Reactions to the Killing of a Qaeda Chief

America's most recent success in hunting down terrorist leader in Somalia brings a mixed reaction

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The U.S. military's killing of Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, Al Qaeda's chief of operations in Somalia, this week has won President Obama praises from left and the right, but there are some worries that there are drawbacks to killing wanted terrorists.

  • Conservative CooDan Collins of the conservative blog POWIP congratulates President Obama for "making a decision to put the safety of our nation first, instead of internationalism" and urges the president to "rely on the Republicans for support of your war needs and measures."
  • Insignificant and Dangerous, remarks columnist Nuradin Dirie in the Guardian. "If anything, the operation has scarred the group's leadership in Somalia. But al-Shabab"--the Islamist militant wing in Somalia--"has a soft target, in the form of the [caretaker government], that is close to home in Somalia's capital Mogadishu and that they might retaliate against."
  • Looking for Trouble, claims Nick Meo in the Telegraph. Although Meo agrees that the secret war against Somalia's Islamists might be to prevent them from launching attacks inside the United States and Great Britain, he fears that this operation could be the beginning of another Black Hawk Down. "The West has repeatedly got Somalia wrong, and could once again be sleepwalking into another costly military misadventure," he says.
  • A U.S. Military Shift?  Nathan Hodge at Wired's Danger Room says that this most recent operation suggests a shift in America's approach towards counterinsurgency. "The New York Times quotes a U.S. adviser who said the risky raid may, in part, have reflected a desire to avoid potential civilian casualties," he writes, "But speed was also a factor: An unnamed U.S. military official told the Times that Nabhan had been under surveillance for a long time, with operators waiting for the right moment to strike."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.