The game of terror: Al-Shabaab and Taliban are Hearts

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WASHINGTON, September 9, 2013 — There are numerous terrorist groups around the world that are not affiliated with al-Qaeda but are extremely dangerous. Many Americans are unfamiliar with them and their leaders.

Those terrorists listed in the Hearts suit are not members of al-Qaeda but members of terrorist groups that have a history of working with, hiding or defending members of al-Qaeda during the War on Terror.


SEE RELATED: The game of terror: Al-Qaeda is spades


There are also members of groups loosely affiliated with al-Qaeda, such as al Shabaab in Somalia. 

Ace: Mullah Mohammad Omar 

He is the spiritual leader of the Taliban and acted as Afghanistan’s de facto head of state from 1996 until the U.S. invasion in 2001. He is wanted for providing shelter to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda leaders leading up to the September 11th attacks.

His physical appearance is almost unknown although he is missing one eye. He has allied with the pro-Taliban military leaders in the region, most notably Jalaluddin Haqqani.

A man claiming to be Omar sent a letter to Barack Obama in 2011 expressing interest in peace talks. He is believed to be hiding somewhere in Pakistan.

King: Sirajuddin Haqqani

Sirajuddin Haqqini is a Pashtun warlord and leader of the Haqqani network that fights against U.S. and Coalition forces from his base in North Waziristan, Pakistan where he provides shelter to al-Qaeda operatives.

He and his forces have been implicated in in the bombing of the Serena Hotel and the assassination attempt on President Hamiz Karzai in 2008. He is a leader in the Taliban’s Quetta Shura, militant organization of top leaders in the Taliban that helps organize the fight against US forces.

A drone campaign in February 2012 failed to eliminate him. The U.S. State Department is offering $5 million for information leading to his capture.

Queen: Jalaluddin Haqqani 

He is the leader of the Haqqani network, an insurgent group fighting U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Jalalddin is a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Haqqani allegedly also introduced the concept of suicide bombing to the Afghan and Pakistan region.

He commands the network with his son Sirajuddin, and both are believed to be based in Waziristan. He has been accused by the U.S. of being involved in the 2008 Indian embassy bombing in Kabul and the February 2009 Kabul raids which killed 21.

Jack: Hakimullah Mehsud 

He is the emir of the Tehrik-i-Taliban in Pakistan (TTP). He was a deputy to Commander Baitullah Meshud and a leader of Fedayeen al-Islam before leading TTP. He was unanimously appointed the leader of the TTP after Baitullah’s death by the 42-member shura.

Khyber agencies in Pakistan and from 2007 and 2008 forced the closure of the Khyber Pass, a critical U.S.-Pakistan supply road six times. For that success he was given command of the the Orakzi, Kurram and Khyber regions.

There is conflicting reports as to if he is alive however videos of him exist up to January 2012.

10. Moktar Ali Zubeyr “Godane”

He is the Emir of Harakat al-Shabaab which is the most prominent and most powerful insurgent group operating in Somalia. He has succeeded Sheikh Mukhtar Robaw as the leader of al-Shabaab. He is a veteran of the Afghan Jihad and worked for al-Barakar, a Somali remittance company with links to terrorism.

He offered his service to Osama Bin laden in 2009 and has reiterated his support to al-Qaeda since. He has transnational ambitions for al-Shabaab, an agenda that many of his affiliates in the organization are opposed to.

He is in charge of 4,000-6,000 militants and is believed to be operating out of Kismayo, Somalia.

9. Sheikh Mukhrar Robow

Robow is a Somalia rebel leader and one of the original founders of al-Shabaab. He reportedly left Somalia to train with the Afghani Taliban in 2000. He helped create al-Shabaab in 2003 but it was inactive until the Ethiopian occupation began in 2006.

He is an advocate for the clan system and for this reason among others; he has caused a divide between him and Musab. He is living in Burhakaba, Somalia and has openly challenged the US government to get him. He has eulogized bin Laden and called for jihad against the UN Mission in Somalia and the Trans Transitional Federation Government.

The U.S. State department has a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.

8. Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud

He is the emir of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and is a veteran of the insurgency in Algeria. After fighting in the Afghan civil war he returned to his home in Algeria where he became the regional leader of GSPC (the predecessor to AQIM) in 2004 after the death of Nabil Sahraour.

He incorporated it into Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in 2006. Wadoud was mentored by Al-Zarqawi and believed to have anywhere from 300-800 fighters at his disposal.

The U.S. State Department imposed sanctions on him and froze his assets in 2007.

7. Dokka Umarov

Called “Russia’s Osama Bin laden,” Umarov is a Chechen Islamist who is the self-proclaimed Emir of the Caucus Emirate. He is wanted by the Russian Government for kidnapping, murder and treason.

Umarov has claimed credit for many attacks, most notably the 2010 Moscow Metro bombings and the 2011 Domodedovo International Airport bombings. He has advocated foreigners and Chechens in particular to join the jihad in Syria so they can return and use the experience in the next fight against Russia.

The United States is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture. 

6. Moustofa Ahmewd Hassan Hamza

Moustofa was commander of the Egyptian Jamaa Islamiya until 1997. He regained that position since 1998, when former leader Rifaa Taha was kidnapped. He is accused of taking part in the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and the attempted assassination of Honsi Mubarak in 1995.

He lived in Iran until 2004, when he was extradited to Egypt, where he was pardoned in 2012 by Mohamed Morsi. He is also implicated in the Luxor massacre in 1997.

5. Abu Zamira Mohammed 

Abu was named the leader of Boko Haram’s shura council after former leader Abubakar Shekau was deposed and shot by his own men. Abu Zamira orchestrated a ceasefire declaration with the government of Nigeria and was appointed by the spiritual leader of Bok o Haram, Imam Liman Ibrahim.

The new leader’s moderate views lead many to hope that Boko Haram, a terrorist group with close ties to al-Qaeda, will moderate its positions on many issues. Regardless, Boko Haram is still a jihadist terrorist group which opposes man-made laws and it is notorious for attacking Christians and schools in Nigeria.

4. Sheikh Fuad Mohammed Khalaf “Shangole”

Fuad was a senior leader of the defunct Islamic Courts Union (ICU) and is currently serving as a senior leader and financial supporter of Al-Shabaab. He gained asylum in Sweden, where he spent 12 years as an imam.

He returned to Somalia in 2004 and served as the head of the youth militant wing of al-Shabaab. When the ICU government fell in 2007 he fled to Mecca and then to Kenya. He has taken part in many attacks, including the stoning of a 13-year-old girl for not following Islamic clothing laws.

The U.S. State department has a $5 million reward for information on his location.

3. Mustafa Hamid

He is the father in law of terrorist Saif al-Adel. He served as an instructor of tactics in al-Qaeda training camps and was the link between the group and the Iraninan Government.

He is believed to have negotiated the safe relocation of several senior al-Qaeda members to Iran. He was arrested by Iran in 2003 but was released in 2011 where he returned to Egypt after Mubarak was ousted.

2. Sheikh Hussein Ali Fidow

The political leader of al-Shabaab, Fidow is also al-Shabaab’s head of regions from the Hawiye clan, the largest clan in Mogadishu. He is responsible for firing Hassan Yakub as governor of Kismayo which is cited as the cause of division inside al-Shabaab leadership.

Robow was also opposed to Fidow and others supporting the merging of al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda.


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Andrew Scarpitta

Andrew Scarpitta is a young, conservative writer who found himself in New York on 9/11 and on Boylston Street, Boston when the Marathon Bombs exploded.  A studen of History and Political Science, Andrew has experience working with WMD and Middle East Politcy for the Department of Defense and a prominent DC Think Tank.  Andrew's future includes a career in intelligence. 

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