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Monday, July 22, 2024

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    Somalia’s Counter-Insurgency Operation Gains Regional Support

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    In a recent development, the East African nation of Somalia has been grappling with a series of violent incidents and political upheavals from the notorious Alkaeda affiliated Al-Shabab.The most notable event was the launch of the second phase of the military offensive against al-Shabaab at the end of March.

    The new phase reportedly aims to flush out al-Shabaab from the remaining parts of the country under its control, following the first phase that began in August 2022. While the operation initially focused on central Somalia, starting in Hirshabelle and then expanding to Galmudug state, the second phase aims to expand to southern regions – Southwest and Jubaland states.

    During the first phase of the offensive against al-Shabaab, Somali security forces regained control of over 215 locations previously under al-Shabaab’s control, mostly in Hirshabelle and Galmudug states. However, Somali security forces, who failed to fully drive out al-Shabaab militants from both states, still lack the military capacity to hold newly liberated areas.

    As the federal government anticipates a lack of support from clans in the south for the second phase of operations, it is seeking more support from neighboring states who are already present in Somalia under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) – possibly indicating a plan to scale down the role of clan militias in the operation.

    Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya have reportedly promised over 30,000 soldiers to support the offensive in the coming months. This situation update analyzes the activities of al-Shabaab and the security forces during the second phase of the offensive and assesses the risk that political differences between the federal government and some of member states, like Jubaland and Puntland, may undermine the operations.

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