MOGADISHU (HAN) December 6.2020. Public Diplomacy and Regional Stability Initiatives News. Monitoring Regional Issues. By Mohamed Mohamud Adde. Somalia is a very strategic location in the world and that is what attracts the world powers to seek influence over Somali peninsula over the years. In 1970s and 1980s the former Soviet Union competed with US covertly to have a foot in this region. Soviets had a chance and lost it. In the cold war era, the US followed Suit. The soviet became bankrupt ideologically and economically and as result it collapsed in 1989.
In early 1990s, after disintegration of Soviets and the collapse of the Somali government, the US became the most powerful nation in the world politically, economically and militarily. World political commentators used to say if US sneezed everybody else in the world would get a cold. Some other concocted the phrase, “The world Policeman.”
In the early 1990s, the UN called the world policeman to lead a coalition of nations, what was termed UN operation in Somalia which eventually failed miserably when the US troops and general Aideed fought in urban warfare in the streets of Mogadishu. That tragic battle is known ‘Black Hawk Down’.
Almost nearly thirty years later, the pain and scares are still fresh. Ever since that incident, the US was in Somalia one way or the other.That is a brief history of the US involvement in our region and it is meant for the young generation who inherited that historical package.
It is important to high light, the same US has led the way for rebuilding Somalia government by recognising the former President Hassan Sheik’s administration and signing with it some bilateral treaties including the rebuilding of the Somali National army(SNA).
Coming to the intended point, president Trump has announced that the US army experts who have been working on Somali military training project will be withdrawn in January 2021.
What does it mean for Somalia the decree of Trump’s administration?
In answering that question a Somali security analyst said the the US had built and trained one of the best commandos nicknamed Danab which means in English “Lightening,”
This battalion is NOW the backbone of Somali military. They are mobile, well equiped, well trained and well paid. The analyst aso explained that the US experts had restructured the Somali army and helped to get paid regularly. All those work are at stake.
It is for all (Somali or nonSomalis) to imagine what is likely to happen if the military could not get their salary on time in February next year. I don’t want to involve my self the technical side of the US army – its air support to Somali government and military operations against Al shabab, Al Qaeda and ISIS.
It is quite clear that the Somali government is in very difficult position. It has already faced a political and a constitutional crises and those are likely to be coupled this unforeseen military crises. Somalia can do very little on its own in terms of every thing including salary payment without US support.
it is a matter of the president elect of USA, Joe Biden to reverse that decision of his predecessor. Only time will tell what he will do when he takes office.
But for Somalia, what plan does it have for replacement of the US support if the new president chooses to deal with his other priorities inside the US! One thing is quite certain, military experts pull out or not, that Somalia will also be in this strategic position and powers will always seek to have foot hold here. The end
By Mohamed Mohamud Adde.
The author is an academic and an Independent Somali Political Analyst who is based in Mogadishu.