The American army will return to Somalia.

Joe Biden has indeed decided to re-establish “a small military presence” there to fight the Shebab jihadists affiliated with Al-Qaeda, according to a senior American official who requested anonymity.

The President of the United States thus approves a request from the Pentagon, which considered the rotation system decided by Donald Trump at the end of his mandate to be too risky and ineffective.

Nearly 18 months after the withdrawal of some 750 American soldiers who were deployed in Somalia, “less than 500” American special forces soldiers will again be stationed in the country.

The senior American official, on the other hand, did not specify the date of their arrival in this country bruised by the Shebab insurrection and threatened by famine due to a drought of historic proportions, simply indicating that it "will be necessary a little time ".

Risky rotations

Donald Trump had ordered in December 2020, just before the end of his mandate, the withdrawal of American troops from Somalia, authorizing only rotational missions.

However, these comings and goings represented a risk for the soldiers and wasted their time, forcing them to transport their equipment at the start of each rotation and to send it back at the end of their stay, with, in addition, periods of absence between rotations. .

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin "deemed this model of episodic missions to be inefficient and increasingly unsustainable," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

The senior American official suggested to him that Joe Biden's decision had more to do with the security of American forces, than with the election on Sunday of a new Somali president, Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud.

Forces “to train, advise”

The two American officials also refrained from specifying which soldiers would be sent, but the personnel going so far to Somalia belong to the American special forces.

They specified that they were already positioned in neighboring countries and that this deployment would not change the American military posture in East Africa.

The Pentagon spokesman, however, assured that there was no question of American forces being directly engaged in fighting against the Al-Shabaab Islamists.

"These forces have been and will continue to be used to train, advise and equip partner (Somali) forces, to give them the means they need to disrupt, weaken and monitor Al-Shabaab."

"Our forces are not currently engaged directly in combat operations and they will not be in the future," said John Kirby.


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