Posted at 05:25 PM ET, 02/14/2012

Al-Shabaab tweets photos showing mujahideen pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda

 When al-Qaeda decided to formally extend its terror franchise to Somalia’s main militant group last week, few were impressed by the pairing.

“Nervous al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab get hitched,” read an Asia Times headline. “A desperate joining of hands to prop up” the weakening groups, wrote the Associated Press. “Terror wings clipped,” proclaimed

A member of al-Shabaab sits during a public demonstration to announce their integration with al-Qaeda south of the capital Monday. (FEISAL OMAR - REUTERS)
And yet both groups mantain a happy outward appearance about the decision. Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri last week gave “glad tidings” about the pairing. On Monday, the now-infamous al-Shabaab Twitter account tweeted its first mentions of its new partner. In several tweeted photos, al-Shabaab mujahideen are shown pledging their allegiance to the “unity under ... one leadership,” as “thousands” of Somalis look on and “rejoice”:

While the two groups have patted each another on the backs for years, the implications of a formal link are worrisome, as it gives both al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab access to new recruits, CNN reports. The Somali government, in a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg on Tuesday, said it more plainly: “Their union will increase insecurity in Somalia, East Africa and the rest of the world.”

By  |  05:25 PM ET, 02/14/2012

Tags:  World, Somalia, al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company