Somalia has become a country dominated by violence and civil unrest since time immemorial. The country has become a source of concern to the U.S. authorities regarding the issue of Al Shabaab organization, which is an Islamic terrorist group trying to oust the United Nation’s (UN) legitimate Transitional Federal government (TPG). For approximately 20 years Somalia has experienced unrest from this terrorist group and which led to loss of lives and property.
According to my extensive research and based on the report by National Counter-Terrorism Center, this terrorist group has imposed temporary and, in some instances, maintained control over strategic locations in Central and Southern Somalia by training and recruiting, in some cases, authoritatively, country’s sub-clans and their families. They employ the guerrilla lop-sided warfare and terrorist approach against the TPG of Somalia and its affiliate countries , Non-governmental Organizations that provide assistance and African Union (AU) of peacekeepers (Moroni, 1995).
Cultural warfare must not be factored in as an alternative as the threat experienced does amount to convectional war in which the military in the region are not attempting to attain strategic objectives against a legitimate nation (Brice, 2008). Corresponding to the threat of the Al Shabaab, irregular approaches and capabilities are only perfect in neutralizing these perceived threats. The United States, in support of the African Union, is strategically positioned to offer assistance through irregular warfare abilities executed by United States Africa Command (AFRICOM).
Despite the fact that the Islamic extremist group Al Shabaab can be classified as a revolution group, this may not be necessarily practicable to approach the menace with a counterrevolution approach. The illegal group, in my opinion, does appear to have the people’s support because the command supports through instilling sense of fear to the victims. I propose that there is the need to use the aspect of counterterrorism and use of foreign internal defense strategies to reduce the United States’ troop present in the region and strengthen the relationships and trustworthiness of African nations through the AU. Countries like Kenya and Ethiopia that border this country can either benefit or lose from this strategy. Whether it is the inflow of the refugees trying to evade the war carried by the terrorist group or safeguarding themselves from this group cross-border attacks, Kenya and Ethiopia are the main partners in executing an efficient irregular warfare campaign (Brice, 2008).
Logical Lines of Operations
The irregular regions affected by the violence are the Southern and Central Somalia. Ethiopia led a military operation to eliminate the Al Shabaab from the capital city of Mogadishu and the Southern part of Somalia in 2008. The Ethiopian military after two weeks of intensive operations managed to overpower the group and its influence in Mogadishu declined, forcing the group to seek refuge in rural areas. In my research it became more complex to ascertain the control of the TPG had at this time; however, assessing and focusing the nations’ economic and governmental issues that sustain and maintain Al Shabaab will constitute the main strategy that will provide a lasting solution (Moroni, 1995). I suppose there is the need to address the challenge of deficit in trade, industry and governance in Mogadishu and the underlying regions; the United States can offer the people of Somalia with a feasible option to accepting the harsh and repressive ideologies of Islamic extremism. Reinforcing the African Union partners’ military abilities will offer the much needed control along the Kenyan and Ethiopian borders with the aim of marginalizing the group’s capability to carry out its operations outside Somalia hence, developing base for more violence, momentous counter-terrorism activities and increased intelligence abilities. If this can be executed, the terrorist group will be easily overpowered and may end up surrendering.
Inter-agency collaboration factors should be considered and addressed to efficiently execute such a campaign against the terrorist group. Global partners, particularly Kenya and Ethiopia, the TPG and NGOs are all considered the key stakeholders and partners, availing a range of potentialities and that need support from the United States’ military forces. In my opinion, Kenya and Ethiopia seem to be the key direct recipients that need more support with the NGOs as secondary recipients in Somalia issue. In addition, the relationship between the United States and TPG cannot be underestimated as the TPG is the continuity for Somalia transition once the US withdraws their support (Brice, 2008).
The Kenyan and Ethiopian disciplined forces will need a considerable support material and training to be able to manage their borders and subsequent counter-terrorism operations. The aspect of intelligence sharing will play a key role in fighting the militia group and will promote effective planning execution processes, and in addition, provide equipments that include Biometric Automated Tool Set (BATS), which will be used to control borders and humanitarian regards (Baylis, 2007).
The NGOs are offering humanitarian support to the indigenously displaced persons (IDP); populace will need support in the form of security against any attack by the militia group. As relationship with the NGOs grow, it is vital to develop the communication channel between the forces, U.S., NGOs and AU forces in the region. The relationship needed should be cultivated early during the planning and address the potentialities and shortcomings of all the participants’ supporting strategy of the relationship and regulations for situational consciousness as operations continue (Brice, 2008).
TPG should be deeply integrated in the phase of such development as to avoid undermining the ongoing progress of the TPG and the United States’ approach with regional objectives. United States military forces need to bring high efficient and technological advances set of abilities that could deliberately display a sense of achievement to the TPG and AU members. Both the AU and TPG’s partners should comprehend, although these abilities are in place while the US military forces are present; the role of sustaining the development attained via such abilities is feasible only if these strategies are continued via TPG and AU’s activities (Moroni, 1995).
Key to Success
Unity of endeavors and understanding the operational environment are two main factors to success attainable via this campaign with acknowledged key partners. AU military forces are indigenous to Somalia and very conversant with all elements associated with terrain, enemy and weather including social, economic, political and cultural aspects, which are relatively not familiar to the US forces. A unified strategy through the TPG and AU offers the basis for efficient unity of purpose driven by the US abilities and military support. The presence of NGOs in Somalia offers an extra means to remain abreast of the second and third order strategies regarding the IDP populace (Brice, 2008).
As the campaign unfolds, offering support by the US ensured their forces are flexible to alter their strategies and serve as an indication to carry certain kinds of operation. For example, if there is an influx of refugees from the Southern region, NGOs can be conducted to provide essential support services to the affected population, delaying the refugees from impacting negatively on the Ethiopian forces. The US can also use the intelligence reports from AU to develop more strategies to assist the affected communities and at the same time maintain its counter-terrorism operations and develop credibility for TPG by attributing the humanitarian strategies (Moroni, 1995).