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article imageUnited States sends military advisers back to Somalia

By Ken Hanly     Jan 10, 2014 in World
Mogadishu - The U.S. has sent a few military advisers to Somalia to bolster the African Union force. The deployment is the first of U.S troops to Somalia since 1993 when two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down and 18 U.S troops killed in the capital Mogadishu.
U.S. Africa Command spokesperson Colonel Tom Davis said: "The U.S. has established a military co-ordination cell in Somalia to provide planning and advisory support to the African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM] and Somali security forces to increase their capabilities and promote peace and security,"
The team was actually launched back in October and became fully operational in December. It is based at the airport in Mogadishu. The government did not see fit to announce the move until now. According to an anonymous U.S. official the team numbers fewer than five troops but that this was a "big step forward to normalisation of relations with Somalia". In other words, normalisation of relations with a country for the U.S. means stationing troops there among other things. The official said: "This is an example of progress for Somalia, The government is getting back on its feet, mainly with the help of AMISOM. In the past number of years we haven't had any significant presence, our embassy operates out of Nairobi but we've progressed to point where [the U.S.] feels comfortable leaving a number of personnel in Mogadishu." AMISOM helps Somali government forces battle al-Shabab Islamists. The group has been driven out of some major cities in Somalia but still occupies a large area in rural Somalia. The group has launched attacks in other East African countries such as Kenya that have sent troops to Somalia. A siege in a mall in Nairobi ended up killing 72 people including five of the terrorist attackers.
The African Union forces in Somalia were increased from 17,700 to more than 22,000. Countries providing troops are Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Uganda. No doubt there have been some clandestine U.S. special forces in Somalia for some time. There have been a number of U.S. drone strikes against Al Shabab bases.
There was also a Navy Seal raid targeting an al-Shabab leader in a seaside house in the town of Baraawe. The commander was a Kenyan and the raid apparently was in response to the earlier attack on the Kenyan mall. The operation failed. The U.S. policy in Somalia illustrates the lower profile type of operations that Obama favors of using proxies to advance U.S. aims where possible and using special forces rather than any conventional type of occupation with many boots on the ground. The newer policy generates very little attention or negative political reaction from the majority of the U.S. public. Most Americans are no doubt hardly aware of what is taking place. As the appended video notes most of the costs associated with the African Union force is paid for by the United States.
More about US Somalia relations, al shabab, us special forces
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