Micah Zenko

Politics, Power, and Preventive Action

Zenko covers the U.S. national security debate and offers insight on developments in international security and conflict prevention.

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Showing 11 - 20 of 65 results for "somalia"

U.S. Transparency and the Truth of Targeted Killings

by Micah Zenko

This morning, the White House released an unusual statement: “The Department of Defense confirmed that Ahmed Godane, the leader of al-Shabaab, is dead as a result of a U.S. military targeted airstrike in Somalia undertaken over the weekend.” What was particularly unique about the statement is that, previously, the Pentagon has purposely refused to confirm the deaths of terrorist leaders killed with legal counterterrorism strikes. On June 5, 2012, when Pentagon spokesperson then-Capt. John Kirby was asked about the reported death of al Qaeda’s no. 2 official, Abu Yahya al-Libi, Kirby replied: “We don’t discuss the specifics of counterterrorism operations.  So I’m not going to speak to specifics of operations.” Read more »

Guest Post: What’s Next for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit?

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko
President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Gulleh and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia speak to the media after their meeting on situation in South Sudan on gust 5, 2014. (Gripas/Courtesy Reuters) President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Gulleh and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia speak to the media after their meeting on situation in South Sudan on gust 5, 2014. (Gripas/Courtesy Reuters)

Amelia M. Wolf is a research associate in the Center for Preventive Action and the International Institutions and Global Governance Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: One Year After Obama’s Drone Speech

by Micah Zenko
U.S. President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks about his administration's counterterrorism policy at the National Defense University on May 23, 2013. (Downing/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks about his administration's counterterrorism policy at the National Defense University on May 23, 2013. (Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

Harold Hongju Koh, “Ending the Forever War: One Year After President Obama’s NDU Speech,” JustSecurity.org, May 23, 2014.

The President’s historic move in that speech was to call for the eventual repeal of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) and the end of what I had called at the Oxford Union the “Forever War”… Read more »

Guest Post: Protecting Journalists in Armed Conflict

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko
Somali journalists protest as they demand for the release of a colleague, Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, in Mogadishu on January 27, 2013. Abdiaziz was reportedly arrested after reporting on a rape case allegedly involving government soldiers according to local media reports. (Omar/Courtesy Reuters). Somali journalists protest as they demand for the release of a colleague, Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, in Mogadishu on January 27, 2013. Abdiaziz was reportedly arrested after reporting on a rape case allegedly involving government soldiers according to local media reports. (Omar/Courtesy Reuters).

Julie Anderson is an intern in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Reporting from conflict zones, while risky, is crucial to understand global crises. Seventy journalists were killed on the job in 2013: 44 percent were murdered, 36 percent in direct combat or crossfire, and 20 percent while on a dangerous assignment. Combat-related deaths were due in large part to the Syrian civil war, along with spikes in violence in Iraq and Egypt. Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, the country has been the deadliest in the world for journalists, with thirty-one killed in 2012 and twenty-eight in 2013. Professional media workers and citizen journalists alike have been targets of death, torture, enforced disappearance, abduction and intimidation, and an indeterminate number of human rights violations by both pro- and anti-government forces. Already ten journalists have been killed globally in 2014. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Terrorist Attacks, Victory 206, and U.S. Armed Forces

by Micah Zenko
An Afghan policeman keeps watch on October 18, 2013, at the site of a car bomb attack launched by Taliban fighters on a convoy of vehicles in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Mohammad Ismail/Courtesy Reuters) An Afghan policeman keeps watch on October 18, 2013, at the site of a car bomb attack launched by Taliban fighters on a convoy of vehicles in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Mohammad Ismail/Courtesy Reuters)

Despite Fewer Attacks in Western World, Global Terrorism Increasing,” National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, December 19, 2013. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Drone Strikes, Malaria, and Defense Contractors

by Micah Zenko
Foreign contractors arrive at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, on December 17, 2012. (Mohammad Ismail/Courtesy Reuters) Foreign contractors arrive at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, on December 17, 2012. (Mohammad Ismail/Courtesy Reuters)

Hakim Almasmari, “Yemen says U.S. drone struck a wedding convoy, killing 14,” CNN, December 13, 2013.

A U.S. drone mistakenly targeted a wedding convoy in Yemen’s al-Baitha province after intelligence reports identified the vehicles as carrying al Qaeda militants, two Yemeni national security officials told CNN on Thursday. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Counterterrorism, Washington Credibility, and Insurgencies

by Micah Zenko
A U.S. Marine walks out of Camp Lemonier in Djibouti in 2002. Camp Lemonier is a U.S. military base used for counterterrorism operations in Somalia and Yemen (Njuguna/Courtesy Reuters). A U.S. Marine walks out of Camp Lemonier in Djibouti in 2002. Camp Lemonier is a U.S. military base used for counterterrorism operations in Somalia and Yemen (Njuguna/Courtesy Reuters).

A Conversation with Hassan Rouhani, Council on Foreign Relations, September 26, 2013.

ROUHANI: …While interdependence and competitive cooperative approach, and not enmity, is the order of the day, zero-sum game and win-lose approaches in international relations has already lost ground when it comes to international ties, as no country could pursue its interests at expense of others… Read more »

Guest Post: UNSC Debate on the Protection of Journalists in Armed Conflict

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko

Julia Trehu is an intern in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations.

On Wednesday, July 17, the United States Mission to the United Nations (UN), which holds the UN Security Council (UNSC) presidency, will host an open debate in the council chamber on the protection of journalists in armed conflict. Chaired by UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, participants in the open debate will include NBC’s Richard Engel, Somali journalist Mustafa Haji Abdinur of Radio Simba and Agence France Presse, Iraqi journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad of the Guardian, and Kathleen Carroll, Associated Press executive editor and vice chair of the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Targeted Killings, Syria, and Military Contractors

by Micah Zenko

Lance M. Bacon, “Soldiers Go Global,” Army Times, June 10, 2013.

While the Army’s primary mission remains its ability to fight and win the nation’s wars, this new model places greater emphasis on those areas “left of the bang.” Training will enable soldiers to prevent and shape so they don’t have to fight and win, especially if that fight may become a large-scale conflict a cash-strapped Army is not equipped to fight. In the words of one commander, the “battle is to prevent battle.” Read more »

Enhancing the Obama Administration’s Drone Strikes Transparency

by Micah Zenko

Two weeks ago, President Barack Obama gave a wide-ranging speech on U.S. counterterrorism policies. The result has been significant confusion regarding targeted killings, because what was reported in the press and what the president actually said were different, particularly on the matters of transferring drone strikes from the CIA to the military and ending signature strikes. Two hours before Obama’s speech, three anonymous administration officials gave a background briefing to reporters, which provided some clarity on several counterterrorism matters. Since the White House did not make a transcript of this briefing available, in the interest of transparency, I have re-printed it below in its entirety. Where “(inaudible)” appears, the transcription service did not include the name of the official mentioned. Read more »