Joe Biden plans to deploy 500 troops to Somalia to fight al-Shabab, escalating America’s long-term counterterrorism mission in the East African nation without defining a clear exit plan.
Two hours after The New York Times’ CHARLIE SAVAGE and ERIC SCHMITT reported on the decision, a senior administration official told journalists the troops will help train Somali forces and offer intelligence support, but the ultimate goal is “to try to dislodge Shabab from what is a significant amount of territory that it at least purports to govern and hold.”
Financial Times (Archived): US to establish ‘persistent’ military presence in Somalia.
Peter Pham, a former senior US official in Africa and distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council, said he was not convinced of the case for a US military presence in Somalia. He cautioned against an open-ended commitment, saying the country was not a reliable partner.
The US, Pham added, must have clear objectives and a thorough plan to meet them. “Just because the Somalis have had an election process over the weekend marred by lack of popular participation and with a great deal of vote-buying and have replaced a leader utterly unacceptable to the western community with one who is marginally better, doesn’t mean the conditions exist to have a successful partnership,” he said.
U.S. Troops are there to just "help train" Somali forces. Uh huh. Because this style of strategy worked out so well for the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The "No More Forever Wars" crowd is, unsurprisingly, silent. I don't see them occupying freeway bridges or marching through cities with their usual unfurled "NO MORE WARS" signs.