Charlie Savage’s piece on the legal basis for the March 5 U.S. strike against an al Shabaab training camp, which allegedly killed 150 fighters, raises the intriguing question of whether the AUMF has been stretched yet again, this time to justify U.S. operations against al Shabaab as a whole.
Latest in AUMF: Scope and Reach
President Obama has sent 39 letters to Congress “consistent with” the War Powers Resolution requirements. The letters are a fascinating read and provide a 30,000-foot view of the Administration’s use of military force abroad. The complete letters are linked below, but here is a brief analysis:
A Wider Battlefield
The reports reflect what appears to be a much wider battlefield today than in 2009.
An article by Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt in today's New York Times discusses a Pentagon plan for expanding/developing the global basing framework for counterterrorist activities, particularly those involving SOF and "intelligence operatives." This should not come as a surprise.
[UPDATE: The Pentagon has released the transcript of a press briefing today, addressing the SOF deployment to Syria among other things. The DOD official explained that, for now, these operators will not accompany the units they assist when those units go into the field, in contrast to current policy for at least some circumstances in Iraq.
What, precisely, is the role of U.S. ground forces in the conflict with ISIL? In a post earlier this week, I described how the "train and assist" mission permits the presence of U.S. personnel on site when allies go into combat, and how this in turn can lead to direct involvement in those fights.
A Heroic Operation to Free ISIL Prisoners...and a Reminder that the "Assist" Mission Can Mean U.S. Troops in Ground Combat
In a dramatic predawn raid, dozens of Delta Force operators deployed alongside elite Kurdish troops to raid an ISIL compound in Iraq in hopes of freeing prisoners who were under threat of imminent execution. It seems the mission was largely a success, though one American operator was shot and killed in the fighting, and several of the Kurds were wounded as well.
The recent confirmation of Mullah Omar’s death has led to a great deal of discussion on a variety of regional issues: what does the Taliban’s loss of Omar mean for the future of the organization? For the Taliban’s peace talks with the Afghan government? For that government itself? And what does it mean for ISIS’s presence in Afghanistan?
A few days ago, Ashley had an excellent post flagging an important shift in U.S.
It appears that the United States conducted an airstrike in Libya yesterday, targeting and killing Mokhtar Belmokhtar--a notorious Algerian terrorist who was once a member of GIA and GSPC, continued as a key leader for GSPC after it affiliated with al Qaeda and became AQIM, and most recently broke with AQIM by going independent with
The Guantanamo detainee, as readers likely know, argued in a February motion that the end of the United States' war in Afghanistan, as recognized by President Obama, requires his release from Guantanamo. On Wednesday, Al-Warafi filed his reply brief on that issue. It opens as follows: