After President Donald Trump reduced the US military footprint in the broader Middle East, his successor Joe Biden appears to want to enlarge it again. The first troop contingents will set off for Somalia.
Since the Democrats took power in the White House, the United States military-industrial complex has been rejoicing. Not only that Washington and its allies in Europe are sending huge amounts of weapons to Ukraine to fight Russia down to the last Ukrainian. The “adventurism” of the Biden administration seems to be worthwhile for the arms industry in other respects as well.
If Trump was still more of the salesman type who (e.g. with the pressure on NATO’s two percent target) would rather have other taxpayers pay for the profits of the arms companies, Biden and the current Congress are leaving the Americans financially (and the Ukrainians literally) bleed. While Republican Congressman Rand Paul delayed the latest $40 billion package for Ukraine, postponed is not canceled. And that’s not all.
While Trump has attempted to somewhat reduce US troop presence in the broader Middle East, Biden appears to be planning the opposite. Now also in Somalia. A completely failed state in the Horn of Africa where various warlords and Islamist militias are fighting for supremacy. Hundreds of special units of the US military are now to return there after Biden’s predecessor withdrew the contingents there.
The Times report states: “Biden has approved a Pentagon request for permanent powers to target about a dozen suspected leaders of the Somali terrorist group Al Shabab, which is linked to Al Qaeda, according to three of the officials. Since Biden took office, airstrikes have been largely limited to those in defense of partner forces facing an imminent threat.” According to the report, Biden signed the order “early May,” but we are only now learning about it. The news comes just a day after a new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, was “elected” in Somalia, with an electorate of only 327 people in a country of 16 million people. Mohamud was elected President during the Obama years, serving from 2012 to 2017.
In December 2020, President Trump announced and led the complete withdrawal of some 700 American troops in Somalia also through. In a statement to the Times on Monday, a spokesman for the National Security Council said Trump’s actions were a “hasty decision to withdraw.” Previously, the US had had an uninterrupted presence in Somalia since 2007, conducting hundreds of airstrikes in the country.
The question now is whether this is a prelude to a growing US military presence in the Horn of Africa. After all, these Islamist militias are spreading throughout the region and the growing Chinese presence in the region is also drawing the attention of the Pentagon. Maybe Biden just wants to follow in his footsteps drone killer and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Barack Obama step…