US Sending Troops To Somalia For First Time Since 1994

Posted April 16, 2017

Barned added that the troops had arrived in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on April 2 from the Fort Campbell army base in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and were carrying out a train-and-equip mission expected to continue until the end of September.

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

The mission of the 101st Airborne soldiers will be different from that of the current unit operating in Somalia, but there will be some overlap, VOA reports.

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The United States is deploying "a few dozen" troops to Somalia to assist the national army and conduct unspecified security operations, a USA military spokeswoman said Saturday.

Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Rudy DeLeon, who is now a senior fellow with the leftist Center for American Progress, told VOA in an interview that the US team will help instill the "professionalism and discipline" that the local force can use to create the terms for security.

"It gives them the tools to help themselves", DeLeon said in an interview with VOA. We say to the leadership of al-Shabab that you have been fighting for more than 10 years and still you can not overthrow the government, which has global support and military power.

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CNN reported on March 30, citing the Pentagon, that President Trump had approved an increase in the frequency of counterterrorism strikes in Somalia. As he was enjoying the "most beautiful" chocolate cake with Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago on April 6, he told the Chinese president that the USA had fired missiles at a Syrian airfield, following Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons attack on his own people. US military personnel were withdrawn from Somalia shortly afterwards. On December 5th, President Obama issued his latest biannual "war powers" letter to Congress which noted that the military had not only "conducted strikes in defense of USA forces" there, but also in defense of local allied troops.

A report in The New American back in 2015 quoted information from the online journal Foreign Policy (FP) exposing an expanding USA military presence in Somalia, including not only drone bases but boots on the ground.

When commanders want to push for fighting in Somalia, al-Shabaab is presented as either ISIS or al-Qaeda affiliated, though in practice the group is largely an independent Islamist operation with a similar ideology. "No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare".

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