The war on terrorism in Somalia; Tools and 3 scenarios

In a six-minute video recording, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared war on terrorism, a scourge that is terrorizing the African country and the region.

In a moving message to the Somali people, the president said: “There is no solution to terrorism except eradication, because their war is not only directed against the government as it claims, as it seeks to humiliate the people, starve innocent civilians and loot their money”, he said. The war started in the areas of Galmudug, Hershville and south-western Somalia, and will continue until the elimination of the terrorist al-Shabaab movement.

“Terrorism is like a snake in our clothes, we must remove it without fear”, he said. “If it does not kill, it will kill us”.

The statements came after an extraordinary national security conference held to discuss security as a priority for the administration of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

New Tools

Somali security analyst Abdul Rahman Hashi believes it is necessary for the Somali president to change his counterterrorism strategy.

Hashi said that new tools can be used to mobilize and arm tribes as an effective solution and to at least reduce the dependence of outsiders on the human level in this battle.

Hashi recommends not reducing the effectiveness of drying up sources of funding and intellectual war, and directing scholars and preachers to focus on terrorist crimes as they are the source of trust of the Somali people.

Implementing the strategy of building the national army, strengthening the resolve of the political leadership and shifting security plans to the field is one of the factors that have not yet been tapped into in the war on terror, said Somali military analyst Abdul Wahid Mahmoud.

Abdul-Wahid believes that strengthening military action reduces the chance for terrorists in cities to lay the groundwork for major cities.

International trend

The two experts agree that President Hassan Sheikh Mahmud has many tools, including the investment of regional and international approaches to support his policies against terrorism.

The United States has announced a redeployment of its troops in Somalia, and the African Peace and Security Council (of the African Union) has made a request to relax the arms embargo on Somalia to defeat terrorism.

Other tools in President Sheikh Mahmud’s possession include the return of some 5,000 Somali soldiers trained in Eritrea to contribute to the war on terror and forces that were trained by friendly countries in Somalia in past years and were not exploited during former President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo’s tenure.

The two experts argue that the president should focus on seven provinces where the terrorist group Al-Shabaab controls large areas: Bay, Bakol, Lower and Middle Shabeellaha, Gedo, Lower and Central Juba, and parts of Galmudug State, all southern and central Somalia.

The two security experts stressed that the effectiveness of the war and its results depend on the extent of the defeat of the political leadership and its encouragement of the army, such as visiting the field of operations and leading the battles.

The Somali civil and military justice system has been developed to win the trust of the people and pass tough anti-terrorism laws, the first of which is the anti-terrorism law that has been before parliament since 2016.

The two experts develop three war scenarios, namely, a military war in which the Somali army is on its own, with field results that could be eroded at any time.

The second is an all-out war to shape thought, finance and the field, accompanied by the reform of State institutions and the justice system, which will bring Somalia a major victory that has been long overdue for more than a decade and a half against terrorism

The third factor is the inflaming of the street against terrorism, and the battle between the people without the resources of war is limited to the failure of the government to fulfill its promises and things will return as they are without any progress.

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