Although an al-Qaeda-pirate connection would be worrisome, this claim sounds pretty fishy. A few reasons:
- al-Shabab controls much of Somalia and is pushing to topple the government. That gives the government a really good incentive to wave its hands and claim that al-Qaeda is flooding the country. That information would certainly get the West's attention, and perhaps its money/help to keep the government in power
- an Islamic government ruthlessly shut down piracy in Somalia when it was last in power in Somalia. No reason to think that Shabab would necessarily be different
- bringing al-Qaeda into Somalia would be bad for the pirate business because al-Qaeda would attract the West's attention and firepower
Thus my earlier posts that the pirates, in fact, could be natural allies in resisting Islamic fundamentalism and al-Qaeda in Somalia. Not that this would be the most savory alliance in the world, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend. At least, for now.