Ahmed Godane, if dead, was the leader of al-Shabaab for four years. Al-Shabaab is al-Qaeda of sorts in Somalia, although like so many terrorist groups the affiliation is tentative at best.
But al-Shabaab is among the larger and more successful terrorist groups in the world, because it is what’s left of the council of warlords that had run Somalia for a decade or more before American and Kenyan military sent them running in October, 2011.
Godane replaced Adan Hashi Ayrow who was similarly killed in an American drone attack in 2008.
Whether true or not, Godane claimed responsibility for staging the two mass killings in Uganda and Kenya in 2010 and 2013 (Kampala bar of people watching the World Cup; and the Westgate Mall).
The missile attack certainly obliterated an awful lot, and if Godane was anywhere near this herculean attack, he’s certainly gone. Reuters called the attack “a hail of missiles.”
Locally Godane is presumed killed. The local Somali media picked up a tweet that seems legit: Shabaab announcing the “demise” of their leader.
The reasons Americans aren’t confirming the death is because there’s nothing left to check. The “hail of missiles” was so intense that there’s no evidence left.
Much of the good Somali media, the ones not affiliated to the warlords or terrorist groups, are hailing the American strike and predicting a “game changer.”
But not necessarily for the better. These same Somali media are warning that Godane’s death will foment “potentially more dangerous splinter movements.”
This makes me dizzy. This is what we now propose to do to the leaders of ISIS. Taking out leaders doesn’t do anything. There are dozens in the next village waiting to assume control.
When our president is assassinated, as seems to happen at least once a generation or two, America doesn’t stop.
And it’s particularly true of the decentralized nature of terrorist groups, today. Unlike America, they are often composed of many smaller groups, each with equally competent and trained leaders.
So what’s the point?
Vengeance. That’s no strategy.