Wednesday, July 09, 2014

And Also, the Sun Rises in the East

I'm shocked. Shocked that special operating is going on in Somalia.

The whole point of our large special forces capability is to keep armed problems small so that we don't have to send 100,000 troops to fight them. So why is this a shock?

U.S. military advisors have secretly operated in Somalia since around 2007 and Washington plans to deepen its security assistance to help the country fend off threats by Islamist militant group al Shabaab, U.S. officials said.

Recall that Ethiopia went into Somalia in December 2006. Who didn't think we were helping? It made the news back then! Let me repeat a quote from a linked article in that post:

U.S. ground forces have been active in Somalia from the start, a senior military intelligence officer confirmed. “In fact,” he said, “they were part of the first group in.”

These ground forces include CIA paramilitary officers who are based out of Galkayo, in Somalia’s semiautonomous region of Puntland, Special Operations forces, and Marine units operating out of Camp Lemonier in Djibouti.

The presence of U.S. airpower in Somalia became public knowledge yesterday when CBS News reported that an AC-130 fixed-wing gunship carried out a strike against suspected al-Qaeda members in southern Somalia. Unmanned aerial drones kept the targets under surveillance while a gunship operated by the U.S. Special Operations Command flew from its base in Djibouti to the southern tip of Somalia.

You remember Djibouti, right? Major American base in the Horn of Africa for our special operations forces? We even work with the French there? Does this ring a bell at all for our press corps that just discovered we fight jihadis in Somalia?

So no, this isn't exactly a news "exclusive."

With jihadis running around in Somalia (and let's not forget Iran's interest in the Red Sea), in what alternate world of outreach to the Islamic world would this base not be used to fight jihadis next door?