Good news in our Global Counterinsurgency efforts. From the Long War Journal.
US Special Forces have struck yet again inside Somalia. The latest airstrike in central Somalia killed senior Shabab and al Qaeda leader Aden Hashi Ayro and seven others. The attack comes as the Islamic Courts steps up its attacks on Somali and Ethiopian forces and has overrun villages and districts in central and western Somalia.
The airstrike has been confirmed by Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, the spokesman for Shabab, the youth wing of the radical Islamic Courts Union. "A US warplane bombed us in Dhusamareb district and there were casualties," Robow said in a statement. "This was an unprovoked attack." Press reports indicate at least eight people were killed in the strike.
Robow confirmed that Aden Hashi Ayro and Sheikh Muhyadin Omar, two senior leaders in the Islamic Courts, were among those killed. Ayro was the leader of Shabab and served as an operational commander during the rule of the Islamic Courts. He trained under Hassan Dahir Aweys, the leader of the Islamic Courts who is also a senior al Qaeda leader. Ayro was sent to train in al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan prior to 2001.
This is positive on several levels, the first being simply the extermination of an evil man. But more importantly it reminds bad guys all over that they won't even hear it coming. It also shows that we are being proactive in tracking down and whacking terrorists wherever they pop their heads up. The Horn of Africa has had active Islamic insurgencies in a number of countries and we have had operations expanding there in a classic counterinsurgency fashion. We have been doing plenty of humanitarian projects all over the region, but the velvet glove has an iron fist in it and an occasional airstrike vaporizing a murderous scum is a useful reminder.
The left loses it when they consider the prospect of a long war, but they miss the point that the more diligently you pursue a COIN strategy the less often you have to use force. In addition the better you integrate with the people, the better your intelligence is, so you can target just the bad guys, not simply cordon and searching an entire block. The use of force during COIN is necessary and proper, but it should be employed only after softer tactics have failed. Once it is employed force should be lethal and decisive as it's use is as much "Pour encourager les autres",to encourage the others, as to take out whatever vermin you have targeted directly. The prospect of being returned to your component molecules may not deter suicide bomber types, but most other tyrants have a healthier self interest than that and we want to influence their behavior. Then once we have smacked down the bad actors the decent people can get back to building better lives, with our help.
The Small Wars Journal has an excellent piece as usual on Non-Lethal aspects of our operations in Iraq that details how these are the final keys to actual victory.