For callers to prayer (muʾaḏḏin), see Muezzin.
Part of the Politics series on IslamismBasic topicsPolitical aspects of Islam
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Mujahideen (Arabic: مجاهد muǧāhid, nominative plural مجاهدون muǧāhidūn, oblique plural مجاهدين muǧāhidīn "strugglers" or "people doing jihad") are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad ("struggle").
Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.
- 1 History
- 2 Modern Jihadism
- 2.1 Afghan civil war
- 2.2 Bosnian war
- 2.3 Arakan uprising (Burma)
- 2.4 North Caucasus
- 2.5 India and Pakistan
- 2.6 Iran
- 2.7 Iraq
- 2.8 Kosovo war
- 2.9 Philippines
- 2.10 Somali civil war
- 3 See also
- 4 References
Origin of the conceptMain article: Jihad
The beginnings of Jihad are traced back to the words and actions of Muhammad and the Qur'ān. The people who helped Muhammad during the early periods of his prophethood were referred to as Ansars ("helpers") and Muhajirs ("immigrants"), but the Ansars participated in armed conflict alongside Muhammad, and are also referred to as Mujahideen.
The earliest known expeditions they participated in were the Caravan raids, where they were given the task of intercepting Quraysh caravans. They also participated in other battles, such as the Battle of Badr and Uhud.
Middle AgesFurther information: Golden Age of Islam
Early Modern period
- Suleiman the Magnificent
- Barbary pirates[clarification needed]
- Sheikh Mansur
- Abdul Aziz ibn Muhammad ibn Saud
19th centuryFurther information: Islamism#Early_history and Islamic_revival#Origins
- Fulani jihads
- Jahangir Khoja
- Muhammad Ahmed Al Mahdi
- Mehmed V
- Imam Shamil
Modern JihadismMain article: Jihadism
The modern phenomenon of jihadism, i.e., the movement within radical Islamism that presents jihad (offensive or defensive) as the casus belli for insurgencies, guerilla warfare and international terrorism, arises from the 1960s, drawing on early to mid 20th century Islamist doctrines such as Qutbism.
Afghan civil warMain article: Afghan civil warFurther information: Islamic mujahid movement, Reagan Doctrine, and Soviet war in Afghanistan
The best-known mujahideen were the various loosely aligned Afghan opposition groups, which initially rebelled against the incumbent pro-Soviet Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) government during the late 1970s. At the DRA's request, the Soviet Union intervened. The mujahideen then fought against Soviet and DRA troops during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. After the Soviet Union pulled out of the conflict in the late 1980s the mujahideen fought each other in the subsequent Afghan Civil War.
Afghanistan's resistance movement was born in chaos and, at first, virtually all of its war was waged locally by regional warlords. As warfare became more sophisticated, outside support and regional coordination grew. Even so, the basic units of mujahideen organization and action continued to reflect the highly segmented nature of Afghan society. Eventually, the seven main mujahideen parties allied themselves into the political bloc called Islamic Unity of Afghanistan Mujahideen.
Many Muslims from other countries assisted the various mujahideen groups in Afghanistan. Some groups of these veterans have been significant factors in more recent conflicts in and around the Muslim world. Osama bin Laden, originally from a wealthy family in Saudi Arabia, was a prominent organizer and financier of an all-Arab Islamist group of foreign volunteers; his Maktab al-Khadamat funnelled money, arms, and Muslim fighters from around the Muslim world into Afghanistan, with the assistance and support of the Saudi and Pakistani governments. These foreign fighters became known as "Afghan Arabs" and their efforts were coordinated by Abdullah Yusuf Azzam.
US, Pakistani and other financing and support
"To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom."— U.S. President Ronald Reagan, March 21, 1983 
The mujahideen were significantly financed, armed and trained by the United States [Central Intelligence Agency] (CIA) during the administrations of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, and also by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan under Zia-ul-Haq, Iran, the People's Republic of China and several Western European countries. Pakistan's secret service, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was used as an intermediary for most of these activities to disguise the sources of support for the resistance. One of the CIA's longest and most expensive covert operations was the supplying of billions of dollars in arms to the Afghan mujahideen militants. The arms included Stinger missiles, shoulder-fired, antiaircraft weapons that they used against Soviet helicopters and that later were in circulation among terrorists who have fired such weapons at commercial airliners. Between $3–$20 billion in U.S. funds were funneled into the country to train and equip troops with weapons, including Stinger surface-to-air missiles. Some media reports claim up to $40 billion.
Osama bin Laden was allegedly among the recipients of U.S. arms, although this view has been disputed.
Under Reagan, U.S. support for the mujahideen evolved into an official U.S. foreign policy, known as the Reagan Doctrine, which included U.S. support for anti-Soviet movements in Afghanistan, Angola, Nicaragua, and elsewhere. Ronald Reagan praised mujahideen as "freedom fighters".
According to the "Progressive South Asia Exchange Net," claiming to cite an article in Le Nouvel Observateur, U.S. policy, unbeknownst even to the Mujahideen, was part of a larger strategy of aiming "to induce a Soviet military intervention." The article includes a brief interview with President Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in which he is quoted as saying that the US provided aid to the mujahideen prior to the Soviet invasion for the deliberate purpose of provoking one. Brzezinski himself has denied the accuracy of the interview. According to Brzezinski, an NSC working group on Afghanistan wrote several reports on the deteriorating situation in 1979, but President Carter ignored them until the Soviet intervention destroyed his illusions. Brzezinski has stated that the US provided communications equipment and limited financial aid to the mujahideen prior to the "formal" invasion, but only in response to the Soviet deployment of forces to Afghanistan and the 1978 coup, and with the intention of preventing further Soviet encroachment in the region. Two declassified documents signed by Carter shortly before the invasion do authorize the provision "unilaterally or through third countries as appropriate support to the Afghan insurgents either in the form of cash or non-military supplies" and the "worldwide" distribution of "non-attributable propaganda" to "expose" the leftist Afghan government as "despotic and subservient to the Soviet Union" and to "publicize the efforts of the Afghan insurgents to regain their country's sovereignty," but the records also show that the provision of arms to the rebels did not begin until 1980.
The Soviet military invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 significantly damaged the already tenuous relationship between Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Brzezinski. Vance felt that Brzezinski's linkage of SALT to other Soviet activities and the MX, together with the growing domestic criticisms in the United States of the SALT II Accord, convinced Brezhnev to decide on military intervention in Afghanistan. Brzezinski, however, later recounted that he repeatedly advanced proposals on how to maintain Afghanistan's "independence" and deter a Soviet invasion but was frustrated by the Department of State's opposition.
According to Eric Alterman of The Nation, Vance's close aide Marshall Shulman "insists that the State Department worked hard to dissuade the Soviets from invading and would never have undertaken a program to encourage it" and President Carter has said it was definitely "not my intention" to inspire a Soviet invasion but to deter one.
Bob Gates, in his book Out Of The Shadows, wrote that Pakistan had actually been pressuring the United States for arms to aid the rebels for years, but that the Carter administration refused in the hope of finding a diplomatic solution to avoid war. Brzezinski seemed to have been in favor of the provision of arms to the rebels, while Vance's State Department, seeking a peaceful settlement, publicly accused Brzezinski of seeking to "revive" the Cold War.
The Black Book of Communism argues that it was absurd to blame the provision of communications equipment and other non-military supplies to the mujahideen for the Soviet invasion, claiming that the campaign to eradicate the public influence of Islam by the Communist government caused a fierce insurgency.
The Soviet invasion and occupation killed up to 2 million Afghans. Brzezinski defended the arming of the rebels in response, saying that it "was quite important in hastening the end of the conflict," thereby saving the lives of thousands of Afghans, but "not in deciding the conflict, because actually the fact is that even though we helped the mujahideen, they would have continued fighting without our help, because they were also getting a lot of money from the Persian Gulf and the Arab states, and they weren't going to quit. They didn't decide to fight because we urged them to. They're fighters, and they prefer to be independent. They just happen to have a curious complex: they don't like foreigners with guns in their country. And they were going to fight the Soviets. Giving them weapons was a very important forward step in defeating the Soviets, and that's all to the good as far as I'm concerned." When he was asked if he thought it was the right decision in retrospect (given the Taliban's subsequent rise to power), he said: "Which decision? For the Soviets to go in? The decision was the Soviets', and they went in. The Afghans would have resisted anyway, and they were resisting. I just told you: in my view, the Afghans would have prevailed in the end anyway, 'cause they had access to money, they had access to weapons, and they had the will to fight." The interviewer then asked: "So US support for the mujahideen only begins after the Russians invade, not before?" Brzezinski replied: "With arms? Absolutely afterwards. No question about it. Show me some documents to the contrary." Likewise; Charlie Wilson said: "The U.S. had nothing whatsoever to do with these people's decision to fight ... but we'll be damned by history if we let them fight with stones."
In an interview with The Christian Science Monitor, in March 1981, Jimmy Carter's Vice-President Walter Mondale declared: "I cannot understand -- it just baffles me -- why the Soviets these last few years have behaved as they have. Maybe we have made some mistakes with them. Why did they have to build up all these arms? Why did they have to go into Afghanistan? Why can't they relax just a little bit about Eastern Europe? Why do they try every door to see if it is locked?"
In a 2007 movie based based on George Crile's 2003 book Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History, it is alleged that the KGB murdered the Afghan President, Mohammed Daoud Khan. But it wasn't until 2008 that Khan's body was even found. In Val Wake's novel When the Lions are Drinking there is a further spin about the British propaganda war to force the Red Army out of Afghanistan. The government information film referred in Charlie Wilson's War was produced by the British film unit that is the main subject of Val Wake's novel.
More than a half billion dollars of U.S. funding through Pakistan went to the Hizb party led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, making Hekmatyar the recipient of the highest percentage of covert American funding through the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence. Hekmatyar had "almost no grassroots support and no military base inside Afghanistan." Hekmatyar also received the lion's share of aid from Saudi Arabia. The CIA allegedly also gave Hekmatyar immunity for his illegal drug trade activities.
The main base station of mujahideen in Pakistan was the town Badaber, 24 km from Peshawar. The base served as a concentration camp for Soviet and DRA P.O.W.s as well. In 1985, a prisoner rebellion destroyed the base, but the incident was concealed by the Pakistani and Soviet governments until the dissolution of the USSR.
Mujahideen forces caused serious casualties to the Soviet forces, and made the war very costly for the Soviet Union. Thus in 1989, the Soviet Union withdrew its forces from Afghanistan. Many districts and cities then fell to the mujahideen; in 1992 the DRA's last president, Mohammad Najibullah, was overthrown.
However, the mujahideen did not establish a united government, and many of the larger mujahideen groups began to fight each other over power in Kabul. After several years of devastating fighting, a village mullah named Mohammed Omar organized a new armed movement with the backing of Pakistan. This movement became known as the Taliban ("students" in Arabic), referring to the Saudi-backed religious schools known for producing extremism. Veteran mujahideen were confronted by this radical splinter group in 1996.
Favorable portrayal in Western films
The mujahideen militants were also portrayed favorably in several mainstream American and Western films:
- Spies Like Us (1985)
- The Living Daylights, (1987), a James Bond film
- Rambo III (1988)
- The Beast (1988)
- Charlie Wilson's War (2007)
Post-Soviet international fightersFurther information: 055 Brigade
By 1996, with backing from the Pakistani ISI, Pakistani Armed Forces, and al-Qaeda, the Taliban had largely defeated the militias and controlled most of the country. The opposition factions allied themselves together again and became known as the Northern Alliance. In 2001, with U.S.-NATO intervention, the Taliban were ousted from power and a new Afghan government was formed. Many of the former mujahideen gradually were incorporated into the new Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police.
At present the term "mujahideen" is sometimes used to describe insurgents groups (including Taliban and al-Qaeda) who are fighting NATO troops and the Military of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Afghan mujahideen also participated in the 1992 Civil war in Tajikistan.
Bosnian warMain articles: Bosnian mujahideen and Bosnian war
During the Bosnian war 1992-1995, some foreign Muslims came to Bosnia as mujahideen. The war had been depicted in the international press as an attack on Muslims. Serb forces attacked Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) communities indiscriminately, and committed substantial atrocities against the Bosniak population (see Bosnian Genocide, Srebrenica Massacre, Serbian War Crimes in the Yugoslav Wars). This moved Muslims who shared mujahideen beliefs to come to the aid of oppressed fellow Muslims, and also presented an opportunity to strike at "infidels". The number of foreign Muslim volunteers in Bosnia was estimated at about 4,000 in contemporary newspaper reports. Later research estimated about 400 foreign volunteers. They came from places such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and the Palestinian Territories; to quote the summary of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia judgment:
The evidence shows that foreign volunteers arrived in central Bosnia in the second half of 1992 with the aim of helping their Muslim brothers against the Serbian aggressors. Mostly they came from North Africa, the Near East and the Middle East. The foreign volunteers differed considerably from the local population, not only because of their physical appearance and the language they spoke, but also because of their fighting methods. The various foreign, Muslim volunteers were primarily organized into an umbrella detachment of the 7th Muslim Brigade, which was a brigade of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, based in Zenica. This independent subdivision colloquially known as El-Mudžahid, was composed exclusively of foreign nationals and not Bosnians (whereas the 7th Muslim Brigade was entirely made up of native Bosniaks) and consisted of somewhere between 300 to 1,500 volunteers. Enver Hadžihasanović, Lieutenant Colonel of the Bosnian Army's 3rd Corps, appointed Mahmut Karalić (Commandant), Asim Koričić (Chief of Staff) and Amir Kubura (Assistant Chief for Operational and Curricula) to lead the group.
Some of the mujahideen funnelled arms and money into the country which Bosnia was in dire need of due to a United Nations-sanctioned arms embargo restricting the importation of weapons into all of the republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. However, many of the mujahideen were extremely devout Muslims of the strict Salafi sect, which contrasted sharply with the widely renowned secular society and liberal attitudes Bosnian Muslims harbored. This led to friction between the mujahideen and the Bosniaks. Furthermore, some mujahideen wanted to fight a war of extermination, or use Bosniak territory as a base for terrorist operations elsewhere. This was contrary to the war goals of the Bosnian government, who was primarily oriented towards fighting for national independence.
Foreign volunteers in Bosnia have been variously accused of committing war crimes during the conflict. However, the ICTY has not ever issued indictments against mujahideen fighters. Instead, the ICTY indicted some Bosnian Army commanders on the basis of superior criminal responsibility. The ICTY acquitted Amir Kubura and Enver Hadžihasanović of the Bosnian 3rd Corps of all charges related to the incidents involving mujahideen. Furthermore, the Appeals Chamber noted that the relationship between the 3rd Corps and the El Mujahedin detachment was not one of subordination but was instead close to overt hostility since the only way to control the detachment was to attack them as if they were a distinct enemy force.
The ICTY Trial Chamber convicted Rasim Delic, the former chief of the Bosnian Army General Staff. The ICTY found that Delic had effective control over the El Mujahid Detachment. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment for failure to prevent or punish the cruel treatment of twelve captured Serb soldiers by the Mujahideen. Delic remained in the Detention Unit while appellate proceedings continued.
Some individual members of the Bosnian Mujahideen, gained particular prominence within Bosnia as well as international attention from various foreign governments, such as Abdelkader Mokhtari, Fateh Kamel, and Karim Said Atmani, all of whom were North African volunteers with well established links to Islamic Fundamentalist groups before and after the Bosnian War.
Arakan uprising (Burma)
A sizable number of mujahideen are present and concentrated in the province of Arakan, Burma. They were much more active before the 1962 coup d'etat by General Ne Win. Ne Win carried out some military operations targeting them over a period of two decades. The prominent one was "Operation King Dragon" which took place in 1978; as a result, many Muslims in the region fled to neighboring country Bangladesh as refugees. Nevertheless, the Burmese mujahideen are still active within the remote areas of Arakan. Their associations with Bangladeshi mujahideen were significant but they have extended their networks to the international level and countries such as Pakistan, Malaysia, et al., during the recent years. They collect donations, and receive religious military training outside of Burma.
North CaucasusMain article: Insurgency in the North CaucasusFurther information: Arab Mujahideen in Chechnya and Islamic International Brigade
The term mujahideen has often been used to refer to all separatist fighters in the case of the First and Second Chechen Wars. However, in this article, mujahideen is used to refer to the foreign, non-Caucasian fighters who joined the separatists’ cause for the sake of Jihad. They are often called Ansaar (helpers) in related literature dealing with this conflict to prevent confusion with the native fighters.
Foreign mujahideen have played a part in both Chechen wars. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent Chechen declaration of independence, foreign fighters began entering the region and associating themselves with local rebels (most notably Shamil Basayev). Many of the foreign fighters were veterans of the Soviet-Afghan war and, prior to the Russian invasion, had used their expertise to train the Chechen separatists. The foreign mujahideen were notorious and feared for their guerilla tactics during the First Chechen War, inflicting severe casualties on the poorly prepared Russian forces. The mujahideen also made a significant financial contribution to the separatists’ cause; with their access to the immense wealth of Salafist charities like al-Haramein, they soon became an invaluable source of funds for the Chechen resistance, which had few resources of its own.
Most of the mujahideen decided to remain in Chechnya after the withdrawal of Russian forces. In 1999, foreign fighters played an important role in the ill-fated Chechen incursion into Dagestan, where they suffered a decisive defeat and were forced to retreat back into Chechnya. The incursion provided the new Russian government with a pretext for intervention. Russian ground forces invaded Chechnya again in December 1999.
The mujahideen were deemed responsible for the decapitation of six young Russian conscripts caught in Dagestan during a rebel incursion. The beheading was depicted in a video that was posted online. The six Russian conscripts were caught behind enemy lines after the small and unprepared Russian unit retreated during a rebel advance onto Dagestan. The mujahideen were then killed by Russian special forces during a gunfight a short time later.
The separatists were less successful in the Second Chechen War. The Chechens were unable to hold their ground against better prepared and more determined Russian forces. Russian officials claimed that the separatists had been defeated as early as 2002. The Russians also succeeded in killing the most prominent mujahideen commanders, most notably Ibn al-Khattab and Abu al-Walid.
Although the region has since been far from stable, separatist activity has decreased, though some foreign fighters remain active in Chechnya. In the last months of 2007, the influence of foreign fighters became apparent again when Dokka Umarov proclaimed the Caucasus Emirate being fought for by the Caucasian Mujahadeen, a pan-Caucasian Islamic state of which Chechnya was to be a province. This move caused a rift in the resistance movement between those supporting the Emirate and those who were in favour of preserving the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.
India and PakistanFurther information: Kashmir conflict
An outfit calling itself the Indian Mujahideen came to light in 2008 with multiple large scale terror attacks. On November 26, 2008, a group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen claimed responsibility for a string of attacks across Mumbai. The Weekly Standard claimed, "Indian intelligence believes the Indian Mujahideen is a front group created by Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami to confuse investigators and cover the tracks of the Students Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, a radical Islamist movement with aim to establish Islamic rule over India. In the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Kashmiri Muslim separatists opposing Indian rule are often known as mujahideen.
Several different militant groups have since taken root in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. Most noticeable of these groups are Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Hizbul Mujahideen and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM). A 1996 report by Human Rights Watch estimated the number of active mujahideen at 3,200.
The Pakistan Army National Guard known as "Mujahid Force". Unlike the above examples, these are people who are enlisted or commissioned in the army of a nation state and they are thus regular soldiers, and associated with the mujahideen.
The members of the Salafi movement (with in Sunni Islam) in the south Indian state of Kerala is known as "Mujahids".
While more than one group in Iran have called themselves mujahideen, the most famous is the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI). Currently an Iraq-based Islamic Socialist militant organization that advocates the overthrow of Iran's current government. The group also took part in the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Iraq-Iran War (on the side of Iraqis), and the Iraqi internal conflicts. They were recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States CIA as well as the Iranian government; however, recent investigations by Intelligence Subcommittee, headed by Congressman Rogers [R-MI] have determined there is no factual basis for the terror-group designation. This position is also supported by Senator Stabenow [D-MI].Said position is supported by the NSA and CIA as well.The heads of many foreign State security organizations also concur, as does the United Nations. A Federal District judge has ordered Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to act upon this corrected information, but she has been slow to comply.It appears that the improper designation was entirely political in nature. Their actual mission is to overthrow the Iranian government by any means necessary.
Currently, inside Iran, Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization is a reformist Iranian political organization. It is a small yet very influential organization within the Iranian reform movement.
Another mujahideen was the Mujahedin-e Islam, an Islamic party led by Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani. It was a component of the National Front (Iran) during the time of Mohammed Mosaddeq's oil nationalization, but broke away from Mosaddeq over his allegedly unIslamic policies.
IraqMain article: Iraqi insurgency
The term mujahideen is sometimes applied to fighters who joined the insurgency after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Some groups also use the word mujahideen in their names, like Mujahideen Shura Council (an umbrella group run by al-Qaeda in Iraq) and Mujahideen Army. Currently individuals identified with the organization are held in death camps, and an international effort to have the survivors freed is a cause celebre among Iranian resistance groups; who call the situation a human rights issue.
According to the Serbian and other European press several hundred to a few thousand Mujahideen fighters from the Middle East and other parts of the world later joined the Kosovo Liberation Army to fight against Serbian forces in the Kosovo war 1997–1999. Allegedly some of them formed their own units with Albanian leaders who spoke Arabic fluently. The greatest involvement was in the conflicts along the border with Albania as well as in the Battle of Košare. After the war most of the foreign volunteers went back to their home lands, while some of them remained in Kosovo where they became citizens.
The Kosovo Liberation Army included in its ranks foreign volunteers from Belgium, the UK, Germany, the US and France.
PhilippinesMain article: Insurgency in the Philippines
Between the acquisition of the Philippines after the Spanish American War and a treaty with Sultan Jamal ul-Kiram II the Sultan of Sulu in 1915, the United States and the government of the Philippines were involved in a period known as the Moro Rebellion. During this period, religious rebels supported by the Sultan fought for removal of the Christian-dominated Philippine government from the Sulu Archipelago and Mindanao and for the independence of the Sultanate of Sulu. During this period there were volunteers who were willing to commit themselves to hand-to-hand combat and probable death, which was called by these oathtakers in Spanish juramentados. These religious rebels have been compared with Mujahideen.
Abu Sayyaf is an Islamic separatist group in the southern Philippines. The group is known for their kidnappings of Western nationals and Filipinos, for which it has received several large ransom payments. Some Abu Sayyaf members have studied or worked in Saudi Arabia and developed relations with the mujahideen members while fighting and training in the war against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The Abu Sayyaf proclaimed themselves as mujahideen but are not supported by many people in the Philippines including its Muslim clerics. The Abu Sayyaf is thought to number around an estimated figure of 400 militants.
Somali civil warMain article: Somali civil war
In July 2006, a Web-posted message purportedly written by Osama bin Laden urged Somalis to build an Islamic state in the country and warned western states that his al-Qaeda network would fight against them if they intervened there. Foreign fighters began to arrive, though there were official denials of the presence of mujahideen in the country. Even so, the threat of jihad was made openly and repeatedly in the months preceding the Battle of Baidoa. On December 23, 2006, Islamists, for the first time, called upon international fighters to join their cause. The term mujahideen is now openly used by the post-ICU resistance against the Ethiopians and the TFG.
Al-ShabaabMain article: Harakat al-Shabaab Mujahideen
Harakat al-Shabaab Mujahideen is said to have non-Somali foreigners in its ranks, particularly at its leadership. Fighters from the Persian Gulf and international jihadists were called to join the holy war against the Somali government and its Ethiopian allies. Though Somali Islamists did not use suicide bombing tactics before, the foreign elements of Al-Shabaab are blamed for several suicide bombings. UN's 2006 report stated Iran, Libya, Egypt and others in the Persian Gulf region as the main backers of the Islamist extremists. Egypt has a longstanding policy of securing the Nile River flow by destabilizing Ethiopia. Similarly, recent media reports also cited Egyptian and Arab jihadists as the core elements of the Al-Shabaab, who are training Somalis in sophisticated weaponry and suicide bombing techniques.
- Islamic terrorism
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