US analysts and counterterrorism officials are playing up the threat posed by Somalia’s al-Shabaab group, saying they are increasingly looking to attack US interests in Africa, and potentially even attacking the United States itself.
Officials say the growing threat is a big reason why the US has been carrying out a growing number of drone strikes against Somalia, trying to kill as many plotters as they can. They add that al-Shabaab is trying to get anti-aircraft missiles,which could threaten US aircraft in the area.
Inevitably, though, it must be asked if the US is attacking al-Shabaab more because they’re a bigger threat, or if the group is a bigger threat to the US because the US has been attacking them at growing rates throughout the past couple years.
Africom commander Gen. Stephen Townsend says al-Shabaab is a “very realy threat to Somalia, the region, the international community and even the US homeland.” Clearly Africom wants to emphasize that, as most of their other operations are being drawn down, and Somalia seems to be one military engagement that they can continue to escalate.