September 2, 2014
Bruton on US Counterterrorism Strike in Somalia
Bronwyn Bruton, an expert on African security at the Atlantic Council, said that Godane is less an ideologue than a fighter but that “nobody really knows” whether he poses the same kind of direct threat to the United States as other al-Qaeda affiliates.
“He’s pretty much a hired gun,” she said. “If he thought there was power and glory in it, he’d probably kill his mother.”
If Godane does turn out to be dead, Bruton said, his rivals who have been marginalized or in hiding may seek to reshape al-Shabab into a domestic insurgency again. The movement, she said, has lost popular support in Somalia because of its brutal tactics and its embrace of foreign fighters.
“It probably provides an opportunity for the domestic actors to gain ground,” she said.