was/is a bad idea. Who would have thought a group of terrorists, like al Shabaab, might be untrustworthy, corrupt and devious? Gosh Omar, no one could have seen that coming, except of course the al Qaeda operatives that traveled to Somalia in the early 1990’s where they fell into the same clan chaos you are now experiencing. Instead of reading jihadi propaganda before you took off to Somalia, you should have been reading this.
So what does Hammami or his messenger have to say? Well quite a bit, and it sounds like his time is running out. For the latest Twitter transcript click here.
And potentially with a limited amount of time to communicate, what does Hammami have to say to the world? Let’s break it down.
Shabaab is corrupt.
Shabaab’s leadership doesn’t care about the troops.
Shabaab is killing off foreign fighters that join its ranks. As was suspected months ago, Shabaab has been killing its own foreign fighters that travel from abroad to join its ranks in Somalia.
Shabaab restricts foreign fighters from trying to run campaigns outside Somalia. (A surprising claim)
Shabaab isn’t really about sharia law or al Qaeda’s ideology. (Which was no surprise to most, but really reflects on Zawahiri’s poor leadership and judgement formally aligning with Shabaab last winter.)
Shabaab is money hungry and greedy.
Shabaab is dumb militarily.
If you are young man thinking about joining Shabaab, please read the first hand account of Hammami at his Twitter page and Part 1 of his auto biography. If you still want to join Shabaab or any al Qaeda affiliated terror group after reading his account, then you problems aren’t ideological, they are psychological.
Speaking of delusional, Hammami continues to purport that al Qaeda as a whole is still a worthwhile movement and jihad is good all the while bashing al Shabaab. Hammami seems to think what he has witnessed with Shabaab is just a case of bad luck and that some other jihadi group or al Qaeda affiliate would somehow be better, more ideologically pure and committed to Islamic law. What Hammami refuses to accept is that all of al Qaeda’s affiliates are corrupt in one shape or another and the pure jihad he seeks doesn’t really exist. Hammami, I’m sure trying to cope with his poor decision-making and unwilling/unable to turn himself in, is continuing to chase the fallacy that al Qaeda ideology has merit. Despite his misfortune this past year and his rambling strategic thesis citing Islamic history, Hammami has failed to deeply study al Qaeda’s own history, which is rife with the alleged sins he has cast on Shabaab.
Hammami claims Shabaab members are killing off foreign fighters for unjust reasons, but this is not uncommon in al Qaeda’s history. Foreign fighters arriving in Iraq were routinely shuffled off on suicide missions having nothing to do with al Qaeda and everything to do with tribal infighting. The GIA (an early attempted alliance of al Qaeda) in Algeria is rife with accounts of subterfuge and infighting between Salafists killing each other off for more power. Al Qaeda’s first trip to Somalia encountered persistent clan fighting sufficient for al Qaeda to cite in its documents, “Leave it, it is rotten “tribalism”. Finally, one must still wonder about the death of Abdullah Azzam – one of the founders of the mujahideen movement in Afghanistan. While I’d imagine the common tale in al Qaeda circles is that Azzam was killed off by the Pakistani government (ISI, military, etc.) or the CIA, it is equally likely that Azzam might have been killed off by other mujahideen or even a power hungry Bin Laden building a new outfit called al Qaeda. While Azzam’s death is clouded in mystery, there is the potential that the jihadi group Hammami fantasizes about, al Qaeda, actually formed from the exact conditions and sins that Hammami now so despises.
So to Omar, when are you going to realize that you are chasing a fantasy?
More to follow in an hour or two.