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U.S. Military Strikes Where It Wants, When It Wants

Posted on Oct 6, 2013
U.S. Navy/MC2 Matt Daniels

U.S. Navy SEALs practice a special patrol insertion/extraction exercise.

Separate raids over the weekend in Libya and Somalia call into question the meaning of sovereignty as the U.S. pursues suspected terrorists irrespective of borders.

To be sure, both countries lack a strong central government, but at least in Libya, that’s partly the doing of the United States. The interim government in that country is reportedly furious after a top al-Qaida suspect, Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, was “kidnapped” off the street Saturday. Although, according to a New York Times report, not everyone in Libya is upset:

“It was a good thing,” said a businessman in Tripoli who asked to be identified only by his given name, Hassan, referring to the capture of Abu Anas. “These men are the main reason we are facing issues like this, and they should be taken out of the country. Even my friends were happy to clean the country of those terrorists.”

Libyan officials and members of Parliament said they could not comment on the raid because they did not know all the facts.

Other Libyans said they were angered that the raid had caught their government by surprise and that foreign troops were conducting military operations in their country. They also expressed concern that Islamists would retaliate, perhaps by attacking the American Embassy here, and that the Americans would strike back, leading to an escalation in violence.

In Somalia, U.S. Navy SEALs attacked the home of a senior leader of Shabab, a terrorist group that killed dozens at a Nairobi, Kenya, mall two weeks ago. The U.S. government says it is unable to confirm whether the SEALs were successful.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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