Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab, which the
However, should the group face more intense fighting and the need to meet larger payrolls the group may well face tough decisions over whether to maintain a continuing opposition to the use of piracy.
This could bring it into direct confrontation with the
Omaru Sisay, an
His colleague Anna Murison, who follows Jihadist groups around the world says, “to date there is little clear evidence of jihadist involvement in piracy, although the equivocal nature of remarks on the subject by Al –Shabaab leaders leaves the door open to the possible adoption of the tactic (piracy).”
One reason why piracy has been condemned more in political than in moral terms by al-Shabaab leadership is that they take the view that it could provide a pretext for a
At the moment Al-Shabaab is focused on fighting on land to extend its area of control in
Al-Shabaab last week called on foreign militants to join them after US Special Forces killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, who is suspected of responsibility for an attack on an Israeli owned hotel in
Al-Shabaab`s use of foreign fighters remains controversial in
If it does wish to attack western assets and comes under increasing financial pressure piracy, despite the risks, it could look again at its opposition to piracy, say the analysts.
At the moment there are signs of a debate on piracy among jihadists, with some seeing a strategic advantage to be gained, while others reject the idea.
Statements collated from jihadi web sites around the world show support as well as opposition to the use of piracy as a weapon.
On one site a jihadi supporter is quoted as saying, “They (the pirates) could be working for the good of the mujahedin.”
Another says, “from a strategic point of view, these operations are very effective.”
But other supporters of jihad are quoted as disagreeing with this support for piracy.
“Piracy is nothing but theft on the seas, whatever its motive…” and from another, ‘the so-called pirates seem to me to be an American plan.”
There is currently no sign of an alliance between Al-Shabaab and any of the four main pirate groups from the towns of Eyl, Hobyo, Harardheree, and Marka says Sisay.
Of these, the most active is from Eyl, a coastal village in the semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland, some distance from Al-Shabab`s operational area in the south and central part of the country.
Sisay says but there is a clear risk that should financial pressures on the group increase, it will abandon its opposition to piracy and offer protection to pirates in return for a share of what it receives in ransoms.
The large numbers of Somali fishermen with who are experienced sailors and know the waters also means that the Somali Islamist group could set up its own maritime operations with relative ease, he says.
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