And it most likely will be: The fundamental goal of jihad is to impose Sharia, and it is that ever-present factor that draws international jihadist participation to what are often mistaken for localized conflicts, but are more accurately described as localized instances of a conflict driven by much wider aspirations. If Al-Shabaab had bumper stickers on their machine gun-mounted pickup trucks, they might read, “Think jihad globally, wage jihad locally.”
“Global terror warning as Somali militants flex muscles,” by David McKenzie for CNN, July 29:
Al-Shabaab, one of the strongest Islamic militias battling for control of Mogadishu, has gained ground in recent weeks, according to officials, and has started to flex its muscles beyond Somalia’s border with terror strikes, kidnappings and recruitment drives.
They warn that unless the world takes action the group, which wants to impose an extreme type of Islamic sharia law, could extend its grip across parts of East Africa to gain control of a region that flanks busy shipping routes already plagued by Somali pirates.
Where is the non-“extreme” Sharia law, outside of highly romanticized accounts of Islam’s early years and “golden age?” That’s easy to answer: Sharia is “extreme” by nature due to its content, and the equation of Islamic piety and the right to govern provides an incentive for ever-stricter implementation for political survival. Where a “moderate” model of Sharia or Islam itself is cited (whether in Turkey, Indonesia, or the West), it exists because some competing ideology has so far held the nastier elements of Sharia at bay.
Appeals by Somalia’s government for international help to unpick its long-running civil conflict have escalated Al-Shabaad’s threats with the group behind warnings of an attack on the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
And, say experts, the group is being backed by foreign fighters — some said to have links to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network — a situation that draws direct comparisons with the group’s influence in pre-9/11 Afghanistan.
“Al-Shabaab is a threat to the whole world,” Somali Information Minister Farhan Ali Mohamoud told CNN. “First to Somalia, to the neighborhood, and to everywhere they have disagreed with.”[…]
Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua told CNN his country did not yet fear direct attacks from Al-Shabaab but said it was becoming increasingly alarmed about its activities and its links to foreign networks.
Despite the concerns, Mutua said the problem was nothing new and while his country struggled to exert control over its porous border with Somalia, it was taking steps to limit the danger. But he warned the threat was not limited to Kenya and could have global reach.
“We do believe that Al-Shabaab poses a threat, not only to Kenya, but to all neighboring countries such as Ethiopia and Eritrea,” he said.
“It is not just a problem that we foresee in Kenya, just because we are neighbors to them, it is a problem that we foresee that may occur to a lot of countries and also poses a threat to outside even this region,” he added.
“Our concern is not limited to Al-Shabaab. We know that Al-Shabaab are not able to do it without foreign intervention in terms of money and weapons that they are getting from other countries.”…