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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid