American Omar Hammami has just released his autobiography online on jihadi websites. The 28-year-old Alabama native had maintained a low profile after posting a video expressing his fear of death at the hands of the group he came to support. After his reported arrest and investigation by al Shabaab there were unfounded rumors of his death. Somalia Report was the first and only outlet to confirm his health and location through his neighbors and immediate family.
Hammami has been both a popular mascot and an embarrassment to al Qaeda and al-Shabaab. On one hand, the Southern Somali-based Islamists seek to recruit fighters and support from the outside world while on the other insisting that foreigners must be expelled. Foreigners in Somalia have been a key media strategy more for the need to show international support rather than their military skills. Estimates vary widely and wildly from 3000 to around 100. There is also an ebb and flow of foreign fighters between Yemen, Kenya and an even more not quite clearly defined relationship between al-Shabaab and al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has typically funneled Arabic speaking volunteers or Afghan trained muj into islamic conflicts around the world. Hammami only mentions bin Laden and al Qaeda once, insisting that his call to jihad was a long, complex series of influences. He mentions that "ever since Egypt it was my dream to join his army and to have the distinction of being that much closer to being led by Shaykh Usaamah himself. By His grace, Allaah, the Exalted, prohibited me from making such a rash decision at that time and the benefits of that became manifest later on in the story."
His entry was facilitated by the now deceased embassy bomber Fazul Abdullah Mohammed but it appears from the book that he just showed up in Mogadishu on his self funded Hejira. He remarks that when he first arrived, "Most of the brothers I met on that day, have all either been martyred or imprisoned by the disbelievers (may Allaah hasten their release)." Which may be prophetic. He makes numerous references to foreign volunteers who have been killed or imprisoned.
He trained as a member of the "Muhaajiriin" in Kismayo (although he describes himself considered to be a "virus" in the camp" and soon became the best known surviving foreign jihadi. Hammami has recorded and posted a number of videos that range from rap songs to recruitment to somewhat emo-jihadi cry for help put online in March. Somalia Report estimates that there around 50 t0 150 surviving foreign volunteers at any one time with foreign passports (most of them ethnic Somalis). None seek the type of vanity press that Omar has. He admits in his book that he has no military skills but is an eager student.
Hammami whose jihad name is Abu Mansoor "al- Amriki", was often trotted out by Mukhtar Robow for press conferences but they have not been seen together in a long time.
His new 127 page e-book “The Story of An American Jihaadi, Part One" was released on May 16, 2012. In it Hamammi rambles on about life in Somalia away from Chinese restaurants and southern cooking. Those looking for wisdom or insight from the 28 year old will be disappointed. In the tail end of Part One, he answers questions posed by Abu Qalam ar-Ruumi. One question posed is about the comparison between Syrian/Christian Steve Jobs with he answers "I don't know that much about him, and he is dead now, so I couldn't really hash it out with him now." Don't expect much depth in this book.
When asked what he has personally accomplished, he answers: "My biggest personal achievement is to have performed Hijrah and to have engaged in Jihaad. I can only pray that Allaah grants me a righteous ending.
I cannot say that anything I personally did or said has affected the way the Jihaad has been carried out, because there are too many variables involved in each decision. One man's opinion is only a drop in the bucket when it comes to the matters of the entire Ummah. I guess I'll leave history to conjecture about that after I'm gone.
I think the biggest accomplishment of the Jihaad in Somaalia is how it (despite the flaws in implementation) showed the viability of the Jihaadi vision and how it showed that it can be obtained through armed struggle. The Islaamic Wilaayahs (though not perfect) are a sneak peek of what's to come. Of course we have a long way to go till the Khilaafah is fully reestablished on firm foundations, but I think when we take things in perspective of history as a whole, it's just around the corner."
He admits he will live his life as a fugitive and insists that the U.S. drone assassination program is designed to kill every "white fighter" with al Shabaab in Somalia. Back in April of 2011, the TFG mistakenly reported that the American had been killed fighting in Mogadishu. Now we know that he was always probably hard at work on his autobiography.
This week Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, rumored to be based in Pakistan, has also exhorted Somali's to keep fighting and not to be afraid of drone attacks.
Hammami's book can be downloaded 93732117_The_Story_of_an_American_Jihaadi.pdf:
In the Name of Allaah the Most Beneficent the Most Mericful. Indeed all praises are due to the Lord of the Worlds and may He send peace, blessings, and salaah upon His Messenger and upon his family and companions, as well as those who follow his guidance until the Day of Judgment.
Due to the unpredictable nature of the environment in the lands of Jihaad, I decided now is as good a time as any to release the first part of my auto-biography. Although nothing special, I thought my addition to the Jihaadi library could at least provide some benefit. I find the advice of Abu Muscab as-Suuri1 that we should document our history extremely important for a number of reasons:
1) events are happening more rapidly in the age of Globalization,
2) the war of narratives has become even more important than the war of navies, napalms, and knives, 3) with the internet, recording events and spreading reports of them has become extremely easy (so we should take whatever we can get).
Due to the necessity of security the first part of this auto-biography only reaches up to my affiliation with Xarakah ash-Shabaab al-Mujaahidiin. I'm sure everyone can understand the need for such measures. But in all reality the lands of Jihaad are all similar and history inevitably repeats itself, so I would imagine that the following information is enough of a glimpse into reality to provide the foundations for future insight.
Still alive and well (by May 16 2012),