Al Qaeda embrace of al-Shabab seen as driven by desperation | Women and Terrorism. |
Al Qaeda’s decision to formally extend its terrorist franchise to what once was a nationalist movement in Somalia may be only a desperate joining of hands to prop up two militant groups that are losing popular support and facing increasingly deadly...


Al-Shabab, which began as a movement to oust Ethiopian troops from Somalia some six years ago, has long been using terrorist tactics such as suicide bombings and car bombings against the weak Somali government and African Union troops in Mogadishu, Somalia.


The group also has hosted al Qaeda and other foreign fighters with experience in Iraq and the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.


Al Qaeda also could seek to use several dozen U.S. citizens - mostly of Somali descent - among al-Shabab’s ranks, who U.S. officials fear could use their American passports to travel back to the United States and carry out attacks.