English News

Somalia’s struggling Al-Shabab still far from defeat

als6United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said last month that AMISOM advances had “ground to a halt” because it lacked the sufficient number of troops.

CIA Somalia: reported US covert actions 2001-2013 + US and UK covert operations in Somalia

breakingnews2US and UK covert operations in Somalia

The Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) is the lead agency in the covert ‘war on terror’ in Somalia, although the CIA also has a strong regional presence.

The US has been carrying out extensive covert military operations inside Somalia since 2001, as a major six-part investigation by the US Army Times recently revealed.

Elite troops from the Pentagon’s JSOC are routinely deployed on the ground for surveillance, reconnaissance, and assault and capture operations. In June 2011, the US began carrying out drone strikes in Somalia. JSOC has its own fleet of armed Reaper drones, which are flown from various bases in the region.

The CIA also operates a secret base at Mogadishu airport, according to a detailed investigation by Jeremy Scahill at The Nation. Unarmed US surveillance drones also regularly fly from the airport, according to a well-informed Bureau source. While some of these are part of the US ‘war on terror’, many provide support for peacekeeping operations in the region.

The US’s primary target is currently al Shabaab, the militant group which controls much of the country’s south. On February 9 2012, al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri announced that al Shabaab had formally become a franchise of al Qaeda.

In recent years, both Kenya and Ethiopia have invaded parts of Somalia, the latter allegedly with the military aid of the US. JSOC forces are reported to have taken advantage of these events to carry out more intensive operations against militants, often using helicopters, airstrikes, AC-130 gunships and ‘boots on the ground’.

Related story: Militants and civilians killed in multiple US Somalia strikes

Key reports of operations in Somalia

The Bureau has collated credible reports of known covert operations and other events in Somalia relating to the ‘war on terror’. These are drawn from major international news media and agencies, political and military memoirs and papers, and academic research. All sources are transparently presented.

Given the nature of covert operations and the difficulties in reporting from Somalia, the Bureau understands that this is an incomplete record. We welcome corrections and additions.



No more peace talks, 'Mullah Radio' tells Pakistan

MULAH_RADIOPakistani Taliban rejected peace talks with the government on Thursday after electing hardline militant Mullah Fazlullah as its new leader following the killing of former leader Hakimullah Mehsud in a U.S. drone strike.

Shahidullah Shahid, the main spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) said talks with the government were a “waste of time” and new chief Maulana Fazlullah was against them.

“He is against peace talks. He has to take the final decision but he is against peace talks,” Shahid told AFP.

“Holding of peace talks is not even an issue to discuss -- this government has no authority, it is not a sovereign government, it is a slave, a slave of America. Holding peace talks is a waste of time.”

“All governments play double games with us. In the name of peace talks, they deceived us and killed our people. We are one hundred percent sure that Pakistan fully supports the United States in its drone strikes,” Shaid told Reuters in another statement.

The Pakistani Taliban insurgency is fighting to topple Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government and impose Sharia law in the nuclear-armed nation.

Attacks have been on the rise since Sharif came to power in May promising a negotiated end to violence, a concern for global powers already unnerved by the possible security implications of the withdrawal of most U.S.-led troops from Afghanistan in 2014.

No meaningful talks have taken place since Sharif's election and Fazlullah's rise could signal the start of a new period of uncertainty and violence in the already unstable region.

Mullah radio

Nicknamed Mullah Radio for his fiery Islamist radio broadcasts in Swat valley, Fazlullah is considered hardline even within the Pakistani Taliban movement itself.

Born in 1976, he gained prominence in 2004 when he set up an underground FM radio station in the deeply conservative Swat valley to promote fundamentalist and anti-Western ideas.

He and his fighters took over the valley in 2009 and imposed strict Islamic rule. Fazlullah opposes polio vaccinations which he has described as a Jewish and Christian conspiracy to harm Muslims, and ordered the closure of girls' schools.

Malala, who openly criticized the Taliban and campaigned for women’s' right to education, is a symbol of everything he has been fighting against.

Outraged by the Taliban, the then-11-year-old kept a blog under a pen name and later launched a full-fledged campaign for girls' education.

Fazlullah's men shot and wounded her last year, instantly turning Malala into a global hero. She was airlifted to Britain for medical treatment and now lives with her family in the northern city of Birmingham. The Taliban have said it will kill her if she came back.

Fazlullah's troops melted away across the mountainous border into Afghanistan in 2009 after a military offensive by the Pakistan army which now controls the area. Fazlullah is believed to be in Nuristan province.

(With Reuters and AFP)


Still searching for a Somali friend after 30 years: Larry Wilson

somaliamapWhen, just out of college in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I worked as a technical editor at a massive construction project in Saudi Arabia, I didn’t make all that many Saudi friends.
British friends, Indian friends, Kenyan friends, yes. But the Saudis in our offices were often such princelings that they put in just a couple of hours during the middle of the day. Or they were older and very high up and there would be no reason to get to know a 23-year-old Yank.
Saeed was different. A year or two younger than me, he had been to college in the United States. He spoke fluent English. He was shy but friendly. Very observant, so that he stuck to Pepsi when he came to the young guys’ gatherings that — don’t be too shocked, now — involved bathtub hooch in a country in which alcohol is (supposedly) strictly forbidden.

KENYA:Four Somali Men charged over Westgate attack

westgate_hordhac2Four men were on Monday charged in connection to the Westgate mall massacre in September, an attack claimed by Somalia's Al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab in which at least 67 people were killed.
The four, who are all ethnic Somalis, are Mohammed Ahmed Abdi, Liban Abdullah, Adan Adan and Hussein Hassan. They are believed to have been involved in the attack together with others who are either at large or were killed during the operation mounted by security forces.

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