Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (HSM) Somali: Xarakada Mujaahidiinta Alshabaab, "Mujahideen Youth Movement" or "Movement of Striving Youth"), more commonly known as al-Shabaab (Arabic: الشباب, "The Youth" or "The Boys"), is the Somalia-based cell of the militant Islamist group al-Qaeda, formally recognized in 2012. As of 2012, the outfit controls large swathes of the southern parts of the country, where it is said to have imposed its own strict form of Sharia law. Al-Shabaab's troop strength as of May 2011 was estimated at 14,426 militants. In February 2012, Al-Shabaab leaders quarreled with Al-Qaeda over the union, and quickly lost ground.
The group is an off-shoot of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which splintered into several smaller factions after its defeat in 2006 by the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the TFG's Ethiopian military allies. Al-Shabaab describes itself as waging jihad against "enemies of Islam", and is engaged in combat against the TFG and the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM). Alleging ulterior motives on the part of foreign organizations, group members have also reportedly intimidated, kidnapped and killed aid workers, leading to a suspension of humanitarian operations and an exodus of relief agents. Al-Shabaab has been designated a terrorist organization by several Western governments and security services. As of June 2012, the United States Department of State has open bounties on several of the outfit's senior commanders.
In early August 2011, the TFG's troops and their AMISOM allies reportedly managed to capture all of Mogadishu from the Al-Shabaab militants. An ideological rift within the group's leadership also emerged in response to pressure from the recent drought and the assassination of top officials in the organization. Al Shabaab is hostile to Sufi traditions and has often clashed with the militant Sufi group Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a.
06) Ansar al-Islam (AAI)
Ansar al-Islam (Supporters or Partisans of Islam) was a Sunni Islamist group of Iraqis, promoting a radical interpretation of Islam, close to the official Saudi ideology of Wahhabism with strict application of Sharia. The group was formed in the northern provinces of Iraq near the Iranian border, and previously had established bases occupying Biyara to the northeast of Halabja. Ansar al-Islam is known as an affiliate of the Al-Qaeda terror network.
Members of Ansar al-Islam mostly reside in Iran after a joint mission by the Kurdistan Regional Government's Armed Forces and US Army Special Forces destroyed the group's stronghold in 2003. Since then, the group has allegedly launched frequent attacks against the Kurdistan Region in attempt to reestablish themselves in the region. Kurdish authorities allege that the group frequently aids Iran in its border incursions against Kurdish rebels along the Iran-Iraq border.
In 2007 after major defeats by the KRG's Peshmerga's forces, Ansar al-Islam largely disbanded and splinter groups were formed, including al-Qaeda Kurdish Battalions. However AAI is still believed to be active in northwest Iran.
On December 15, 2011 Ansar al-Islam announced a new emir, Sheikh Abu Hashim Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman al Ibrahim.
07) Asbat al-Ansar
Osbat al-Ansar or Asbat an-Ansar (League of the Partisans) is a Lebanon-based Sunni fundamentalist group established in the early 1990s which professes the Salafi form of Islam and the overthrow of the Lebanese-dominated secular government. The organization is largely based in Ain al-Hilweh.
Osbat al-Ansar is on the United States' list of terrorist organizations for alleged connections with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, and the American administration decided to freeze all assets of Osbat al-Ansar following the attacks on September 11th, 2001. The group has reportedly received funding from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and has been proscribed as a terrorist group by Australia, the United Nations, the United Kingdom and Canada.
Osbat al-Ansar is also connected with fundamentalist groups Osbat al-Nour, Jund Ash Sham, the Dinniyeh Group and Takfir wal Hijra. Ahmed Abd al-Karim al-Saadi is the ostensible leader of the group; however, since he went into hiding in 1999, the group has been led by his brother Abu Tariq. Osbat al-Ansar is estimated to have between 100 and 200 members, mostly Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians living in Ain al-Hilweh.