The killing of Osama Bin Laden on the second of May by the US may have been a death blow to Al-Qaeda but it may prove to be a very useful recruitment tool for Al-Shabab. The Al-Qaeda leader was a Hero to many Islamists that were neutral in the war between Al-Shabab and the ICU Islamists that had joined the TFG.
President Sheikh Sharif’s celebration of Osama’s killing was therefore seen as proof by some neutral Somali Islamists of the Sheikh’s apostasy. For the first time, some formerly neutral Somali Islamists are referring to Sheikh Sharif by the nickname given to him by Al-Shabab -“Murtad” Sharif (Murtad is Arabic for Apostate). Sharif should pay more attention to the Insurgents that have forced him to spend less time in the presidential palace, and refrain from comments meant to win him international support but lose crucial local support from his support base.
According to sources, Al-Shabab is planning to re- release an old audio tape of the late Al-Qaeda leader praising them and declaring Sheikh Sharif a Murtad. This time – unlike the first release of the tape two years ago – they will have more people paying attention due to recent events. And, they might get more foreign recruits from neighbouring countries also. Al-Qaeda may have lost a leader, but Al-Shabab has got itself the perfect recruitment tool.
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