Al-Shabaab—al-Qaeda’s largest, wealthiest, and most kinetically active cell—has posed a critical threat to Somalia’s security since the group’s establishment in late 2006. The group’s insurgency in Somalia and high-profile attacks against neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia has reshaped the region’s security and driven international and multilateral responses that are reshaping conventional counterterror methods and practices.
Eroding al-Shabaab’s network has proven to be no easy feat. The organization boasts a steady flow of fighters, annual revenues of $100 million via multiple funding streams, an extensive arms acquisition unit with a monthly budget of $2 million, an intelligence division that is vital to conducting suicide attacks, and a police force.
According to scholars, al-Shabaab controls about 70 percent of south and central Somalia.