Al-Ittihad al-Islami (AIAI)
Al-Ittihad al-Islami (AIAI) also operates as, or is known as, the Islamic Union.
AIAI is Somalia's largest militant Islamic organization. AIAI rose to power in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Siad Barre regime. AIAI aims to establish an Islamic regime in Somalia and force the secession of the Ogeden region of Ethiopia. AIAI participates in primarily insurgent-style attacks against Ethiopian forces and other Somali factions. The group is believed to be responsible for a series of bomb attacks in public places in Addis Ababa in 1996 and 1997, as well as the kidnapping of several relief workers in 1998. AIAI sponsors Islamic social programs, such as orphanages and schools, and provides pockets of security in Somalia. AIAI strength is estimated at some 2,000 members, plus additional reserve militias.
The AIAI operates primarily in Somalia, with limited presence in Ethiopia and Kenya. AIAI has received funds from Middle East financiers, Western diaspora remittances, weapons deliveries from Sudan, and—prior to Operation Enduring Freedom—conducted training in Afghanistan with ties to al-Qaeda (also spelled al-Qaida).
█ FURTHER READING:
CDI (Center for Defense Information), Terrorism Project. CDI Fact Sheet: Current List of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations. March 27, 2003. < http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/terrorist.cfm > (April 17, 2003).
Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook, 2002. < http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ > (April 16, 2003).
Taylor, Francis X. U.S. Department of State. "Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001," Annual Report: On the record briefing. May 21, 2002 < http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/rm/10367.htm > (April 17,2003).
U.S. Department of State. Annual reports. < http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/annual_reports.html > (April 16, 2003).