Will the tripartite initiative succeed in stopping Al-Shabaab's terrorism?
Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia have announced the reopening of border crossings between the three countries again, which comes after years of closure due to the increasing spread of the Somali terrorist movement Al-Shabaab and the influx of terrorist elements and their easy movement in the Horn of Africa region.
This tripartite initiative may write the final chapter of defeating the terrorism of ISIS and Al-Shabaab in that region, restoring stability and facilitating the economy, as well as finding a permanent solution to insecurity in the Horn of Africa.
Silencing the guns
Kenyan Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said opening borders between the three countries will improve social and economic development between them, adding that the guns must be silenced until industry returns, and terrorism must be stopped in the border area for the sake of social and economic prosperity.
Since 2012, Kenya has closed the common border between it and Somalia as a result of monitoring large movements of Al-Shabaab terrorist elements.
For his part, during a session of the Somali parliament, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud demanded the need for military support from neighboring countries, especially Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti, to eliminate Al-Shabaab, highlighting the role of regional and international partners in confronting terrorism.
State of weakness
As a result of the military operation launched by President Mohamud, which is being successfully implemented by the army and police forces throughout the country, Al-Shabaab, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda, has entered a state of great weakness.
The military operation has achieved great successes recently, leading to the decline and retreat of the terrorist movement. On Thursday, May 4, the Somali government confirmed the decline in Al-Shabaab attacks by 70% as a result of the military successes achieved by the ongoing war on terrorism.
According to a statement by the Somali government, 80 cities that have been liberated enjoy a state of security stability, which calls on the government to prepare to engage in the implementation of development projects there.
Challenges facing the tripartite initiative
Mohamed al-Sharqawi, a researcher specializing in violent movements and crisis areas, said that the tripartite initiative between Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia to reopen border crossings will have strong effects on the security situation in light of the increasing spread of Al-Shabaab elements in the region.
Sharqawi explained in an exclusive statement to the Reference that there are great challenges facing the initiative in light of several entrenched problems in the region, at the top of which is the deterioration of the security situation, which is one of the reasons that led to the closure of the borders between the three countries, although its goal is to find a permanent solution to the insecurity and instability in the countries of the Horn of Africa.
Despite the official closure of many border crossing points over the past decade, militants, criminals and migrants crossed the borders without significant problems, Sharqawi pointed out, adding that the evidence for this is that in year 2022, Al-Shabaab sent hundreds of its elements to Ethiopia before it received heavy blows from the regional forces.
Sharqawi pointed out that among the challenges is Al-Shabaab's brutality in light of the defeats it is receiving inside Somalia as a result of the President Mohamud’s strategy, which has achieved great successes in the fight against terrorism. These defeats will push the movement to create new outposts in the Horn of Africa, he noted, adding that the terrorists will take advantage of the security fragility in the border area to escape and re-position, and if necessary, strike the Ethiopian interior again, as well as Kenya, the latest of which were the two attacks that resulted in the killing of 17 Ethiopian policemen and the attack on a Kenyan military base in Mandera, as well as the bases of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), which reinforces fears of the region entering a state of chaos with ominous consequences.