Tags: somalia | clandestine | war | escalated | obama | nyt

Somalia Clandestine War Being Escalated by Obama, Says NYT

Somalia Clandestine War Being Escalated by Obama, Says NYT

Ugandan soldiers receiving U.S. training. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
 

By    |   Monday, 17 October 2016 10:48 AM

Somalia's clandestine war is being sharply escalated by President Barack Obama as he quietly builds the largest U.S. military presence there since 1993's infamous "Black Hawk Down" battle that led the American withdrawal from the country, according to The New York Times.

The Times said in an exclusive report on Sunday that the U.S. has used Special Forces, airstrikes, private contractors and allies in other African countries to attack Islamist militants in the country that sits on the Horn of Africa.

"The Somalia campaign is a blueprint for warfare that President Obama has embraced and will pass along to his successor," said Times reporters Mark Mazzetti, Jeffrey Gettleman and Eric Schmitt.

"It is a model the United States now employs across the Middle East and North Africa — from Syria to Libya — despite the president's stated aversion to American 'boots on the ground' in the world's war zones. This year alone, the United States has carried out airstrikes in seven countries and conducted Special Operations missions in many more," the Times continued.

Many Americans remember the 1993 incident in the country's capital of Mogadishu, where an 18-hour fire fight left 18 American soldiers dead and 73 wounded dead in a botched attempt to detain aides of a local clan leader after a Black Hawk helicopter was shot down, noted The Daily Beast.

That incident under the Bill Clinton administration, which at that time was the deadliest U.S. combat engagement since the Vietnam War, happened just before the American military started leaving the country.

"The (current) Somalia campaign, as it is described by American and African officials and international monitors of the Somali conflict, is partly designed to avoid repeating that debacle, which led to the deaths of 18 American soldiers," wrote the Times reporters.

"But it carries enormous risks — including more American casualties, botched airstrikes that kill civilians and the potential for the United States to be drawn even more deeply into a troubled country that so far has stymied all efforts to fix it."

The militant group Shabab, which has claimed allegiance to al-Qaeda, is based out of Somalia and has become bolder in the last three years, noted the Times. The group carried out an attack against civilians at a Nairobi, Kenya mall in 2013, killing 60 and wounding 175 more.

Shabab has attacked police headquarters and bombed restaurants, and killed more than 100 Kenyan soldiers in January. They were also blamed for a laptop bomb that nearly brought down a Somali passenger airliner in February, said the Times.

On the flipside, The Associated Press reported Monday that Somali security forces shut down the country's oldest daily newspaper Xog-Ogaal and arrested its editor Abdi Adan Guled. Journalists there have been threatened by the government and militants during elections there.

The Times said the Pentagon was involved in 13 on-the-ground raids and airstrikes in Somalia this year, including three last month, killing 200 suspected militants and 25 civilians, according to data from Washington think tank New America. A March airstrike reportedly killed more than 150 Shabab fighters, but a September airstrike mistakenly killed a dozen Somali government soldiers.

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Somalia's clandestine war is being sharply escalated by President Barack Obama as he quietly builds the largest U.S. military presence there since 1993's infamous "Black Hawk Down" battle that led the American withdrawal from the country, according to The New York Times.
somalia, clandestine, war, escalated, obama, nyt
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2016-48-17
Monday, 17 October 2016 10:48 AM
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