da news

I’m getting depressed listening to the radio on my commute, and will have to set up itunes on the new computer so I can start listening to more deeny things on the bus.  However, I’ve got to figure out how to set up a news feed or alert, so that whenever “somali” and/or “muslim” is mentioned in MPR, I’ll get an alert.

Heard on the radio this morning:

“American” calls for Somali action in extremist recruiting video

But will the video’s message resonate with its intended audience? At least one leading scholar on Somalia thinks the answer is no.

“The hip-hop dimension was almost a parody,” said Ken Menkhaus, a professor at Davidson College in North Carolina. “I can imagine a lot of people watching it and giggling, but I can’t imagine it would succeed in recruiting anyone to that cause.”

Menkaus doubts the video will succeed in recruiting new fighters because the timing of its release seems to miss the mark. Al-Shabaab had popular support among Somalis when it was fighting against the Ethiopian invasion. But now that the Ethiopian forces have left Somalia, Al-Shabaab has lost its main rallying point.

Menkhaus also doubts the claims made by Abu Mansoor, the American.

“He came across boasting that he was training or leading attacks on the Ethiopians,” Menkaus said. “Anyone who knows anything about Somalia knew that was a fraud. The Somalis are experts at ambushes in their own country. The last thing they need is some American telling them what to do, in English, so it would have to be translated. I mean, what kind of ambush leader is that?”

Menkhaus says Abu Mansoor was a bit of an urban legend — an American who for some time was rumored to be fighting against the Ethiopians. But the decision for Abu Mansoor to reveal his face on this video was a big mistake, Menkhaus said, “because the myth was a lot larger than the guy.”

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