January 19, 2012: Counter-terrorism efforts by Somalia's neighbors have included some techniques used by the United States and Israel in the last decade. This means going after the leadership of terrorist groups. Kenya and Ethiopia have been particularly energetic in this area, and Somali based al Shabaab has suffered heavy losses as a result. The United States also has missile armed UAVs operating out of Djibouti and Ethiopia. These aircraft follow up on information obtained about al Shabaab movements and target leaders (and especially the "engineers" who build bombs) that Somali, peacekeeper, Kenyan, or Ethiopian troops cannot reach.
Another target is Information War specialists. These are the men who prepare propaganda videos to put on the Internet. Some of these specialists are from the West, and they provide English and other Western language soundtracks for the videos. There are four principal Information War experts working for al Shabaab, including a Yemeni al Qaeda operative and a man who has spent enough time in Britain to acquire a fluent British accented English voice. This fellow has not revealed his face, indicating that he is either British, or the son of migrants from a Moslem country. The British spokesman is believed to be of Pakistani origin. Kenyan police have arrested a number of similar individuals trying to enter Somalia. There have also been dozens of Somali-American and non-Somali Moslem recruits who got into Somalia, where some have died in combat, often as suicide bombers. These men were inspired to come to Somalia in part because of the Information War propaganda coming out of Somalia and onto the Internet. This TTV (Terrorist Television) shows lots of death and violence and appeals to Somali teenagers living overseas, but also offers encouragement to those who have already joined al Shabaab.