Obama Escalates Bush-Initiated 'War on Terror' in Africa

Two separate operations by US Special Forces over the weekend expose a military policy in Africa that critics say is a dangerous and unpredictable game.

Both in Libya and Somalia on Saturday, so-called ‘capture or kill’ operations were launched—speaheaded by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)—in which high-value leaders of Islamic militant groups were targeted for assassination or kidnapping.

In Libya on Saturday, a raid backed by the FBI and CIA but reportedly executed by elite military personnel, led to the reported capture of Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqqai—better known by his alias Abu Anas al Libi—an alleged high-level al Qaeda operative wanted in connection to several bombings leading back to the late 1990’s.

Also on Saturday, on the other side of the continent in Somalia, an apparently unsuccessful raid by US Navy Seals on a seaside villa led to an extended fire fight between the elite soldiers and individuals at the house that ended in retreat. Speculation remained about the intended target and who was or wasn’t killed during the operation, but outlets report the raid was planned in the aftermath of the recent Westgate Mall attack in Kenya which left nearly 70 people dead. Al Shabab claimed responsibility for that attack, saying it was retaliation for Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia.

The New York Times reports:

Speaking about both raids, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Sunday said they “demonstrate the unparalleled precision, global reach and capabilities of the United States military.” Speaking separately, Secretary of State John Kerry warned critics of the raids that they should be careful not to “sympathize” with known terrorists.

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Independent journalist Jeremy Scahill, who has covered US military actions and policy in the region for years, responded to the weekend news by cautioning people against accepting early reports about either raid. He tweeted:

And then later:

Based on what was known, however, critics argue the pair of raids in Africa reveal just how overt—and dangerously counter-productive— the so-called ‘global war on terrorism’ has become when the US sends military forces into two separate countries in one day in an attempt to kill “or” capture individuals without due process or legitimate legal authority.

As The Guardian reports:

McClatchy news reports that President Obama personally approved the raid in Libya, but the leaders of the interim government there were voicing protest agains the raid. According to The Guardian:

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