Third American Suicide Bomber Ever Dies In Mogadishu Attack

Isbaheysiga Mosque in Mogadishu, Somalia.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/75391858@N00/839416240/">ctsnow</a>/Flickr

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


The third American suicide bomber ever died in an attack on African Union troops in Mogadishu Saturday, the New York Times reportsAbdisalan Hussein Ali, like Farah Mohamed Beledi and Shirwa Ahmed, was an American of Somali descent who lived in the Minneapolis-St.Paul area of Minnesota. Ali was one of more than a dozen young Somali-Americans from the area who were recruited by the al-Qaeda affiliated extremist group al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab’s success in recruiting young Americans has been a source of frustration for American authorities—at least 19 Somali-Americans were recruited from the United States to fight alongside al-Shabab against the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia and the African Union force, made up mostly of troops from Uganda and Burundi.  Although al-Shabab has yet to launch an attack on the United States, the worry is that the group’s uncanny success in radicalizing and recruiting Americans relative to other extremist organizations could someday manifest in attacks here. 

Past military interventions in Somalia in the past have only made things worse. A US-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006 aimed at dislodging the Islamic Courts Union resulted in the emergence of al-Shabab as it exists today. (As Jeremy Scahill writes, the ICU itself emerged in response to the excesses of American-backed warlords hunting suspected terrorists in the region.) The Transitional Federal Government, which replaced the ICU, ended up being run by a former member of the ICU anyway. Aside from purging Somalia of whatever stability had existed before the invasion, the 2006 operation led to the first and only terrorist group that has ever been able to convince an American citizen to become a suicide bomber. 

Last week, neighboring Kenya invaded Somalia, vowing to stay until, in the words of General Julius Karangi, “we feel safe enough on the common border, then we shall come back.” If the history of military interventions in Somalia is any indication, the situation there may only get worse. 

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate