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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


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. 

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight 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

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.