Are Somali Troops Prepared to Lead the War Against al-Shabab?

239
1594

Tuesday September 11, 2018 (RBB NEWS) – WASHINGTON – As the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) prepares to implement the planned phased withdrawal of more than 21,000 troops fighting militant groups, including al-Shabab and the Islamic State in Somalia, some experts are concerned that the country may not be prepared to take on the task in the face of growing political divisions and lack of military equipment and training.

As part of the first phase, AMISOM plans to withdraw about 1,000 troops by February 2019. The process of handing over responsibility of some forward-operating bases to the Somali national army has already begun.

The plan is to gradually withdraw all AMISOM troops from the country and hand over the lead security responsibility to local government forces.

The transition would occur based on the conditions on the ground and the preparedness of the Somali National Security Forces (SNFS), according to officials at AMISOM.

Assessment urged

At a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, in late August, the military operations coordinating committee of the AMISOM urged its commanders to conduct an operational readiness assessment of the Somali national army.

But some experts charge that the timelines are hard to follow and that it would take a longer process for AMISOM to withdraw from Somalia.

“I will be surprised if these timelines are held,” Omar Mahmood, a Somali analyst with the South Africa-based Institute of Security Studies Africa, told VOA.

“I think it’s going to be a much longer process than what people are really thinking about right now,” he added.

Mahmood said there has been some progress with the training of the Somali security forces, but they are unable to take on a leading role without international support.

“If you are talking about in terms of the whole security of Somalia, no, of course not. I don’t think the security forces are ready, but I think you need to start showing some signs of progress, especially because the issue is linked to AMISOM’s talk of withdrawal,” Mahmood added.

Paul Williams, an associate professor at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, said he thinks the success of the process depends on accurate and calculative assessments on the ground.

“The effect is likely to vary depending on what type of forces AMISOM might withdraw, and where,” Williams told VOA. “If a relatively small number of troops were withdrawn on the basis of an accurate assessment of the al-Shabab threat, and the remaining forces are given better enablers (aviation, rapid reaction and ISR units), then the impact would likely be small or even net positive.”

Somali stance

Somali officials maintain that the country has made progress and that it’s in a better position to take on more responsibility for the security of parts of the country.

In May, Abdisaid Musse Ali, Somalia’s national security adviser, reportedly told a joint A.U.-U.N. delegation that he was assessing the situation in Somalia ahead of the planned transition of security responsibilities to the Somali security forces, and that his country should not be judged based on the past.

“The transition plan represents a significant change in the planning and delivery of security in Somalia. It is not business as usual,” Ali told the delegation, according to an AMISOM press release.

“We need to build a state, and building a state meant the Somalis needed to take responsibility not only of the military, but also of the administration of the country,”Ali added.

Abdulhakim Haji Mohamud Faqi, the former two-time Somali defense minister, echoed Ali’s assessment and said Somalia must be supported in its quest for gradually talking the lead.

“Somali government officials indicated that the Somali security forces are now capable and ready for the gradual handover of security responsibility from AMISOM,” Faqi told VOA. “We must trust and support the government in this aspect.”

Training

Somali security forces are currently being trained by AMISOM, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the EU. The U.S. military’s Africa Command is also helping with training.

A U.S. military official told VOA that the U.S. trains Somali soldiers and targets terror groups.

“AFRICOM provides training and security force assistance to the SNSF, including support for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to facilitate their efforts to target violent extremist organizations in their country,” U.S. Air Force Maj. Karl Wiest, a spokesperson for AFRICOM, told VOA.

“Our military actions, to include precision strikes against the al-Qaida-aligned, al-Shabab terrorist groups, as well as ISIS-Somalia, are done in support and with the concurrence of the federal government [Somalia],” Wiest said, using an acronym for the militant group, Islamic State.

But experts point to lack of coordination among these trainer countries, which leads to poor results on the ground.

Williams, the George Washington professor, believes that several international actors have spent a decade trying to build an effective national force in Somalia, but with little success.

“This failure suggests serious changes are required to how Somalia receives security force assistance, probably involving fewer external providers,” he said.

Mahmood charges that because of the involvement of several external parties, individual units are often trained effectively. However, the macro-level training soldiers receive differs from unit to unit, depending on which country is involved, which undermines efforts of building a unified force.

“The individual trainings themselves could be very adequate, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are building a really unified force that can act in a cohesive manner,” Mahmood said.

Both Mahmood and Williams call for better coordination among countries that help train Somali soldiers.

Political differences

Analysts such as Mahmood believe that the main obstacle to the creation of an effective national army in Somalia is the inability of the political class to reconcile with each other.

“There are just a high number of divisions — one at the clan level, and two at a sort of Mogadishu versus the federal member states, and so on,” Mahmood said.

“Right now, I think, what you have in some of the federal member states are militias or units that are really responding not to Mogadishu, but to their respective member state capitals,” Mahmood added.

239 COMMENTS

  1. Where I come from we don at get much of this sort of writing. Got to look around all over the internet for such relevant pieces. I congratulate your effort. Keep it up!

  2. It’а†s actually a nice and useful piece of information. I’а†m satisfied that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  3. It is really a great and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  4. This is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate info Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

  5. I’а†ve read several excellent stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot attempt you put to make this type of magnificent informative site.

  6. This very blog is no doubt cool and informative. I have chosen many interesting things out of this blog. I ad love to visit it again soon. Thanks a bunch!

  7. My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You cann at imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  8. Usually I do not read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to check out and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, quite great post.

  9. Sites we recommend Excellent blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  10. This very blog is no doubt interesting and besides diverting. I have found many interesting stuff out of it. I ad love to visit it again and again. Thanks a bunch!

  11. Tremendous issues here. I am very glad to see your article. Thank you so much and I am looking forward to contact you. Will you please drop me a mail?

  12. You made some really good points there. I checked on the web to find out more about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.

  13. I simply could not go away your website before suggesting that I really enjoyed the standard info an individual provide to your visitors? Is gonna be back continuously to inspect new posts

  14. Link exchange is nothing else but it is just placing the other person as website link on your page at appropriate place and other person will also do similar in support of you.

  15. Wow! This can be one particular of the most useful blogs We ave ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Magnificent. I am also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your hard work.

  16. safe power leveling and gold I feel extremely lucky to have come across your entire web pages and look forward to plenty of more exciting minutes reading here

  17. Spot taking place with this write-up, I rightly ponder this website wants much further issue. I all in every probability be yet again to read a long way additional, merit for that info.

  18. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn at show up. Grrrr well I am not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say great blog!

  19. I will regularly upload tons of stock imagery but I?m not sure what to do about the copyright issue? please help!.. Thanks!.

  20. I’а†ve read various fantastic stuff here. Undoubtedly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how a whole lot try you set to generate this form of great informative internet site.

  21. It’а†s actually a nice and useful piece of info. I’а†m glad that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Your style is so unique compared to other people I have read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you ave got the opportunity, Guess I all just book mark this site.

  23. It as not that I want to copy your internet site, but I really like the pattern. Could you tell me which style are you using? Or was it especially designed?

  24. I was just looking for this information for a while. After six hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your site. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this type of informative websites in top of the list. Generally the top websites are full of garbage.

  25. Photo paradise for photography fans ever wondered which web portal really had outstanding blogs and good content existed in this ever expanding internet

  26. It seems like you are generating problems oneself by trying to remedy this concern instead of looking at why their can be a difficulty in the first place

  27. The Internet is like alcohol in some sense. It accentuates what you would do anyway. If you want to be a loner, you can be more alone. If you want to connect, it makes it easier to connect.

  28. I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem. You are amazing! Thanks!

  29. Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It as on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Superb choice of colors!

  30. You have made some really good points there. I looked on the net to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.

  31. I was recommended this web position by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as rejection one to boot get such detailed concerning my problem. You are amazing! Thanks!

  32. Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing for your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here