Comment: Daring US Raid in Somalia is Risky Policy

Saleh Nabhan

Saleh Nabhan

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The political aftereffect of a recent raid by US Special Forces in southern Somalia may be more significant than its outcome. The operation, which took place in the early hours of Monday, killed a number of al-Qaeda-linked militants and captured at least two, according to local witnesses. Unnamed US officials said that among the dead is Saleh Ali Nabhan, a 30-year-old Kenyan al-Qaeda operative who is said to have participated in the 2002 attack on an Israeli-owned resort in his homeland, among other acts. Read more of this post

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News you may have missed #0095

  • New revelations about Bulgarian domestic spying case. It appears that Operation GALLERY (a.k.a. Operation GALERIA), by the Bulgarian State Agency for National Security (DANS), was primarily aimed at the Bulgarian tabloid newspaper Weekend and journalist Dimitar Zlatkov. Journalist Ognyan Stefanov, who was nearly beaten to death after authoring an article implicating DANS officials in illicit trafficking activities (see previous intelNews coverage), appears to have been simply collateral damage.
  • Taliban use CIA-supplied mines against US-led forces in Afghanistan. Evidence from the US Defense Department, Canadian forces in Afghanistan and the Taliban itself suggest that the increased damage to NATO tanks by Taliban forces has come from anti-tank mines provided by the US to the jihadi movement in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
  • Massive domestic spying revealed in Russia. From January to June this year, Russian intelligence agents surreptitiously opened 115,000 letters, listened in on 64,000 personal phone conversations, and broke into 11,000 private homes according to information from Russia’s Supreme Court.

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Report discusses blowback of US rendition program in Somalia

Paul Salopek appears to be just about the only mainstream American reporter paying attention to America’s secret war in Africa, and specifically in Somalia. In what is in fact America’s most recent war, the US approved and assisted an Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, in late 2006. The operational aim of the invasion was to terminate the local grass roots leadership of the Islamic Courts Union and prevent “anarchic Somalia from becoming the world’s next Afghanistan”. A new article by Salopek sheds light on the use of extraordinary rendition by US military and intelligence agencies during that invasion. Read more of this post

America is losing the war in Somalia, say observers

The Chicago Tribune has published a relatively well-researched analysis article by Paul Salopec, focusing on the African front of America’s so-called “war on terrorism”. In what is in fact America’s most recent war, the US approved and assisted an Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, in late 2006. The operational aim of the invasion was to terminate the local grass roots leadership of the Islamic Courts Union and prevent “anarchic Somalia from becoming the world’s next Afghanistan”. For the most part it has been a rarely seen or heard of conflict, “a standoff war in which the Pentagon lobs million-dollar cruise missiles into a famine-haunted African wasteland the size of Texas, hoping to kill lone terror suspects who might be dozing in candlelit huts”, as The Chicago Tribune puts it. Lately, however, it has become apparent that the native Islamic movement in Somalia, strengthened by anti-Ethiopian sentiments among the population, has regrouped and is fighting back, scoring significant victories in the process. Factions associated with the Islamic Courts Union are now said to control most of the Somali countryside, and to be increasingly gaining control of major sections of the capital, Mogadishu. The Tribune article quotes Matt Bryden, “one of the world’s leading scholars of the Somali insurgency who has access to intelligence regarding it”, who states that the US-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia “was a stupid idea, [which] actually strengthened the hand of the Islamists and helped trigger the crisis we’re in today”. [JF]

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