NAIROBI, Kenya – The website’s headlines trumpet al-Shabab’s imminent demise – and describe an American jihadist fretting over insurgent infighting. At first glance it appears to be a sleek Horn of Africa news site. But in fact the site is run by the U.S. military as part of a propaganda operation aimed at countering extremists in Africa.
The U.S. military’s Africa Command, known as Africom, runs two sites that look like ordinary news sites, centering on the regions hosting dangerous terror cells, one in Somalia and one in northwest Africa, an area known as the Maghreb.
The U.S. military and State Department, a partner on the project, say the goal of the sites is to counter propaganda from extremists “by offering accurate, balanced and forward-looking coverage of developments in the region.”