The Somali insurgent group Al Shabaab, in partial control of most of South Somalia, has developed a good track record on governance. It administers public finances, law & order, justice and humanitarian aid efficiently and with low levels of corruption; and it is wholly self-reliant. These are issues which have bedevilled Somali politics for decades, on which the internationally supported federal government makes little progress. Despite its better governance scores, Al Shabaab is not accepted as a legitimate government by most of the people under its rule, due to the lack of political freedom, the militants’ violence and their takfiri attitude which allows them to kill fellow Muslims. The question remains if their governance methods could somehow be the basis for a more efficient Somali state. For that the international war on terror should cease in Somalia first, to make way for a political settlement.