Thursday, February 23, 2012

Secret Somali War!

She is the master of multi texting. Able to round up a posse of credit score worthy players and enablers at a moments notice. Her pre programmed msgs feature terms of endearments like sweetie...LOL.. Miss You Bunches and she never does the kiss and tell.

Ah - perhaps one of the more hotter signals that hyperpuissance signals is the amazing ability to enjoy multiple conflicts in multiple nation/states (of sorts) in the sunny sunny climes of the CENTCOM Gap.

Like the super secret War in Somalia that Great Satan and Great Britain have been indulging in!!

While the action has been all combatty for a decade - the last year has seen the action ramped up to uh, intense, levels!

April 3-6 2011
1-36 reported killed
After a reporting gap of 18 months, US air attacks may have resumed. Reports of intense fighting for control of the town of Dhobley between al Shabaab and Somali forces mention an air strike, which Shabelle reports killed several militants. Somalia Report stated: ‘on April 6, shortly after the exploitation of data from captured al-Qaeda cell phones and laptops, three dozen al Shabab members were killed‘, although later reports say only one commander was killed.
Jabreel Malik Muhammed was killed in the strike, according to the Observer (Uganda).
Type of action: Air operation, airstrike
: Dhobley
References: The Observer (Uganda), AllAfrica, Long War Journal, Somalia ReportAl ArabiyaSomalia Report

June 23 2011
2+ reported killed
♦ 2-3 reported injured

In the first known lethal drone strike in Somalia, Predators struck a militant training camp 10km south of Kismayo. Further missiles hit a second target near the airport. The attacks were aimed at two senior militants who were planning an imminent terrorist attack on the UK, US officials told the Washington Post. Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig, Somalia’s deputy defence minister, told AP the strike killed ‘many’ foreign fighters. ‘I have their names, but I don’t want to release them,’ he claimed. Ibrahim al Afghani, also known as Ibrahim Haji Jama Mead, a senior leader in al Shabaab, was reportedly wounded or killed, although Strategic Forecasting claimed on August 11 that Afghani was alive and had replaced Ahmed Abdi Godane as the emir of al Shabaab. Al Shabaab has not responded to either report, and Afghani has not appeared in public since. Two militants were wounded, according to a local al Shabaab leader, Sheik Hassan Yaqub, while resident Mohammed Aden reported seeing three wounded militants. Among them was British citizen Bilal al Barjawi, killed in a subsequent drone strike, SOM052. US helicopters reportedly landed after the attack, with troops retrieving some dead and injured. The strike was the first joint mission conducted by JSOC and the CIA, CNN claimed.

Type of action: Air operation, drone strike, helicopter raid
 Long War JournalWashington PostDaily BeastAl JazeeraSomalia ReportBoston Globe, Strategic Forecasting via Critical ThreatsBloombergAssociated PressNew York TimesAll AfricaCNN

Russia Today reports on the first US drone attack in Somalia
June 28 2011
In a piece looking a drone strikes in Somalia, Somalia Report stated that on this day, ‘another attack occurred in Taabta village in the Afmadow District of Lower Juba’. However, it is unclear whether this was a US strike, and Somalia Report was not able to provide further information.
Type of action: Air assault, possible drone strike
 Somalia Report
June 2011
Britain’s Special Boat Squadron, in conjunction with French special forces, reportedly finished an eight-week programme mapping ports used by Somali pirates. According to a UK defence source, ‘There are countless ports where hijacked ships are docked. SBS troops built up a security picture.’
Type of action: Naval and ground operations
Southern Somalia
The Sun
July 6 2011
♦ Unknown number killed

US drones or planes reportedly hit three al Shabaab militant training camps in Afmadow. ‘Early in the morning and before the sunrise, we heard more than five heavy blasts not far from the town. We believe it was an airstrike,” said a resident. ‘Minutes later, we saw three military vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed to Kismayo. We believe they were carrying victims of the attack.’ However, then-Somalia Report editor Michael Logan told the Bureau by email it is simply not known if US drones were behind this attack. ‘This is one of those that cannot be confirmed as a drone. Lots of witnesses and a TFG official do confirm an attack, so some kind of strike took place (but as you know, there are a variety of actors capable of launching missiles),’ he said. Somali deputy defence minister Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig said at the time: ‘The foreigners and senior officials of the terrorist group are afraid. They secretly hide amongst the civilians. The airstrikes will continue until we minimize the enemy from our country.’ But Dr. Omar Ahmed, an academic and Somali politician, told Somalia Report airstrikes would increase local support for al Shabaab: ‘There is no reason for the western countries to use airstrikes against al-Shabaab. It will only increase the generations supporting al Shabaab.’

Type of action: Air operation, either drone or airstrike
 Somalia Report

July 9 2011
British Royal Marines reportedly landed at Berbera in northern Somalia to liaise with and transport a Somali tribal elder to talks. The troops, from 539 Assault Squadron attached to Exercise Somalialand Cougar, reportedly landed with Viking armoured vehicles and met with the elder some miles inland. He was then ferried to ‘a very important meeting‘ with MI6 and Foreign Office representatives.
Type of action: Ground operation
Daily MailSomaliland TimesBBC

August 1 2011
The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill revealed the CIA was operating a secret base in Mogadishu. According to the award-winning reporter, the CIA had its own aircraft at the site, and operated underground interrogation cells. He stated:
At the facility, the CIA runs a counterterrorism training program for Somali intelligence agents and operatives aimed at building an indigenous strike force capable of snatch operations and targeted ‘combat’ operations against members of Al Shabab, an Islamic militant group with close ties to Al Qaeda.
References: The NationMSNBC

Jeremy Scahill discusses his investigation on MSNBC’s Morning Joe

August 19 2011 

Security officials in Somalia reported a drone had crashed in Mogadishu, but provided no details about who was operating it. Officials told Voice of America the drone crashed into a house near the Libyan Embassy. Small surveillance drones were known to be operated in the capital by both the US and AMISOM, according to a well-informed Bureau source.

Location: Mogadishu
 APHiiraanVoice of AmericaCritical ThreatsGlobal Post
August 22 2011

Radio Andalus, an al Shabaab-run radio station, reported that five American surveillance drones had crashed in southern Somalia ‘over the last two weeks‘. Two of these drones fell in Mogadishu, one in Kismayo, and the others around Merka town of Lower Shabelle. The radio station claimed the US had confirmed some of these drones crashed in Somalia for technical reasons. However there is no other source for this.

Location: Mogadishu, Kismayo, Merka
Radio Andalus, via Somalia Report

 Phantom drone strikes
In September 2011, Iranian broadcaster Press TV began reporting the deaths of civilians and others in alleged US drone strikes in Somalia, as well as a number of drone crashes. A three-month investigation by the Bureau failed to find independent corroboration for any of these supposed strikes, which Press TV claimed killed more than 1,300 civilians. These alleged strikes are listed separately here.
Read the Bureau’s full investigation of Press TV’s Somalia ‘drone strike’ reports

September 15 2011
♦ Unknown casualties
AFP reported that residents of Kismayo heard ‘the sound of aircraft and heavy explosions… We heard planes flying over Kismayo and minutes later there were at least three explosions,’ resident Mohamed Ali told AFP by phone. ‘The aircraft fired heavy missiles into a jungle area where the Shebab established training camps, but we don’t know more,’ Abdikarim Samow, another resident, told AFP. There were no further reports of a strike.

Type of action: Possible air assault 

September 21 2011

Armed drones were operating from Mahe in the Seychelles (along with those used purely for surveillance), the Washington Post reported: ‘In the Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean…a small fleet of “hunter-killer” drones resumed operations this month after an experimental mission demonstrated that the unmanned aircraft could effectively patrol Somalia from there.’ Seychelles foreign minister Jean-Paul Adam denied the drones were armed. However, a 2009 diplomatic cable stated the US ‘would seek discrete [sic], specific discussions … to gain approval’ to arm the Reapers in the Seychelles ‘should the desire to do so ever arise’.

Location: Seychelles
 Washington PostChannel 4 NewsWikiLeaks cable

25 September 25 2011
♦ Unknown casualties 

The United States launched a series of drone attacks on al-Shabaab in Kismayo, according to residents, who reported attacks on three locations. The BBC claimed that ‘al-Shabaab are patrolling the streets, preventing locals from using the hospital, which is treating their wounded.’ A large drone was said to have crashed. Al Shahbaab official Sheikh Ibrahim Guled told Reuters:

This plane was a spy for the American government and by the will of Allah, it crashed near the airport. We did not target it but it fell down.
Type of action: Air operation, drone strikes
 BBCVoice of AmericaReutersGlobal PostAntiwarThe ScotsmanAllAfricaMareegSomalia TodaySomalia ReportCritical Threats

October 6 2011

♦ 4 total reported killed
♦ 4 civilians reported killed
♦ 1 person injured
Four Somali farmers were reported to have been killed in a possible drone strike in Dolbiyow Village, 35km east of Dhobley, said Somalia Report, while one was reportedly injured. The farmers and their camels were killed moments after al-Shabaab fighters fled the area in vehicles, witnesses said. However, a TFG official told Somalia Report Al-Shabaab had mortared the village.

Type of action: Possible air operation, drone strike  
 Somalia Report

October 11 2011

US and British naval and marine units freed the hijacked crew of the Italian ship Montecristo and captured 11 Somali pirates. British defence secretary Liam Fox said of the operation:
Such was the show of strength displayed by RFA [Royal Fleet Auxilliary] Fort Victoria, alongside a US navy frigate, that the operation was conducted without a shot being fired.
Type of action: Naval operation
Indian Ocean off Somalia
 The GuardianAssociated PressBritish Ministry of Defence

October 13 2011
♦ Unknown casualties

♦ Possible civilian casualties

A single source, Somalia Report, claimed there had been attacks on an al-Shabaab base near Taabta village, Lower Juba, though it is not clear who was behind the strikes. Drones targeted an al-Shabaab base used to train new fighters, according to TFG military official Mohamed Hassan Bule. ‘We are aware of the operations. It completes today’s operation on the group by the Somali National Forces. The airstrikes were carried out by drones from a friendly nation and destroyed a very important and large base ten kilometers east of Taabta. They used the base to train a misguided generation’, Bule told Somalia Report. Casualty numbers were unknown, with some local sources saying that civilians were also affected.

Type of action: Air operation, drone strike 
 Somalia Report

October 23 2011
♦ 11 total reported killed

♦ 11 civilians reported killed

♦ 20 civilians reported injured
At least 11 civilians died and more than 20 others were wounded after a possible US drone attacked on Afmadow town in Lower Jubba region, according to a single source. ’
I have seen 11 bodies and we believe that it was a US airstrike,’ Mohamud Abdirahman, an eyewitness, told Somalia Report. Locals said they had sighted what they believed to be US drones hovering above the area in the previous few days.
Type of action: Possible air operation, drone strike
 Afmadow, Lower Jubba
Somalia Report

October 27 2011
The US confirmed a new drone base at Arba Minch in Ethopia was now operational and that flights had already started from the site. The Washington Post reported armed Reapers were flying from the site, although US officials told the BBC and Al Jazeera the base was being used for surveillance flights only. The US government was reported to have spent millions of dollars adding drone facilities to Arba Minch’s small civilian airport. The Ethiopian foreign ministry denied a the facility was a military base: spokesman Tesfaye Yilma told the Washington Post, ‘We don’t entertain foreign military bases in Ethiopia’. Captain John Kirby of the US Department of Defence told Al Jazeera: ‘There are no US military bases in Ethiopia. It’s an Ethiopian airfield.’

Location: Arba Minch, Ethiopia
 Al JazeeraWashington PostBBC

November 14 2011
1-2 reported killed
Missiles were fired at a training camp in Afgoye, Lower Shabelle, according to al Shabaab. An initial report from the Sunatimes stated: ‘[a] US drone attack killed leaders Ahmed Godane and Hassan Dahir Aweys.’ But Michael Logan, then editor of Somalia Report, later tweeted ‘Looks like the deaths of al-Shabaab leaders were greatly exaggerated by the TFG, as usual.’ A junior al Shabaab member allegedly told Somalia Report that the group suffered ‘some casualties.’ Associated Press debated who was responsible for the alleged strikes, with both French and US officials suggesting the other nation may have carried out the attacks.

Type of action: Air operation, likely drone strike 
: Afgoye
 SunatimesSomalia ReportAssociated Press

December 13 2011

Addressing American troops in Djibouti, US defence secretary Leon Panetta said US operations against al Qaeda were concentrating on key groups in Yemen, Somalia and North Africa:

Al Qaeda is what started this war and we have made a commitment that we are going to track these guys wherever they go and make sure they have no place to hide, and that’s what the effort here is all about – to make sure that they have no place to hide, whether it’s Yemen or it’s Somalia or anyplace else.
References: Washington PostAssociated PressUS Department of Defense transcript

Looks like the deaths of al-Shabaab leaders were greatly exaggerated by the TFG, as usual’ – Michael Logan 
December 13 2011
A US surveillance drone crashed in the Seychelles during a routine patrol, reported the Telegraph.
 ’The Seychelles-based MQ-9s, which are used to monitor piracy activities in and around the Indian Ocean, don’t carry weapons, though they have the capability to do so… The US has used drones to hunt down al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia and Yemen, among other countries. Their humming is a constant feature in the sky in many of the major towns in southern Somalia, especially the capital city and the militant-controlled southern port of Kismayo.’
Location: Seychelles
Daily TelegraphAssociated Press (via NY Times)

December 28 2011
A major report in the Washington Post examined drone strikes sanctioned by the Obama administration. The Post reporters spoke to a ‘senior administration official’ who stated that in Somalia, ‘the US administration has only allowed 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 US soil.’

Reference: Washington Post


January 13 2012

British naval forces captured 13 Somali pirates. The operation involved Royal Marine snipers in Lynx helicopters, and Royal Naval and Royal Marine commandos in speedboats. Speaking about the operation, defence secretary Philip Hammond said:

This operation off the coast of Somalia is a clear demonstration of Britain’s ability to tackle piracy that threatens our interests. The Royal Navy and Royal Marines are playing a crucial role in securing and protecting international sea lanes that are vital to global trade.
Type of action: Naval operation
Indian Ocean off Somalia
 British Ministry of Defence

January 21 2012
♦ 1+ reported killed

Three missiles fired from a suspected US drone killed British-Lebanese militant Bilal Al-Barjawi, also known as Abu Hafsa. Al-Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said:

At around 1400, a US drone targeted our mujahideen. One foreigner, a Lebanese with a British passport, died.
A witness who gave his name as Osman told the New York Times there were two strikes: ‘One hit a car, which I believe held explosives.’ The strike was confirmed to AP by a US official in Washington. Barjawi was known to have been injured in airstrikes in June 2011 (SOM031) and was suspected to have sought medical assistance in Nairobi at that time. The Guardian reported Barjawi’s wife was understood to have given birth to a child in a London hospital a few hours before the attack, prompting suspicions that his location had been pinpointed through a telephone conversation between the couple. The killing caused a rift within al-Qaeda, reports suggested, with al-Shabaab calling an emergency meeting after the drone strike, amid accusations that leaders ‘may be involved in this latest killing to pursue their own goals’.
Type of action: Air operation, drone strike
Elasha Biyaha, 15km south of Mogadishu
 Somalia Report, Al Shabaab press, Long War JournalAssociated PressThe GuardianSomalia ReportNew York TimesThe TelegraphReutersLong War

January 21 2012
♦ 6 reported killed
Further south, another airstrike killed six people near the insurgent stronghold of Kismayo, according to Sheikh Mohamud Abdi, a senior al-Shabaab commander. It is not known whether the strike was by US or Kenyan forces. Kenya sent troops into Somalia in October amid concerns that Somalia’s 21-year-old civil war was spilling over the countries’ border.

Type of action: Reported air operation, possible US airstrike
 The Guardian

January 22 2012

People fled their homes in the rebel-held area of Elasha Biyaha on the outskirts of Mogadishu, ‘for fear of drone attacks targeting foreign and Al-Shabaab militants in the area‘, Somali radio station Bar Kulan reported. The station’s correspondent said most were women and children who had earlier left the capital and camped in Elasha Biyaha, but had returned following the previous day’s strikes. Somalia Report stated they spoke with a resident who lived near the site of SOM053. ‘We are scared of more strikes because Al-Shabaab fighters live around here and they might be potential targets … Shrapnel and dust was flying away from the impact area and if it happens again it might be fatal,’ he told Somalia Report.

Location: Elasha Biyaha
Bar KulanSomalia Report

January 25 2012

Reported killed: 9 pirates
A US special forces raid freed two aid workers, American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen Thisted, who had been kidnapped by pirates. NBC News, citing US officials, said two teams landed by helicopter and rescued the hostages after a gun battle with the kidnappers. The freed hostages were taken by helicopter to an undisclosed location. According to Associated Press, the task force involved in the rescue was Navy Seal Team Six – the team that killed Osama Bin Laden. Galmudug leader Mohamed Ahmed Alim told Reuters nine pirates were killed and five captured during the rescue operation. President Obama said he authorised the operation to rescue Buchanan:

Thanks to the extraordinary courage and capabilities of our Special Operations Forces, yesterday Jessica Buchanan was rescued and she is on her way home. As Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission, and the dedicated professionals who supported their efforts.
Type of action: Ground operation, rescue mission.
ReutersNBC NewsAssociated Press video, Associated PressBBC

AP report on hostage release

February 3 2012

A surveillance drone reportedly crashed in a refugee camp in Mogadishu. There were no reported casualties and nothing to indicate the origins of the drone. According to AP, refugees and soldiers in Badbado camp said they watched the drone crash into a hut ‘made of sticks, corrugated cans and plastic bags‘.

Location: Mogadishu
 Associated Press

February 9 2012

In a video posted on Islamist forums, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri said that Al Shabaab had officially joined the al Qaeda global network. According to the Telegraph, ‘analysts said the move appeared partly a propaganda gambit by an al Qaeda leadership weakened by drone strikes and a failure to carry out a major successful attack in the West since 2005‘.

ReferencesSomali War MonitorThe TelegraphReuters, New York Times

February 21 2012
Britain is to contribute £20m to a ‘stability fund’ for Somalia, which will pay for a civilian force of ‘chino-clad warriors’ to assist the Somali government, the Telegraph reported. In addition, the Guardian reported that Britain and other EU countries were ‘considering helicopters from warships to mount off shore raids on the logistical hubs and training camps belonging to pirates and al-Shabaab militants in the country’. A Whitehall source told the newspaper: ‘We don’t have the assets in place…that does not mean we could not get them in the air quickly.’ Another official added, ‘there was no political will on this to begin with, but that has been changing. We know where the camps are, where they set up and where they launch from.’ In an interview with the BBC Somali service, David Cameron explained the threat he believed al Shabaab posed: ‘Al-Shabaab encourages violent jihad not just in Somalia but also outside Somalia’, he said. ‘And there is a very real danger of young British Somalis having their minds poisoned by this organisation.’

Location: throughout Somalia
: the Guardian, the Telegraph, BBC Somali Service via al Arabiya