Only halfway through the month, the United States has already conducted more strikes in November than any other since the inception of its air campaign in Somalia in 2007. On Nov. 14, US forces launched yet another airstrike against Shabaab fighters located 60 miles northwest of Mogadishu. That strike, the fifth against Shabaab in the past week alone, killed “several” militants, according to an AFRICOM press release this morning.
Earlier this month, the United States expanded its targeting in Somalia to include the Islamic State. Strikes against the Islamic State account for three of the eight strikes in November.
The increased assaults are as a result of loosened restrictions by the Trump administration last March on the US military to use force against Shabaab after the Departments of Defense and State both noted that Shabaab has become more lethal and dangerous. Shabaab has killed hundreds of African Union and Somali forces while overrunning bases in southern Somalia and has maintained its safe havens while expanding areas under its control during 2016.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal. Alexandra Gutowski is a military affairs analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.