By: Moustapha Abtiyow
It’s been 13 years since al-Shabaab is formed as a resistance fighter against the federal government of Somalia and the AU peacekeeping troops ‘’AMISOM’’.
Before al-Shabaab “established’’ the war torn country have been confronting with civil wars, clan based-warlords and severe droughts for nearly 20 years. According to unofficial statistics, around half a million people are estimated to have been killed since the civil war erupted in early 1991 while over 1.5 million fled to neighboring countries Kenya, Ethiopia Djibouti.
Following the prolonged conflict occurred in the country has given rise to “al-Shabaab’’ to join the track of a series wars which had been revolving over the years and looming into new crisis day by day.
However,” things had gone from bad to worse and put more confusion on the dire situation of the country, when the ‘Islamic court union’ (ICU) ousted the clan-based warlords and took control of the Capital-Mogadishu and a large portion of southern regions in Somalia.
As a consequence, Ethiopia troops backed by US invaded Somalia to oust the Islamic court union which Ethiopia believed were in cahoots with Al-Qaida and posing a major threat to its national security, soon after the ICU were removed by Ethiopia forces, a thousands of African Union forces were deployed in the name of peace keeping, and finally the US fallowed to establish its own military base in Somalia to encounter with al-Shabaab’s expansion into the region.
Meanwhile, Kenya launched border crossing operation dubbed “protect the country” by invading into southern Somalia without UN mandate, and started off to establish a so called buffer zone which it said will prevent future terrorist attacks from happening its soil.
|turkey training Somali army|
Lastly, Turkey joined the league and sets up its largest overseas army base in Somalia to train the Somali national army. Tukey were well known in Somalia for its generosity in humanitarian assistances it provided in 2011 when the country experienced the worst ever drought and famine which killed more than 250,000 people.
After all, the country has become a battle ground for various nations with their own best interest. Therefore, a greater complexity of war on terror has begun in a country where vast majority believed the foreigner led mission as an invasion rather than a rescue mission.
Meanwhile, the fragile state has no strong military forces to interrupt the rise of al-Shabaab neither any strategy of war on terror, other than, depending on the presence of 22,000 strong African union troops for their survival. Although turkey is training capable Somali army to overtake the security duty from African union peacekeeping troops in 2021.
However, AMISOM have been in the country for over a decade, and haven’t achieved any significant role to eradicate al-Shabaab despite their enormous payout allowances from EU and international partners which supports the peace keeping mission in Somalia and contributes over 1.2 billion USD annually.
At the same time, US army carries out special operations and air-raids on al-Shabaab controlled area, whereby Amnesty international reports some US drone strikes have killed many civilians in the southern regions yet US continuously denied any wrongdoing in its drone attacks in Somalia.
For the past ten years, US has conducted 52 airstrikes against the insurgent group which killed over 400 militants including its elusive leaders such as the founder of al-Shabaab “Adan ayrow” and his successor “ahmad godane”.
it’s now the world on one side versus al-Shabaab on the other side. Finally, the long abandoned country has got what it seems to be a care but a curse. Since then, Al-Shabaab became continuous threat to Somalia and the region’s security despite the decisive operations taken place in the country for the past ten years.
Eventually, Al-Shabaab were driven-out from the capital city “Mogadishu” in 2011, the insurgents have returned to gorilla fights against the government and increased its fierce attacks in the capital and killed several senior officials including ministries, member of parliaments, generals and lastly the most prominent senior officer in Somali’s government , Mr. Abdirahman Omar Eng. Yarisow “Mogadishu mayor” who have been killed in a suicide attack at his own office”.
Since Al-Shabaab is found, nearly 30,000 civilians have been killed and up to 3,000 African peace keepers in Somalia. While over 500,000 have been displaced within the country.
However, the indefinite war on terror has drawn more complication than its intended objectives and more-likely shown a sign of a failed mission.
The Somali government and its international partners has not achieved any remarkable result since the campaign of “war on terror” has begun in early 2007.
Nowadays, Many Somalians believed the Somali government should find other alternatives to end this unwinnable war which has no signs of ending, however, Somalia can learn many lessons from the ongoing initiative talks between Taliban and US – afghan government, if succeeded may end the longest-running “war on terror” in history.