The Obama administration conducted two covert raids in Africa this past week, one in Libya and one in Somalia. One was a messy failure that will only increase blowback; the other was largely irrelevant but raised serious questions about post-"liberation" Libya.
In Somalia, it was reported that Navy SEALs conducted a raid on a village that was said to house senior members of the al-Shahaab group, which had recently taken credit for the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya.
This is a localized conflict, made international largely due to US constant intervention in internal Somali affairs, including the US prompting Kenya to invade Somalia in 2011. Nevertheless, an act of terrorism in Kenya by a Somali organization naturally is the business of the United States. So in went the SEALs to take out the al-Shabaab. Only they didn't. Instead, the SEALs were beaten back under heavy fire, had to call in helicopter support, and retreated empty-handed. Initial claims that a senior member of al-Shabaab had been killed in the assault were not confirmed. Nor was the number of civilian casualties.
In Libya much was made of a covert US capture of Abu Anas Al-Libi, an al-Qaeda ally said to have participated in the attack on the US Embassy in Kenya some 15 years ago. Because he was allied with al-Qaeda, Al-Libi had only returned to Libya after the US had overthrown Gaddafi. The late Libyan leader was an avowed enemy of al-Qaeda, so Al-Libi's return was due to US intervention and the murder of Gaddafi. According to reports, he had lived quite openly in Tripoli for some time.
The fruits of US intervention in Libya: al-Qaeda returns where it had been brutally suppressed by Gaddafi; and the rule of warlords who are getting more and more uppity about the aggressive actions of their one-time sponsors in Washington.
A failed raid on al-Shahaab and the capture of a criminal wanted for 15 years. The Obama administration's continuing war in Africa against factions vying for power, particularly in oil-rich regions of southern Somalia, has nothing to do with legitimate US security concerns. Yes, al-Shahaab has made some kind of pledge to al-Qaeda, but so have 75 percent of the rebels in Syria that benefit from US covert and overt support!
Poking the hornets in Africa will surely get the United States stung. Obama's Africa policy is placing the US in great danger for no US gain.