Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pirio: Military Offensive against Al Shabaab in Somalia

Gregory Alonso Pirio writes in a guest column for Informed Comment:

With the world’s eyes riveted to the unfolding civil conflict in Libya, little notice is being given to a major offensive underway in Somalia to defeat the forces of the radical Al-Shabaab movement. Al Shabaab — a coalition of Somali forces supported by hundreds of foreign “jihadist” fighters – has been in control of much of southern and central Somalia, including key sectors of the capital, Mogadishu. Al Shaabab is worrisome to the international community and neighboring states as it was co-founded by Al-Qaeda-trained Somali operatives and has publicly pledged allegiance to Osama Bin Laden. Dozens of young Somalis from the diaspora in Europe and the United States have gone to Somalia to join the Al-Shabaab-inspired jihad, and some of the Somali Americans have been implicated in terrorist plots within the United States, and others with plots in Europe, Australia and South Africa.
In recent days, the intense fighting in Mogadishu between African Union Peacekeepers and Al Shabaab militiamen has left 53 peacekeepers dead. Most of the dead are soldiers from Burundi which has contributed 3,000 soldiers to the peacekeeping contingent. Ugandans comprise the remaining 5,000 members. It is not altogether clear where the UN-sanction African Union “peacekeepers” get their mandate to engage in a major offensive against Al Shabaab, as the UN had rejected the idea of expanding the peacekeeping mandate to include pre-emptive actions.
This push against Al Shabaab has been in the works for some time, awaiting the deployment of thousands of recently-trained soldiers of the UN-recognized Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and fighters of the “Sufi” Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a militia that is opposed to Al Shabaab. The TFG forces have been trained in neighboring Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti with support from the European Union. Elements of the Ahlu Sunna militia have trained in Ethiopia. The apparent strategy behind the offensive is to spread the Al Shabaab insurgents thin and attack them in several places at once, according to security analysts.
The political uncertainties in North Africa (Egypt, Libya and Tunisia) and in Yemen reportedly hastened the launching of the anti-Al-Shabaab offensive. African Union officials fear the cutoff of Libyan and Egyptian funding for its operations, and the African Union and policy makers in the region are quietly expressing their concern that more radical Islamic Arab fighters and resources might flow to Al Shabaab as extremist groups seek to exploit the political uncertainties in North Africa and Yemen caused by the recent uprisings. So, there has been a decision to act against Al Shabaab sooner rather than later. African Union officials are hoping that the United States and the European Union which have already contributed well in excess of $400 million to the African Union mission in Somalia, will increase their contributions to make up for the likely decline in Egyptian and Libyan financial support to the African Union.
As part of the offensive, the Ethiopian military has once again deployed its forces inside Somalia – this time in support of the TFG forces and the allied Alhu Sunna militia. The Ethiopians are supporting Alhu Sunna in its actions in the Gedo region where Somalia borders Kenya and Ethiopia and against an Al Shabaab stronghold in Elbur District in central Somalia. There Ethiopia forces have reportedly set up camps. Ethiopian forces are also reportedly supporting TFG forces in their effort to retake the strategic town of Beletdweyne near the Ethiopian border. Somali news sources report that pro-TFG forces are making headway against Al-Shabaab in the Gedo Region and in Mogadishu.
Al Shabaab spokesmen have threatened Kenya with terrorist attacks for its support of the TFG and Ethiopian forces, and the Kenyans take Al Shabaab threats seriously, placing Kenyan security forces on high alert. In recent days, Kenyan security forces arrested two Somali Americans and a Pakistani, concerned that they came into Kenya to carry out the Al Shabaab threats. With its robust tourism industry, Kenya’s economy is very vulnerable to the after effects of terrorism, and Al Shabaab has shown its willingness to commit terrorist acts in neighboring states. In 2010, Al Shabaab set off a series of bombs in Kampala, Uganda, during World Cup viewing parties that left 76 civilians dead. Because of its vulnerabilities, Kenya has historically avoided an aggressive stance toward radical organizations inside Somalia. Kenya acknowledges that it sealed its border with Somalia to prevent Al Shabaab fighters from finding safe haven inside Kenya. However, it denies Al-Shabaab claims that it allows the Ethiopian military and pro-TFG forces to transit through its territory.
Ultimately, there is unlikely to be a military solution to the Somali conflict. The great curse of Somalia is that it lies near the oil-rich Middle East and all sorts of interested parties have played their hands to ensure that the country remains unstable for geopolitical reasons. Since the collapse of the Somali state in 1991, these state and non-state actors have included Al Qaeda, Iran, Sudan, Eritrea and a shadowy network of financial backers and charities in Middle East countries. As a result, arms, money and fighters will likely continue to flow in to support one faction or another of Al Shabaab. So, if defeated, factions of Al Shabaab can regroup and find the little support that they need to keep up their insurgency.
Perhaps the best that can be hoped for is that if militarily-weakened, factions of Al Shabaab will go to the negotiating table to pursue power-sharing arrangements. So, the current military offensive underway against Al Shabaab might create conditions leading to a political settlement

Gregory Alonso Pirio holds a Ph.D. in African History from UCLA and is a consultant and author of African Jihad.
Post a Comment

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

About Us

The Foundation is dedicated to networking like-minded Somalis opposed to the terrorist insurgency that is plaguing our beloved homeland and informing the international public at large about what is really happening throughout the Horn of Africa region.

Blog Archive

We Are Winning the War on Terrorism in Horn of Africa

The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, the threat is real. They distort Islam. They kill man, woman and child; Christian and Hindu, Jew and Muslim. They seek to create a repressive caliphate. To defeat this enemy, we must understand who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for.

Terror Free Somalia Foundation