Containing al-Shabaab technology is key to fighting terrorism

Containing al-Shabaab technology is key to fighting terrorism

The infamous Somali-based terrorist group al-Shabaab is seeking new technological advantages in its ongoing battle against Mogadishu and its neighbors. Al-Shabaab militants have shown sophistication and may have begun using more sophisticated technology, such as drones, making their attacks on Somali government installations even more dangerous and precise.
Knowledge transfer to al-Shabaab is an important factor. In October 2016, the group used increasingly sophisticated improvised explosive device technology in its operations, accompanied by the continued arrival of foreign trainers and the transfer of knowledge from other conflict areas. It turns out. These disputed territories included Yemen and the much more powerful Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Counter-terrorism pressure is helping to sever some of these ties.
Al-Shabab has changed the set of technical tools he has used over time. This makes him one of the first Africa-based groups to use social media in an advanced way. As early as 2008, the group was capable of telling stories about its capabilities. It uses chat rooms, deep web capacity, and YouTube videos. Al-Shabaab makes regular appearances in what it calls its “media space.”
Al-Shabaab has become one of the deadliest terrorist groups in Africa, largely due to the surge in IED use. When it comes to bomb-making and his IED, the al-Qaeda-inspired group is at the forefront of perfecting its destructive power. A key evolution, according to research, is that al-Shabab has become more adept at deploying bombs and tailoring his IED attacks through improved tactics, techniques and procedures. The group ambushed security convoys and patrols along major supply routes, strategically placing IEDs to stop vehicles in predetermined “kill zones” exposed to small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. Images of burning vehicles are now a staple of Al-Shabaab. Interestingly, al-Shabab has set up a system of multiple his IEDs linked like Daisy’s chain to protect their side.
Research shows that al-Shabaab’s external influence, reliance on local materials, and improved bomb deployment all point to the importance of local expertise in its IED campaign. The group bombed a Darlo flight in February 2016 with his IED cleverly disguised as a laptop, allowing him to carry out his third recorded suicide attack on a commercial airliner. (Only the bomber was killed and the plane was able to land safely). ). Al-Shabab also likes to carry out complex suicide attacks on hotels and government buildings.

Given that drones are now ubiquitous, they could play a key role in how al-Shabaab conducts its operations.

Dr. Theodore Karasik

Terrorist groups are using modern technology to hit soft targets these days. Security officials are eyeing new and emerging technologies such as unmanned aerial systems, which are specifically exploited by terrorist groups to facilitate attacks, conduct intelligence operations and develop propaganda. It is in this area that al-Shabab is using, or about to begin using, off-the-shelf drones in its operations.
Al-Shabaab made a sizable foray into Ethiopia last month, driving dozens of miles. The group’s ability to move forward in this way brings with it the idea of ​​using drones for reconnaissance. Al-Shabaab, which uses such capabilities, should be closely monitored. may be learning. Given that drones are now ubiquitous, al-Shabaab is carrying out its operations just as other terrorist groups looking for more effective ways to spread chaotic messages have started doing the same. Drones could play an important role in the way we do. This fact is an inevitable part of the drone revolution.
The Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, a multilateral counter-terrorism platform, notes that until now, terrorists have relied on weapons and vehicles that are easy to operate. However, the low cost and greater availability of drones have made them increasingly attractive to terrorist groups. If al-Shabaab fails to use drone technology, there will be a great deal of debate as to why. Is it because of its success in countering terrorism, or for other reasons known only to al-Shabaab?
The use of drones by terrorists is a major concern not only in Somalia, but also in neighboring Kenya, another al-Shabaab target. Al-Shabaab said it will continue to target Kenyan towns and cities until Nairobi withdraws its own forces from Somalia. The Kenyan army is part of the African Union’s mission to cover particularly sensitive parts of what is believed to be al-Shabaab territory.
As campaigns against the group intensify by the United States and other regional nations, it is important for policymakers and practitioners to prepare for al-Shabaab’s possible technological leap. They aim to help fight groups made more urgent by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s “total war” speech following last month’s attack on the Hayat Hotel. Al-Shabaab escalation can be mitigated by preventing technological leaps.

  • Theodore Karasik, Ph.D., is Senior Advisor at Gulf State Analytics in Washington. Twitter: @tkarasik

Disclaimer: The views expressed by the writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Arab News


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