US forces increase Somalia airstrikes amid uncertainty over future

An intensifying U.S. airstrike campaign against Somalia is unlikely by itself to defeat a resilient band of al-Qaida-aligned militants, a fact that could tempt the U.S. to wade deeper into a country faced with the departure of an African force that has offered protection for a decade.

The uptick in U.S. strikes against al-Shabab targets — 13 different attacks since June — is part of a hurried effort to degrade the long-running insurgency and buy time for Somalia’s fledgling military.

The vexing questions now are the country’s fate after the withdrawal of the African Union Mission to Somalia, set to begin next year and conclude by 2020: How much territory could be lost to al-Shabab, and how fast?

“The group (Al-Shabab) would most likely retake some lost territory should AMISOM forces withdraw before the (Somalia National Army) is capable of effective independent operations against the group,” said Robyn Mack, a spokeswoman for U.S. Africa Command. “That being said, at this time it’s too early to determine what, if any, additional support will be required from the international community when AMISOM departs.”

Besides airstrikes, the stepped-up operations include U.S. commandos on the front lines with Somali forces. Regular U.S. troops give lessons in building defense institutions, with added support from other nations.

There is some doubt about the likely success of the airstrike campaign and the surge in land operations.

“No clear indication yet, but when pressured previously there has been a temporary degradation in both the group’s command and control and morale of the rank-and-file members,” Mack said. “However, this degradation has likely been temporary. The group has maintained the ability to resurge when pressure against them on the ground by allied/partner forces has lessened.”

When the African Union intervened in Somalia in 2007, al-Shabab was on the brink of overtaking Mogadishu and controlled large areas of territory where it enforced its rule with beheadings and mass killings.

The African Union eventually pushed the militants out of most former strongholds, but as its mission began to slow in 2016, al-Shabab made gains.

Recently, there also have been flickers of Islamic State presence in the country.

. Peter Pham, who is under consideration by the Trump administration to serve as assistant secretary of state for Africa, said airstrikes are unlikely to defeat Shabab, which “has shown itself to be a remarkably resilient group, adapting to the shifting strategic landscape of Somalia and its neighborhood.

“Thus there is no reason to believe that it will not also survive in some fashion the recent setbacks it has suffered in terms of strikes and defections,” Pham said.

African Union and AFRICOM officials also acknowledged that Somalia’s military is unable to fight on its own against al-Shabab, which seeks to impose a strict form of Sharia law.

Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu wouldn’t fall immediately upon the AU’s departure, but it could be eventually at risk as Al-Shabab chips at surrounding territory, said Vanda Felbab-Brown, an expert on Somalia with the Washington-based Brookings Institution think tank.

“Clearly, al-Shabab understands the reality that everyone else understands as well — the writing is on the wall with the respect to the AU leaving,” Felbab-Brown said.

During the next two years, the U.S. and other Western partners are tasked with readying Somalia’s military to lead the fight, but so far the training effort lacks cohesion, analysts said.

The NATO mission in Afghanistan, where the U.S. has spent billions of dollars to build up security forces, shows the limits of “building partner capacity” in nations with governments that wield little control over their territory.

“All the problems you have in Afghanistan are all bigger in Somalia,” Felbab-Brown said. “There are massive challenges to overcome.”

Government corruption in Somalia is widespread, and clan rivalries have long confounded attempts to impose order on a country with no history of a functioning central government.

Al-Shabab, which rivals Nigeria-based Boko Haram as Africa’s deadliest terrorist group, poses a threat mainly to countries around the eastern Horn of Africa and Western interests there, but the group has threatened to widen its scope of operations. The size of the force is estimated to range from 7,000 to 10,000 fighters.

The West is concerned that if al-Shabab asserts more control over the country, Somalia could become a magnet for al-Qaida and other jihadis, serving as a potential hub for groups under pressure in places such as Syria, Iraq and Libya.

For now, there is no clear U.S. policy on Somalia beyond the current airstrike campaign, a small training mission and more recent diplomatic outreach.

Pham says the U.S. should find ways to aid the nascent government’s terrorism fight.

“The role of the United States is not to nation-build in Somalia. That is the responsibility of Somalis themselves,” said Pham, vice president of the Atlantic Council and director of its Africa program. “It is, however, in the interest of the United States to support – to the extent that they demonstrate an effective capacity — those national or regional entities in Somalia which stand opposed our common extremist enemies and can thus contribute to local and regional security.”

In March, President Donald Trump granted broader powers to AFRICOM, enabling the command to strike quicker against targets in Somalia.

While special operations forces operated secretly in Somalia for years, the military now openly acknowledges that elite forces have a steady mission there. The Army also recently sent regular soldiers into Mogadishu for the first time since 18 servicemembers were killed in one day during the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu.

In April, about 40 soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division began training Somali troops on logistics to bolster government’s ability to resupply its forces’ combat missions.

The move shows how the U.S. has gradually returned to Somalia more than 20 years after the Black Hawk Down debacle, which ended overt military action in the country until about five years ago.

Pham said there are signs for hope with Somalia’s current government, which is an improvement over past regimes and “deserves a chance” to prove itself.

But “the current Somali government is not without its defects and the international community needs to be very clear-eyed about them and factor in the limitations of what the government can realistically be expected to accomplish,” Pham said.

vandiver.john@stripes.com


Shabakada hobyomedia.com Kala Soco Wararkii Ugu Danbeeyay

Nagala Xiriir E-mail hobyomedia1@gmail.com

Fikradaha Akhristayaasha (0)




Wararkii Ugu Danbeyay

XOG: Maamul Goboleedyada oo diiday inay Muqdisho yimaadaan & Dagaalka Shabaab lala galayo
- Oct 21, 2017
Wasiirada amniga maamul goboleedyada Soomaaliya ayaa ku gacan seeray kulan amni oo xasaasi ah oo ...
DHAGEYSO:-Raashin Deeq Ah Oo Loo Waday Dad Shacab Ah Oo Ku Nool Degano Hoos Taga Galmudug Oo La Leexsaday
- Oct 21, 2017
Deeq raashin ah oo loogu tala galay dad ku nool magaalada caabudwaaq ayaa la ...
Daawo Madaxweyne Farmaajo oo booqday Ciidamada dagaalka loo diyaariyay
- Oct 21, 2017
Madaxweynaha Jamhuuriyadda Mudane Maxamed Cabullaahi Farmaajo ayaa gaaray xarunta tababarka ciidamada ee Jasiira, halkaas ...
Kooxdii ka soo horjeeday Madaxweyne Xaaf oo dib u dhigay Doorashada Madaxweynaha Maamulka Galmudug
- Oct 21, 2017
War Qoraal ah oo ka soo baxay Guddiga doorashada Madaxweynaha dowlad goboleedka Galmudug ayaa ...
Dhageyso :Suldaanka Cusub ee Beesha Reer Hilowle Gaar ahaan Reer Sharmaake oo Saxaafada la hadlay
- Oct 21, 2017
 Suldaanka Cusub ee Beesha Reer Hilowle Gaar ahaan Reer Sharmaake ayaa Waxa uu la ...
Dhageyso Qaylo Dhaan ka Soo yeertay Maamulka Degamada Budbud ee Galmudug
- Oct 21, 2017
Gudoomiyaha Deegaanka Budbud Ee Gobalka Mudug Maxamed Axmed Kulanayaa Ka warbixiyay Xaalka Nololeed ee ...
DHAGEYSO: Odayashii Hawiye ee soo dhisay Galmudug oo Muqdisho kulan isugu yimid iyagoo Dowladda Federaalka ku eedeeyay in ay galmudug burburinayso
- Oct 21, 2017
Magaalada Muqdisho ee caasimadda Soomaaliya maanta waxaa kulan ku yeeshay Qaar ka mid ah ...
Dhageyso Faah Faahino Tirada Guud Dhimasho iyo Dhawac Qaraxii soobe , Wada dhawacyada la geeyay iyo sababta qaraxa xogtiisa aan wali loo helin
- Oct 21, 2017
Xubno ka mid ah Golaha Wasiirada ayaa Caawa booqday Goobtii uu qaraxa ka dhacay ...
Daawo Sawirada: Wafdi ka Socad Qaramada Midobay iyo Madaxda Gobalka mudug oo Kormeer ku tagay halka ay ka socoto Hawusha Dakada Hobyo
- Oct 20, 2017
Gudoomiyaha Gobolka Mudug Cabdi Rashiid Cartan ayaa gaaray Magaalada Hobyo. Cartan ayaa halkaasi kula kulmay ...
DHAGEYSO: Ra,iisul Wasaare Khayre oo sheegay Sabtida wixii ka dambeeya dalka inuu galayo xaalad Dagaal
- Oct 20, 2017
a’iisul Wasaaraha Dowladda Federaalka Soomaaliya Xasan Cali Khayre ayaa wuxuu sheegay Dowladda Federaalka marnaba ...
Daawo Dooddii Ugu Adkayd oo Gacan qaad ku dhawaatay, Qaraxii Zoobe, Shirkii kismayo & Qodobo kale
- Oct 20, 2017
Dooddii Ugu Adkayd oo Gacan qaad ku dhawaatay,  ayaa Doodaaasi Waxa ay ku saab ...
Cadaado Way foolaneysa qoraal xiiso badan
- Oct 20, 2017
Khilaafka Madaxda dowlad goboleedka Galmudug ayaa wali ka taagan magaalada Cadaado, Madaxweyne ku xigeenka, ...
Dhageyso:-Madaxweyne Xaaf Oo Dalbaday In Uu Wadahadal La Galo Dowladda Soomaaliya isagoo ka hadlay waxa ay farmaajo isku hayaan
- Oct 20, 2017
Axmed Ducaale Geelle Xaaf, Madaxweynaha dowlad goboleedka Galmudug oo Warbaahinta shir jaraa’id  Qadka taleefonka ...
DHAGEYSO: Guddoomiye C/xaashi oo si kulul uga hadlay khilaafka DFS iyo maamul goboleedyada
- Oct 20, 2017
Cabdi Xaashi Cabillaahi Gudoomiyaha Aqalka Sare ayaa marka hore ka hadlay khilaafka Siyaasadeed ee ...
Akhriso:-Madaxweyne Farmaajo Oo Kulan Deg Deg Ah Isugu Yeeray Xildhibaanada Labada Aqal
- Oct 20, 2017
Maxamed Cabdullaahi Farmaajo Madaxweynaha Jamhuuriyadda Soomaaliya ayaa Maalinta Sabtida ah ee soo socota kulan ...
 
Advertisements