President Biden Redeploys Troops to Somalia
President Biden’s Administration recently made the decision to send US troops back to the East African nation of Somalia. The redeployment is a reversal of a decision made by the Trump Administration in 2020 to withdraw 700 troops from the country. The purpose of the deployment is to assist the Somali government’s fight against the militant group Al-Shabaab. The troops will train and provide support to Somali forces.
The redeployment of troops into Somalia was at the request of the Pentagon as Al-Shabaab has made territorial gains against the Somali government. The militant organization had been pushed back into secluded areas of the country with the assistance of peace-keeping troops. “The decision to reintroduce a persistent presence was made to maximize the safety and effectiveness of our forces and enable them to provide more efficient support to our partners,” said Adrienne Watson, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council.
President Biden’s Resolution on this…
According to reports, President Biden has granted a request by the Pentagon that specific leaders of Al-Shabaab be targeted. The troops being deployed would be in addition to the 19,000 African Union peace-keeping troops in the country. The deployment of the troops was criticized in some quarters, with most of the criticism aiming at the strategy being used. The United States’ use of armed force against Al-Shabaab had been ongoing for 15 years. “Sending in more U.S. troops and honing in on a small number of senior Al Shabaab leadership is narrow in its aims and by definition cannot end the broader military fight absent more concerted and effective diplomatic and political efforts by the United States and others,” said Sarah Harrison. Harrison is a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group and is the lead author of a report detailing the United States’ policy when it comes to Somalia.
Al-Shabaab, a militant organization with ties to Al-Qaeda, is estimated to be made up of 5,000 to 10,000 members. Labeled by several governments and organizations as a terrorist group, it has been a persistent problem in Somalia, with the militants once gaining control of the country. According to reports, their influence has waned in recent times but they still control large parts of the country and appear to be plotting a resurgence. The militant organization demands revenue from citizens in the areas it controls, the same way the government would. According to reports the organization directly or indirectly taxes every single person in the country.
Somalia recently held elections with Hassan Sheikh Mohamud stepping into a leadership role as the newly elected president. It will be the second time Mohamud serves as the President of Somalia. He was voted out of office in the presidential election five years ago. The election of Mohamud was not carried out in the typical fashion of citizens lining up and voting. The president was instead elected by members of parliament and senators. News of his ascent to the presidency once again was welcomed with cheering and the firing of guns. Somalia is currently in a treacherous position with a worsening security situation as well as one of the worst droughts ever experienced in the country.