MEET SHABAB, THE NEW, BETTER-FUNDED AND POSSIBLY CRAZIER AL-QAEDA
Remember last week when that mall got shot up in Nairobi, Kenya? The gunman let all of the Muslims go free, then they opened fire on the infidels who were still around?
As more details emerge surrounding the Shabab militant group, who claimed responsibility for the shootings at the upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, the more its makes us want to cower under our collective bed.
Shabab are ruthless, well funded and batshit crazy.
In a brutal act that killed more than 60 men, women and children the group solidified a place for themselves in the consciousness of everyday Americans. Video from the attack reveals terrified mall-goers trying to avoid gunmen, who go about their work in a detached manner.
The lack of emotion on the gunmen’s faces is perhaps what is most horrific.
Jonathan Schanzer, the vice president for research at the Foundation For Defense of Democracies and a former counter-terrorism official at the United States Treasury, estimated that the total cost of the attack on the mall in Somalia cost the group more than $100,000. “Sort of a perfect cocktail that created this nightmare scenario.”
For years, Shabab has been participating in shady activities. According to The New York Times, those include “illicit ivory, kidnappings, piracy ransoms, smuggled charcoal, extorted payments from aid organizations and even fake charity drives pretending to collect money for the poor.”
The group has no boundaries when it comes to extracting money from different groups. Shabab has stolen from Islamic charities as well as from individual projects to build new mosques and schools in Eastern Africa.
The fear is that as the group evolves and becomes more efficient, it will become leaner, more ruthless and accrue less overhead, meaning it will be able to make its dollars go further.
Despite the efforts of several law enforcement organizations in the United States and abroad, the group maintains business dealings and continues to draw money from a number of different resources to fund its terrorist activities.
Since the attacks, there has been a renewed interest in defeating, or at least maintaining, the group in some form, but officials contend that the group has so many different sources of income, it is difficult to isolate any one particular main stream of revenue.
Anti-terrorist officials now find themselves in a race against time, looking to cripple the organization before it can strike again somewhere abroad or at home in the United States.
Shabab, which means “youth” in Arabic, is so entrenched in every aspect of the economy that the United Nations is having difficulty imposing sanctions aimed at crippling Shabab without harming everyday Somalis, relying upon aid from international groups to survive.
The United States and other countries must now weigh the value of the sanctions versus ending the terrorist threat.