USA sending 'dozens' more troops to Somalia

Apr 15, 2017, 05:42

As part of its long-fought shadow war against al-Shabab militants, the USA has carried out commando raids and drone assassinations there (with the latter markedly increasing in 2015-2016).

And that's not all: the U.S. has announced April 14 that, for the first time since 1994, it's deploying "dozens" of regular troops in Somalia to help the ongoing fight against al-Shabab, al-Qaeda's jihadist ally.

The troops arrived in their dozens in Somalia's capital city on April 2 from the 101st Airborne Division in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, arrived in Mogadishu on April 2 at the request of the Somali government, the USA military official told VOA.

"United States Africa Command will conduct various security cooperation and/or security force assistance events in Somalia in order to assist our allies and partners", U.S. Africa Command spokesman Pat Barnes told VOA on April 14.

"It gives them the tools to help themselves", DeLeon said.

Somali's president vowed Wednesday that his administration will eradicate the terrorist militant group al-Shabab across Somalia within two years, and he offered its leaders peace talks.

CNN reported on March 30, citing the Pentagon, that President Trump had approved an increase in the frequency of counterterrorism strikes in Somalia.

Who are Somalia's al-Shabab?

Investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, however, has argued that al-Shabab emerged as blow-back for USA policy there. Hundreds of American troops now rotate through makeshift bases in Somalia, the largest military presence since the United States pulled out of the country after the "Black Hawk Down" battle in 1993.

The Somali government reportedly requested that the US deploy additional troops to help it fight Al-Shabaab. He also declined to comment on whether or not they are responsible for operating drones, saying only that they "are not tasked with directly engaging enemy forces".

A small number of US Special operations forces are already there to provide counter terrorism support for local forces fighting the al Qaeda affiliate that has been underway for many years. At about the same moment, the New York Times revealed an imminent Obama administration plan to deem al-Shabab "to be part of the armed conflict that Congress authorized against the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to senior American officials", strengthening President-elect Donald Trump's authority to carry out missions there in 2017 and beyond.

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