Monday, June 19, 2017

Al-Shabaab Attacks Civilians in Pizza House - Center for Security Policy

Frank Gaffney

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is Founder, President, and CEO of the Center for Security Policy, a not-for-profit, non-partisan educational corporation established in 1988. Under Mr. Gaffney’s leadership, the Center has been nationally and internationally recognized as a resource for timely, informed and penetrating analyses of foreign and defense policy matters.
Under President Ronald Reagan, he acted as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy. He served as chairman of the High Level Group (NATO’s senior politico-military committee) and as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy under Assistant Secretary Richard Perle. He was also a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Mr. Gaffney is the lead author of War Footing: Ten Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World and co-author of Sharia: The Threat to America and See No Sharia: ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ and the Disarming of America’s First Lines of DefenseHe hosts Secure Freedom Radio, an hour-long, nationally syndicated program that airs every weeknight. His daily Secure Freedom Minute commentaries are heard on 200 stations coast-to-coast. He is a featured contributor to Breitbart Radio and a columnist for He appears often on national and international television networks such as Fox News, CNN and BBC.  Over the years, his op.ed. articles have appeared in such publications as: The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, National Review, Newsday, American Legion Magazine, and Commentary.
Mr. Gaffney’s leadership has been recognized by numerous organizations including: the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award (1987), the U.S. Business and Industry Council’s Defender of the National Interest Award (1994), the Navy League of the United States’ “Alfred Thayer Mahan Literary Achievement Award” (1999), and the Zionist Organization of America’s “Louis Brandeis Award” (2003).
Mr. Gaffney received a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

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Over the past week, al-Shabaab carried out two successful terrorist attacks in Somalia. The first took place on June 8 when al-Shabaab fighters stormed a Puntland military base killing up to 61 people.
The most recent attack occurred on the evening of June 14 in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, and according to the Associated Press, left 31 dead and 40 wounded. During the assault, a car bomb detonated and five gunmen proceeded to attack a popular Pizza House where they took hostages, many of whom they killed.
Details remain unclear whether al-Shabaab’s intended target for the bomb was the restaurant or a nearby hotel. The overnight siege lasted until Thursday morning, ending once security forces reportedly killed all five of the assailants.
Unlike the attack in Puntland, which targeted Somali forces, the assault in Mogadishu was directed toward civilians who were taking a break from Ramadan fasting.
The terrorism in Mogadishu may be a response by al-Shabaab to the recent June 11 U.S. airstrike against al-Shabaab which killed eight of the jihadist group’s insurgents. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed praised the counter terrorist strike and deemed it a success.
Al-Shabaab is known for responding to military pressure in the past, such as its 2013 attack in Kenya at the Westgate Mall which left 67 people dead and more than 200 wounded. The group carried out the attack in response to Kenyan forces in Somalia working to push the group out.
Al-Shabaab is a jihadist group that seeks to overthrow the Somali government and impose Sharia law in the country. It is designated as a U.S. foreign terrorist organization and labeled as Africa’s deadliest terror group in 2016 with over 4,200 accounted deaths in that year.
Due to in part to recent successes, Al Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab remains the preeminent terror group in Somalia, and it’s strategic competitor, the Islamic State (IS) has failed to gain significant territory or influence in the area.
The al-Shabaab continues to target those working for stability in Somalia killing government officials and Somali military forces along with journalists, foreigners, and numerous civilians. Al-Shabaab has traditionally favored methods including suicide attacks, kidnappings, bombings, and shootings. In some prior assaults, the group has successfully conducted paired suicide attacks, with secondary explosions aimed at paramedics and bystanders arriving on the scene of the initial incident.
Al-Shabaab continues to pose as threat to the country and with AMISOM’s eventual pullout, Somali forces are left vulnerable. The troops are ill-equipped, in part due to a lack of artillery support. The country remains under United Nation’s weapon embargo.