Somali death threat issued to US jihadi

Updated 20 January 2013
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Somali death threat issued to US jihadi

JOHANNESBURG: An Alabama native who moved to Somalia to wage jihad alongside Al-Shabab militants may soon find himself the one pursued by insurgents.
Omar Hammami — whom the FBI named as one of its most-wanted terrorists in November — has engaged in a public fight with Al-Shabab over the last year, and a Twitter account that terrorism analysts believe is run by Hammami or his associates announced Jan. 4 that Al-Shabab fighters had given him 15 days — until Saturday — to surrender, or else.
“Shabab make (an) announcement in front of amriki: drop ur weapon b4 15 days or be killed. Its on,” the tweet from the Twitter handle (at)abumamerican said. Hammami’s nom de guerre is Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki, or “the American.”
It’s far from clear whether Hammami will be killed. The assassination of an American foreign fighter would likely harm Al-Shabab’s efforts to recruit Westerners. Hammami first expressed fear for his life in an extraordinary web video last March that publicized his rift with the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab.
Hammami has since leveled a myriad of accusations at the group — corruption, murder, abandonment of global jihad — and analysts agree the American has become an Al-Shabab PR problem.
“Something tells me at some point they just need to shut this guy up. At some point he stops being a nuisance and starts being a problem,” said Bill Roggio, editor of The Long War Journal. “He may be signing his own death warrant ... I suspect if they end up executing him they won’t do it in the timeline that he claims.”
Even if the death threat isn’t carried out close to Saturday, Clint Watts — a former executive officer at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center — said Hammami needs to flee if he wants to save his own skin.
“He’s always going to be looking over his shoulder in Somalia. They’re not going to forget and eventually they’re going to come after him. I mean, he’s just killing Al-Shabab right now,” said Watts, who suggested that Hammami must run, turn himself in to US authorities or fight to stay alive in Somalia as long as he can.
Along with Adam Gadahn in Pakistan — a former Osama Bin Laden spokesman — Hammami is one of the two most notorious Americans in jihad groups. Hammami has made frequent appearances in Al-Shabab combat videos, and in 2011 he released two rap songs, “Send Me a Cruise (missile)” and “Make Jihad With Me.” He’s also released Islamic lectures.
Hammami has grievances with Al-Shabab that has angered the Somali fighters: First, that militant leaders live extravagant lifestyles with the taxes fighters collect from Somali residents. “War booty is eaten by the top dogs, but the guys who won it are jailed for touching it. A gun, bullets, some beans is their lot,” abumamerican tweeted this month.
His second major grievance is that the Somali militant leaders sideline foreign militants inside Al-Shabab and are concerned only about fighting in Somalia, not globally.
Hammami even claims that Al-Shabab’s leader — Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, also known as Godane — sent Al-Qaeda’s former East Africa chief — Fazul Abdullah Mohammed — to his death by directing Mohammed to a Somali government checkpoint in Mogadishu where he was shot and killed in June 2011. Mohammed, who had ties with Osama Bin Laden, died one month after Bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEALs.
That theory may have credence to it. Roggio and Watts both say it’s plausible that Fazul was set up, and a Kenyan government security official has told The Associated Press that Fazul was sent to his death. The official spoke only on condition he not be identified because he wasn’t authorized to release that information.
Hammami also claims that Al-Shabab assassinates fighters inside its group.
Al-Shabab slapped Hammami publicly in an Internet statement last month, saying his video releases are the result of personal grievances that stem from a “narcissistic pursuit of fame.” The statement said Al-Shabab was morally obligated to out his “obstinacy.”


Independence dilemma for Greenland voters

Updated 42 min 7 sec ago
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Independence dilemma for Greenland voters

  • Rich in natural resources, Greenland gained autonomy from Denmark in 1979 and was granted self-rule in 2009, although Copenhagen retains control of foreign and defense affairs.
  • Denmark provides some 3.6 billion kroner (€483 million) in subsidies each year, equivalent to 60 percent of the budget and which would be cut if Greenland opted for full independence.

COPENHAGEN: Greenland’s tiny electorate went to the polls Tuesday with independence the key issue for the vast self-ruled Danish territory now threatened by global warming and struggling with youth suicides and sex abuse among its indigenous people.
Rich in natural resources, Greenland gained autonomy from Denmark in 1979 and was granted self-rule in 2009, although Copenhagen retains control of foreign and defense affairs.
The giant ice-covered island between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans is home to just 55,000 people.
Denmark provides some 3.6 billion kroner (€483 million) in subsidies each year, equivalent to 60 percent of the budget and which would be cut if Greenland opted for full independence.
So the main issue is when and how to break the Danish link without impoverishing the island.
A gross domestic product of $2.2 billion, according to figures for 2015, puts Greenland in the same economic league as San Marino.
Of the seven political parties, six favor independence. Some are keen to declare independence by 2021 to coincide with the 300th anniversary of Denmark’s occupation though most have not set a timeline.
Opinion polls suggest the left-green Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party will win Tuesday’s election, where 31 seats in the local parliament are up for grabs.
A poll published Friday gave IA with 31 percent of votes, ahead of its main rival, the social democratic Siumut party which has dominated Greenland politics since 1979 and is currently in power.
Seen garnering 27.4 percent of votes, Siumut could find itself relegated to the opposition — though one in four voters is still undecided.
The two parties are at odds over the use of the island’s lucrative natural resources and the thorny issue of uranium mining, which IA, with strong support among urban youth, opposes.
Meanwhile, polls show the newly-formed Cooperation Party, the only anti-independence party, with around 2.9 percent of votes.
Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, a lawmaker for IA, told AFP that before setting a timeline for independence, the island should first lay the financial groundwork.
“Foreign investments are going to be crucial when you talk about the development of Greenlandic society,” she said.
Her party wants to see a diversification of investments, as rising temperatures in the Arctic melt Greenland’s ice sheet, exposing mineral riches — and drawing eager glances from the West, Russia and China.
“Economic development the last (few) years has been rather good; the fishing industry has been doing quite well ... Employment has been increasing and unemployment is low,” said Torben Andersen, Aarhus University economics professor and chairman of the Greenland Economic Council.
Fishing, which accounts for 90 percent of Greenland’s exports, is benefiting from climate change as rising temperatures bring new species to fish to its waters but that is likely to change over time.
While Greenland may have a wealth of untapped natural resources that could help finance its independence, “it suffers from a lack of infrastructure and a qualified labor shortage,” said Mikaa Mered, an Arctic expert and economics and geopolitics professor at France’s School of International Relations.
Heidi Moller Isaksen, a 51-year-old secretary who lives in the capital Nuuk, said breaking free from Denmark is a long-term goal.
“I do want independence one day but we’ve got to be realistic and take one step at a time,” she told AFP.
“We can never have independence as long as we have so many social problems.”
The Inuit like other indigenous populations are torn between tradition and modernization.
That tension has led to Greenland having one of the world’s highest suicide rates, and a third of children are victims of sexual abuse.
In addition, global warming has sparked an exodus from isolated villages to the few urban areas, said Mered.
It is “wreaking havoc on Greenland’s culture: young people are losing interest in traditional hunting and fishing, it’s difficult to travel by dogsled from one village to another, and wild animals are moving further and further away from the regular hunting grounds,” he said.
All of this leads to “numerous new problems, such as youth suicides.”
Voter turnout is typically high in Greenland at around 70 percent. The polls close at 2200 GMT.