Biden Escalates in Somalia

Biden is sending more troops back into one of the endless wars:

President Biden has signed an order authorizing the military to once again deploy hundreds of Special Operations forces inside Somalia – largely reversing the decision by President Donald J. Trump to withdraw nearly all 700 ground troops who had been stationed there, according to four officials familiar with the matter.

In addition, Mr. Biden has approved a Pentagon request for standing authority to target about a dozen suspected leaders of Al Shabab, the Somali terrorist group that is affiliated with Al Qaeda, three of the officials said. Since Mr. Biden took office, airstrikes have largely been limited to those meant to defend partner forces facing an immediate threat.

The earlier withdrawal from Somalia did not mean that the US was no longer involved in the conflict, but pulling troops out of there was one of the few things that Trump got right. Reversing that withdrawal is a mistake, and launching more strikes in Somalia practically guarantees that more Somali civilians will be killed by US attacks. US military involvement in Somalia is relatively limited, but it is still unnecessary and ill-advised. Limited US involvement is how it has been possible for the last three presidents and now Biden to wage a war there that most Americans know nothing about. That has happened because there has been scant oversight and no pressure on any administration to justify the continuation of the war.

The legal authority for US involvement in Somalia’s conflict is as shaky as it gets. Because Al Shabaab is considered an “associate force” of Al Qaeda, the government claims that the 2001 AUMF applies to a group that didn’t exist when the AUMF was written. This is a prime example of why the 2001 AUMF needs to be repealed: it gives any president a free hand to wage war virtually anywhere against any group provided that there is some notional link with Al Qaeda. It is absurd to think that Al Shabaab poses any threat to the United States, so it is hard to see how any genuine US security interests are being served by expanding our role in the war.

There was an opportunity here for Biden to change the policy he inherited in a way that wouldn’t repeat the mistakes that the US has been making in Somalia for decades, but instead he has decided on going back to a militarized approach that was bringing Somalia neither peace nor security. As Elizabeth Shackelford explained shortly after the 2020 election, US intervention in Somalia was not succeeding in defeating Al Shabaab:

The security situation has remained a violent stalemate. Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi recently declared that – with US assistance – Somalia is “on the brink of defeating” al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda-affiliated group we are fighting there. The consistency of al-Shabaab’s attacks and civilian casualties for several years now suggests otherwise. US military leaders have conceded that military defeat of al-Shabaab is not possible and that the conflict will only be won by addressing the underlying causes of extremism in that country with better governance. In the absence of any signs that governance will improve on its current course, maintaining the same military-led strategy is counterproductive.

Read the rest of the article at SubStack

Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

Mitch McConnell: ‘Name Russia State Sponsor of Terrorism!’

Fresh off his trip to Kiev, wandering the streets of a supposed war zone with America’s adopted “hero” Zelensky, Senate Minority Leader out-hawked Biden’s hawks, demanding the Russia be named a “State Sponsor of Terrorism.” Does he even understand what the term means? Also today: Sen. Paul brutalized for just suggesting we keep track of the billions we send to Ukraine.

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

US Ukraine Policy Most Reckless Since ’62 Missile Crisis

In 1952, I was blessed, maybe cursed, to have parents who taught me about war and peace as a second grader. Back then it was the Korean War which didn’t make much sense to this 7 year old. Seventy years on it still doesn’t, just like every other war America has been involved in, whether directly, like Korea, or as with Ukraine today, by proxy.

That early lesson ignited a lifelong fascination with U.S. foreign policy. What became true during all 70 years is that regarding foreign wars and entanglements, one could depend on America. It always lets us down.

For the first decade I fully bought into American moral superiority regarding our Cold War opposition to Soviet communism. That belief was shattered from America’s reaction to the necessary and inevitable Cuban revolution of 1959. In April, 1961, we launched a proxy invasion of the tiny Cuban island of 6 million to overthrow revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. As dastardly as that failed venture was, it paled in comparison to the Cuban Missile Crisis just 18 months later that led the world to the brink of nuclear war with Russia. It took a miracle, likely several, to prevent nuclear winter.

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Why the Blob Backs Ukrainian Resistance and Israeli Apartheid

On COI #274, Kyle Anzalone and Connor Freeman cover Tel Aviv’s murder of an internationally renowned journalist in the occupied West Bank as well as the latest Iran deal news.

Kyle breaks down the Israeli occupation forces’ brutal killing of Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh during a raid on the Jenin refugee camp. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his apartheid regime attempted to blame the shooting on Palestinian gunmen, this absurd claim was immediately debunked by Israel’s top human rights organization. The bullet that was lodged in Abu Akleh’s brain was of a type used by the Israeli military. Washington has predictably issued cheap, tepid condolences and has expressed support for an investigation that is to be partly led by Tel Aviv. The reaction to the murder highlights the U.S. government’s double standards and the mainstream press’ rank hypocrisy.

Connor discusses a hawkish Senate motion passed by a bipartisan majority that, though non-binding, sends a powerful message to the Joe Biden administration and Tehran that any attempted return to the deal will face insurmountable opposition. The supporters of the motion advocate for the much of the same “longer and stronger” measures the Trump administration demanded previously including putting Iran’s ballistic missiles on the table and refusing to lift the IRGC’s Foreign Terrorist Organization designation. There is growing anti-Iran deal sentiment even among members of Biden’s own party.

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Ray McGovern: The Real Possibility of Nuclear War Over Ukraine

The Veterans for Peace Nuclear Abolition Working Group was honored to present an important talk by Ray McGovern, who discussed the origins of the war in Ukraine and how it could too easily escalate into a nuclear war.

Ray speaks for about 40 minutes, followed by a lively Q&A and discussion. The entire recording goes over 2 hours.

Also see “US Counting on Putin To Signal Before Using Nukes” by Ray McGovern, May 12, 2022 and “Intel Vets: Nuclear Weapons Cannot Be Un-Invented.”

Thanks to Ellen Thomas and Helen Jaccard for uploading the Zoom recording and posting it on YouTube.

The War in Ukraine Highlights Two Empires in Decline

Bumper sticker graphic by John Walker. Public Domain.

Nearly three months into the war Ukraine, events upended quite a few assumptions by quite a few people. I count myself in that crowd.

I didn’t expect Vladimir Putin to order the invasion.

When he did, I expected it to go the way of the 2008 Russo-Georgian War – a quick rout of Ukrainian forces, a stern “don’t ever do that again” warning from Putin (as with Ukraine, the Georgia dust-up had to do with attempts to re-conquer seceded, pro-Russian areas), and a quick return to International Relations Business as Usual.

Continue reading “The War in Ukraine Highlights Two Empires in Decline”