November 22, 2016

Jawa Reading List: Report on African Taliban Media Network

Here is a report on al-Shabaab's media wing. You know, two guys with a go-pro who live in a stick hut making snuff films.

You know, the ultimate Islamic Dream.

Since emerging in 2007 after the overthrow of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) umbrella in the wake of the December 2006 Ethiopian invasion and occupation of parts of Somalia, al-Shabab has established itself as one of the relatively few jihadi organizations to succeed in the capture, control, and governance of territory for a significant period of time. When the self-declared Islamic State was masquerading as a «paper state» in 2008 and 2009, Al-Shabab’s leadership was busy constructing a bureaucracy of power, divided into regional and local nodes of authority, designed to implement and maintain insurgent rule over rapidly expanding territories.

Beginning in 2007 and 2008, the group slowly but steadily built up its media capabilities through the production of propaganda films, many of them aimed at recruiting new fighters and particularly foreign fighters from outside of Somalia. By 2009, the group had dramatically refined its media campaign and the quality of its audio-visual production, enabling its media apparatus to produce increasingly polished flms alongside written, audio/radio, and photographic releases. These releases were either directly produced by Al-Shabab’s offcial media branch, the Al-Kataib («Brigades») Media Foundation and «HSM Press» (with «HSM» standing for the group’s full name, Harakat Al-Shabab al-Mujahidin/«Movement of the Mujahidin-Youth») or by semi-offcial or affliated media collectives such as the terrestrial radio stations Radio al-Furqan and Radio al-Andalus and pro-insurgent Somali-language news web sites. The establishment and continuing evolution of its media operations capabilities has proven to be a valuable tool in the insurgent group’s overall strategy of territorial expansion and implementation of a form of rebel governance over areas of Somalia stretching south from the semi-autonomous region of Puntland. Al-Shabab’s media became an integral part of its insurgency.

Full report here(pdf).

By Howie at 05:07 PM | Comments |