Somalia says it has resumed diplomatic ties with Kenya

Somalia says it has resumed diplomatic ties with Kenya

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Elimination of ‘qualified immunity’ a stumbling point in policing reform talks

Quiz: Can you name the TV show from its popular theme song?

‘Understand the threat’: Efforts to ban critical race theory in schools meet rocky reception

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

Law used against Trump allies now at center of Giuliani probe

SPONSORED CONTENT

Commentary

Charles Hurt

Pinning the ‘California Dreaming’ on Caitlyn Jenner

Mike Pence

Ending the tyranny of cancel culture and building an agenda that will win back America

Scott Walker

Ending cancel culture’s reign on college campuses

View all

Question of the Day

Should Donald Trump be back on Facebook?

Question of the Day

 
Yes, it's his right to post

 
Maybe, if he follows the rules

 
No, he should stay banned

 
I don't care about Facebook

  View results

Story TOpics

Print

By HASSAN BARISE

Associated Press

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Mogadishu, Somalia (AP) – Somalia says it has resumed diplomatic ties with neighboring Kenya after severing relations late last year.

A government statement on Thursday thanked Qatar for its mediation efforts. Kenya‘s presidency tweeted only that President Uhuru Kenyatta had received a “special message” from Qatar’s leader delivered by the foreign minister’s special envoy for “mediation of conflict resolution.”

Somalia had accused Kenya of interfering in its affairs as the Horn of Africa nation struggled with talks on how to carry out a national election – a vote that has been delayed since early February. Somalia‘s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed recently caused an uproar by approving a controversial two-year term extension. That move brought extraordinary scenes of rival groups of soldiers firing on each other in the capital, Mogadishu. The president later backed off.

TOP STORIES

Deterrent against China: Palau invites U.S. military to build on remote islands

Democrats worried Arizona audit may uncover fraud

Florida Gov. DeSantis signs election reform bill, restricts mail-in balloting

Somalia‘s federal government had accused Kenya of meddling in politics in the country’s south, where Kenya has soldiers fighting the al-Shabab extremist group.

Somalia’s new statement said it and Kenya were resuming ties on the basis of “non-interference in each other’s affairs.”

Among other issues that have caused tensions have been Kenya’s warm relationship with Somalia’s breakaway territory of Somaliland and a dispute over waters off the countries’ coastline.

Kenya move to shutter refugee camps puts Somalis at risk

Fate of Somalis who call refugee camp home hangs in balance

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Elimination of ‘qualified immunity’ a stumbling point in policing reform talks

Quiz: Can you name the TV show from its popular theme song?

‘Understand the threat’: Efforts to ban critical race theory in schools meet rocky reception

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

Law used against Trump allies now at center of Giuliani probe

SPONSORED CONTENT

Vietnam 2021

SPONSORED CONTENT

Commentary

Kay C. James

Biden’s non-infrastructure infrastructure bill

Ronald Kessler

Joe Biden and Jimmy Carter, two of the phoniest presidents in American history

Cal Thomas

Differences between Joe Biden and Tim Scott

View all

Question of the Day

Should the government start paying people to get a COVID-19 vaccination?

Question of the Day

 
Yes, get more people vaccinated

 
No, people should do it for free

 
Maybe, that might convince me

 
No amount of $ would convince me

  View results

Story TOpics

Hundreds of thousands of Somalis at the Dadaab camp entered a voluntary repatriation program in 2017 and 2018, but some born and raised there know no other home. (Associated Press) more >

Print

By Tonny Onyulo – Special to The Washington Times

Sunday, May 2, 2021

DADAAB REFUGEE CAMP, KenyaAbdalla Osman sits on the ground next to his wife and three children in this sprawling, dusty refugee camp and explains why he wants to stay, even though Kenyan authorities desperately want him to leave.

He has built a good life in the camp since he escaped Somalia 30 years ago by opening a butcher shop, getting married, having children and creating a home, he said. But the Kenyan government said last month that it wants to shut down this massive United Nations-run camp complex and another to the northwest that together host nearly 440,000 people, a majority of them Somali refugees.

Mr. Osman said Dadaab is the only home he has ever known.

TOP STORIES

MSNBC host Tiffany Cross calls Sen. Tim Scott 'token,' 'tap dancer': 'Thirsty for White approval'

Ex-President Trump redefines the 'Big Lie'

Biden DOJ tries to sic Supreme Court on cheerleader in free-speech case

“I had nothing when I arrived at the camp,” he said in a recent interview. “But I have built my life from scratch. I have been able to enroll my children in school using the profits from my business. There’s no way I can accept my children dropping out of school and going back to Somalia.”

Kenyan officials, citing long-standing security concerns, announced plans a month ago to shutter the Dadaab and Kakuma camps for good. The government said it had intelligence reports showing that the two camps had become havens for terrorists and for smugglers and profiteers whose revenue helps bankroll the terrorists.

A meeting of Kenyan officials and representatives of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees produced a statement late last week saying the imminent closure was postponed two weeks to allow them to draw up a plan for “humane management of refugees” in both camps. A joint statement after the meeting revealed that 433,765 refugees were living in the two camps. Of those, 280,000 — 63% — were from Somalia, and the rest were from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi and Congo.

But Kenyan Interior Secretary Fred Matiang’i said after the meeting that Nairobi maintained its official position: that both camps would be closed for good by June 30.

The decision is leaving hundreds of thousands of refugees caught in the middle. Some of them were born and raised in the camp or, like Mr. Osman, arrived as a child. Their homeland of Somalia is little safer than it was when they fled years and decades ago with a weak, faction-ridden central government menaced by an increasingly brazen al Qaeda affiliate known as al-Shabab.

Mr. Osman came to Dadaab at the age of 13. Somalia had descended into civil war after the ouster of Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. Power struggles between clan warlords led to the rise of fundamentalist Islam and the birth of the al-Shabab movement, which today controls significant territory and continues to terrorize Somali civilians. The insecurity and political instability have forced hundreds of thousands to flee.

Now, critics say, the Kenyan government wants to send them back into a dire situation.

“Where do they want us to go?” asked Mr. Osman, 43. “There’s no safe place in Somalia. People are being killed daily by terrorists. We can’t go there to die.”

But Nairobi insists it must protect Kenyans and that the presence of the refugee camps is one reason the Somali conflict has spilled over the borders into Kenya. Until the Myanmar repression campaign against the Rohingya Muslim minority sent more than 600,000 people fleeing across the border into Bangladesh, the Kenyan complex was often listed as the largest refugee camp in the world.

“We must bring this to an end. Refugee camps are not permanent features. How can we continue shouldering the burden for three decades?” Mr. Matiang’i said.

Another official told the Nation, a leading Kenyan daily, “We can’t continue spending too much money thwarting terror attacks when we can resolve the problem by closing the camps.”

The destabilizing potential of closing the camps has also attracted the attention of the Biden administration. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Robert F. Godec told reporters last week that the U.S. was “very concerned” about reports of an abrupt closing of the camps and that he had spoken directly with Kenyan government officials about their plans.

“The Kenyans have committed to live up to their international commitments with respect to the refugees, and we welcome that commitment,” Mr. Godec said April 26. “We expect them to do it,” though he added that discussions were continuing.

The Kenyan government, citing economic and security reasons, also threatened to close the camps in 2016, but the nation’s high court ruled that the move was illegal and unconstitutional and blocked the plan.

On April 6, Kenya’s high court issued a 30-day stay suspending the closure.

Logistical challenge

It will be no easy logistical feat to close Dadaab, which has grown to be effectively Kenya’s third-largest city after Nairobi, the capital, and Mombasa.

The camp, which began as a temporary shelter for 90,000 refugees fleeing the Somali civil war, has grown into a complex of three distinct camps. Two others were closed in 2017 and 2018 after hundreds of thousands entered a voluntary repatriation program and returned to Somalia.

Camp residents have set up primary and secondary schools, hospitals, sprawling produce markets and soccer leagues. On the streets, women line up to sell plantains, fish, eggs, vegetables, tomatoes and onions. Others sell clothes, shoes and other merchandise at stalls. Butchers hang meat from goats and chickens under metal awnings.

Fawzia Mohamed, a teacher, in Dadaab, predicts it will prove impossible to close one of the largest camps in the world given the instability in Somalia.

“They will fail again,” she said. “No one is going to Somalia. People have businesses here, children are going to school and families continue to give birth daily. You can’t kill all those dreams in a single day.”

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said Kenya will come up with a solution. “They want to see [a way] forward,” he said.

Bill Frelick, head of the refugee and migrant rights division for Human Rights Watch, wrote last month that U.N. refugee officials have “no quick fix to offer [Kenya] consistent with its protection mandate.”

But simply closing the camps will not solve the problem for the refugees or their host, he said.

“Of course, many refugees would like to go home, indeed anywhere but these remote camps, but declaring the problem solved and threatening to truck people to the border is not a solution; it’s a recipe for further dislocation and suffering,” Mr. Frelick wrote on the rights group’s website.

“Until the situation in Somalia stabilizes, Kenya needs to maintain asylum and consider allowing refugees at long last to integrate …,” he said. “Meanwhile, donor governments need to provide financial support and resettlement opportunities that can keep a glimmer of hope alive for those living in the camps.

But officials in Kenya are clearly losing patience and note that they also have concerns about residents’ relationships with al-Shabab, which has struck Kenya in spectacular fashion several times in the past decade.

In 2013, militants attacked the upscale Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi and killed 67 people. A year later, they attacked Mpeketoni and surrounding villages in the northern coastal region and killed more than 60. In perhaps the most horrific incident, terrorists in 2015 staged an attack on Kenya’s Garissa University and killed 148 people, primarily non-Muslims. The militants want to force Kenya to withdraw its soldiers from Somalia, where they are part of an African Union peacekeeping mission.

Analysts said the government is exaggerating the security concerns to have a reason to shut down the camps. The local economies benefit from having the refugees. Some say it is politics that is driving the closure bid.

The security danger is “no longer from Muslim extremists but rather [from] radicals and [criminals] who are out for hire,” said Gerald Majany, a professor of international relations and diplomacy at Presbyterian University of East Africa. “They change their outfits when the need arises. Otherwise, they are the shopkeeper, the lawyer, the doctor, etc. The closure of the camps is a knee-jerk [reaction] but not a way to deal with terrorism.”

He said the government closure order is more likely retaliation for Somalia’s insistence on pursuing a case at the International Court of Justice over a disputed maritime border. The two countries’ relationship has deteriorated since Somalia cut off diplomatic relations last year with Kenya, citing what it said was interference in its internal affairs. Now, this move is because of politics, “not necessarily a security, peace and safety agenda,” he added.

For refugees, though, geopolitics don’t matter. Losing everything they have built over decades does.

“I would rather die here than be taken back to Somalia,” said Mr. Osman. “I promised myself never to set my foot in Somalia again.”

At least 7 killed in suicide bombing in Somalia’s capital

At least 7 killed in suicide bombing in Somalia’s capital

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘A nightmare’: Supreme Court ruling upends Oklahoma prosecutions of American Indians

Quiz: Name the famous inventors of these revolutionary products

China nixed meeting on biowarfare concerns as coronavirus queries increased

Quiz: Can you pass a basic medical terms test?

Afghanistan exit creates new hurdles for U.S. counterterrorism operations

SPONSORED CONTENT

Vietnam 2021

SPONSORED CONTENT

Commentary

Kelly Sadler

Americans growing weary of Biden’s radical, big-spending game

Andrew P. Napolitano

Biden’s unconstitutional debt burdens future generations

David Bossie

Biden defines his administration by activism and appeasement

View all

Question of the Day

How would you grade President Biden's first 100 days?

Question of the Day

 
A

 
B

 
C

 
D

 
F

  View results

Story TOpics

Print

By HASSAN BARISE

Associated Press

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – At least seven people were killed and more than 11 others wounded when a vehicle exploded outside a police headquarters in Somalia’s capital, police and health officials said Wednesday.

The al-Shabab extremist group claimed responsibility.

A police spokesman, Col. Abdiqani Mohamed Qalaf, said the suicide bomber tried to drive into the headquarters near the ex-control Afgoye road but was thwarted.

TOP STORIES

Trump: 2024 presidential bid could begin 'right after' midterms

CEO who said dress-wearing male teen looked like an 'idiot' for prom ousted from job

Anthony Fauci, America's high priest of scientism, wears out his welcome

“He could have killed more people if not stopped,” Qalaf said. He said two soldiers and three passers-by were among the dead.

Dr. Hashim Suldan at Medina hospital told The Associated Press they had received 13 wounded people and two of them died on arrival. Others had serious wounds from shrapnel.

Al-Shabab often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu, and observers had warned that the al-Qaida-linked group might take advantage of Somalia’s current political tensions to strike again.

The United Nations says tens of thousands of Mogadishu residents fled their homes this week after rival groups of soldiers clashed in the streets on Sunday amid a standoff over President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s extended stay in power.

The president bowed to growing pressure overnight and announced in a national address that he would prepare the country for elections that have been delayed since early February. He also said he would speak on Saturday to parliament, whose lower house this month approved a two-year extension of his mandate that he signed into law to the anger of Senate leaders, the opposition and some in the international community.

The president in his address vowed that this week’s scenes of clashes between rival soldiers would not be repeated, while many Mogadishu residents who had feared a return to open warfare in Somalia sighed with relief.

Now the federal government and regional states are expected to return to talks soon on how to proceed with the election. Somalia has not held a direct one-person-one-vote election in decades as it rebuilds from some 30 years of conflict.

Kenya leaves int’l court case on ocean dispute with Somalia

Kenya leaves int’l court case on ocean dispute with Somalia

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Situation’ on Mexican border worsens as politicians fight over labeling migrant surge a ‘crisis’

Quiz: Only a true baby boomer can beat this test

Trump’s judicial appointees give Republicans hope to revoke Biden’s flood of executive orders

Quiz: Who are these movie villains?

‘Dispiriting’: Track star’s dream dashed by transgender rules

SPONSORED CONTENT

Kistefos and The Twist – Norway’s “must-see” cultural destination

SPONSORED CONTENT

Commentary

Cheryl K. Chumley

Xavier Becerra, America’s new socialist-in-chief for COVID-19 crackdowns

Michael McKenna

Tossing the filibuster bad for Senate, good for voters

Tom Basile

Time to get serious about China’s energy blackmail

View all

Question of the Day

Now that Trump has recommended getting the COVID-19 vaccine, will you?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

Print

By TOM ODULA

Associated Press

Saturday, March 20, 2021

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Kenya has withdrawn from International Court of Justice hearings on its dispute with neighboring Somalia over territory in the Indian Ocean.

A statement from Kenya‘s Foreign Ministry cited alleged “procedural unfairness” by the United Nations court and alleged bias by a Somali judge on its bench as among the reasons Kenya decided to no longer participate.

Kenya said it informed the court’s registrar that even though the case was merited, the government thinks continuing the legal proceedings denies the two countries an opportunity to resolve the matter bilaterally.

TOP STORIES

Meat-loving resistance tramples Colorado governor's vegan declaration

'Hottest ticket in social media': Trump to launch his own platform, advisor says

Texas governor orders probe of drinking water at Biden's camps for migrant children

Kenya restated that it should not have been dragged to the court by Somalia merely because of the neighbor’s resurgent expansionist agenda,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement late Friday.

The statement said the court also was informed that influential third parties with commercial interests were fueling a case ” that threatens to destabilize the peace and security of an already fragile region.”

Somalia filed the case with the International Court of Justice in 2014. The dispute centers around Indian Ocean maritime rights and boundaries. The area in dispute – about 100,000-square kilometers – is thought to be rich in oil, gas and fish.

In its withdrawal statement, Kenya cited concerns about the potential bias of International Court of Justice Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf, a Somali citizen who previously represented Somalia at the Third United Nations Conference on the law of the sea.

Diplomatic ties between the two East African neighbors have become increasingly strained by the territorial dispute and recent accusations that Kenya was influencing Somalia‘s politics.

Somalia’s government severed ties with Kenya in December because of what it described as the imperative “to safeguard the unity, sovereignty, stability of the country.”

The announcement came as the leader of the breakaway territory of Somaliland ended a three-day visit to Kenya, where he was given treatment similar to that accorded to a head of state in meetings with the Kenyan leadership.

Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 as the country collapsed into warlord-led conflict and it has seen little of the violence and extremist attacks that plague Somalia to the south. Despite lacking international recognition, Somaliland has maintained its own independent government, currency and security system.

Somalia, however, considers Somaliland as part of its territory. Several rounds of talks over possible unification have failed to reach an agreement.

Somalia’s talks on troubled election fail 2 days before vote

Somalia’s talks on troubled election fail 2 days before vote

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Trump still a GOP titan: ‘A restoration is coming’

Quiz: Can you pass the Declaration of Independence test?

Professor points to Declaration of Independence as cause to legalize all drugs

Quiz: How well do you know your guns?

‘Most patriotic thing I’ve done’: Tipsters aid FBI in most arrests in Capitol attack

SPONSORED CONTENT

Commentary

Cheryl K. Chumley

‘Vaccine passport’ is outrageously unconstitutional

Michael McKenna

House marches toward its death with vote to strip Greene of committee posts

Tom Basile

John Kerry: Joe Biden’s one-man wrecking ball

View all

Question of the Day

Do you support raising the federal minimum wage to $15?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

FILE – In this Saturday, May 25, 2019, file photo, Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed arrives for the swearing-in ceremony of Cyril Ramaphosa at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, South Africa. As Somalia marks three decades since a dictator fell … more >

Print

By HASSAN BARISE

Associated Press

Saturday, February 6, 2021

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – A meeting on Somalia’s troubled election has ended in failure as the federal government and regional states could not reach agreement on remaining issues two days before the scheduled vote, and President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Saturday blamed unnamed “foreign interventions.”

Lawmakers in parliament booed the president, pounding their desktops, as he addressed them after days of discussions fizzled. He accused Puntland and Jubbaland states of refusing to support an agreement last September on the electoral process.

“I’ve made every effort,” said the president, who seeks a second four-year term. “Don’t make us feel ashamed before the international community, and don’t discourage our people.”

TOP STORIES

Time expose spotlights 'shadow campaign' that 'saved' 2020 election: 'They were fortifying it'

AOC: The Dirk Diggler of the 117th Congress

Lou Dobbs thanks Donald Trump, shares messages slamming Fox following cancellation

He added: “There’s still some hope that we can move forward, we just need to set another time for a meeting to solve our problems, and all these issues rest on the shoulders of parliament.”

But the president’s critics accuse him of delaying to extend his current mandate. The September agreement allows for the president and others to stay in office after Monday’s election date if needed, but United Nations special representative James Swan has warned that going beyond that day brings “an unpredictable political situation in a country where we certainly don’t need any more of that.”

The uncertainty is ripe for exploitation by the Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group, which has threatened to attack the polls and even launched a documentary series on Friday criticizing the president and the electoral process, which it accused of being riddled with corruption.

Al-Shabab attacked the city hosting the election talks on the night the president arrived and the following night. No one was killed, but security forces on the second night killed four attackers and detained two.

Meanwhile, Somalia is adjusting to the withdrawal of some 700 U.S. military personnel, a process completed in mid-January, and is faces another security jolt as a nearly 20,000-strong African Union force is set to withdraw by the end of the year.

Information Minister Osman Dubbe told reporters that another meeting on the electoral crisis will be held, “but we’ve made more than our fair share in making concessions to federal member states.”

The Jubbaland leader, Ahmed Madobe, asserted to reporters that the president “spoke to me in a disgusting way … He keeps accusing us of being supported and manipulated by (neighboring) Kenya.” Somalia late last year broke off diplomatic relations with Kenya, accusing it of meddling. Kenya has denied it.

Madobe also objected to the recent deployment of federal troops to a border community in his region next to Kenya, calling it an attempt to undermine his authority.

“I tried everything I could to solve this crisis in the best logical way together with the rest of the federal member states, but it was always the president who refused,” Madobe said.

Contentious issues in the election talks have been the formation of the electoral management commission, the selection of commission members for the breakaway region of Somaliland and the crisis in the Somalia-Kenya border region of Gedo.

The federal government and three regional states have appointed their commission members but Puntland and Jubbaland declined, accusing the federal government of selecting its members from non-neutral bodies.

The information minister told reporters that “now we have accepted that the federal member states can tell us who is wrong in the position and we can replace them.”

The chairman of the upper house of parliament, Abdi Hashi, was not invited to this week’s meeting despite being from Somaliland, and he has argued that he, not the president’s people, should select Somaliland’s commission members.

The information minister told reporters that “we allowed (Hashi) to appoint four people to the commission, that’s 40% of the number for Somaliland.”

But the issue of Gedo in Jubbaland remains.

Somalia’s citizens have little say in the crisis. The goal of a direct, one-person-one-vote election in the Horn of Africa nation remains elusive. It was meant to take place this time, but the federal government and states agreed on another “indirect election,” with senators and members of parliament elected by community leaders – delegates of powerful clans – in each member state.

Members of parliament and senators then elect the president.

Trump efforts to end ‘forever wars’ fall short

Trump’s efforts to end ‘forever wars’ only reshuffles deployed troops

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Me who? Andrew Cuomo accuser’s fast-fading charges make mockery of ‘believe all women’

Quiz: Do you remember disco music?

How Silicon Valley scions launched ‘unprecedented cover-up’ in Hunter Biden case

Quiz: Are you smarter than an 8th grader?

Still standing: Pelosi, Democrats fail in bid to clear Confederates from Capitol

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To Get Rid of Deep Belly Fat

Commentary

Michael McKenna

Relief bill mash-up sheds light on bureaucratically broken Congress

Robert Knight

At stake this week: Saving America from a unified socialist government

Charles Hurt

Lo siento: In defense of ‘Hilaria’ Baldwin

View all

Question of the Day

Will you trust the results of U.S. elections again?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

On Thursday, the Pentagon announced that more than 5,000 sailors and Marines with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group are headed home after a 10-month deployment. They had been in Somalia. (Tech. Sgt. Christopher Ruano/Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of … more >

Print

By Ben Wolfgang

The Washington Times

Thursday, December 31, 2020

President Trump in early December ordered the withdrawal of the roughly 700 U.S. troops stationed in Somalia to battle the al-Shabaab terror network, a key milestone in his drive to end American military involvement in what he dubbed foreign “endless wars.”

Less than three weeks later, however, the Pentagon dispatched 5,000 fresh sailors and Marines off the coast of the Horn of Africa to act as a deterrent and to provide logistical support while the original 700 troops moved to their ultimate destinations: other military bases in East Africa, where officials say they will continue waging war against extremist groups.

The entire episode — a “withdrawal” that brings virtually no troops home and even spurs a temporary surge of forces in the region — serves as perhaps the clearest example of how Mr. Trump‘s quest to drastically reduce U.S. entanglement in foreign conflicts he inherited has been, at best, a disappointment.

TOP STORIES

Why I will not accept Joe Biden as president

GOP senators to object to Biden's electoral votes unless emergency commission probes voter fraud

Iran's Rouhani issues Trump death threat: 'In a few days, the life of this criminal will end'

Most of the troops in question, critics contend, are not coming home but are simply being moved to other locations, often in the same dangerous corners of the world and sometimes with the same mission. The Trump administration has had little if any measurable success in cutting the overall amount of American military commitments around the world, and the president’s expectation that waves of battle-weary, victorious troops would finally return home to their families has simply not materialized.

Mr. Trump gets credit, analysts say, for asking tough questions about the purpose and expense of U.S. overseas military missions, many dating to World War II. But a look at the hard numbers finds that Mr. Trump‘s rhetoric — and even his direct orders — haven’t always produced the results he wanted.

Trump‘s reputation for ending endless wars, as the slogan goes, is not well earned. He frequently employs these themes in his rhetoric, but it never really showed up in policy,” said John Glaser, director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. “He tends to make a big public stink about withdrawals, and then hopes the public doesn’t do the homework it actually takes to discover these withdrawals aren’t really happening. … The troops are just being shuffled around the region to continue the endless war from a different location.”

Mr. Trump can point to at least some operations that are pulling back in his final weeks in office.

The Pentagon announced Thursday that more than 5,000 sailors and Marines with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, which most recently had been providing operational support for forces in Somalia, are now headed home after a 10-month deployment.

“The sacrifices and services of the sailors, Marines, and their families is greatly appreciated by the entire Department of Defense and were in the finest traditions of the U.S. naval service. We are glad that we can conclude 2020 by announcing these warriors are headed home,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

While Somalia is the most recent and glaring instance, a similar situation has unfolded in the Middle East, where American forces have been fighting nonstop for nearly two decades. The overall number of U.S. troops in the region appears larger today than it was when the president came into office.

New approach

The administration has had some successes.

Mr. Trump pushed through plans to reduce the number of combat forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, despite some strong reservations from some of his military commanders. Further cuts are expected before President-elect Joseph R. Biden assumes office in January. Defense Department officials say the number of troops in each country will be down to 2,500 by Jan. 15.

In Afghanistan, a diplomatic deal between Mr. Trump and the Taliban paves the way for all American forces to eventually leave the country, though there are questions about whether that agreement will hold in light of continued Taliban violence. Just last February, there were more than 12,000 troops in Afghanistan, making the nation the clearest example of the president at least partially fulfilling his promise.

Over the objections of Pentagon leaders, the president also has decreased the number of American forces in Syria from 2,000 to about 500. His personnel moves in Syria led to the resignation of former Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, who has gone on to become one of Mr. Trump‘s harshest critics.

For Mr. Trump, reducing America’s military role abroad formed a central pillar in his unconventional political platform, and his policy served as a clear break with the neoconservative thinking that had dominated the Republican Party in the post-9/11 era.

In 2016 and again in 2020, Mr. Trump campaigned hard on the issue. He seemed to never waver in his conviction that the U.S. should have fewer troops overseas, and he routinely clashed with powerful members of his own party who warned his approach would embolden al Qaeda, the Islamic State and other terrorist groups that could threaten national security.

When Mr. Trump sensed that he was running into institutionalized resistance in the Pentagon or in Congress, or suspected that military leadership may be slow-walking his orders, he even resorted to unexpected declarations on Twitter in a brute-force effort to turn his goals into reality.

“We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!” Mr. Trump tweeted in October, which caught the Pentagon leadership by surprise, though ultimately his promise was only partially realized.

Shortly after the November election, the president fired then-Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, who was privately opposed to many of Mr. Trump‘s plans for troop drawdowns. In his place, Mr. Trump installed Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, who quickly made clear he supported the president’s proposals.

“We are not a people of perpetual war — it is the antithesis of everything for which we stand and for which our ancestors fought,” Mr. Miller said in his inaugural message to the military. “All wars must end. Ending wars requires compromise and partnership. We met the challenge; we gave it our all. Now, it’s time to come home.”

‘Completely pointless’

But Mr. Trump‘s passion and Mr. Miller’s commitment to the big-picture policy won’t tangibly shrink America’s footprint in the Middle East, which actually appears greater now than it was in January 2017.

Over the past several years, Mr. Trump has deployed or redeployed thousands of troops to American military bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and elsewhere, framing those deployments as a warning to an increasingly aggressive Iran and its regional allies. Tensions between Washington and Tehran have been high throughout Mr. Trump‘s tenure and the Pentagon has repeatedly sent more troops to the region whenever it appeared that conflict might erupt.

The result: a surge of American troops in the Middle East under Mr. Trump‘s watch. The U.S. now has at least 42,000 troops in the region, according to a recent analysis by Defense Priorities, a Washington based think tank that advocates a more restrained foreign policy. Thousands more are aboard U.S. warships in the same tense theater.

The Pentagon has stopped releasing official troop counts in war zones, so nailing down specific figures is difficult. But all evidence seems to show that the number of new troops sent to the Middle East during Mr. Trump‘s tenure has greatly outweighed the number of men and women brought home, raising questions about both the intent and effectiveness of the president’s approach.

“You can’t come to any other honest assessment than to say it’s been completely pointless,” said retired Army Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, now a Defense Priorities senior fellow.

“We’ve actually increased [troop presence] in the region,” Lt. Col. Davis said. “I actually thought that what President Trump would do would be to make a final push to make good on his campaign promise and actually end some of these forever wars. I thought he would press hard and get it done, and be out of Afghanistan, be out of Iraq, be out of Syria. Instead he just reduced — or didn’t do anything.”

Mr. Trump‘s tenure has seen the reshuffling of troops elsewhere around the world. The Pentagon in 2020 rolled out a long-awaited repositioning of troops in Europe, moving more than 10,000 service members from Germany to other locations — though the majority of those troops remain stationed overseas and have not returned home.

The White House also reportedly considered rethinking the U.S. military commitment along the demilitarized zone separating North Korea and South Korea. While Washington and Seoul have had heated disagreements over how much South Korea should pay to support those deployments, the American military presence has remained and a revised cost-sharing agreement remains in diplomatic limbo.

Specialists say that neither Mr. Trump nor any other president will be capable of changing the broader dynamic until there’s a fundamental rethinking of the U.S. role in the world.

“What needs to change is the well-established policy — virtually uncontested in Washington, D.C. — of maintaining a permanent global military presence. It is that presence, the associated treaty obligations, and the political establishment’s commitment to constant interventionism that get us into these endless wars in the first place,” Mr. Glaser said. “I don’t think Trump‘s motivation to actually alter American foreign policy in this direction was ever that deep, or even genuine. I think it probably helped him politically to employ these themes in his rhetoric, but that’s a separate issue.”

U.S. conducts airstrikes against terrorists in Somalia

U.S. conducts airstrikes against terrorists in Somalia

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Intelligence pros morphed into partisan political activists in rush to defend Hunter Biden

Quiz: Can you pass an elements of the periodic table test?

Border wall forces drug smugglers to turn to drones

Quiz: Can you match the songs to these 1980s one-hit wonders?

Law could delist some Chinese companies from U.S. markets

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To Get Rid of Deep Belly Fat

Commentary

Charles Hurt

Give Christmas thanks, then go vote!

Daniel N. Hoffman

Russian cyber attack underscores need for elected officials to unite against Kremlin

Scott Walker

Christmas is a time to be open to God’s providence

View all

Question of the Day

Will you trust the results of U.S. elections again?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

An armed member of the militant group al-Shabaab attends a rally on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia, in this Monday, Feb. 13, 2012, file photo. (AP Photo, File) more >

Print

By Mike Glenn

The Washington Times

Thursday, December 24, 2020

U.S. forces killed multiple explosives experts in Somalia earlier this month who have been linked to the al-Shabaab jihadi terrorist group, officials confirmed Thursday.

In coordination with government officials, the U.S. launched two airstrikes Dec. 10 at an al-Shabaab compound in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, U.S. Africa Command said.

The bomb makers who were killed in the airstrikes were providing improvised explosive devices for al-Shabaab fighters. Although the assessment is continuing, U.S. officials believe no civilians were injured or killed.

TOP STORIES

Russian official suggests Trump officials blaming Moscow for hacks to hurt Biden

Experts see trouble for GOP as early vote tops 2 million in Georgia

'Disgrace': Trump calls on Congress to 'amend' COVID relief package

“We will continue to apply pressure to the al-Shabaab network. They continue to undermine Somali security and need to be contained and degraded,” said Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command.

Since 2018, al-Shabaab has been implicated in at least 45 vehicle-borne IED attacks in Mogadishu alone, resulting in the deaths of more than 400 civilians, security forces and government officials.

Al-Shabaab remains a dangerous franchise of al-Qaeda,” Gen. Townsend said. “We continue to monitor the threat and support our partners through training and military and diplomatic engagement. This mission illustrates our continuing commitment to eradicating this threat and supporting our Somali partners in the region.”

U.S. officials said they will continue to monitor and maintain pressure on the al-Shabaab terror network in East Africa.

Al-Shabaab seeks to not only destroy governance and security in Somalia but target innocent civilians in Kenya and elsewhere,” said Navy Rear Adm. Heidi Berg, director of intelligence for U.S. Africa Command.

Despite U.S. withdrawal from Somalia, Pentagon warns al-Shabab: ‘They should not test us’

Despite U.S. withdrawal from Somalia, Pentagon warns al-Shabab terror group: Don’t ‘test us’

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Intelligence pros morphed into partisan political activists in rush to defend Hunter Biden

Quiz: Can you pass an elements of the periodic table test?

Border wall forces drug smugglers to turn to drones

Quiz: Can you match the songs to these 1980s one-hit wonders?

Law could delist some Chinese companies from U.S. markets

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To Get Rid of Deep Belly Fat

Commentary

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

Vatican’s Nativity scene is a punch in the gut

Peter Morici

Biden’s kumbaya internationalism won’t defend America

Charles Hurt

All hail AOC, Death Panel Princess …

View all

Question of the Day

Will you trust the results of U.S. elections again?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

U.S. Army Spc. Kevin Martin, junior sniper, assigned to the 1-186th Infantry Battalion, Task Force Guardian, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, provides security for a 75th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron (EAS) C-130J Super Hercules during unloading operations at … more >

Print

By Ben Wolfgang

The Washington Times

Monday, December 21, 2020

Pentagon leaders over the weekend warned that a U.S. exit from Somalia should not be viewed as a victory by the al-Shabab terror network, and they stressed that American forces will still be fully capable of striking the extremist group “at the time and place of our choosing.”

In a statement, Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, the head of U.S. Africa Command, said the roughly 700 American troops currently in Somalia will be repositioned to other bases in east Africa. The move comes amid a broader push by President Trump during his final weeks in office to pull American forces from war zones in the Middle East and Africa such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.

The U.S. troop presence in Somalia is relatively low when compared to other hot spots around the world. American forces mostly train and advise Somali government forces and provide logistical support for the U.S. drone campaign against al-Shabab fighters, an effort that has ramped up considerably during Mr. Trump’s time in office.

TOP STORIES

Trump names top allies to arts, scholarship posts; list includes Bondi, Hicks, Grenell

Massive spending bill includes funding for Joe Biden's transition into office

Why I will not accept Joe Biden as president

That air campaign, Gen. Townsend said, will continue even as ground troops leave the country.

“To be clear, the U.S. is not withdrawing or disengaging from east Africa,” he said. “We remain committed to helping our African partners build a more secure future. We also remain capable of striking al-Shabaab at the time and place of our choosing — they should not test us.”

Al-Shabab, an al Qaeda affiliate, is estimated to control 25% of Somali territory. The U.S. air campaign, along with the support of ground troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia, has mostly kept the group in check.

But specialists warn that current U.S. efforts are not enough to fully defeat al-Shabab, and some foreign policy observers have advocated direct diplomacy with the group as the only realistic path toward peace in the historically unstable country.

Donald Trump orders ‘majority’ of U.S. troops out of Somalia

Trump orders ‘majority’ of U.S. troops out of Somalia

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Democratic wins in Georgia create more sanctuaries

Quiz: Can you name the TV show from its popular theme song?

‘Not a developing economy’: Biden pressed to maintain Trump’s pressure on China

Quiz: Do you remember 1980s slang?

Biden’s chief of staff pick called ‘park ranger’ for swamp

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Peter Morici

Republicans must move to the center to win the midterm elections

Michael McKenna

What’s at stake in Georgia Senate runoffs

Cheryl K. Chumley

America, it’s pitchfork time

View all

Question of the Day

Should Trump take his election challenge to the Supreme Court?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Damian T. Donahoe, deputy commanding general, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, center, talks with service members during a battlefield circulation Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, in Somalia. No country has been involved in Somalia’s … more >

Print

By Ben Wolfgang

The Washington Times

Friday, December 4, 2020

President Trump on Friday ordered that a “majority” of the 700 U.S. troops stationed in Somalia be relocated by early next year, Pentagon officials said, signaling a shift in how the U.S. wages war against the al-Shabab terror network and accelerating a trend of American military reconfiguration around the world.

It’s unclear exactly how many troops will remain in Somalia. The Defense Department seemed to suggest that nearly all forces will be reassigned elsewhere in Africa or to other bases in the region.

Despite the move, officials stressed that the U.S. remains committed to its anti-terror mission and is by no means abandoning the fight against al-Shabab or other extremist organizations operating in the Horn of Africa.

TOP STORIES

Fox News crew heckled at Georgia rally ahead of Trump appearance

Georgia official: Election challenges 'handing off a playbook to Democrats' for Senate runoff

Biden endorses another round of direct stimulus payments

“The U.S. is not withdrawing or disengaging from Africa. We remain committed to our African partners and enduring support through a whole-of-government approach,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “While a change in force posture, this action is not a change in U.S. policy. We will continue to degrade violent extremist organizations that could threaten our homeland while ensuring we maintain our strategic advantage in great power competition.

“As a result of this decision, some forces may be reassigned outside of East Africa,” the statement continued. “However, the remaining forces will be repositioned from Somalia into neighboring countries in order to allow cross-border operations by both U.S. and partner forces to maintain pressure against violent extremist organizations operating in Somalia.”

The announcement comes amid other major U.S. drawdowns in Afghanistan and Iraq. Total U.S. troop presence in each country will be down to 2,500 by Jan. 15, five days before presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden takes office.

Those drawdowns have met with fierce resistance on Capitol Hill, including from leading Republicans who argue that the U.S. may be opening the door to a resurgence of groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

In Somalia, the change in U.S. force posture could have immediate effects. Al-Shabab, an al Qaeda affiliate, already is estimated to control as much as 25% of Somali territory.

A U.S. drone war against the group has largely kept it in check and prevented al-Shabab militants from overrunning the capital of Mogadishu or seizing control of other strategically vital areas. The U.S. also trains and advises Somali troops — though specialists have warned that those troops are by no means ready to battle al-Shabab on their own.

The American drawdown likely will be cast by al-Shabab as a major victory over the West and almost surely will provide a huge boost to morale and recruiting.

The Pentagon announcement also comes just weeks before Somalia is expected to hold presidential and parliamentary elections. Specialists have warned that a major U.S. move could put those elections in jeopardy.

Critics say the elections are just one potential casualty of the move, with the other being the potential loss of U.S. influence to China, its chief global competitor.

“With upcoming elections in Somalia and conflict raging in neighboring Ethiopia, abandoning our partners could not come at a worse time,” Rep. Jim Langevin, Rhode Island Democrat, said in a statement. “Al-Shabab will message our withdrawal as a victory, which may propel some of their political affiliates into government. All the while, China will seize the opportunity to build their influence in the region, to the detriment of those who care about representative governance and equality.”

But military officials argued that the U.S. will remain able to target and contain terrorist forces, suggesting that drone strikes will continue as they have throughout the Trump administration.

“The U.S. will retain the capability to conduct targeted counterterrorism operations in Somalia, and collect early warnings and indicators regarding threats to the homeland,” the Pentagon said in its statement.

Some analysts argued that the drawdown represents a realization that the U.S. can no longer commit itself to open-ended conflicts in historically chaotic countries across the Middle East and Africa.

“The nation’s two decades of seemingly endless counterterrorism wars show that staying until there are zero potential terrorists on the ground means never leaving,” said Benjamin Friedman, policy director at the think tank Defense Priorities, which advocates more limited U.S. intervention abroad.

“Staying until countries long-ravaged by civil war are stable means staying indefinitely,” he said.

Christopher Miller, acting Defense Secretary, visit spurs talk that Somalia pullout is in the works

Miller visit spurs talk that U.S. troop pullout of Somalia is in the works

Trump decries endless wars, critics wary of PR win for al-Shabab

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Democratic wins in Georgia create more sanctuaries

Quiz: Can you name the TV show from its popular theme song?

‘Not a developing economy’: Biden pressed to maintain Trump’s pressure on China

Quiz: Do you remember 1980s slang?

Biden’s chief of staff pick called ‘park ranger’ for swamp

SPONSORED CONTENT

Don’t Leave Contact Lens Patients on the Wrong End of a Raw Deal

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Charles Hurt

Quick! Somebody sic a special counsel on Joe Biden’s dog

Cal Thomas

Americans religious liberty under siege: Worship the state, or else

Cheryl K. Chumley

Election results have more holes than Swiss cheese

View all

Question of the Day

Should Trump take his election challenge to the Supreme Court?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, image taken from a video provided by Defense.gov Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller speaks at the Pentagon in Washington. Miller said Tuesday that the U.S. will reduce troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan by … more >

Print

By Ben Wolfgang

Associated Press

Monday, November 30, 2020

A surprise trip by acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller to Somalia over the Thanksgiving weekend is fueling speculation that President Trump may soon pull the U.S. out of an “endless war” in the Horn of Africa — but there are growing fears that a hasty American exit could embolden the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab and destabilize the entire country at a delicate political moment.

The roughly 700 U.S. troops currently in Somalia primarily conduct counterterrorism missions and train Somali forces while also helping to coordinate an American anti-terror drone war that has grown more aggressive throughout Mr. Trump’s four years in office. The air campaign has kept al-Shabab — an al Qaeda affiliate estimated to control as much as 25% of Somali territory — in check, but America’s limited military engagement has proven inadequate to fully defeat the group or to spur peace negotiations with the struggling government in Mogadishu.

Faced with that reality, Mr. Trump reportedly is on the verge of ordering all U.S. forces to leave Somalia. Such a move would come on the heels of major troop drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan, scheduled to be completed just days before presumptive President-Elect Joseph R. Biden assumes office on Jan. 20.

TOP STORIES

Sweden: Mother suspected of locking up her son for 28 years

Fellow Republicans file articles of impeachment against Ohio governor

Mark Walker takes early jump into N. Carolina Senate race

While some American forces almost surely would remain in neighboring countries and U.S. drones would continue bombing al-Shabab targets across Somalia. But as in other U.S. deployments in hot spots around the globe, Mr. Trump is taking flak from critics who say pulling out is worse that staying put.

Analysts warn that a U.S. withdrawal would be cast by terror groups as a major victory and serve as a serious public relations and recruiting boost. The potential exit also would come as the fragile Somali government gears up for presidential and parliamentary elections in the coming months, and a significant uptick in violence could derail those contests and spark a new wave of instability.

“The short-term ramifications are significant,” said Katherine Zimmerman, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who studies the region. “Rapid gains by al-Shabab as Somali units collapse under pressure and the counterterrorism operation tempo drops; al-Shabab claiming victory over the U.S., joining what might soon be a choir that includes the Taliban and perhaps the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; and the shift in focus toward security concerns over the upcoming [Somalian] election. Limited bandwidth across the board will mean the elections [do] not get the attention they need.”

Mr. Miller offered few clues as to the future during his brief trip to Somalia, where he celebrated Thanksgiving with U.S. troops.

“Honored to celebrate Thanksgiving with U.S. military personnel at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti and in Mogadishu, Somalia, and give thanks for the sacrifices our service members and their families make to protect our freedoms and the American way of life,” he said in a Twitter statement during the trip.

Mr. Miller was installed after the president fired former Defense Secretary Mark Esper earlier this month. Mr. Miller is widely viewed as much more amenable to Mr. Trump’s desire to pull U.S. troops out of conflicts in the Middle East and Africa in quick fashion, and even engaged in some clandestine diplomatic outreach to al-Shabab leaders as head of the National Counterterrorism Center before getting the Pentagon post.

The initiative reportedly angered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and was promptly shut down.

In Somalia, terrorism is just one piece of a complex equation. The historically difficult Somali electoral process already appears in turmoil this week after the Somali government expelled the ambassador from Kenya, alleging that its African neighbor is interfering in elections in Jubbaland, one of the Somalia’s semi-autonomous provinces.

Successful elections and a relatively stable central government has been at the core of America’s exit strategy. U.S. military officials long have planned to turn over leadership in the fight against al-Shabab to the Somali government by next year, though that timeline is now in doubt even if American troops remain inside the country.

Specialists say an American withdrawal also could lead troops with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to take a step back, giving al-Shabab even more freedom to operate.

“Under the new U.S. military plans, attack drones will still fly from Kenya and Djibouti. But the risks of tragic and politically exploitable civilian casualties will grow, and the air strike frequency is likely to decrease,” Vanda Felbab-Brown, director of the Initiative on Nonstate Armed Actors at the Brookings Institution, wrote in a recent analysis.

“Fearing al-Shabab, AMISOM may bunker up in garrisons even more and reduce the number of bases, thus weakening anti-Shabab militias,” she said.

Some former military officials warn that an emboldened al-Shabab represents a very real threat to U.S. national security interests at home and abroad.

“The reality is, on the ground in places like Somalia and Afghanistan, there are still terrorists who would do us ill, and I want to play, actually, the game on their turf, and not play it here,” retired Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program on Sunday.

UN votes to crack down on Somalia’s al-Shabab extremists

UN votes to crack down on Somalia’s al-Shabab extremists

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Filmmaker lays out roadway showing Bidens’ connection to China’s communist government

Quiz: Who played these historical figures in biographical films?

U.S. adversaries mum on Biden win, anticipate return to Obama-era policies

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

‘Remember what they did’: Biden backers move to blacklist Trump loyalists

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Charles Hurt

Chaos on the border

Scott Walker

Winners and losers from the 2020 election

Peter Morici

Biden remains vague on how he will address pandemics, climate change and China

View all

Question of the Day

Will Nancy Pelosi be Speaker in the new Congress?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

Print

By EDITH M. LEDERER

Associated Press

Thursday, November 12, 2020

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The U.N. Security Council voted Thursday to prevent the sale or shipment to Somalia of components of improvised explosive devices if there is “significant risk” they may be used to manufacture the often deadly devices that are increasingly being used in attacks by al-Shabab extremists.

It also urged the Somali government to keep cracking down on the militant group’s illegal financing methods that U.N. experts estimate raised over $21 million last year.

The resolution, adopted by a 13-0 vote with Russia and China abstaining, reaffirmed the arms embargo on Somalia and banned the resale or transfer of any weapons or military equipment sold or supplied to help develop Somalia’s National Security Forces and security sector.

TOP STORIES

Biden's power pact: A return to the Paris climate accord would cost much, yield little

House Republicans demand USPS documents on Pa. whistleblower probe

Chaos on the border

Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab remains the most active and resilient extremist group in Africa, controlling parts of southern and central Somalia and often targeting checkpoints and other high-profile areas in the capital, Mogadishu. It has fired several mortars this year at the heavily defended international airport, where the U.S. Embassy and other missions are located.

In their latest report, experts monitoring the arms embargo and other sanctions against Somalia said: “The threat posed by al-Shabab to peace, security and stability in Somalia goes beyond the impact of the group’s conventional military action and asymmetric warfare to include sophisticated extortion and `taxation’ systems, child recruitment practices and an effective propaganda machine.”

The panel said al-Shabab raised more than the $21 million it spent last year on fighters, weapons and intelligence. Its investigation found the extremist group generated approximately $13 million in just four case studies — a “taxation” checkpoint in Lower Juba, its extortion of businesses in Kismayo, two bank accounts associated with the group’s collection of taxes on imports into the port in Mogadishu, and “zakat” — an annual religious obligation.

The resolution adopted by the Security Council “notes with concern al-Shabab’s ability to generate revenue and launder, store and transfer resources.”

It calls on the Somali government “to continue working with Somali financial authorities, private sector financial institutions and the international community to identify, assess and mitigate money laundering and terrorist financing risks.” It encouraged the government to consider a national identification program to help reduce the risks.

The council condemned al-Shabab attacks in Somalia and beyond, saying the group “continues to pose a serious threat to the peace, security and stability of Somalia and the region, particularly through its increased use of improvised explosive devices.” It also expressed “grave concern” at the presence of affiliates linked to the Islamic State extremist group in Somalia.

The resolution demands that countries prevent the sale, supply or transfer of a list of components including explosive materials, explosive precursors, explosive-related equipment and related technology “if there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the item(s) will be used, or a significant risk they may be used, in the manufacture in Somalia of improvised explosive devices.”

It requires any country supplying an item on the list to Somalia to notify the committee monitoring U.N. sanctions at least 15 days in advance with details and the purpose for the sale or transfer.

Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Anna Evstigneeva, noted that the amendments “meant to optimize the arms embargo” were made at the Somali government’s request and expressed hope that “they will support normalization and reduce the terrorist threat coming, in the first place, from Al-Shabaab.”

But she said Russia abstained because the resolution didn’t take on board “our principled and duly substantiated proposals,” including references to Djibouti and Eritrea, whose relations pose “no threat to international peace and security,” and to human rights in Somalia, which should be dealt with by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.

China’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Dai Bing, said Beijing abstained because the council didn’t accept its amendments calling for the council to explore benchmarks for assessing the lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia weren’t accepted.

“The current embargo has been a serious impediment to enhance security capacity of the Somali government,” he said. “The text fails to make a deep response to the strong desire of the Somali government to have the arms embargo lifted.”

U.S. political coordinator Rodney Hunter welcomed the continuation of U.N. sanctions and the extension of the work of the panel of experts for another 12 months.

He said every council member has committed to uphold the arms embargo “in the interest of securing peace and stability both in Somalia, and in the broader region.” To achieve that, Hunter said, the United States also supports “the increased focus on thwarting Al-Shabaab’s exploitation of the financial system.”

Bucking China pressure, Taiwan, Somaliland establish ties

Bucking China pressure, Taiwan, Somaliland establish ties

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Strategic considerations’: John Roberts’ swing votes all about politics, court watchers say

Quiz: Can you pass the Declaration of Independence test?

Misguided ‘defund police’ movement undercuts effort to change culture, experts warn

Quiz: Do you remember the 2000s?

Mayflower Hotel speech drove liberal media overkill, empty Russia scandal

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Charles Hurt

Joe Biden, part of the problem since 1973

Cal Thomas

Trump needs to stop personal attacks and show some empathy if he expects to win reelection

Michael McKenna

GOP cannot waste opportunity to address roots of ‘systemic racism’

View all

Question of the Day

Should Bubba Wallace apologize, as Trump suggested?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

Print

By

Associated Press

Sunday, July 5, 2020

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – Taiwan has scored a rare diplomatic victory in establishing relations with the independent region of Somaliland.

Intense pressure from China has reduced self-governing, democratic Taiwan to having just 15 diplomatic allies and being excluded from the United Nations and most other international organizations where Beijing has leverage.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory to be brought under its control by military force if it deems necessary. In elections and public opinion surveys, Taiwanese have overwhelmingly rejected political union with China.

TOP STORIES

Cuomo slams Trump: 'We're not the United States of Denial'

Vandals deface Frederick Douglass statue in New York

Gingrich: bad people destroying statues, killing children 'and Trump had the guts to say it'

Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 as the country collapsed into warlord-led conflict and has seen little of the violence and extremist attacks that plague its neighbor to the south. Despite lacking international recognition, the region has maintained its own independent government, currency and security system.

In a statement posted July 1 on the Taiwanese foreign ministry’s website, minister Joseph Wu said the governments had agreed to establish ties based on “friendship and a shared commitment to common values of freedom, democracy, justice and the rule of law.”

“In the spirit of mutual assistance for mutual benefit, Taiwan and Somaliland will engage in cooperation in areas such as fisheries, agriculture, energy, mining, public health, education” and technology, Wu said.

Wu and Somaliland’s foreign minister, Yasin Hagi Mohamoud, signed a bilateral agreement in Taipei on Feb. 26. Taiwan has been providing scholarships to students from the region of 3.9 million people.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Monday that China maintained ties with Somalia and accused Taiwan of “undermining Somali sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

China firmly opposes Taiwan and Somaliland establishing an official agency or having any form of official exchanges,” Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing.