On the night of October 5, 2013 U.S. special forces conducted a lightning strike attack and captured Abu Anas Al Liby in Tripoli, Libya. Liby, also known as Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, was wanted in connection with the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Almost simultaneously, U.S. Navy SEALS struck an Al Shabaab safe haven in the early hours before morning prayers in the seaside town of Barawe, Somalia. Heavy gunfire ensued and at least one individual was killed at a villa where multiple high level Al Shabaab targets were supposed to be located. The planners of the Kenyan mall attack that left dozens dead were inside the villa. Good HUMINT, or ground intelligence, led intelligence analysts to believe that the leader of the Nairobi shopping mall attack Al Shabaab, Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, also known as Ahmed Godane, was there.
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While watching reports of these attacks on CNN, I thought back over a year ago, when Admiral William H. McRaven declared that U.S. special operations forces are engaged in over 100 countries worldwide. McRaven is commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and he was testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
McRaven became the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre (NSCC) and in that position, he greatly enhanced the capabilities and inter-operability of all NATO Special Operations Forces.
These lightning strike attacks in Somalia and Egypt exemplify the admiral’s declaration made over a year ago: “In significant ways, our forces are creating visible and dramatic effects of the greatest magnitude across the globe.” This was his statement in the 2012 USSOCOM report. I acquired the 22-page posture statement, which is unclassified- click Posture Statement to view it in its entirety.
It appears that small units with highly-lethal, hi-tech equipment have replaced armored Marine divisions. McRaven spoke of intense interagency cooperation to carry these missions out and also added that these operations already have had and will continue to have immediate and observable evidence of their effectiveness for public consumption. They will be carried out in a lightning-strike fashion, since they already have had tremendous effects upon our enemies’ networks throughout the world.
Yes, the U.S. is applying a new global fighting stratagem against radical Islam and affiliated terrorist groups…not upon Muslims. I favor this new strategy, for the carrot and stick approach is better than applying either methodology alone. Coupled with non-circuitous physical attacks against dangerous adversaries, America is empowering host nations to defend themselves while providing support to humanitarian agencies and while engaging key populations. America is building partnerships with nations where our non-state enemies hide and we help these nations build domestic security and maintain rule of law, address local needs, and advance ideas that discredit and defeat the appeal of violent extremism.
I believe we must pursue this new global strategy against radical Islam and al Qaeda. Why? Because al Qaeda and other extremist networks are franchising their ideology and violence in countries around the globe faster than McDonald’s is, if you get my drift! This extremist network expansion is increasing in frequency and intensity. So, lightning-strike, in-and-out, lethal attacks by U.S. SOF’s coupled with long-lasting, nation-friendly partnership-building appears to be America’s new stratagem.
Another example of this new stratagem being implemented be found in this declassified “notification of special forces operation”, which President Obama sent to Congress in January. It describes the rescue of an American in Somalia. He wrote, “At my direction, on January 24, 2012, U.S. Special Operations Forces conducted an operation in Somalia to rescue Ms. Jessica Buchanan, a U.S. citizen. The operation was successfully completed”. The report was transmitted to keep the Congress fully informed. Here it is:
Washington, January 26, 2012.
Hon. JOHN BOEHNER,
Speaker of the House of Representatives,
DEAR MR. SPEAKER: At my direction, on January 24, 2012, U.S.
Special Operations Forces conducted an operation in Somalia to
rescue Ms. Jessica Buchanan, a U.S. citizen. The operation was
successfully completed. Ms. Buchanan was kidnapped in Galcayo,
Somalia on October 25, 2011, by a group linked to Somali pirates
and financiers. Also rescued in the course of the operation was a
Danish national, Poul Hagen Thisted, who was kidnapped with Ms.
Buchanan. The operation was undertaken by a small number of
joint combat-equipped U.S. forces, after we received reliable intelligence
indicating Ms. Buchanan’s location in Somalia along with that of Mr.
Thisted. These forces left Somalia on January 25, 2012.
I directed this action consistent with my responsibility to protect
U.S. citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of U.S.
national security interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority
to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and
I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress
fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution
(Public Law 93–148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in
Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association O Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and writes about the online spy series “Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean”. The views expressed on this site do not represent those of any organization he is a member of.