21 January 2010

Shabaab World Cup Threat

Al Shabaab (HSM) would have to be crazy to stage an attack in South Africa this summer during the World Cup. Somalia would have the largest military coalition of soccer-loving countries ever assembled.

In all seriousness, the articles do highlight a connection between HSM and personnel in Cape Flats (an extremely poor area of greater Cape Town), which is extremely interesting and a line I haven’t previously heard about. The Cape Town-HSM connection is feasible, as it is a great place to launder money and execute other supply and logistics-type operations. I’ve been digging into this connection for most of the night, but unfortunately have been unable to locate any additional information.

South African authorities are likely taking the threat of terrorism more seriously after the Togolese National Team was ambushed earlier this month crossing into Angola. A threat of terrorism obviously exists anywhere there is such a diverse crowd at an event being broadcast across the world. But, if I were heading to Cape Town or Jo’Burg this summer, I’d still be more worried about getting mugged or car jacked than anything else.


  1. Josh,

    Great that you posted on this topic. Unfortunately, the World Cup has been co-opted by criminals in the past to pursue trafficking activity(ies). I posted last week on the rising connection between terrorism and criminal operations.

    The World Cup in Germany saw at least 40,000 women and girls trafficked to the country to "service" customers throughout the games. South Africa is yet another opportunity for conglomerate terrorists to "capitalize" on public events.

    It will be exciting to watch the games, but we have to keep an eye on what is happening behind the scenes. In Germany, prostitution was legal in the red light district, but in South Africa - with the tactics of Al Shabaab as you note here - it will not be as public, or perhaps as controlled.

    Let me know what you think.

  2. Great catch! I think it would be extremely interesting if HSM were to dabble in human trafficking for prostitution. I wouldn't put it past the organization at all. Another major AQ-related issue could also be AQIM/FARC cocaine (and other drugs) being diverted south from N Africa. Either of these money-making ventures could result in enough cash flow to maintain or even expand operations.

  3. Josh,

    HSM and others may be planning to integrate this type of organized activity, among other avenues of revenue like cocaine as you say.

    I am being to research how AQAP can use - or are using now if they are doing so - the drug qat (a.k.a. khat, gat). The W.H.O. classified it as a "drug of abuse" in 1980, and a large percentage of the population in Yemen suffers from addiction. Are terrorist "syndicates" capitalizing on this?

    Regardless of the type of trafficking activity, the most important point is that it has to be organized to be succesful; i.e. shipments will be "diverted" as you say.

    We need to begin to monitor these alterations now to stay ahead. For example, German borthel owners constructed and opened a 3,500 square meter building in 2006 to accomodate "customers." They also organized available parking spaces. It is a business.

    What activity is going on now in South Africa, and for my research, in Yemen? How is it changing (or will it change) in the coming months? Investigating will enable us to potentially thwart streams of activity as well capture personalities.

    The methods and contacts we establish can help with the larger picture: it will tell us more about who is connected to who and how, and what is done/being done with the money. Is it organized as a singular source of revenue, or is is organized as one of many diverse sources?