Obama's models: Yemen and Somalia

In his Wednesday night address President Obama pointed to Yemen and Somalia as success stories to model efforts in Iraq and Syria after.  But let's look closer at the facts.  

While Yemen and Somalia have not featured prominently in the American media, it is important to remember some key facts regarding the current state of security in both Yemen and Somalia where both al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Shabaab, respectively, consistently conduct attacks at will throughout the country, including large-scale attacks. Both groups are also currently holding Westerners hostage and have continued to expand their attacks beyond their home countries.

  In Somalia, attacks occur on average 2.3 times a day and kill on average four people a day. In Yemen, attacks occur two times a day and kill on average five people a day.

• So far in 2014 as of 10 Sep., there have been 840+ terrorist/rebel attacks killing 1,424+ people and injuring 724+ people in Somalia
• Over the course of the past year al-Shabaab has conducted the largest expansion in its history into five neighboring countries while continuing an insurgent campaign in Somalia.
• Al-Shabaab is currently holding publicly-acknowledged hostages from the UK and the U.S. and Kenya

• So far in 2014 as of 10 Sep., there have been 730+ terrorist/rebel attacks killing 1,728+ people and injuring 854+ people in Yemen
• AQAP has dramatically expanded the size and scale of its attacks, now making frequent use of large-scale complex assaults against fortified military sites.
• Continued its expansion around the world while simultaneously fighting an insurgent campaign in Yemen
• Rose in profile to taking on a greater global role in conjunction with core al-Qaeda
• AQAP is currently holding publicly-acknowledged hostages from the U.S., Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Iran, Djibouti and Sierra Leone

• Initial indications over the past week claim that AQAP may be switching its allegiances from al-Qaeda to ISIL

Jim Waurishuk is a Colonel, USAF (Ret.)

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