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Trump Orders U.S. Military Withdrawal from Somalia

Dec. 5, 2020 (EIRNS)—The Pentagon issued a statement yesterday announcing that President Donald Trump had ordered the Department of Defense and U.S. Africa Command “to reposition the majority of personnel and assets out of Somalia by early 2021.”

By most estimates, there are about 700 U.S. troops in Somalia. In addition to counter-terror missions against Al Shabab, they are also engaged in training Somali security forces. U.S. forces have been there since 2007. The DOD said that some forces will redeploy elsewhere in Africa.

“The U.S. is not withdrawing or disengaging from Africa. We remain committed to our African partners and enduring support through a whole-of-government approach,” the DOD statement said. “While a change in force posture, this action is not a change in U.S. policy. We will continue to degrade violent extremist organizations that could threaten our homeland while ensuring we maintain our strategic advantage in great power competition.”

Naturally, there’s already pushback against the DOD announcement. “We face heightened threats to our national security during this period,” Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said Dec. 4 in a statement. “This action puts our soldiers at risk, makes our country less safe and threatens the stability of our partners in Africa.”

There’s also anxiety being expressed from Somalia. “The United States military support to Somalia has enabled us to effectively combat Al-Shabab and secure the Horn of Africa,” Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed wrote in a twitter posting. “A victory through this journey and for Somali-U.S. partnership can only be achieved through continuous security partnership and capacity building support.”

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