The US military has quietly upped the tempo of its operations in Somalia, conducting a growing number of drone strikes against Al-Qaeda affiliated Shabaab militants and other jihadists.
Since the start of the year, America has carried out 28 drone strikes in the Horn of Africa nation, with 15 of these coming since September 1, the military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) said.
That’s a big increase from last year. According to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which maintains a tally of US operations in Somalia and elsewhere, there were 15 anti-Shabaab air strikes in the whole of 2016.
The surge in activity comes as the US watches for an influx of fighters from the Islamic State group, which has lost almost all its territory in Iraq and Syria.
The US conducted a pair of drone strikes against IS in Somalia on November 3, the first time it has hit the jihadists there.
Though the Pentagon has provided few details about the strikes, spokesman Colonel Rob Manning said this week that US forces had killed 40 Shabaab and IS fighters in a series of five strikes on Somalia between November 9 and 12.
On Wednesday, AFRICOM announced a sixth strike that killed “several” Shabaab militants 60 miles (97 kilometers) northwest of the capital, Mogadishu.
The surge in activity comes after President Donald Trump in March loosened constraints on the US military in Somalia, allowing commanders to take action against suspected terrorists when they judge it is needed, without seeking specific White House approval.
The US is supporting the country’s fight against Shabaab, which has carried out a string of devastating bombings in Mogadishu and elsewhere.
In May, officials said only about 50 US troops were in Somalia providing training and advice for the Somali military and logistical support, but on Thursday the Pentagon said the figure is now at about 500.
Pentagon spokesman and Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie told reporters Thursday that he didn’t necessarily think there was a ramping-up of operations, but said the “density of targets” meant more strikes had been possible.
“There’s no particular rhythm to it, except that as (targets) become available and as we’re able to process them and vet them, we strike,” he said.
McKenzie added that officials keep a close eye on foreign fighters’ movements from Iraq and Syria, but he would not say if the Pentagon was tracking jihadists flowing from their former “caliphate” through Yemen and onto Somalia.
Aside from US forces training and advising Somalia’s young military, about 22,000 African Union troops are helping secure outlying urban areas.
AMISOM, the AU’s mission in Somalia, has said it will withdraw 1,000 troops fighting jihadists in the country this year, as part of plans to pull out all soldiers by December 2020.
Washington is worried the reduction will hamper efforts against Shabaab.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan met with Ugandan Minister of Defense Adolf Mwesige in Vancouver, Canada on the margins of a UN peacekeeping summit this week.
Uganda is the main contributor to AMISOM and has been there for a decade.
Shanahan “acknowledged those Ugandan lives lost in Somalia. He expressed his understanding of the frustration with the pace of progress in Somalia but also his confidence that progress is being made,” Shanahan’s spokeswoman Commander Sarah Higgins said.
For Jennifer Cooke, an Africa specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, this “militarization” of US policy in Somalia is concerning.
“The raining down of strikes from the sky can give major fuel to recruitment by (jihadist) groups,” she told AFP.
OpEd: Recall Of Berbera Oil Storage Facilities – A Major Milestone
Written by: Abdirahman Aideed
Majority of the public in Somaliland welcomed and aired their congratulations for the president of Somaliland (H.E. President Muse Behi) for his remarkable decision, August 2018, to recall the national oil storage facilities in Berbera from the hands of the currently run private company(ies) to remain under the management of the government.
The former president Silanyo government tabled a resolution/motion to the parliament in August 2015 to approve the privatization of the Oil Storage Facilities to private companies. The parliament objected the motion with majority ruling vote. However the government has overruled and implemented the decision with presidential degree by October 2015. A period of about three years of being run the property by the private companies, there were number of arguments in the public domain, as such arrangement tempted a number of risks to the public interest including slack quality control of the petroleum coming into the country and national security as well. This debate heated up in April 2018 when a sub-standard petrol offloaded into the storage facility that has affected many vehicles as owners suffered heavy unaccounted financial loss for repairing the damaged machines by that poor quality fuel, and that is why the public are clapping for the action of the president. In socio-economic perspective we can mark it as “the SECOND MILESTONE” for President Behi, since he come into power.
Dear reader, let me remind you also the FIRST MILESTONE for President Muse Behi Abdi, which has happen in March 2018, , when a presidential letter/order released by the Minister of Public Works, Mr. Qambi, in a press conference. The minister explained in detail the message from the president, informing all government respected offices about the suspension of any tenure awarded for the natural seaway land in Berbera (aka Raasiga). This land of about 3.5 Km into the sea waters is a natural inland that remain untouched for centuries and safeguarded as national property by all subsequent administrations that ruled Berbera in history. The Raasiga is believed to be the comparative advantage that gave Berbera to have the importance of being a strategic sea port for centuries. The Behi’s predecessor of Mr. Silanyo government awarded property ownership deeds of Raasiga to business people and individuals that had an influence in the ruling regime. President’s decision of retaining the rights of Raasiga was also commended by the public and termed as the FIRST MILESTONE for President Muse Behi accomplishments of recollecting the national properties that has been privatized by those in power, before him, to themselves as beneficiaries and their respective closer friends, relatives and bogus political allies that later vanished.
Terminating buddy based contracts in Egal International airport and ensuring such diverted incomes go directly to the national income box was also another key THIRD MILESTONE for MBA. Though there are still some government duties that are franchised to private hands to, for instance, print various national tax stamps and logos etc., the majority of the public regarded this third milestone as the beginning of empowering tax collecting departments and upholding the government reputation.
Recovering the national properties and income sources is not an easy task and there are number of reasons for making the task challenging, these will include: First, prominent figures from the former ruling executive power under H.E. Silanyo are believed to have vested interests in those privatized projects. Secondly, such finger-pointed de-facto officers conserve deep-rooted support to a major constituencies that was among Behi’s voting centers, which has contributed President Behi’ s landslide victory to come to the Power House and hence touching below the belt of those individuals will implicate Behi’s political support and jeopardize for his intentions in next term elections. Thirdly, the opposition sustained a continuous pressure, which sometimes seems embedded with number of spicy ingredients on the President to weaken his political support status. All these and plus are putting the president in a situation with least options to take drastic corrective actions in the system, and he may even sometimes opt sitting on the burning pans, despite being fiery and heatening.
Back to the topic, the Nationalised Oil Storage Complex in Berbera, implications are not easy either. This Presidential decision is coming in a situation where already other private companies are given permits and allowed to establish and construct their own oil/Fuel storages in the fuel port quarters by former Silanyo government. Envisaging such a trend it is understandable that privatised oil storage facilities constructions would ignite uneasy market competition with government owned facilities. The current allied company that was recently running the government facilities, could also demand to establish their own private Oil Storage facilities, because that path is already open, they can also use to store their imported supplies to privately owned storage facilities. This cites the scenario of the unchanged status quo of the national banks of the government in compare to the fast developed private banks., which could mean government oil storage facilities will same be only used by the government, should they not become dynamic and competitive in the market. In that regard the re-nationalized government Oil Storage facilities perhaps can only commercially survive if the government retains the right of becoming the sole proprietor of such giant facilities in the country, like the norm and practice are in the region, especially in the port of Berbera, while oil importers will only be users of the facilities. See more on this in an earlier article on the same subject http://hadhwanaag.ca/detail.aspx?id=221181
However, there are number of awaited milestones, from the new president to accomplish:
- To recall the reserve lands for the port and free zone expansion, aka Noobiyadda area, as was the plan in history.
- To implement the issued order regarding the Raasiga area
- To initiate a law, or issue presidential degree of making clear demarcation of the state properties that only the government can own, run and manage vs. what properties the public or private sector can be engaged and to what level. For instance, can an individual or private company retain the ownership of (a) a sea port? (b) An airport? (c) An Oil well? (d) A mineral well/cave? (e) City water supply? (f) Fuel Storage complex at import/export hubs? (g)Export livestock health check quarantines/Mahjars? …….just to mention few.
In my view, I think such resources and facilities can only be run by a government on behalf of the ownership of the state.
Baadigoob: Jawaabta Goobjoogayaasha Caalamiga ah
Halkan Kala eeg Maqaal uu qoray Mr. Michael Walls, Madaxa Goobjoogayaasha Caalamiga ah ee Doorashadii Madaxtooyada Somaliland ee 2017kii. Farriintan ayuu Michael ku caddaynayaa arrimo muddadan dambeba dhex wareegayay baraha bulshada iyo tuhuno lagu faafiyay muuqaal lagu baahiyay baraha bulshada oo la yidhaahdo “Baadigoob”.
Halkan kala deg Maqaalka oo Faahfaahsan:
OpEd: The Lost Intellectuals
They live in a place where the tribalism is the major dream that the leaders in their country kill to hunt what they want to find. They live in a place where the only opportunity they can mostly get is a life that is related to their heredity family prosperity or clan based opportunity that they cannot learn anything more; where an international NGO/INGO’s go after their rights, because there are no more opportunity they can get. Every new authority promise to develop somewhere or something but after they get the lead position they tend to spent their time and money many vehicles and new houses for billions of money. Where none of them is aware about even the name of their country; or the passport of their own country.
In each year they try to improve and support their society just for dream; they defeat their government on all the social media for hope; they support every one promise unity of their community and developing of their countries production because of hope; in each year of election they expect new change and support for bright future but after another few years of dream and wishes they nearly lost all their dream; and they lost like nothing until their sight is dark in every other way of dream.
The youth which are almost finish their first generation in a dream seasons; were there are more politicians but their sense of politician is not rather of having a big houses; cars and eat good food at homes; where even they do not think about how they find for it; and they are mostly from outside of the country and they send their children to the most popular university and they send their family and wives to the most beautiful countries and they just visit for rest; while they block the right of the street children. The mother that don’t sleep because of worry; gets up early in the morning or midnight around 3:am to feed her an orphan child; or the single mother that her husband lost any opportunity to have a work or don’t even consider his children anymore and busy for feeding his self-non-sense grass like goats all the day and night.
The right of the child in 20 years of age who is already lost in African coastal area and the sea animal have hunted him; most beautiful African girls that lost their most important body in the African coastal and their hunger poor mothers faces is unknown because of sadness and worry; which has many of them effected with diseases in the coastal area; all this does not make any sense to our politicians until his children are safe and in beautiful country that a leader of his age, mind and power to make it a country that everybody likes it; a youth have a leader who campaign to support them and improve their future life but cannot even have any dream to step forward; no more foot print; no real dream; a youth which have a coastal area of more than 360 feet who do not know how to live for it and have no power to learn and cannot across where their families are from because of tribalism and lack of leadership.
A youth which cannot learn any more about government because of their heredity leadership tribalism; a youth which are just separate because of where their families are from and cannot make a change any more; a youth which their maturity is after 30 years old and death for worry diseases and do not know where to go and what to do even in that age; a youth which their intellectuals got mad after more think and lack of leadership; a youth which have the most powerful mentally and physically but cannot do any more because of leadership situation; a youth which have not any role model; a youth which have no motivation; a youth which cannot realize their dream; a youth which are ready to change their people, country, and mind but have not any support; a youth which have no power to eliminate to bring new ideas; a youth who live in a country while the leaders are the business men’s, doctors, telecommunications, and everybody of their families have a department of the authority without any humanity.
The question doesn’t the street child is citizen? Why educative citizen cannot do a work that an international citizen take a lot of money in the country? Why the community are separate and not support each other? Isn’t that because of selfish campaign tribalism? Why they teach the others out of their nation where they from I mean which clan they are? Is it the leadership? If it’s not the leading why the religion make equal brotherhood on all the different individuals that become Muslim when the prophet (csw) was spreading the religion? If it is not then why all American people mention that they are just American from that city? Why and why?
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