The Secret History of Al-Qaeda's Most Powerful Ally
Published by: Indiana University Press
344 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm, 18 b&w illus.
- ISBN: 9780253037497
- Published: October 2018
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.
Part 1: Origins and Rise
1. Jihad Arrives in Somalia
2. The CIA, Warlords, and Ethiopia
3. "The Real Jihad Has Just Started"
5. American Al-Shabaab
6. Radical Organization
Part 2: The Battle for Mogadishu
7. "TFG IN GRAVE JEOPARDY"
8. "We Want Anyone"
9. Zenith and Stalemate
10. The Ramadan Offensive
Part 3: On the Run
12. Divisions and Purge
13. The Road to Westgate
14. No Place to Hide
Part 4: Resurgence
15. Arresting the Decline
16. The ISIS Incursion
17. The Future of al-Shabab
"For military enthusiasts, Inside al-Shabaab has vivid descriptions of street-by-street fighting in Mogadishu as the extremists pushed the fragile Somali government to the edge of the sea. For those wondering how Somalia has never been able to shake off the threat, the book has piercing details of what still goes wrong both among Somalis and in the international community."~AP News
"Featuring interviews with government officials, former al-Shabaab members, soldiers and numerous other sources, the authors leave no stone unturned in their quest to tell the story of just how al-Shabaab continues to operate and why it continues to attract young people. This is hugely informative painstakingly-researched book."~African Arguments
The book by Maruf and Joseph is a very readable, very informative and in passages thrilling account that provides partly unknown details for Somalia-specialists and a basis for reflection and comparison for counter-terrorism experts. Due to the style of writing, it is even accessible for interested non-specialists. The book is recommended strongly for thinking about and beyond the Somali setting." ~African Affairs