Sunday, January 13, 2013

Details and Analysis of France’s Failed Rescue in Somalia

The government of Somalia has condemned the French failed rescue operation, saying it was not informed about it.
In the early hours of 12 January 2013, French special forces failed in an operation to rescue French intelligence agent Denis Allex from al-Shabaab in the town of Buulo Mareer.
 
Buulo Mareer is firmly controlled by al-Shabaab–although Somalia National Army (SNA) and AMISOM forces are 17 mi (28 km) northeast holding the port of Marka.
Allex was intially kidnapped in a Mogadishu hotel in July 2009 with a colleague who later escaped.
Another shocking result from the operation was that a French special forces member injured in the operation was captured and is now in al-Shabaab custody–along with Allex.
buulo mareer - april 2012
Buulo Mareer – April 2012
Al-Shabaab’s new hostage is another blow to France’s special operations in Africa recently. Only 24 hours earlier, a French pilot was killed in a helicopter crash during operations to push back Islamist militants in northern Mali.
Somalia’s governor for Lower Shabelle region Abdiqadir Nur claimed to know in advance of the operation, but the cabinet of Prime Minister Abdi Farah ‘Shirdon’ reportedly had no such knowledge. Given that the failed mission resulted in the death of several civilians, the operation will surely draw an unhappy response from the Somali government.

The Operation

French Rescue Op
French Rescue Operation Map (Somalia Newsroom via UNHCR map)
Initial reports cite witnesses who say French special forces disembarked from a helicopter near an al-Shabaab base in Buulo Mareer and quickly engaged in an intense 45-minute firefight with al-Shabaab militants.
Pro-al-Shabaab site SomaliMemo reported that al-Shabaab used several battle wagons during counter operations. Both sides experienced casualties along with at least 7 civilians who were killed.
In his public address, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said it was “doubtless” that Allex was killed by his captors–though he did not actually confirm this claim.
Al-Shabaab’s official statement contends that Allex is still alive and was moved away from Buulo Mareer. The group said it will determine the fate of the Allex within two days–but it did not mention the potential fortune of the captured French soldier.
There are additional reports that alleged French special forces landed in the town of Daydoog–about 3 mi (5 km) from Buulo Mareer.
Sources claim that French special forces killed several civilians after landing in the town. Survivors were said to have tipped off al-Shabaab officials in Buulo Mareer about the incident before the attack. (It is difficult to verify all the details of these reports.)

Analysis of the Operation

France’s failure to rescue Allex successfully–and its gift to al-Shabaab of another hostage and a victory in the media–can be explained by several factors.
[1] The French potentially did not have good intelligence. It is difficult to retrieve reliable information about atmospherics, the security environment, and the exact location of hostages in denied areas like Somalia’s rural cities. In this case, al-Shabaab claimed that the French attacked the wrong house in its search for Allex–a mistake that would have all but doomed the operation if true.
Even if it is untrue, the speed with which French forces were repelled and the clumsy nature of their retreat (leaving members behind) hints that they underestimated what kind of security they would encounter.
Updated reports say that the 50 French special forces in the operation encountered at least 100 heavily-armed al-Shabaab members, who say they had been tipped off about the attack.
So, it appears an unexpected encounter with civilians outside Buulo Mareer led to al-Shabaab being warned of France’s advance. This would have allowed al-Shabaab to rally core forces, and potentially arm locals, to be ready for the oncoming attack.
This points to a larger gap in France’s intel collection capabilities in the country.
To give a comparison, the U.S. has installed a CIA compound and prison in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, and has developed an efficiency ability to collect intelligence in Somalia by establishing cozy relationships with Somali intelligence agents. By having “eyes” and “ears” in Somalia, the U.S. has been able to accomplish some feats that far outweigh the failure of Operation Restore Hope in 1993.
Contrastingly, France’s closest and largest concentration of military assets is in neighbouring Djibouti, but this is a long way from the site of its operation to rescue Allex. Additionally, there have not been indications that France has established the ability to collect intel like the U.S. in Somalia.
Lastly, it is unclear in what way American intelligence resources contributed (or did not contribute) to the French operation. But, it’s very possible that France’s comparably fewer resources to collect intelligence in Somalia negatively impacted the rescue.
[2] The French lack experience carrying out special operations on the ground in Somalia. Undoubtedly, carrying out a rescue operation in a small al-Shabaab controlled town is an especially difficult mission–almost a fool’s errand for most foreign forces.
It is also far from the kind of mission that French special forces have perfected.
France has the kind of record in rescue missions that would not inspire total confidence for those held captive with French passports. (See total success against Somali pirates here, partial success against Somali pirates here, and total failure against al-Qai’da in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) here.)
Equally important, France’s operations against pirates in the open seas are much different than operations in al-Shabaab controlled towns in the middle of the night when there is [1] potentially inadequate intelligence regarding the hostage’s location and status of local security, [2] unfamiliarity with operating on Somali terrain, and [2] the inevitability of unknown obstacles–such as unanticipated encounters with locals.
[3] France reinforced the view that al-Shabaab is still operationally strong; that France’s ability to lead operations in Africa is questionable. Significant effort has been made in recent months to rally public support against al-Shabaab in the midst of its slow decline in popularity and control of strategic territory.
However, al-Shabaab will use its victory against France’s elite to associate itself with recent successes of other Jihadi groups, such as in Mali.
Mali so happens to be another tense front for the French in Africa.
In the statement regarding the operation, al-Shabaab spoke in solidarity with AQIM by referencing the threats made against France by AQIM leader Abdelmalek Droukdel.
This harmonization in narrative between the two groups comprises part of a larger fear by many of greater coordination between armed Islamist groups–especially in Africa and the Arabian peninsula. In the next few days, it would be unsurprising if al-Shabaab released photos or video of either Allex or the French solidier (dead or alive) to drive home the message that al-Shabaab is still relevant and can defeat foreign forces.

Last Words

France’s involvement in Somalia pales in comparison to its escalating involvement against Islamist groups in Mali currently.
But, the nature of its failure in Buulo Mareer–in addition to the aforementioned pilot killed in Mali just days ago–comes off like a bad omen for France–a country that is supposed to be at the forefront against Jihad in Africa at the moment.
Post a Comment

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic
Somalia

About Us

The Foundation is dedicated to networking like-minded Somalis opposed to the terrorist insurgency that is plaguing our beloved homeland and informing the international public at large about what is really happening throughout the Horn of Africa region.

Blog Archive

We Are Winning the War on Terrorism in Horn of Africa

The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, the threat is real. They distort Islam. They kill man, woman and child; Christian and Hindu, Jew and Muslim. They seek to create a repressive caliphate. To defeat this enemy, we must understand who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for.

Terror Free Somalia Foundation