U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is considering a plan for multi-pronged
attacks on insurgency strongholds in such countries as Lebanon and Somalia.
U.S. defense sources said the proposal is part of a plan for an expanded offensive against Al Qaida and affiliated terrorist organizations.
Over the last six months, the Pentagon has increased the U.S. military
presence along the Iraqi-Syrian border to halt the flow of Islamic
insurgents into Iraq. U.S. officials said American troops and helicopters
have fought the insurgents along the Syrian border and in several cases
entered Syrian air space and territory.
Next week, U.S. troops are scheduled to launch an exercise with Kenya's
military in the Red Sea, Middle East Newsline reported. U.S. defense sources said the exercise could mark the start
of the U.S. military strike against Somalia, regarded as a key base for Al
The sources also said that after a military operation in Somalia,
Rumsfeld might recommend a U.S. strike against insurgency strongholds in
Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. The area contains Hizbullah and Palestinian forces
under the umbrella of the Syrian military.
Separately, The London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat reported on Wednesday that a
proposal has been submitted to Rumsfeld to expand special operations forces and send them to destroy
insurgency strongholds along the Lebanese-Syrian border.
The newspaper reported that the proposal was the result of the secretary's decision to
expand the U.S. war against Al Qaida and its allies. The Saudi-owned
newspaper quoted U.S. sources as saying the first step being mulled by
Rumsfeld is for a U.S. military attack on Al Qaida strongholds in Somalia as
early as this month.
"The global war on terror is continuing, and it will for the foreseeable
future," Rumsfeld said on Tuesday. "As we prosecute the war, we'll need to continue to
strengthen, improve and transform our forces; modernize and restructure
programs and commands."