Troops Redeployed: What Is in Somalia for the US?

Published May 17th, 2022 - 08:32 GMT
Somalia USA troops
Joe Biden signed an order deploying military forces to Somalia. (Albawaba)

On Monday, US President Joe Biden signed an order redeploying troops to Somalia, attributing the decision to the growing activity of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group in the horn of Africa. 

Joe Biden's decision comes after a series of bloody attacks by Al-Shabaab across Somalia, including a major one against a military base by the African Union earlier this month, in which more than 30 Burundian soldiers were killed in the village of El-Baraf, about 150 kilometers north of Mogadishu.

However, the news prompted angry responses by anti-war Americans who deemed it another declaration of war by the United States, which has been withdrawing fighting troops from several countries around the world, including Afghanistan, and Iraq, in addition to Somalia.

In December 2020, former US President Donald Trump had ordered all American troops out of Somalia, as per the US's plan to leave foreign territories. Yet, the latest order by Joe Biden comes to reverse the Trump decision.

According to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, US troops will be relocated from other African countries, so they provide needed training and support for Somali forces as they face the Al Qaeda-affiliated group, stressing that US troops will not be part of on-ground fights against Al-Shabab.

While many Americans expressed concern over reinvolving American troops in conflicts away from the United States, others wondered if the latest US decision is based on purposes beyond Al-Shabab attacks, such as Somalia's recently unearthed oil and gas potential, at a time the US economy is suffering the consequences of spiking fuel prices, post the Russian war on Ukraine.

In February 2022, the Somali government backed from a previous initial agreement to start exploring the country's reserves of gas and oil and US-based companies, with both the President and the Prime Minister of the country deeming the US deal "illegal" and "unacceptable."


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