Somali Army declares war over al-Shabaab, joint military operation begins
A large-scale military operation kicked off jointly by the Somali army and the African Union forces against militias of Somalia's terrorist group Al-Shabaab.
The operation took place following a direct order by president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, hoping of controlling the terrorist attacks that the country is witnessing in many areas, and affecting innocent civilians, officials and state agencies.
Perhaps the Somali fears of the expansionist ambitions of the Al-Shabaab movement and its desire to extend beyond the borders have recently multiplied.
Although the attempt was deterred, it revealed the intentions of the movement’s leaders to expand its subversive presence to other regions, and notes that the infiltration of the movement’s elements into Ethiopian territory, after successive attacks on the border areas, is a dangerous security escalation.
Hence the importance of the joint military operation that the country is witnessing at the present time, and through which it appeals to the international community to support the demands calling for lifting the arms embargo imposed on Somalia and strengthening the work of the African Union force.
Amira Abdel Halim, an expert on African affairs at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, says that counter-terrorism policies must deal with the Somali scene more attentively.
She pointed out in a study entitled "Counter-terrorism Policies in Somalia" that those in charge of counter-terrorism policies in Somalia must understand the clan nature of Somali society, and work to settle differences between clans.
Abdel Halim further recommended that counter-terrorism policies in Somalia depend also on reforming the federal government and eliminating rampant corruption among its agencies, as Somalia is the most corrupt country in the world according to Transparency International’s indicators.
Since 2010, the EU’s military mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia) has contributed to strengthening Somalia’s federal government and the defence and security institutions in the country providing training, mentoring and advice.
The Somali National Security Forces play an important role in ensuring stability and peace in the country, and provide additional support to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) Forces to overcome the challenges and create a safe and secure environment in the country.
President Mohamud has vowed to shut down revenue streams for al-Shabaab terrorists. The Islamist militants are believed to make millions of dollars per year from taxes they impose in areas of Somalia under their control.
The al-Qaida-affiliated militants have been fighting against Somalia’s Western-backed government and African Union peacekeeping troops since 2007 to impose strict Islamic law.
The U.S. announced in mid-May that it would reestablish a military presence in Somalia to help fight the militants after pulling out troops in 2020.