When Al-Shabaab ‘formally’ joined Al-Qaeda, it got me wondering… Why did they join? Will Boko Haram also join the group?
The probability of this happening, depends on how much information the SSS (Nigeria’s Secret Police) gets from key suspects such as: Kabiru Sokoto and Qaqa. And the arrest and invading of as many strongholds of theirs as possible. But even with this, you’ll still need to know why the Al-Shabaab extremist joined Al-Qaeda.
The Al-Shabaab sect is an offshoot of the Islamic Court Union (ICU), which broke into smaller factions following the ‘Civil War’ against the Somali “Transitional Federal Government’ (TFG) and the TFG’s Ethiopian ally in 2006.
Although, the sect’s leadership falls ultimately upon the Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the internal leadership is not fully clear. The outgoing of foreigners, has caused less and less central command (as sources say Iran, Libya and Egypt nationals makeup their ranks).
In 2010, the sect’s leadership was changed by Al-Qaeda, but the sect refused to comply with Al-Qeada. The internal command was controlled by Moktar Ali Zubeyr Godane, but a man called Ayro was the supposed leader, cause he was chosen by Hassan Aweys, the leader of the ICU at the time of its creation.
In August 2011, Godane was heavily criticized by Hassan and others for not allowing aid into the hunger stricken Southern Somalia. Although, this was not formally announced.
In effect, Al-Shabaab split up into a Foreign Legion led by Godane and coalition factions forming the National Legion led by Hassan Aweys, often refusing to take orders from Godane and hardly talking to each other.
As a result, in Feburary 2012, Godane made a ‘Bayat’-statement, swearing full allegiance to Al-Qaeda. He hopes to reclaim and extend his authority, and to encourage foreign fighters to stay.
How does this relate to Boko Haram?
Boko Haram has lost many of its key leaders, members of the sect are becoming tired of fighting and security forces are beginning to find major breakthroughs in the fight against terrorism.
Furthermore, the sect is now being pictured as weak and lacks authority. Though, Boko Haram has already been linked with Al-Qaeda, but I doubt if such ties exists.