Ahmed Abdi Godane Is Al-Shabab’s Osama bin Laden

,  The Daily Beast

The Pentagon confirmed Friday that the poetry-loving mastermind of the Nairobi mall siege, who wanted the world to fear Al-Shabab, has been killed in a U.S. airstrike. The Daily Beast on his murderous ambition.

Two days before gunmen launched their deadly raid on the upscale Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, killing at least 68 and wounding nearly 200, the Al-Shabab leader who dispatched them was denounced by a prominent member of the Somali-based militant group as too ruthless and power hungry—even for him.

On Somali websites, former Al-Shabab deputy leader Abu Mansur condemned the 36-year-old Ahmed Abdi Godane for organizing the fratricidal killing of two co-founders of the group earlier this summer.

Those killings were part of a vicious power struggle over ideological direction and leadership that Godane has waged mercilessly—even slaying longtime friends—in his relentless effort to transform Al-Shabab from a loosely organized, clan-based hardline Islamist militancy focused on Somalia to an al Qaeda–affiliated enterprise with transnational ambitions, including unleashing an attack on American soil, say analysts.

“He refused to listen to us and is interested in nothing else but power,” cautioned Abu Mansur, who described how Godane loyalists gunned down Ibrahim Afghani and Moallim Burhan, riddling them with bullets in “a big crime against the blood of our brothers.”

Abu Mansur, now in hiding in south Somalia, isn’t the first to have rejected Godane because of bloodlust and ruthlessness. They were even too much for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who decided to keep the Somali at arm’s length, rebuffing his repeated requests for a merger between their groups. In a letter retrieved from bin Laden’s Pakistani compound by U.S. Special Forces, dated August 7, 2010, the al Qaeda boss urged his eager supplicant against strong-arming the local population to accept Sharia.

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