From yesterday’s Washington Post, in an article entitled “Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus for drone killing“:
But the administration has allowed only a handful of strikes, out of concern that a broader campaign could turn al-Shabab from a regional menace into an adversary determined to carry out attacks on U.S. soil.
Here, it is admitted by the Obama administration that al-Shabab is merely “a regional menace” that does not pose a direct threat to the United States. It is also explicitly acknowledged that unleashing a drone war against the group is likely to promote them into an international terrorist group “determined to carry out attacks on U.S. soil.”
Of course, we’ve been harping on these very points at Antiwar.com since the beginning. I’m glad to hear the Obama administration, at least according to the Washington Post, understands the fundamentals of our interventions in Somalia. My fear is obviously that we’ve already passed that threshold.
U.S. intervention in Somalia doesn’t begin and end with the drone war. As Jeremy Scahill has reported, the Obama administration is running secret CIA prisons which confine uncharged individuals in terribly inhumane conditions without access to legal council, building up a Somali intelligence agency and giving weapons to thugs and murderous warlords in a proxy war, and deploying Joint Special Operations Command on the ground in Somalia. Add to that the U.S. cooperation in Kenya’s invasion and military assault on Somalia in recent months, as well as U.S. support for the Ugandan regime which also contributes to fighting al-Shabab. Go back even further to 2006 when the Bush administration sponsored Ethiopia’s military invasion of Somalia, an action which helped give rise to al-Shabab in the first place. Covert missions in Somalia go back to 2003, at least. All this and we haven’t even delved into the Somalia interventions of the 1990’s.
If we’re concerned about turning al-Shabab “from a regional menace into an adversary determined to carry out attacks on U.S. soil” we better do more than give them drone-war-lite. Or rather, we better do much, much less.