Al-Shabaab : The Strongest Terrorist Organization of East Africa and its Funding

Al-Shabaab is the strongest terrorist organization in East Africa, and of the strongest in the world, with presence in Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and recently Tanzania. I have said many times how important the east coasts of Africa are for China. China needs to ship to China raw materials from Africa’s east coasts. For this purpose China is planning to use the Kenyan port of Lamu. Railways, highways and pipelines will take African resources to Lamu, and from Lamu to China.

Map 1 Africa and China

Map Al -Shabaab.JPG

China promotes the 25 billion dollar economic corridor “Lamu Port and Lamu-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor”, or LAPSSET, which will connect South Sudan and Ethiopia, and other African countries, to the Indian Ocean and China though the port of Lamu. See Wikipedia “Lamu Port and Lamu-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor”.

“Lamu Port and Lamu-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor”.

In a sense the LAPSSET  economic corridor is for East Africa what the Iran-Iraq-Syria and the Qatar-Turkey pipelines are for Syria and Iraq, what the TAPI and Iran-Pakistan-China Pipelines are for Central Asia, what the Trans-Saharan Pipeline (Nigeria-Niger-Algeria-Europe) is for North Africa, and what the Nord Stream 2, the Turk Stream and the Southern Energy Corridor are for Europe. I mean that the Arabs, the Iranians and the Central Asians are really hurt by the Kenya-China connection, since it will reduce their exports to China. That’s the reason the Arabs of the Gulf and the Iranians support the terrorists of Al-Shabaab, and they compete about who is going to gain their support.

As you can read at the following Financial Times article, the United Nations are putting pressure on the Arabs of the Persian Gulf, in order to convince them to stop importing charcoal from Al-Shabab in Somalia. Charcoal is Somalia’s main exporting good, and Al-Shabaab controls a large part of the country’s forests, and it illegally exports large quantities of charcoal, as you can read at the FT article.

“UN pushes Gulf to cut off al-Shabaab economic lifeline in Somalia”, September 2013

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The UN is pushing Middle Eastern countries to crack down on a multimillion dollar charcoal trade that funds al-Qaeda-linked jihadis in Somalia in violation of international sanctions.

Charcoal is the economic lifeline of the al-Shabaab Islamist militants, who control much of southern Somalia and regularly conduct terror attacks in Mogadishu, the capital.

At the following Washington Post article you can read that Qatar also supports the Islamists of Al-Shabaab, and that Somalia’s president was complaining about Qatar’s funding to Al-Shabab through Eritrea. The article also mentions that the United States are asking Turkey to use her influence over Qatar, in order to convince Qatar to stop supporting Al-Shabaab. The Washington Post article also refers to Qatar’s growing influence in Western Universities and think tanks, but that’s another issue.

“Qatar’s support for Islamists muddles its reputation as neutral broker in Mideast”, November 2012

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Qatar’s cultivation of African Islamists, principally Somalia’s al-Shabab insurgents, has similarly troubled the United States, which has accused the movement of providing a haven for al-Qaeda militants involved in attacks against Americans. In 2009, Somalia’s then-president, Sharif Ahmed, told a top U.S. diplomat that Qatar was channeling financial assistance to al-Shabab via Eritrea, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable disclosed by WikiLeaks.

Several weeks later, Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, urged Turkey to press Qatar to end its support for Somali insurgents. Qatar denied the accusation.

At the following Reuters article you can read that the United Nations accuse Iran for also sending arms to Al-Shabaab.

“Iran denies shipping arms to Islamist militants in Somalia”, February 2013

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Iran has denied allegations that it has been supplying Islamist militants in Somalia with weapons, describing the charges as “absurd fabrications,” according to a letter obtained by Reuters on Thursday.

As the United States pushes for an end to the U.N. arms embargo on Somalia, U.N. monitors following Somalia sanctions are warning that Islamist militants in the Horn of Africa nation are receiving weapons from distribution networks linked to Yemen and Iran, diplomats told Reuters.

The LAPSSET economic corridor is not a problem only for the Arabs of the Gulf and the Iranians, but also for the Sudanese. In 2011 Sudan was partitioned to Sudan and South Sudan, with the Arabs taking the northern part of the country (Sudan), and the non-Arabs taking the southern part of the country (South Sudan).

The problem is that Sudan’s oil is in South Sudan, while the refineries are in Sudan, and the oil pipelines that export this oil end at Port Sudan in the Red Sea. China dominates the Sudanese and South Sudanese energy sectors, but did not manage to work things out for the Sudanese and the South Sudanese. With the LAPSSET economic corridor the oil of South Sudan can be exported through Kenya, but that would render useless the refineries and oil pipelines of Sudan, because Sudan has no oil. See the Qatari network Al-Jazeera.

“The mega-port that threatens to sink Sudan”, October 2013

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As plans for a mega-port on Kenya’s northern-most coast begin to take shape, new concerns are emerging that the project could damage already-strained relations between Sudan and South Sudan.

Kenya’s $25.5bn Lamu Port and New Transport Corridor Development to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia (LAPSSET) includes the construction of a 32-berth port, three international airports, and a 1,500km railway line. A new oil refinery, in nearby Bargoni, and an oil pipeline are also planned. The pipeline would run to Kenya’s Eastern Province before splitting, with one branch running to South Sudan’s capital, Juba, and another through Moyale in the north to Addis Ababa. A 1,730km road network is also in the works.

The project is seen as central to development in Kenya, and East Africa more broadly. But as demonstrations across Sudan over fuel subsidy cuts continue, fears that the mega-port could further damage Sudan’s ailing economy are looking more significant to regional security.

The Lamu mega-port would enable landlocked South Sudan to export its oil through Kenya, bypassing Sudan’s Red Sea port and oil refineries. This would cause Sudan to lose the substantial transit fees it is paid by South Sudan. Sudan lost 75 percent of its oil reserves when South Sudan seceded in 2011, and political relations have been uneasy ever since.

The Lamu project is a huge threat to Khartoum in terms of loss of revenue. These transit fees are high, partly because they also take into account a sense of compensation for the North letting go of the oil,” EJ Hogendoorn, the International Crisis Group’s Africa deputy program director, told Al Jazeera. “The fact is, South Sudan feels exposed and vulnerable, and they feel like they’re being almost cheated by Khartoum

Map 2 Sudan-South Sudan Oil and Infrastructure Energy Information Administration

Map Sudan Oil.JPG

Sudan’s Presidnet, the Arab Islamist dictator Omar al-Bashir, cannot travel to the Western World, because an international warrant has been issued for his arrest. But al-Bashir is more than welcome in his ally China. Sudan is a country with very strong connections to terrorism, and even though China is Sudan’s ally, the Sudanese don’t like the Lamu project.

Remember that until 1996 Osama bin Landen was hiding in Sudan. In 1996 the Sudanese asked bin Landen to leave the country, because the United States and the Saudis were threatening them. Remember that until recently Sudan was an Iranian ally, and that Al-Qaeda is supported by some parts of the Saudi elite who are against the Americans and the Saudi King. Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and other countries, hostile to the United States and the Saudi King, occasionally support Al-Qaeda. See “The Assassination of the Saudi King in 1975”

See also “The Alliance Between Al-Qaeda and Iran”.

For Osama bin Landen and Sudan see CNN.

“Osama Bin Laden Profile”

Like if all the above was not enough, Uganda and Tanzania decided to built a pipeline, in order for Uganda to export her oil to the Indian Ocean. See Bloomberg.

“Uganda Looks at Tanzania in Search for Cheapest Oil Pipeline”, October 2015

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Uganda is taking a closer look at sending its crude oil through Tanzania after stepping back from an accord to run a pipeline through Kenya as the landlocked East African nation searches for the cheapest export route.

“Uganda ups oil reserves estimate by 85 pct, finds natural gas”, August 2014

As soon as Uganda and Tanzania agreed to construct the pipeline, Al-Shabaab appeared in Tanzania. See Reuters.

“Tanzanians lynch suspected Somali militant, police arrest 10 others”, April 2015

Al-Shabaab’s importance for the Arabs and the Iranians, and the Arab and Iranian support to the organization, in order to gain influence, together with Al-Shabaab’s charcoal exports, the kidnappings, the drugs trade, made Al-Shabaab the 8th richest terrorist organization in the world, after ISIS (Syria and Iraq), Hamas (Gaza), FARC (Colombia), Hebollah (Lebanon), Taliban (Afghanistan), Al-Qaeda (Saudi Arabia), Lashkar e Taiba (India and Pakistan), and richest than IRA (Ireland) and Boko Haram (Nigeria). See Forbes.

“The World’s 10 Richest Terrorist Organizations”, Δεκέμβριος 2014

You can see that there are only 2 socialist terrorists organization in the top 10 i.e. IRA and FARC. The Islamists have the oil and that’s why the beat the socialists. I guess the reason that FARC is so rich is because there is so much drugs trade in Colombia. Actually Colombia exports oil too. Anyway, Al-Shabaab came to control a large part of Somalia, as you can see with dark green at the following BBC map. Through the Kismayo port Al-Shabaab exports most of her products.

Map 3 Somalia – Al-Shabaab

Somalia Al-Shabab.JPG

Somalia is also very important for controlling the straits of Bab el Mandeb, which in turn are of strategic importance for controlling the Red Sea. Especially for the Iranians, who want to attack Saudi Arabia from Africa, the corrupt countries of East Africa can be very useful. Therefore the Turks, the Arabs and the Iranians are competing for influence over Al-Shabaab. As you can read at the following Telegraph article, ISIS and Al-Qaeda are competing for control over Al-Shabaab, and some members of Al-Shabaab work with ISIS while others with Al-Qaeda.

“How al-Qaeda and Islamic State are competing for al-Shabaab in Somalia”, January 2016

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Isil and al-Qaeda are fighting a tug-of-war for the allegiance of al-Shabaab in a battle which could hasten the demise of Somalia’s jihadist movement, according to researchers.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) have released another video – purportedly filmed in Libya – urging the “brothers” in al-Shabaab in Somalia to join their struggle.

So far, two senior al-Shabaab commanders have pledged allegiance to Isil.

Turkey is also having a military base in Somalia, in order to help the Somali government fight Al-Shabaab. I think Turkey wants to fight the Somali government against the Islamists who do not cooperate with Turkey, and now that Turkey and Saudi Arabia seem to have worked things out, against Islamists who do not cooperate with Saudi Arabia either. I guess the terrorists who work with Iran are the targe. See International Business Times.

“Turkey Helping Somalia Fight Al-Shabab? Turkish Military’s First Base In Africa Will Train African Soldiers”, January 2016

At the following Reuters article you can read that the same day the Somali government announced it will stop cooperating with Iran, it received 50 million dollars from Saudi Arabia.

“Somalia received Saudi aid the day it cut ties with Iran: document”, January 2016


“Who is Supporting Al-Shabaab”?, November 2011

“Iran supports al-Shabaab in Somalia”, September 2013


Kenya-Sudan Relations

“Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir: Kenya issues arrest warrant”, November 2011

“Kenya–Uganda–Rwanda Petroleum Products Pipeline”

“Several killed in al-Shabab raid on Kenya’s Lamu county”, January 2016

“Ethiopia enters Sh160b pipeline deal that could challenge Lapsset”, October 2016


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