If the current pace of strikes continues, the US will strike Shabaab 130 times in 2019. Is this a prelude to disengagement?
Shabaab has continued to demonstrate its ability to strike in heavily fortified areas of Mogadishu.
The US military’s air campaign against Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, continues to intensify. AFRICOM launched five more airstrikes against Shabaab over the weekend.
The two latest strikes took place in a town where Shabaab is dominant. The US air campaign against Shabaab continues to intensify and is on pace to quickly outstrip last year’s strike total.
Since the New Year, US Africa Command has hit Shabaab 14 times. AFRICOM acknowledges that the air campaign is not sufficient to defeat Shabaab, but can only support the Somali government’s efforts.
Shabaab has now assassinated four high-ranking Somali military personnel in the same general vicinity.
The pace of strikes against Shabaab’s network in Somalia has intensified despite reports that the US military is seeking to disengage from the war-torn country.
According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), al Qaeda’s senior leaders are strengthening the al Qaeda “network’s global command structure.” Meanwhile, the Islamic State “still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria.” Both groups maintain worldwide networks or affiliates, branches, and supporters.