Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Just tidying up

Fascinating New York Times article on how in the last days of the Obama Administration, they are planning to bring the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab (whose origins go back to the Bush-era Operation Prester John) under the 9/11 use of force authorization --

But as American partners have been going after the Shabab in general more often without any particular focus on individuals linked to Al Qaeda, it has been harder to point to any congressional authorization for such airstrikes that would satisfy the War Powers Resolution. As the election neared, the administration decided it would be irresponsible to hand off Somali counterterrorism operations to Mr. Obama’s successor with that growing tension unresolved.

It's a bit odd that of all the things that might have cluttered the desk of the Trump Administration, one thing that rose from that pile was the legal basis for the al-Shabaab strikes. Which suggests a rationale: in the general tradition of restrictive legal interpretations, bringing al-Shabaab under the 9/11 resolution might be seen as expansionary. But since Trump is not obviously concerned with legal principles, is the rationale to ensure that he has to continue the current policy against al-Shabaab, because now they've been linked by a Presidential decision to 9/11?

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