With thousands of fighters dead in less than an year, hundreds others deserting jihad for home, clan politics eating away the fabric of unity in the Mujahideen, significant loss of territory, financial crisis, and inability to preempt the threat posed by Islamic States, Sheikh Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah aka Ahmed Diriye, the indifferent Emir/leader of the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen movement (HSM), is indeed the undisputable waterloo for the terror group.
Born in 1972 in Luq area of Gedo region of Somalia, the vengeful man took over HSM after the elimination of Ahmed Godane. Godane and Diriye are from the same clan, the Dir Clan. Diriye aka Ubaidah joined the al Ittihad al Islamiya and the Ras Kamboni Brigade in 1996 (show’s he worked with Jubbaland President Ahmed Madobe). Sheikh Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah became a low-ranking officer in the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) by 2006.
He joined the HSM in 2006. He is vengeful and obsessed with killing non-Muslims. He was a close confidant of Godane. The Shura council chose him over Mahad Karatey, who was killed by Kenya Defense Forces commandos (KDF) early 2016. The Al-Shabaab top decision making council (Shura) didn’t agree unanimously to have Sheikh Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah aka Ahmed Diriye as Godane’s successor, an indicator of the outfit disdain and half support for the ignorant leader.
Today, the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen movement (HSM) is on its deathbed. Apart from propaganda and botched attacks against AMISOM bases, the group is slowly ebbing into oblivion. Pockets of fighters are joining ISIS while hundreds of Kenyan and Tanzanian Jihadists are quitting the vanity in Somalia and heading home for better socioeconomics. Mid-Level commanders are left with the clan fighters. In Gedo and Juba, clan fighters are quitting jihad for family and economics. They are tired of the war and mass death of Mujahideen.
Military Intelligence reports show some clan based HSM affiliates are accusing each other of spying and betrayal. Kidnap of clan elders to settle scores between these elements of the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen movement (HSM) is disfranchising the outfit. This simply confirms Sheikh Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah aka Ahmed Diriye was not a choice leader for the group, rather it’s waterloo. He can’t hold it together; he can’t chart a political future, nor curve out a place for it in the federal administration. He has no end game, but in coming days, the HSM will either kill him or the Kenyan or American drones will hone on him and like his predecessor, kill him like a rabid dog is.