Al-Shabaab: links to background and analysis

It has been widely reported that the Somali militant group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack on a Nairobi shopping mall on 21 September 2013 which cost at least 62 lives. This FlagPost provides information on the listing of al-Shabaab as a terrorist organisation in Australia and other countries, and links to publicly available information on the organisation.

Terrorist listings

Al-Shabaab has been listed as a terrorist organisation by the Australian Government since 22 August 2009, with the listing last renewed on 18 August 2012. The statement of reasons outlines details about al-Shabaab, including its objectives and activities, the basis for listing it as a terrorist organisation, and its links to Australia (two Australian citizens linked to the organisation were convicted in 2011 of conspiring to plan a terrorist attack in Australia). The relisting was supported by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security in its September 2012 report which reviewed the relisting of five terrorist organisations.

Al-Shabaab has also been listed as a terrorist organisation by the United States (March 2008), New Zealand (February 2010), Canada (March 2010), the European Union (April 2010) and the United Kingdom (May 2010).

It is also subject to United Nations Security Council sanctions under Resolution 751 (1992) and Resolution 1373 (2001). Information on Australia’s implementation of the sanctions is available on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Public resources

The statements of reasons accompanying the Australian, US and NZ decisions to list al-Shabaab as a terrorist organisation contain background information on the organisation and previous attacks either claimed by, or reliably attributed to, al-Shabaab. Other useful internet resources providing analysis and background on al-Shabaab and the security situation in Somalia include:

Additional resources available to Parliamentarians through the Parliamentary Library

Additional resources available to Parliamentarians and their staff include the IHS Jane’s detailed profile of al-Shabaab. Contact the Library for assistance.


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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