Under cover of "complicated counter-terrorism operations" against the Shebab group, US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order for the redeployment of US troops in Somalia, more than a year and a half after their withdrawal decided by Donald Trump.
It will be Somalia that will pay for Afghanistan. Eighteen months after the withdrawal of the last American troops stationed in Somalia, and two days after the election of new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, the Americans have decided to once again deploy their soldiers on the territory of the East African country. East.
The decision was taken unilaterally by the President of the United States Joe Biden, under pressure from the general staff of his country's armies, without any request from the Somali state having been made.
A direct interference, even if, as the New York Times points out which revealed the American decision, "Somalia has elected a new president, but the terrorists have the real power".
An exaggerated observation but not that far from the truth because, even if the terrorists do not hold power, the country has been divided for decades and has suffered frequent terrorist attacks for at least 15 years.
Read: Officially gone from Somalia, Africom bombs a road
Either way, a figure in the US military is at the center of this case. Afghan-born four-star general Stephen Townsend, head of US Africa Command (Africom). Townsend was the originator of the entire American military force in Africa. He stood out for his meteoric rise, but also for his radical decisions, often criticized by the American Congress.
He has also often been criticized for his role in "training putschists in Africa", being one of the architects of the American exercise Flintlock.
Wondering why USA 🇺🇸 is redeploying Troops back in Somalia 🇸🇴.. Here is the Reason. Somalia has the Potential to become a significant Oil 🛢 & Gas Country. Fighting Terrorism is a decoy & Lame Reason given by Biden.
I hope we won't End Up with a Bad Deal like Equatorial Guinea. pic.twitter.com/YoekR5PTCl
— Habib Osman (@habibosman5) May 16, 2022
Somalia, consolation prize for a power eternally at war
At the beginning of Donald Trump's term in 2017, the former US president legislated the right of US military officers abroad to decide to carry out bombing attacks without having to obtain permission from the Pentagon.
A right that Joe Biden has suspended since taking office. Towards the end of his mandate, Trump also ordered the withdrawal of the 700 American troops deployed in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
Except that Biden seems to regret the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, now governed by the Taliban. And on the other hand, communication between Africom and the Biden White House has not been the smoothest. Townsend was used to playing a political role in Somalia, and more generally in East Africa generally.
If Biden decides today, therefore, to relaunch military operations in Somalia, he does well in spite of himself with one stone: politically, this decision is explained. But diplomatically, vis-à-vis Somalia, it is much less understandable.
The USA is sending 1000 forces to Somalia. Just a day after Farmajo is replaced 🤔. This is funny. They will not 'engage' in direct combat, but will advise SNA..This must be a move to curb Turkey. The losers will be Gorgor. Let's see what happens #TRUMP2024 #HandsOffSomalia
— Ina Garaad (@MsGaraad) May 16, 2022
“The decision to reintroduce a persistent military presence was made to maximize the security and effectiveness of our forces and enable them to provide more effective support to our partners,” said National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson. (NSC) American.
The official did not specify the number of soldiers deployed. However, according to an NYT source, it will be 450 special forces personnel with air support, and likely with a deployment of troops from neighboring Kenya.
According to Sarah Harrison, an analyst with the International Crisis Group (ICG), and editor of the next report on American policy in Somalia, "the United States has tried to rein in Al-Shabaab with military force for 15 years, and it does not didn't work. It might even have prolonged the war in Somalia.”
Africom leader, close to Somali power, Stephen Townsend, said: "The Al-Qaeda group is the most equipped and deadliest affiliate of Al-Qaeda, responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent people, including Americans ". "The periodic nature of our engagement (in Somalia, editor's note), has created new challenges and risks for our troops," says the American general, known to be a warmonger.
The American presidency, still surprised by the leak of its decision, has still not communicated on the subject. As for the Somali government, it is still getting organized because President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, from the opposition, is still awaiting his inauguration. On the Somali side, if the state accepts this new American intervention, it will undoubtedly be a last decision by Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo or Prime Minister Hussein Roble. But who knows who is really in power in Mogadishu…
Read: Somalia: have the Americans abandoned Farmaajo?
(re: Somalia reposition)
My view is that our periodic engagement – commuting to work – has caused new challenges and risks for our troops. My assessment is that it is not effective, not efficient, and puts our troops at greater risk.
— Gen. Stephen Townsend pic.twitter.com/3BlGjjGGDf
- US AFRICOM (@USAfricaCommand) March 15, 2022