President Joe Biden is cranking back up the US government’s war in Somalia. Previously, President Donald Trump brought some reprieve in US military action in the African nation. But, intervention reducing developments in US foreign policy tend to face much pressure to end.
In a Monday article at the New York Times, Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt relate some of the new developments in US military action in Somalia. The article begins with the following reporting of key developments:
President Biden has signed an order authorizing the military to once again deploy hundreds of Special Operations forces inside Somalia – largely reversing the decision by President Donald J. Trump to withdraw nearly all 700 ground troops who had been stationed there, according to four officials familiar with the matter.
In addition, Mr. Biden has approved a Pentagon request for standing authority to target about a dozen suspected leaders of Al Shabab, the Somali terrorist group that is affiliated with Al Qaeda, three of the officials said. Since Mr. Biden took office, airstrikes have largely been limited to those meant to defend partner forces facing an immediate threat.
Together, the decisions by Mr. Biden, described by the officials on the condition of anonymity, will revive an open-ended American counterterrorism operation that has amounted to a slow-burn war through three administrations. The move stands in contrast to his decision last year to pull American forces from Afghanistan, saying that “it is time to end the forever war.”
In Afghanistan, Biden did follow through on Trump’s declared plan to remove troops, though after months of delay. Biden then pushed war against Russia, pointing to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a reason. That war has the clear potential to be much more costly in terms of both lives lost and US monetary expenditures than was the Afghanistan War.
In May of 2016, Ron Paul Institute Executive Director Daniel McAdams was asking some important questions concerning why the US military was then fighting in Somalia. He wrote:
For example, most Americans either had not heard or had not stopped to scratch their heads upon hearing that US Special Forces in Somalia ordered airstrikes yesterday while operating alongside Ugandan forces who were battling Al-Shabaab militants. Why is the US backing up the Ugandans? Why are the Ugandans in Somalia in the first place? Is Al-Shabaab such a clear and present threat to the United States that the president was forced to send US troops there without notifying Congress? No one asks these questions (aside from us, of course). The US has been using drones to strike at Al-Shabaab, a small group with no international ambitions, for a number of years, but that too is seldom reported in the media. It’s just normal that US troops are on the ground in Somalia. After all, they are only “advisors” – until they call in airstrikes, that is.
It looks like it is time to consider these and similar questions again as US military members move into Somalia.
Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.