The US military has spread over the years, and the US troops are currently present in more than 40% of the countries in the world. Former President George W. Bush started the war against terrorism within a month after the September 11 (9/11) terrorist attacks on the twin towers in the US. Almost two decades have passed by, and the Global War on terrorism has indeed become global.
The American military is actively engaged in countering terrorism in 80 countries across six continents.
As of September 2019 data, there is around 170,000 active-duty personnel serving outside the US and its territories.
There have been many successful US military operations (both counterterrorism and counterinsurgency) over the years.
Take a look at the successful US operations across the world:
Qasim al-Rimi killed in Yemen by US Military
On February 7, 2020, US President Donald Trump confirmed that the founder and leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Qasim al-Rimi, was killed in a successful counterterrorism US drone strike in Yemen. A deputy of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was also reportedly killed during the counterterrorism operation. President Trump emphasized that Qasim al-Rimi’s death “further degrades AQAP and the global al-Qa’ida movement, and it brings us closer to eliminating the threats these groups pose to our national security.” Reports say that the dreaded terrorist was killed in a US drone strike east of Sana’a on January 25, 2020.
Operation Kayla Mueller in Syria Against ISIS
The dreaded leader Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Qurashi of terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was hunted down on October 26, 2019, by the Delta Force of the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and the 75th Ranger Regiment and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) of the US Military. A raid through air space controlled by Russia and Turkey was carried out by the US forces in the rebel-held Idlib province of Syria. It cornered al-Baghdad in a tunnel as the American military canines hunted for him. The dreaded terrorist killed himself by self-detonating a suicide vest.
The announcement of his death was made by US President Donald Trump the following day. The operation was carried out based on the intel information given by the CIA Special Activities Division. The operation was carried out by the US forces with active support from Russia, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and the Syrian Kurdish forces. It is known as Barisha raid, which is officially codenamed Operation Kayla Mueller.
In 2013, while caring for suffering civilians in Syria, Kayla was kidnapped, tortured, and enslaved by ISIS, and kept as a prisoner of al-Baghdadi himself. After more than 500 horrifying days of captivity, al-Baghdadi murdered Kayla. She was just 26 years old.
Al-Qaeda’s Founder Osama Bin Laden Killed in Pakistan
The US Naval Special Warfare Development Group’s United States Navy SEALs hunted down and killed the founder and the first leader of the Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, on May 2, 2011, in Pakistan’s Abbottabad. The CIA-led operation with Joint Special Operations Command was code-named Operation Neptune Spear. The killing of Osama Bin Laden brought an end to the ten-year search for him by the US military following his involvement in the September 11 (9/11) attacks on the US. It is considered as one of the most successful US counterterrorism operations of all time. The then US President Barack Obama announced Bin Laden’s death from the White House just after 11:30 PM EST on May 1, 2011 (as Pakistan’s time zone is around 9-hours ahead of the US capital).
Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan (America’s Longest War)
Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) was the first major US counterterrorism war as part of the Global War on Terrorism, following the 9/11 attack on the United States. It all started with the airstrike on Taliban and al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. The then US President George W. Bush announced the start of the counterterrorism operation to stop the Taliban provide a haven to the al Quaeda terrorists in Afghanistan. Operation Enduring Freedom went on for 13 years, and US President Barack Obama announced its official end in Afghanistan on December 28, 2014. Though the US military forces continue the operations (both combat and non-combat operations) in Afghanistan till now, they are now carried out under the code-named Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
Qassem Soleimani, the Top Iranian General and Second Powerful Person in Iran, Killed in Baghdad
Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force commander and the second-most powerful person in Iran (after the current Iranian Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei) was killed in a US drone strike on January 3, 2020, in Baghdad. The airstrike took place at a time when he was about to get off a commercial airliner in Baghdad (capital of Iraq).
The killing of the Iranian General led to rising tension in the Middle East as he was a general of a sovereign country. In retaliation, Iran carried out missile attacks on US establishments in Iraq. In the burial procession of Soleimani, hundreds of thousands of mourners gathered in Iran’s Kerman city. Soleimani was a popular national figure in Iran. He was considered as a heroic figure by the conservatives in Iran.
The US Defense Department said that the drone strike was carried out in response to US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on December 29, 2019, and also to “deter future attacks.” However, the US has till now failed to give definite answers regarding the extent of threats they perceived from the slain Iranian general. The strike was carried out without taking approval from the US Congress.
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s Capture and Execution
The former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was captured by the US military (the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division and an elite/covert joint special operations team Task Force 121) on December 13, 2003, from ad-Dawr town (near Tikrit) of Iraq. The American military operation was code-named Operation Red Dawn.
The then US President George W. Bush (Junior) said that the US military operation was carried out to keep Saddam Hussein out of power as he allegedly possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). It was later found out that the intelligence report alleging Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs was wrong.
The former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was executed on December 30, 2006, after being found guilty by the Iraqi Special Tribunal for carrying out crimes against humanity (charged for the murder of 148 Iraqi Shi’ites in Dujali town in 1982).
US Operations in Somalia and Africa (including Operation Gothic Serpent)
The United States special operations forces carried out military operation Gothic Serpent in Somalia during the Somali Civil War to capture faction leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The operation took place for three months (August-October 1993). The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) supervised the operation. The mission was known as the Battle of Mogadishu.
The US military is fighting a shadow war in Somalia for the past few years now with an Al Qaeda-aligned Islamist group, Al Shabaab. The US has 34 US military outposts across the African continent, and they have carried out military operations across 33 countries in Africa. According to the AFRICOM commander, Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, nearly ten missions per day were carried out by the US troops in 2017.