Author: Lauren Ploch Blanchard
Al Shabaab (aka Harakat Shabaab al Mujahidin, or Mujahidin Youth Movement) is an insurgent and terrorist group that evolved out of a militant wing of Somalia?s Council of Islamic Courts in the mid-2000s. In its formative years, Al Shabaab drew on historical anti-Ethiopian sentiment among Somalis for recruits and support, including among the Somali diaspora in the United States and Europe. Ethiopia intervened in Somalia in 2006 to oust the council?s nascent government. Al Shabaab held significant territory in south-central Somalia, including the capital, Mogadishu, in the late 2000s, until the U.N.-authorized African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) gained momentum against the insurgency through a series of military offensives in 2011-2012. Al Shabaab continues to wage an asymmetric campaign against the Somali government, AMISOM, and international targets in Somalia. It has killed thousands of Somali civilians.