Obama’s policy toward jihadists is peculiar: he applauds and supplies them in some places (Libya, Syria), and opposes them in others (Iraq), taking actions like this one apparently to reassure Americans that nothing has changed, and that the U.S. is still resolute against jihad terrorists. But his inconsistency belies that.
“U.S. Troops Take Action on Militants in Somalia,” by Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, September 1, 2014:
American military forces launched an operation in Somalia on Monday against the Qaeda-linked militant network the Shabab, defense officials said.
Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said that officials were still “assessing the results of the operation, and will provide additional information as and when appropriate.”
Admiral Kirby declined to go into further detail about the operation, which was first reported by CNN.
A senior American official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the operation, said it had been carried out with Somali partners against “a senior Shabab operative.”
The Pentagon and the State Department have been supporting a 22,000-member African force that has driven the Shabab from their former strongholds in Mogadishu, the capital, and other urban centers, and continues to battle the extremists in their mountain and desert redoubts.
The United States now has a total of about 100 Special Operations forces operating in different parts of the country, both in training-advisory roles and in an operational role. Most, if not all, of those forces are Navy SEALS.
Officials did not say where the operation on Monday occurred or how it was carried out. But last October, Navy SEALS descended on the port town of Baraawe, which is a Shabab stronghold.
Their target was a Kenyan of Somali origin known as Ikrimah, who was one of the Shabab’s top planners of attacks outside Somalia, officials said.
But instead of slipping away with the man they had come to capture, the SEALs found themselves under heavy fire as they approached a villa. They retreated after inflicting casualties on the Shabab defenders.
That raid occurred less than two weeks after Shabab militants slaughtered more than 60 people at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Though Mr. Ikrimah had not been tied directly to the Nairobi assault, fears of a similar attack against Western targets broke a deadlock among officials in Washington over whether to conduct the raid.