US intensifies engagement in Somalia

After the May 15th, 2022, Somalia’s election U.S. government took concrete steps to intensify its diplomatic engagement in Somalia and continues to provide security, humanitarian, and diplomatic support to Somalia.

In the aftermath of the 2022 Somalia presidential elections, president Biden immediately announced the redeployment of U.S. forces back to Somalia, who are playing a vital role in training, equipping, and advising Somali national forces in the fight against Al Shabab.

Washington’s decision to redeploy forces back to Somalia was indicative of its enthusiasm to partner with Somalia’s new administration.

President Hassan Sheikh’s administration seized this opportunity of U.S. security assistance to his country and, immediately after winning the presidency, launched the most prolonged Somali-led military offensive against Al Shabab, partnering with locals and tribal militias to defeat Al-Shabab.

SNA and its allied forces made significant progress in the ongoing fight against Al-Shabab, which resulted in the liberation of dozens of towns and cities previously controlled by Al-Shabab.

U.S. commitment to partnering with Somalia’s leadership is best manifested by recent visits of a high-level U.S. delegation to Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

Senior members of president Biden’s administration have visited Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, namely USAID Administrator Samantha Power and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Amb Linda Thomas Greenfield. Moreover, other senior U.S. military officials visit Somalia and engage in discussions with Somalia’s leaders almost on a regular basis.

In response to droughts and humanitarian crises in Somalia, the U.S. government has increased its humanitarian assistance to Somalia and emerged as Somalia’s largest humanitarian donor, averting full-blown famine.

At the international financial institutions, the U.S. continues to offer its diplomatic support for Somalia’s debt relief process.

Time will tell how Somalia’s leadership will respond to these new opportunities, and it is up to Somalia’s leadership to rise to the occasion and reciprocate America’s goodwill.

Yasir M Abdirahman is the Founder and executive director of the Mogadishu Institute for Research and Policy Studies.