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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs