The Reinvention of Al-Shabaab

A Strategy of Choice or Necessity?

Matt Bryden examines the evolution of Al-Shabaab’s leadership, ideological outlook, and military strategy in a new report from the CSIS Africa Program. With the loss of territory in Somalia and a purge of its more pragmatic and nationalist leaders, the group has become a more unified and extremist movement. It will likely seek to expand its links with Al-Qaeda and other transnational terrorist groups and rely more heavily on complex martyrdom operations like the September 2013 attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall.

Matt Bryden is director of Sahan Research, a think tank located in Nairobi, Kenya. Previously, he served as coordinator of the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (2008–2012), as director for the Horn of Africa at the International Crisis Group (2004–2006), and as coordinator of the Somali Programme at Interpeace (1996–2002). Mr. Bryden is a graduate of McGill University. He is the editor of Rebuilding Somaliland: Issues and Possibilities (Red Sea Press, 2005) and of Rebuilding Somalia: Issues and Possibilities for Puntland (Haan Publishing, 2001).

Matt Bryden