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Secrets of the Secret War: Why Did Weekend Somalia Raid Fail?

Al-Shabaab claims it inflicted casualties, U.S. claims pullback after hour of fighting was to avoid civilian casualties, Somali minister says U.S. was outgunned.

by
Bridget Johnson

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October 7, 2013 - 9:13 pm
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The Defense Department’s Friday night operation to go after an Al-Shabaab commander in Somalia peeled the veil a bit off the Obama administration’s ongoing secret war in Somalia, but left many questions about the story behind the failed raid.

Pentagon press secretary George Little confirmed today that U.S. military personnel conducted a “targeted operation” against Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, a.k.a. “Ikrima,” a Kenyan of Somali origin and a top commander in the al-Qaeda affiliate.

Ikrima is “closely associated” with late al-Qaeda operatives Harun Fazul and Saleh Nabhan, who played roles in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.

“The goal of the operation was to capture Ikrima under legal authorities granted to the Department of Defense by the Authorization to Use Military Force (2001) against al-Qaeda and its associated forces,” Little said. “While the operation did not result in Ikrima’s capture, U.S. military personnel conducted the operation with unparalleled precision and demonstrated that the United States can put direct pressure on al-Shabaab leadership at any time of our choosing.”

“Working in partnership with the government of the Federal Republic of Somalia, the United States military will continue to confront the threat posed by Al-Shabaab. The United States military has unmatched capabilities and could rely on any of them to disrupt terrorist networks and plots.”

Somali Radio Mustaqbal reported that after the U.S. attack via sea on a coastal headquarters in Barawe, Shabaab directed extra resources to the district and imposed a 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on the area. Somali Current reported that Al-Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, a.k.a. Godane, was in the house just hours before the U.S. raid, suggesting that SEALTeam Six may have had a weightier target in mind than the Pentagon admitted.

Godane was known to use the villa for some R&R. Somali Current reported that he stayed close to Barawe for nearly a day after the hourlong gun battle with U.S. forces. Al-Shabaab then closed down the town, searched every home and arrested an “unconfirmed number” of people under the accusation that they colluded with “invaders.” Some local media also reported a Chechen member of al-Qaeda was staying at the villa.

The “prudent decision” by U.S. forces to pull back from the Somali raid contrasted with the success of a concurrent operation in Libya, where Abu Anas al-Libi, accused of masterminding the 1998 embassy bombings, was captured in Tripoli.

White House spokesman Jay Carney referred all questions about the Somali raid to the Pentagon today, but confirmed “the president approved both operations in both Libya and Somalia.”

“And when an approval like this happens, there is obviously discretion given to commanders as to when they initiate and fulfill those missions,” Carney added. “So it is a coincidence that they happened at the same time.”

“The mujahidin repulsed their attack and in Allah’s wishes they have and we chased them until they reached the coast,” Al-Shabaab military operations spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Mus’ab said, according to Dalsan Radio. “We have killed one white officer and wounded at least two others.”

The Pentagon spokesman made no mention either way about deaths or injuries. Officials told Reuters that there were no casualties among the SEALs but they retreated to avoid civilian casualties. A local man told Dalsan Radio that he saw a bulletproof vest left behind by the U.S. forces as well as two ladders.

President Obama would likely fear any casualties on such a mission sparking memories of President Clinton’s unpopular Black Hawk Down Battle of Mogadishu.

Somali Foreign Minister Fawzia Yusuf Adam told CNN on Sunday that her government believes “not just Al-Shabaab” repelled the U.S. forces from the Barawe hideout.

“This is al-Qaeda. It’s a global phenomenon. People from all over the place come there,” she said, before claiming the terror group is on its “last legs.”

“We accepted it. We welcomed it. We are welcoming more if this will help us get rid of Al Qaeda/Al-Shabaab,” Adam added of the U.S. operation. “We have cooperation and they don’t have to ask us because we are fighting a common enemy. This is what we feel and we are grateful for their support. Otherwise, the whole region will be in turmoil.”

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) today compared Somalia to “the Wild West.”

“There are people there being trained to kill as terrorists. Al Shabaab is the group that really did the unspeakable, killing of innocent people in Kenya. And they are trained, and they have ammunition, and they know what they’re doing,” Ruppersburger said. “…But we had to come back. We didn’t want any of our Navy members who put their lives on the line for us to be hurt. They had gunfire, they had resistance, and they decided to come back.”

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Top Rated Comments   
I'm very pleased the guys up front got the h... outta there. If you want to go after those mfs do it. Otherwise STFO. If you need surgery, go to a trained surgeon. The "message" we just sent is already known, Half Brother Barry is a damned fool.

So exacltly what would have happened to any one " captured " ? They'd get their rights read and the full constitutional protections I supposedly have. Every Seal knows it. Good Work Men. Live To Fight Another Day, when what you fight for matters. Not the whim of the ultimate REMF.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
personally, whack job that i am, believe there was no reason to put the seal assets on the ground in somalia

i am the most hawkish person around yet when our country employs the current self-defeating rules of engagement i morph into some kind of isolationist

somalia still needs the payback it deserved after the disaster in mogadishu
and until we are willing to go in and "break lots of stuff and get real nasty" then there is no reason to insert the seals

call me old fashioned but i still believe fear is the only deterrent the real bad guys respect and until we strike fear in our enemies any other action is out of place
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Look, as tough and skilled as they are, SEALs are not supposed to become decisively engaged. They're not line infantry. They're way too skilled to use that way and way too light to stand and fight for long, especially without air and artillery cover...which I'm sure we didn't have in Somalia as they are likely outlawed by our ROE, the UN, and Susan Sarandon.

My question is not, why did they pull out? But rather, what on earth are we doing wasting SEALs in Somalia? That's like using a Rolls Royce to get a pack of smokes at the 7-11. And doesn't The One just love, love, love using drones to whack terrorists (along with the occasional defenseless woman and child, termed "collateral damage")? We got scads of 'em in Djibouti....why didn't we just use them instead? Obama might have gotten an American citizen too.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (33)
All Comments   (33)
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my buddy's half-sister makes $60/hr on the laptop. She has been unemployed for nine months but last month her income was $17092 just working on the laptop for a few hours. moved here------> WWW.Rush64.COM
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Countries sometimes go through periods of collective national madness . These are usually as a result of LEFT WING Cults of Personality. For example Soviet Russia had Communist Stalin, Germany had the extreme left winger Hitler, Italy with Mussolini and Spain with Franco and China had Communist Mao. Now its America's turn with the CULT of OBAMANISM which is just as left wing and just as ugly and irrational as all the others.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
No OBAMACARE TAXATION without NEGOTIATION

Its the Law of the Land the Democraps bleat but then so was SLAVERY, PROHIBITION and no votes for WOMEN. Want to defend that too DEMOCRAPS?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I used to think all those scare stories of the 'Internal Military Force' with its stockpile of arms and ammunition and Detention Facilities were just that scare stories. But the way this corrupt REGIME is operating now I am beginning to wonder if maybe they might be true after all.
Adolph did not believe in negotiating either. The actions of the Unqualified, Incompetent USURPER and his corrupt REGIME both in the ways they disrupt Americans lives and the disgusting propaganda LIES they spew are becoming more NAZI like every day.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Still at least there's the comfort of knowing that any captured terrorist will not suffer the indignity of harsh CIA interrogation techniques and will be read their Miranda Rights, be provided with FREE Legal defense and Internet access from their cells and allowed to interact with their Muslim buddies and be prosecuted in CIVILIAN courts. They are after all only 'man caused disasters' or is that 'work place violence' perpetrators. Sarc off.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
What this shows is that this is not "Mission Impossible."

There are a lot of factors that simply cannot be foreseen. Or as Clausewitz (almost) said; the enemy gets a vote.

Sh!t happens and there are a lot of Rumsfeld's "unknown unknowns" that affect the outcome.

This doesn't say anything about the skill and professionalism of the SEALS, or the judgement of their superiors.

Some days you get the bear; some days the bear gets you.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
"They reportedly could see their man, Ikrima, through the window of one of the buildings, but as more fighters descended on their position and children intermingled through the crowds, they could do nothing to reach him."

"Nothing?" Really? And why is that? Were the missiles turned off because of the Shutdown? Did the helicopter guns jam?

I am becoming more and more isolationist as time goes by.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/a-lone-somali-terrorist-foiled-seal-raid-in-somalia-2013-10#ixzz2hB3bcIie
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think I speak for the majority of Americans when I say I will NEVER support a "war" which has primary objectives of gathering yet MORE obviously worthless "intelligence," or avoiding civilian casualties, or paying even an ounce of attention to the political sensibilities of governments that either cannot or will not deal with the terrorists in their midst.

You get a houseful of terrorists shooting back like that, it is time to get the Daisy Cutters out.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Moab.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why do I get the feeling that this raid was a spur of the moment thing. Ordered up by Obozo to take the spotlight off his other failings. Since it was a failure, his allies in the media have made it disappear.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
If we can capture these people then all well and good, but the moment that the decision to withdraw was made, the B-1 they had loitering should have gone in and put 40,000lbs of ordnance on the area and killed every living thing within a quarter mile of the house. What's that? They didn't have anything overhead to kill the bad guys, so they got away to gloat another day? Splendid. It was Clintonian pusillanimity that caused Black Hawk Down and if this had ended in a debacle it would have been Obama's fault. Personally I'd cheerfully turn Somalia into a radioactive charnel house, but apparently burning out nests of pirates and Islamic brigands is too old hat.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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