we will recall the attacks by Mohammedans on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the aborted attack on the White House, eighteen years ago, on September 11, 2001. Today, it’s time to consider a backwater in the Global War on Terror that has the possibility of more US involvement. There are more, but we’ll focus on Somalia today.
During the Trump Administration, the US has inserted itself into a small war that has not reached the pages of mainstream news. Maybe if they were less focused on removing the president from office we would read more about AFRICOM’s engagement in Somalia.
Barack Obama left us a gift – Somali immigrant enclaves in Minnesota which are pro-jihadi by in large with enough numbers to elect Ilhan Omar to Congress from the 5th District. I don’t know if the campaign fund fraud, marriage fraud, and immigration fraud are sufficient to get her incarcerated and removed from office. Thanks Barack. Part of his enduring legacy.
Context and Precedence
You can call it an extension of the Global War on Terror if you will. Who can forget The Battle of Mogadishu
(1993) and Operation Gothic Serpent? The activities of Task Force Ranger were made into the movie Blackhawk Down
(2001), a film by Ridley Scott. There was another component of that war, detailed in a piece by the Washington Post
The CIA sent advance teams to Somalia to assess conditions on the ground before the troops arrived. The first American killed in Somalia, in fact, was a CIA operative whose vehicle hit a mine outside Bardera on December 23, 1992. “The U.S. military was going into Somalia knowing nothing about Somalia,” William R. Piekney, then chief of the CIA’s Africa division, said in a recent interview. “We were their eyes and ears on the ground.”
The reporting by the Post and Mr. Loeb were first rate. John Spinelli, the Deputy Chief of Station, now retired and mentioned in the piece was shot three times in the back with an AK-47. The CIA decided to let him die rather than blow operational cover. General Garrison, commanding the US Military operation saw it differently and diverted a US Military aircraft to air lift John to Germany, saving his life. John, his wife and his family are friends of mine.
That was then, this is now, and we’re back, with a small footprint. But back all the same.
The enemy is Al Shabaab. Al Shabaab is allied with Al Qaeda. There are many branches of Al Qaeda and it’s closest with AQAP (Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula. Some pronouncements from Al Shabaab indicate that its territorial goals are not the entire planet, but only East Africa. Be that as it may, it’s a threat to the US backed government currently in power in Mogadishu.
The Somalia National Army and police forces with assistance from African Union, Kenyan, and Ethiopian militaries, continue to wage a counter insurgency campaign against Al Shabaab. Whether or not that has been effective is debatable. Extreme poverty and the propensity for Mohammedans to want jihad in general means that as soon as you think it’s dead, it’s not.
The United States continues to be involved indirectly in combating Al Shabaab by supporting regional forces with military advisors. However, without a clear-cut purpose and end goal, the United States risks mission creep and potential long-term commitments.
The American team that remains was first organized in 2003 under AFRICOM. The presence in Mogadishu has been comprised of the Central Intelligence Agency, Naval Special Warfare Command and elements of the Joint Special Operations Command.
In 2011 Barack Obama authorized a drone strike campaign in Somalia targeting Al Shabaab. This was a shift from the Bush administration’s focus on anti-piracy and general intelligence collection.
Under the Trump Administration, drone strikes have continued and AFRICOM/JSOC has become more involved with Somalia. The unofficial story is that the US has been engaged in combat and sustained casualties but not fatalities. Essentially, US advisors accompany local forces that occasionally lead to kinetic action. There’s a tight lid on activities in Somalia. In fact, all of AFRICOM actions are very closely held.
Casualties have occurred in Somalia, Kenya, Chad and Cameroon according to Retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Donald Bolduc formerly in charge of special operations in Africa.
Why are US Military forces in Somalia?
Is there a vital US national interest in Somalia?
Is it possible to defeat Al Shabaab in Somalia? (short of nuking the place, friend and foe alike and turning it into a sea of radioactive glass)
What size force would be necessary to defeat Al Shabaab?
What would “winning” look like?
The African Union has announced that it will be withdrawing its military forces in 2020. Will the US remain? What would its mission be if it did remain?
If it sounds disturbingly familiar, it should. We avoided the mess in Yemen, and we should consider withdrawing the US Military (except the Marines who guard the embassy in Mogadishu). If the government falls to Al Shabaab, then it falls. What in Mogadishu is worth a tiny paper cut on one American finger?
*Apologies for misidentifying Omar as being from “Michigan – 5th District”. It is Minnesota and was corrected above.