Thursday, April 9, 2009

U.S. military already prepared with battle plans for Somalia pirates, say intelligence sources

Thursday, April 9th 2009
WASHINGTON - U.S. military commanders have already prepared battle plans for ending the scourge of piracy on the high seas off Somalia if President Obama pulls the trigger, sources told the Daily News Wednesday.
The Navy sent a warship to intercept Somali pirates Wednesday who hijacked a U.S.-flagged freighter, as commanders weighed military options for nailing the brigands' bases.
Retired U.S. Ambassador Robert Oakley, who was special envoy to Somalia in the 1990s, said U.S. special operations forces have drawn up detailed plans to attack piracy groups where they live on land, but are awaiting orders from the Obama national security team.
"Our special operations people have been itching to clean them up. So far, no one has let them," Oakley told the Daily News.
The veteran diplomat, who also was ambassador to Pakistan, said teams of Army Delta Force or Navy SEALs "could take care of the pirates in 72 hours" if given the order to strike.
"They have plans on the table but are waiting for the green light," Oakley said.
A Special Operations Command spokesman at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., declined comment.
A U.S. intelligence official, though dismissive of the pirates having any terrorism links, ["HAVING" TERRORISM LINKS? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THEY ARE TERRORISTS!!! WHAT A PATHETIC STATEMENT!] said "there is a more intense focus" now on these criminal gangs.
America's stealthiest warriors have been involved in combat operations in the Horn of Africa for years - operating from secret bases in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Manda Bay, Kenya.
The Navy launched an antipiracy command in January, Joint Task Force 151, which includes contingents of SEALs and Marines who specialize in boarding and seizing hijacked ships.
The Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia and Kenya equal an area roughly four times the size of Texas, the Navy pointed out.

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