"Apostate Hell in Somalia"
Signalling the centrality of the armed conflict in Somalia for al Qaeda and its support for the Supreme Islamic Courts Council (SICC), a video distribution unit best known for its Iraq products has released onto the Internet an hour long package called "Apostate Hell in Somalia." It was released on November 30, shortly after news spread of the suicide attack in Baidoa, and directly followed the re-release of a previously 45-minute video that contains footage of Arabs conducting night raids inside Somalia and scenes of paramilitary training, leading many Somalia watchers to suspect that the timing of the attack and video releases were planned.
"Apostate Hell in Somalia" was posted in the RealVideo format with four different file sizes (628, 126, 27.4 and 22.7 Megabytes) across a total of 171 free file transfer locations by al-Fajr Information Center. While al-Fajr is best known for posting communiques on behalf of the Mujahideen Shura Council in Iraq it has recently posted other materials, including "Technical Mujahid" magazine that discusses Internet security issues and a propaganda video that focuses on al Qaeda's claim on Western China (East Turkestan). While al-Fajr's messaging is not yet as sophisticated as as-Sahab or the Global Islamic Media Front it is rapidly rising in prominence as al Qaeda's war reporting media unit.
The video features long tracks of popular war nasheeds, Arabic-language religious poems that Salafists listen to in place of music, played over clips and B-roll from obscure Somali propaganda videos.
The new video singles out two supporters of the UN-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) - Bashiir Raage, who formed the CIA's Anti-Terrorism Alliance earlier this year, and TFG Security Minister Maxamed Qanyare Afrax (also spelled Mohammed Qanyare Afrah) - and branded them "dambiile" (criminals).
Leading members of the SICC appear, including:
* SICC's feared security chief Abdullahi Maalim Ali (aka Abu Qutayba).
* Sheikh Mukhtar Roboow (aka Abu Mansuur) who heads up the shadowy Hizbul Shabaab youth movement and, according to the UN's Monitoring Group, personally met with Eritrean, Egyptian and Libyan officials to negotiate support for a paramilitary training camp at Hilweyne military barracks in Bal'ad, north of Mogadishu, that would service 3800 fighters.
* Umulkhay, head of the SICC's women's brigade, which sources point to being involved in the Nov 30 shaheed attack on Baidoa.
"Apostate Hell in Somalia" also includes a segment of a pro-SICC rally led by Abshir Bacadle, famous Somalia poet who is not tied to the Salafists by clan ties and, as a result, frequently fronts SICC events, and long segments of B-roll that contain close combat (hand-to-hand) and infiltration training exercises modeled on al Qaeda's training regimen in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A section of the production also includes promotion of Usama bin Laden and an unidentified Afghan ideologue.
The purpose of "Apostate Hell in Somalia," according to counterterrorism and Somali sources who have watched the file, is to signal to al Qaeda's rank and file that the SICC is part of the overall movement. With the exception of the introduction and conclusion screens, which contains Arabic title graphics, the video, itself, is in the Somali language and is believed to also target the Somali diaspora, especially in Europe. It is, said one source, the latest addition to a collection of DVDs and VCDs that is being copied and sold around the world. Other titles include "Iraq Fighting Back," "Iraq Under Attack" and "Jihad Afghanistan."