View Full Version : Rumsfeld weighs strikes in Lebanon, Somalia

01-10-04, 07:12 AM
Rumsfeld weighs strikes in Lebanon, Somalia

Thursday, January 8, 2004
U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is considering a plan for multi-pronged attacks on insurgency strongholds in such countries as Lebanon and Somalia.

U.S. defense sources said the proposal is part of a plan for an expanded offensive against Al Qaida and affiliated terrorist organizations.

Over the last six months, the Pentagon has increased the U.S. military presence along the Iraqi-Syrian border to halt the flow of Islamic insurgents into Iraq. U.S. officials said American troops and helicopters have fought the insurgents along the Syrian border and in several cases entered Syrian air space and territory.

Next week, U.S. troops are scheduled to launch an exercise with Kenya's military in the Red Sea, Middle East Newsline reported. U.S. defense sources said the exercise could mark the start of the U.S. military strike against Somalia, regarded as a key base for Al Qaida.


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The sources also said that after a military operation in Somalia, Rumsfeld might recommend a U.S. strike against insurgency strongholds in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. The area contains Hizbullah and Palestinian forces under the umbrella of the Syrian military.
Separately, The London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat reported on Wednesday that a proposal has been submitted to Rumsfeld to expand special operations forces and send them to destroy insurgency strongholds along the Lebanese-Syrian border.

The newspaper reported that the proposal was the result of the secretary's decision to expand the U.S. war against Al Qaida and its allies. The Saudi-owned newspaper quoted U.S. sources as saying the first step being mulled by Rumsfeld is for a U.S. military attack on Al Qaida strongholds in Somalia as early as this month.

"The global war on terror is continuing, and it will for the foreseeable future," Rumsfeld said on Tuesday. "As we prosecute the war, we'll need to continue to strengthen, improve and transform our forces; modernize and restructure programs and commands."