With Turkish and US help, can Hassan Sheikh win the war on Al-Shabaab?

Biden in May approved a Pentagon request to send American troops back to Somalia after seeing rising Al-Shabaab threats in the Horn of Africa.

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With Turkish and US help, can Hassan Sheikh win the war on Al-Shabaab?

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Al-Shabaab, which merged with Al-Qaeda in 2012 is posing a major threat to Somalia and the security of the neighboring countries - Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. 

Despite the support of 22,000 Africa Union forces and U.S. personnel, Somalia's war on the terror group has never been easy due to its presence in the most fertile regions in the country.

Under the leadership of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, most of the areas now under government control were liberated from Al-Shabaab in 2014 during a joint offensive that made big gains against Al-Shabaab.

The president is credited for pushing the armed fighters from the big towns in southern and central regions of the country into remote rural areas during his first two years in office.

The fight against Al-Shabaab has come to a halt during Farmajo's five-year stay at Villa Somalia, and many areas that have been hardly liberated from the terrorists have been lost easily.

Hassan Sheikh's return to power in May 2022 raised many questions about whether he will complete the mission he left five years ago, including the flush out of Al-Shabaab from entire Somalia.

During the electioneering period, the president campaigned for "Somalia at peace with itself and with the world" and promised to liberate the nation and hold a popular election at the end of his 4-year term.

The people are optimistic and expressed hope that Hassan Sheikh could win the war against Al-Shabaab and restore security and stability in Somalia because of his expertise and commitment.

Turkey and U.S. role

Somalia has currently military support from two world powers - the U.S. and Turkey in the fight against Al-Shabaab with Washington eyeing greater counter-terrorism operations in the country.

Both countries have bases in Somalia, which provide training, advice, and intelligence assistance to local and AU forces to win the war on terror which has been ongoing since 2007.

The U.S. trains Danab while Gogor by Turkey. Both military's elite units are active on the battlefield as they carry out special operations inside Al-Shabaab strongholds, targeting its leaders.

In mid last May, United States President Joe Biden authorized the deployment of hundreds of American troops to Somalia, reversing an exit decision by his predecessor Donald Trump.

Biden's decision came days after Mohamud, who served as president between 2012 and 2017 won a re-election which marked the end of a protracted electoral process in Somalia that began in 2021.

Given all the support from AU, Turkey, and the U.S. military, the current Somali president Hassan Sheikh has the best chance to liberate his country from Al-Shabaab and ISIS militants, experts said.


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