US Spec Forces Kill Al Qaeda Leader in Somalia

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  1. Somalia: Another U.S. Strike on Al-Qaeda in a Terror Breeding Ground
    By Alex Perry Monday, Sep. 14, 2009
    Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan

    The deadly drama of piracy, terrorism and humanitarian catastrophe that is Somalia took another twist Monday when a squad of U.S. Special Operations helicopter gunships, launched off a Navy vessel in the Indian Ocean, attacked and killed an alleged al-Qaeda leader inside Somalia, U.S. officials told TIME. The dead man was believed to be Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a 28-year-old Kenyan wanted for attacks on a seaside hotel and an Israeli airliner in 2002 in Kenya. It was at least the sixth attack by U.S. forces inside Somalia in less than three years and the latest in a series of U.S. assassinations of al-Qaeda operatives in that country. According to news reports, Nabhan was killed when up to four U.S. helicopters fired on a convoy carrying suspected Al-Qaeda targets in a village in southern Somalia on Monday. The reports said the helicopters attacked a vehicle, killing some people inside, then circled back and landed to pick up the bodies and any survivors for identification.

    As much as it seemed to be a successful strike against terrorism, the attack was also a testament to Somalia's longevity as a refuge for Islamist militants. Conditions haven't changed in years. Somalia last had a government worthy of the name nearly two decades ago, in 1991. For most of the 1990s, like Afghanistan at the time, the country was torn apart by rival warlords. Like Afghanistan too, out of that chaos arose an army of radical Islamist warriors determined to bring strict religious law and order to the country, but also open to funding from and cooperation with al-Qaeda. The first shots in what later became known as the war on terror were fired by these Somalia-based militants when they blew up the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998, killing 213 and 11 people respectively. But Afghanistan, and later Pakistan, became the focus of the militant Islamic threat after al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden moved himself and his main base of operations there in 1996, after he was expelled from Sudan, eventually to perpetrate the attacks of 9/11. (See pictures of the life of Osama bin Laden.)

    But the Somali branch of al-Qaeda never retired. On Nov. 26, 2002, al-Qaeda killed 15 people when gunmen led by Nabhan, according to the FBI, attacked the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, and fired two missiles at an Israeli charter airliner in Kenyan airspace the same night, which missed. In 2003, staff at the new U.S. embassy in Nairobi evacuated for a week over reports that al-Qaeda wanted to level the new building; there was also a never-executed plot to attack a U.S. military base in Djibouti in 2006. Bin Laden himself has released frequent video recordings urging Somali Islamists to take over the country.

    Since late 2006, Somalia's chaos has been felt ever more keenly around the world. The Islamists, under the umbrella organization of a group called the Islamic Courts Union, briefly took control of Mogadishu in spring 2006. But radicals in their ranks declared a jihad on neighboring Ethiopia — a mixed Muslim and Christian country — and Ethiopia invaded Somalia in December of that year. U.S. Special Operations troops hitched a ride with that operation, using the opportunity to track down the U.S. embassy bombers and any other al-Qaeda operatives inside the country. During that invasion, al-Qaeda bomb-maker Tariq Abdullah, a.k.a. Abu Taha al-Sudani, was killed in a hit carried out by an Ethiopian military helicopter. (Read a story about an Australian crackdown on Somali terror suspects.)

    Despite that success, concerns over al-Qaeda in Africa have continued to grow as the group demonstrates an ever more muscular presence with a series of bombings, kidnappings and assassinations from Mauritania to Somaliland. The Somali connection is proving a particular worry with the regrouping of the militants under the new unified command of a group called the Shabaab and the discovery that scores of young Muslim men from the U.S., Britain and Australia are traveling to Somalia to receive weapons training in Shabaab camps. This year three men from Minneapolis pleaded guilty to terror-related charges in the U.S., and at least three more have died inside Somalia, including one whom authorities believe is the first American suicide bomber. Australian authorities last month revealed they had uncovered an alleged plot by immigrants, including three Somalis, to carry out a suicide attack. And on Sunday, reports emerged in Britain of a group of ethnic Somalis also traveling to the Somali camps for training. It is these camps that may have prompted Monday's strikes. Nabhan was believed to be a central figure in the management of the camps, as was former Shabaab leader, Aden Hashi Ayro, who was killed in a U.S. missile strike in March 2008.,8599,1923169,00.html
  2. Heard about a strike by 'foreign' troops on the TV earlier but local reports say it was the Frenchies. Good scalp to have for the Americans anyway. Good job.
  3. If only the US had decided on this tactic with Bin Laden, then we may not have had to spend hundreds of troops in a war that will last decades.
  4. It was not for want of opportunities or capabilites but lack of will of Clinton. The one occasion that offered the best chance to get him occurred in the middle of the Lewinski scandal and even some in his inner circle have speculated that this did not get his full attention as a result.

    Yet another politician whose picture deserves to be on anyone's wall of shame. GWB also shares the blame since we diverted much effort to Iraq during the critical time when we could have gotten him the easiest.
  5. I believe GWB has been a total idiot from the beginning. The initial objective for invading Afghanistan was to get Bin Laden and deny Al Qaeda a training ground. So of course when the wizz bangs start, what would any self respecting Bin Laden do? Go to the next country along. There are many countries that have Al Qaeda training camps in them, they have included Bosnia. There are probably some in the US. The guys who perpatrated that henious act on the 11th of september 2001 obviously had help from operatives inside the US.

    You are right, Bush should most definatly have taken a lesson from Hitler and not overstretch his military by going into Iraq. However, he did hand over responsability for sorting Afghanistan out to NATO which was in a way clever of him but rather stupid of NATO. The problem is, the US cannot fully hand over due to their desire to be in control.
  6. First point. Are you saying determined men cannot buy themselves air tickets and smuggle a few weapons on board, bearing in mind security was less strict pre-9-11, without being helped by terror cells based in the US?

    And two, Hitler spread his army over continents. Yes, Iraq is a big country, but it isn't that big.
  7. Well done to the US forces for sending this scumbag on his way to his 72 virgins or whatever. Hope they all turn out to be ladyboys with bigger knobs than his, and are hungry for new, mujahideen flesh in that afterlife.
  8. No, not at all, but when you consider that firstly that this was their second attempt against the world trade centre.
    Secondly it is obvious that a certain amount of intelligence gathering went on prior to the execution of this atrocity. Such as training the terrorist to fly the planes in the US, flight time tables, how much fuel would be on specific airplanes, locations etc etc

    Interesting point, but you forget that like us, the US have military all over the world and are overstretched. They have a vast of troops in Korea for one, ready for another war there, then you have their normal postings, Bosnia, Japan, Germany etc etc. Then of course you have those that are sick, wounded on leave.
  9. Andy_S

    Andy_S LE Book Reviewer

    If only the US had decided on this tactic with Bin Laden, then we may not have had to spend hundreds of troops in a war that will last decades

    What makes anyone think Bin Laden is still alive? Occasional voice recordings? Bah.

    FYI, the number of troops the US has in Korea is a 28,500 - mainly REMFs and airforce. In a million man military, hardly a 'vast' amount.
  10. Bosnia? Bet thats less than 1,000 at most
  11. Well, I could respond with, what makes you think he is dead? There is more to suggest he is alive then dead. However, my main point is instead of invading for revenge etc, why not take out the leadership of Al Qaeda. That has been shown to work just recently in Sri Lanka. Granted very different scenarios, but without effective leadership Al Qaeda or any terrorist group for that matter will be ineffective.

    Quite possibly (I thought on average it is 37-50,000, but no matter), but didnt the US send a large number there recently when tensions escalated. As I said, the US is in many countries (54 I believe) not just Korea. It all adds up.
  12. I salute our colonial allies and buy them a virtual beer for their success in removing another pollutant from the gene pool.

    Whatever the rhetoric fom the Islamists, the leadership are never in mch of a hurry to reach the paradise they preach to others.

    They will be feeling a little less secure as they skulk in their holes today.
  13. Nope - they been, they gone! Only a couple of G2 staff and some NATO jobs but no troops.
  14. Actually, not quite, but I see what you are saying. At the time of the Afghan and Iraq invasion there were quite a number of US troops in Bosnia.
  15. My day just got better, good news.