The clandestine American military campaign to combat Al Qaeda’s franchise in Yemen is expanding to fight the Islamist militancy in Somalia, as new evidence indicates that insurgents in the two countries are forging closer ties and possibly plotting attacks against the United States, American officials say. An American military drone aircraft attacked several Somalis in the militant group the Shabab late last month, the officials said, killing at least one of its midlevel operatives and wounding others.
Legal issues aside, it’s worth remembering the history in Somalia. When the Bush administration first started directly re-involving American military forces in Somalia, the evidence that the people we were fighting had any substantial links to transnational terrorism or desire to attack the USA was tenuous at best. But once we started fighting against them, it’s the most natural thing in the world for them to start forging deeper links with US enemies elsewhere and thinking of ways to fight back. For four or five years now, we’ve spiraled deeper into this conflict. And at each step, yes, it appears that we’re fighting legitimate bad guys. But where down the path has our involvement improved the situation?