Navy SEALs Somalia raid: Is daring attack a sign of shifting strategy? (+video)
Navy SEALs' Somalia raid, along with another US operation in Libya, was daring and didn't involve drone strikes. The ops could offer clues into whether Obama is backing off that strategy.
Two raids against Al Qaeda-linked targets in Africa Saturday raise questions about the drone-strike campaign that has, until now, largely defined President Obama's response to terrorist threats against America and its interests abroad.Skip to next paragraph
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In Libya, American commandos seized Anu Abas al-Liby, who has been linked to the bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. In Somalia, Navy SEALs attacked the house of an Al Shabab militant thought to be connected to the shopping mall massacre in Kenya last month.
Mr. Liby was surrounded outside his house and taken captive in a daring operation in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, according to The Associated Press. It remains unclear exactly who the SEALs were targeting in Somalia, but media reports suggest the raid failed.
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The operations highlight evolving trends in global terrorism. The threat is becoming more diffuse, marked by a broader footprint but less ability to project force far beyond terrorists' local strongholds, according to some experts. In this more-decentralized landscape, Africa is a focal point along with Yemen and Pakistan.
Moreover, in another emerging trend, neither operation Saturday appeared to involve drone strikes.
Mr. Obama signaled a policy shift on drone strikes in May. To that point, drone strikes had been the Obama administration's central tool in fighting terrorism – allowing the United States to kill terrorist suspects abroad without risking personnel. In 2010, for example, the US launched 117 drone strikes in Pakistan alone, according to data from Long War Journal.