News / Africa

Libya, Somalia Raids Signal Shift in US Counterterror Efforts

US Changes Tactics in Africa Counterterrorism Effortsi
X
October 10, 2013 10:52 PM
The U.S. military's twin raids in Somalia and Libya recently further signal Africa as a new front in the war on terror. As VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, the U.S. military is changing its tactics to deal with a new and prolonged counterterrorism effort
Luis Ramirez
U.S. military drones have been a primary tool in a war that the United States wants to execute with a light footprint: Few U.S. troops on the ground and a focus instead on building the capacity of African forces.
 
But recent raids in Somalia and Libya, both involving Special Forces, show it's going to take a combined effort in what President Barack Obama says will have to be a prolonged campaign.
 
“Africa is one of the places where — because in some cases, lack of capacity on the part of the governments, in some cases because it is easier for folks to hide out in vast terrains that are sparsely populated — that you're seeing some of these groups gather," he said. "And we're going to have to continue to go after them."
 
Until recently, drone strikes had been the U.S. method of choice for getting terrorists. But recent strikes in places such as Yemen, where villagers said civilians were killed by the remotely piloted aircraft, have created an image problem for the United States.
 
Obama signaled a shift in tactics during a speech in May, saying "progress we have made against core al-Qaida will reduce the need for unmanned strikes.”
 
That shift is the result of outcry overseas and also in the U.S., where the administration's drone policy is a target of activists.
 
Joseph Siegle, director of research at the U.S. Defense Department's Africa Center for Strategic Studies, says the change is key to building and protecting partnerships on the continent.
 
"There's a realization this is a long war. It's not just a series of missions," he said. "And to win that longer war, you need to win the support of the populations in which these terrorist activities are taking place. And you're not going to do that if you cause many civilian casualties and the U.S. is blamed for embroiling these countries."
 
The U.S. government says it prefers to capture, interrogate, and prosecute terrorists — mainly by using Special Forces.
 
But putting U.S. troops on the ground, regardless of how small their numbers are, carries other risks, and polls show Americans don't favor involvement in another war.
 
The Hollywood film "Black Hawk Down" depicted the downing of a U.S. helicopter in Somalia 20 years ago this month, during the battle of Mogadishu. In that incident, 18 Americans were killed. Americans are in no mood for a repeat.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Great North
October 10, 2013 9:47 PM
Placing lightly equiped forces on/in hostile territory with no trustworthy local friendlies is a recipe for a major catastrophic failure. A gvmt that succumbs to the pressure, of a few fringe local groups, and decides to place soldiers in hostile territory is in real big moral trouble. The drone program is the best, and least risky way to handle hostile terrorists; the one time that ground forces are the only option is in cases of needing to free hostages. The fact that Libyan extremist now think that their gvmt allowed the US incursion, will just decrease the stability and security in/of Libya. Advertising/disclosing the operation also does not make sense wrt the security and potential gains of capturing a terrorist.... something is really gone wrong in many aspects of some of these operations =too many useless/dangerous disclosures.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid