Washington — President Biden has signed an order permitting the military to redeploy hundreds of special operations forces within Somalia — 700 ground troops stationed there, according to four officials. Familiar with the issue, which has significantly overturned President Donald J. Trump’s decision to withdraw almost all of his.
In addition, Biden has approved the Pentagon’s request to permanent authorities targeting about 12 suspicious leaders of al-Shabaab, a Somali terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaeda, three officials said. rice field. Since Biden’s inauguration, airstrikes have been primarily aimed at protecting partner troops facing imminent threats.
Together, Mr. Biden’s decision, explained by the authorities on anonymous terms, will revive a free American counter-terrorism operation equivalent to a slow-burning war through the three governments. This move contrasts with his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan last year.It’s time to end the eternal war.. “
Mr Biden approved Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin’s proposal in early May, officials said. In a statement, National Security Council spokeswoman Adrian Watson acknowledged the move and said it would enable “a more effective fight against al-Shabaab.”
“The decision to reintroduce a lasting presence was made to maximize the safety and effectiveness of our army and enable them to provide more efficient support to our partners. “She said.
Watson did not indicate the number of troops the army would deploy. However, two people familiar with the matter said that this number is limited to about 450. It replaces a short-stay system of US troops training and advising Somali and African Union troops since Trump published Watson’s account. “A sudden decision to withdraw.”
The Biden administration’s strategy in Somalia is to mitigate the threat from al-Shabaab by curbing its ability to plan and execute complex operations, senior government officials said. This includes a deadly attack on a US Air Force base in Manda Bay, Kenya in January 2020.
In particular, stakeholders reduce the “threat to acceptable levels” for small leaders, especially those who develop parcels outside the Somali border or who are suspected of having special skills. Said that it was aimed at.
Following Mr. Trump’s deal with the Taliban, he was asked to square the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and a return to heavier involvement in Somalia last year, and government officials said the two countries showed significantly different complications. Insisted.
For one thing, the Taliban have not expressed their intention to attack the United States, and other militant groups in Afghanistan have not controlled important territories for conducting activities and plans, officials said.
Given that al-Shabaab seems to pose a more serious threat, the administration has concluded that more direct involvement in Somalia makes sense, officials said. This strategy confuses some Shabab leaders who are considered a direct danger to “us, and our interests and our allies,” and “on the ground so that we can work with our partners.” Focus on maintaining a “very carefully cabined presence”.
Intelligence officials estimate that al-Shabaab has approximately 5,000 to 10,000 members.Officially a group Pledged loyalty In 2012, we aim to impose a radical version of the chaotic Islam of the Horn of Africa on Al Qaeda.
Al-Shabaab fights primarily in Somalia and occasionally attacks neighboring countries, but some members He was said to have the ambition to attack the United States.. December 2020, Manhattan Prosecutor Shabab operatives accused by Kenya have been charged with attempting to attack an American city on September 11. He was arrested in the Philippines when he trained to fly a plane.
Biden’s decision spans several months, led by White House’s best counterterrorism adviser, Elizabeth Sherwood Randall, on whether to accept the Pentagon’s plans, maintain the status quo, or further reduce involvement in Somalia. Following deliberation between ministries.
In evaluating these options, Ms. Sherwood-Randall and other top security personnel Visited Somalia and nearby Kenya and DjiboutiBoth will host the US Army in October.
The administration’s deliberations on whether and how to return to Somalia more firmly Political chaos there, Because the fledgling government factions fought each other and the elections were delayed.However, Somalia recently elected a new parliament, with leaders on weekends. Elected a new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohammad decides to return to powerLed the country from 2012 to 2017.
The next official on Hassan’s team said the move was “in line with the new president’s oath planning an attack on al-Shabaab,” so it was a timely and step in the right direction.
For months, U.S. commanders have warned that the short-term training missions conducted by U.S. special forces in Somalia have not worked well since Mr. Trump withdrew most U.S. forces in January 2021. I did. They say that the morale and abilities of partner units are declining.
Every eight-week cycle, American trainers spend about three people without a relationship with partner forces, most often in and out, as Americans are either not in Somalia or focused on transportation, according to government officials. It was a dangerous part. Other officials have also characterized systems that rotate in and out, rather than being permanently deployed there, as expensive and inefficient.
“Our regular involvement (also known as commuting) has created new challenges and risks for our army,” said General Stephen J. Townsend, Pentagon’s Head of Africa Command. Told the Senate Military Commission March. “In my opinion, it’s not effective.”
Intelligence officials have been on the alert for the past few years about al-Shabaab, which has expanded Somalia’s territory. In the final year of his term, the Obama administration regarded al-Shabaab as part of a US-approved armed conflict against the perpetrators of the September 11 attack.
The pause should have taken only a few months while the Biden administration considered how the targeting rules worked in both the Trump and Obama administrations and devised their own.But despite it having Almost completed the proposed exchange Described as a hybrid of the previous two versions, its final approval is stalled in the face of competing national security policy issues.
As part of that, the army sought to continue training, advising, and supporting the Somali and African Union forces without being permanently present on the ground, but gradually increased the length of their short stays. Visiting Somalia in FebruaryGeneral Townsend warned of the threat that al-Shabaab poses to the region.
“Al-Shabaab is al-Qaeda’s largest, wealthiest and most deadly party, responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people, including Americans,” he said. “Destructing al-Shabaab’s malice requires leadership from Somalia and continued support from members of the Djibouti, Kenya, United States and other international communities.”
Abdi Latif Dahir Contributed to the report from Nairobi.