Since the September 11th
terrorist attacks on the United States, some have called for a law enforcement
response rather than a military one.
Monday's U.S. Special Forces raid on Somalia, which killed a suspected
terrorist, has raised the issue again.
Volman, director of the African Security Research Project, questions the wisdom
of the raid.
think it's in some ways a real serious mistake and I think it will undermine a
lot of the efforts by the United States and other parties to achieve a peaceful
resolution or at least some kind of resolution…in Somalia," he says.
says the raid indicates "the Obama administration remains committed to the
global war on terrorism, which I think is a faulty strategy."
says the raid "stigmatizes" the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG),
making it appear "as an agent of the United States government." He says that may make it more difficult for
the TFG to "reach out and create some kind of broad-based government."
Law enforcement versus military response
well aware that al-Qaeda is a criminal organization, that it carries out
terrible crimes around the world. But I
would argue…that al-Qaeda and these kinds of terrorist activities do not
directly threaten the vital national security interests of the United States,"
he says, they pose a greater threat to the Somalia and other countries around
military response, as opposed to a more focused law enforcement response, is
not the right way to go," he says.
says terrorist acts should be treated as "terrible" crimes, not as a "military
action. Not as a threat to the vital national security interests of the United
Take them to court
to give one example…the United States would like to capture al-Qaeda
agents. First of all, they could be put
on trial, which means that their guilt can be established…. But also so that they can be
questioned…. If you simply kill them you
lose any possibility of getting any useful information from them."
considers Somalia an al-Qaeda haven to a "very limited extent," much less so
than other countries, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.
TFG is supporting the U.S. raid because it targeted foreigners in the country
who it says are killing Somalis.
like the al-Qaeda agents and the broader al-Shabaab (militia) movement…not only
pose a threat to the Transitional Federal Government, but they pose a real
threat to the people of Somalia," he says.
Will it make a difference?
says death of suspected terrorist Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan "does not
fundamentally change either the overall military situation in Somalia or the
ability of al-Qaeda and other organizations to carryout terrorist activities in
senior administration official is quoted as saying President Obama approved the
raid in Somalia after monitoring the situation for several days.
The U.S. Africa Command has said
al-Qaeda is operating in Somalia and that its members may try to export terrorism
to other countries. It says its mission
includes helping to improve security in partner nations.