The low level of attention to American military action on the African continent stands in sharp contrast with the vast media attention focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists after they attacked partner forces in a remote location near Duduble, Somalia, February 22.
U.S. forces claim they are authorized to conduct strikes in support of combatant commander-designated partner forces pursuant to the 2001 Authorization of Use for Military Force (AUMF), a joint resolution of the United States Congress which became law on September 18, 2001, allowing the military action against those responsible for the September 11 attacks.
The AUMF has been used to justify an unknown number of military operations—including airstrikes, combat, detention, and supporting partner militaries—in at least 22 countries.
According to the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, research shows that government violence against people in the name of counterterrorism has bred ill-will toward the United States.
Those experts claim wartime destruction of infrastructure and long-term U.S. military presence abroad has increased support for the same groups that the U.S. post-9/11 wars officially aim to eliminate.
“Deaths caused by governments in the name of counterterrorism vastly exceeds deaths caused by militant groups who use terror tactics,” said Jennifer Walkup Jayes, a researcher whose Master’sthesis centered on alternatives to the war paradigm for counterterrorism. “Between 1995 and 2019, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) calculated that 3,455 U.S. citizens were killed in terror attacks. In contrast, Costs of War data has shown that the U.S. post-9/11 wars have directly killed over 929,000 people. Meanwhile, between 2001 and 2021, the U.S. poured $8 trillion into counterterrorism warfare.”
The Pentagon failed to provide details on the assessed number of casualties or other damage except to note that AFRICOM assesses no civilians were killed or injured in the strikes.
According to military sources, a battle-damage assessment is still pending for the Somali airstrike but the command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed.
The Federal Government of Somalia and U.S. Africa Command forces have claimed to take great measures to prevent civilian casualties, which contrast with the indiscriminate attacks that al-Shabaab regularly conducts against the civilian population.
Meanwhile, the Somali military is saying that at least 60 militants were killed in their February operation supported by U.S. strikes.
“Over 60 al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in a planned security operation conducted by Somali National Army with support of airstrikes of Somalia’s security partners in Fiidow village of Hiiraan region on Tuesday,” said Somali Gen. Odowaa Yusuf.
“The Federal Government of Somalia and the U.S. remain committed to fighting al-Shabaab to prevent the deaths of innocent civilians,” said a statement from the Pentagon. “Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to the U.S. and regional interests.”
“The US bombed Somalia yesterday and has been bombing it for 14 years,” said Watchdog host Lowkey, a critic of American military adventurism. “US bombs were dropped on residential areas in Yemen the day before. These weapons are aimed at some of the poorest people in the world. The ungrievable lives on the other end of business as usual.”
Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, more commonly known as al-Shabaab, is a Somalia-based terrorist jihadist fundamentalist group active in East Africa and Yemen.
The group describes itself as waging jihad against “enemies of Islam” and is engaged in combat against the Federal Government of Somalia and the African Union Mission to Somalia.
The divergence of media coverage is considered a strong indicator that Americans are not fully informed about foreign policy and the impact of their government.
“Amid soaring tensions with Russia, the United States is spending a fortune on foreign interference campaigns in Ukraine,” says Alan MacLeod, a senior staff writer for MintPress News. “Washington’s regime-change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), has spent $22.4 million on operations inside the country since 2014, when democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown and replaced by a successor government handpicked by the U.S.”