Al-Shabaab in Somalia: The History and Ideology of a Militant Islamist Group

Paperback | April 25, 2016

byStig Jarle Hansen

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Since early 2007 a new breed of combatants has appeared on the streets of Mogadishu and other towns in Somalia: the "Shabaab", or youth, the only self-proclaimed branch of al-Qaeda to have gained acceptance (and praise) from Ayman al-Zawahiri and "AQ centre" in Afghanistan. Itself an offshootof the Islamic Courts Union, which split in 2006, Shabaab has imposed Sharia law and is also heavily influenced by local clan structures within Somalia itself. It remains an infamous and widely discussed, yet little-researched and understood, Islamist group. Hansen's remarkable book attempts to go beyond the media headlines and simplistic analyses based on alarmist or localist narratives and, by employing intensive field research conducted within Somalia, as well as on the ground interviews with Shabaab leaders themselves, explores the history of aremarkable organisation, one that has survived predictions of its collapse on several occasions. Hansen portrays al-Shabaab as a hybrid Islamist organization that combines a strong streak of Somali nationalism with the rhetorical obligations of international jihadism, thereby attracting a notinsignificant number of foreign fighters to its ranks. Both these strands of Shabaab have been inadvertently boosted by Ethiopian, American and African Union attempts to defeat it militarily, all of which have come to nought.

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From the Publisher

Since early 2007 a new breed of combatants has appeared on the streets of Mogadishu and other towns in Somalia: the "Shabaab", or youth, the only self-proclaimed branch of al-Qaeda to have gained acceptance (and praise) from Ayman al-Zawahiri and "AQ centre" in Afghanistan. Itself an offshootof the Islamic Courts Union, which split in ...

Stig Jarle Hansen is an associate professor at the University of Life Sciences in Oslo where he teaches Norway's only MA in International Relations. He speaks Somali, Swahili and Arabic.

other books by Stig Jarle Hansen

Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 8.4 × 5.4 × 0.68 inPublished:April 25, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190264829

ISBN - 13:9780190264826

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"Using previously neglected sources such as YouTube clips, Al-Shabaanb publications, and websites sympathetic to the group, the author highlights the impossibility of studying Al-Shabaab 'without grasping Somali clan politics and the local historical background. ... This is a judicious andtimely study of a poorly understood militant Islamic group. It is a must-read for anyone wishing to understand a group that has unleashed havoc in parts of Africa." --African Affairs