Issue 719 - Page 12

cover story
and traditional conflict resolution processes could provide a foundation for reconciliation .”
Meanwhile , AMISOM troopcontributing countries are reportedly losing patience over the unending conflict .
For newly elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud , experts say , his return to power comes at a time when Somalis are reportedly increasingly in support of dialogue to end the conflict ; including with the al-Shabaab .
The Federal Government of Somalia ( FGS ) which he now heads has in the past shown willingness to work with the U . S . But it has proven incapable of effectively combating threats on its own , resolving long-standing political fissures , or establishing effective governance .
Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed — also known as Farmaajo — plunged the country into a political crisis extended his four-year term in mid- April 2021 , leading to a breakdown of talks between the opposition alliance and the central government . Violence broke-out pro-government and opposition forces clashed in Mogadishu .
The al-Shabaab capitalise on such local grievances , confusion , and coercion to remain relevant and in control of the agenda . The Somalia governments , has been year-in-yearout been ranked among the worst in the world for corruption . That means although the international community has dramatically increased aid to Somalia , it is unlikely to lead to meaningful change . Experts say governance reform is needed and the resolution of divisive politics and forging a government that meets the needs of Somalia ’ s complex clan dynamics .
“ All of this will require the Biden administration to consider greater investments in civilian aid , deploying experts to Somalia , and engaging in smart diplomatic support to Somalia ’ s political reconciliation alongside any efforts to counter al-Shabaab militarily ,” say the experts .
They add : “ To succeed , political reconciliation will have to go beyond the government ’ s rival factions and include al-Shabaab . This will not be an easy process , with research showing it will likely take many rounds of negotiations over several years ”.
“ The United States is thus stuck in an awkward position of assisting local forces that are unable to effectively address the threat they face – but who would likely suffer if U . S . support were withdrawn ,” says a report in Just Security ; an online forum on national security , foreign policy , and rights based the Reiss Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law .
America ’ s objectives
The primary U . S . objective in Somalia is to minimise the ability of al-Shabab and other violent groups to destabilise Somalia or its neighbors and harm the United States or its allies .
In addition to the troops redeployment , Biden also approved a request by the Pentagon to directly target suspected leaders of al-Shabab , The New York Times reported .
According to the Pentagon , the troops deployed in Somalia will not be used in combat operations , but they will be repositioned around Africa to train and support Somali forces fighting against al-Shabab .
“ Our forces are not now , nor will they be , directly engaged in combat operations ,” said Pentagon press secretary John Kirby . “ The purpose here is to enable a more effective fight against al-Shabab by local forces .”
Al-Shabab ’ s continued attacks degrade the Somali government ’ s ability to both provide security and alleviate the dire humanitarian situation in the country , and its influence in Somalia undermines the United States ’ efforts to prevent the use of Somalia as a refuge for international terrorists .
The re-established U . S . troop presence would involve fewer than 500 troops engaged in a “ small persistent ” effort in Somalia , a senior American official told reporters on May 16 .
The troops withdrawn from Somalia were rebased in Kenya and Djibouti . The U . S . military command for Africa continued to conduct drone strikes in Somalia against al-Shabaab targets . Experts say by reinserting U . S . troops , Washington will reduce the risks involved in back-and-forth mobilisations of forces that have

U . S . military involvement in Somalia

1993 :
Disastrous Battle of Mogadishu in October : 19 U . S . soldiers were killed , 73 wounded , one captured and two Black Hawk helicopters were downed and destroyed . Hundreds of Somaliswere killed in the battle . President Bill Clinton removed most U . S . forces .
Early 1990s :
Humanitarian intervention as part of a United Nations ( U . N .) effort to provide famine relief
Early 2000s :
Somalia sinks deeper into chaos . Islamic Courts Union ( ICU ), a fundamentalist organisation , gains prominence .
2006 :
Islamic courts claims control over Mogadishu and central and southern Somalia .
2006 :
Ethiopia launches offensive and defeats Islamic Courts . But ICU ’ s youth or al-Shabaab regroup .
2007 :
African Union authorizes peacekeeping force ( AMISOM ) to prop-up Somali Transitional Federal Government ( TFG ). Ugandan contingent is biggest under AMISOM , with support from Burundi and Ethiopia , then Kenya and Djibouti .
2022 :
On May 16 , U . S . President Joe Biden ordered the redeployment of American troops to Somalia
2022 :
The U . S . launches more strikes on al- Shabaab .
2021 :
In July and August , Biden authorizes strikes in Somalia .
2020 :
Nearing end of his presidency , Trump ordered withdrawal of U . S . forces from Somalia .
2020 : al-shabaab attacks U . S . airfield in Kenya killing one U . S . soldier and two contractors .
2019 :
al-Shabaab attacks luxury hotel in Kenya
2017 :
Navy seal killed in ground operation in Somalia .
10 May . 20 -26 2022