Somalia: US to step up offensive against Al-Shabaab

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The US is gearing up to increase its military presence in Somalia, as it looks to stop the spread of Al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups in the country.

According to various reports, President Donald Trump’s administration is ready to expand its military involvement in the Horn of Africa nation, following recommendations from the Pentagon.

 

Current strategy not working

The US has been ramping up its efforts in Somalia for some time now. The Obama administration scaled up drone attacks in the country during its final years and it’s believed there are now 50 US commandos helping Somali forces to fight Al-Shabaab and other Islamic groups.

In the last year alone, the US has launched 14 air strikes in Somalia, killing a number of Al-Shabaab’s leading officials.

Despite increased military action from the US, Al-Shabaab has managed to reestablish its presence in Somalia, staging a series of small-scale attacks in the capital in recent years. The combined effort of Somali, US and African Union (AU) forces has failed to defeat the terrorist group – and the AU is set to withdraw by 2020.

 

The war on terror

Back in 2008, Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign was filled with promises to end the US’ gruelling conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nine years later and the country’s war on terror now also includes military action in Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan – in addition to ongoing action in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Meanwhile, terrorist groups continue to spread across the Middle East and Africa. Somalia’s militant problems no longer end with Al-Shabaab either. A growing number of ISIS-loyal groups and fighters are emerging in the country, posing a new kind of threat to Africa and the international community.

 

Featured image: By SGT Kevin Thomas – http://www.defenseimagery.mil; VIRIN: DD-SD-00-00790, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9889339

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.