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Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

Al-Shabaab Reaches for Stature

The Somali militant group Al-Shabaab—pushed back in Somalia largely by African Union (AU) forces and forced to regroup—has released a video calling on jihadists to attack shopping centers in Western countries, most specifically the US, UK and Canada, and is threatening more terrorist attacks in neighboring Kenya, an emerging East African oil giant. Specific Western targets are listed as the Mall of America in Minnesota, the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and the Westfield Mall in Stratford, UK. The FBI says there is no evidence supporting an imminent attack on the Mall of America, but intelligence-sharing is not exactly the forte of US intelligence agencies. At this point we would view the threat against Kenya as the most viable and investors on this oil scene should be on full alert. The Western mall threats are likely two-pronged, with the primary goal of winning new recruits by harnessing the momentum of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq. Keep in mind, though, that while Al-Shabaab may not be a large group and it has been dispersed and had many of its power bases destroyed, it has a formidable intelligence unit of its own that has strategically taken over since the AU hit out at the group’s key positions.

Another High-Profile Kazakh Drama

There has been an interesting development in the murky world of the Kazakh elite. Rakhot Aliev, the former son-in-law of…

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