Al-Shabaab was the militant wing of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts that took over most of southern Somalia in the second half of 2006. Though the group was defeated by Somali and Ethiopian forces in 2007, a clan based terrorist group has continued its violent acts in southern and central Somali. The group has often recruited, at time by force, regional sub-clans and their miltias. Al Shabaab has used terrorist tactics against the Somali Federal Government (SFG), African Union Mission in Somali (AMISOM) peacekeepers as well other nongovernment aid organizations. Most of its fighters are predominantly interested in the nationalistic battle against the SFG and not supportive of global jihad. The senior leadership is affiliated with al-Qa’ida and a merger of the two groups was publicly announced in February 2012.
Boko haram is a Nigerian based group that seeks to overthrow the Nigerian government and replace it with a regime based on Islamic Law. The group, which has existed in various forms since the late 1990s, suffered setbacks in July 2009 when clashes with Nigerian Government forces led to the deaths of hundreds of its members, including former leader Muhammad Yusuf.
Al-Qa’ida in Iraq
Al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), was established in April 2004 by long time Sunni Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, who the same year pledged his group’s allegiance to Osama bin Laden. AQI targeted Coalition forces and civilians using tactics such as vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, suicide bombers, and executions of hostages by beheading and other means, attempting to pressure countries and foreign companies to leave Iraq, push Iraqis to stop supporting the United States and the Iraqi Government, and attract…