More aggressive US strikes in Somalia said to risk civilians

Posted April 02, 2017

President Donald Trump granted the US military more flexibility in conducting operations in Somalia on Wednesday, declaring the country a "war zone" and easing restrictions that protect civilians.

The officials say Trump's decision approves a Pentagon request to allow more aggressive airstrikes in the African nation's southern region. "Somali and AMISOM forces have already achieved significant success in recapturing territory from al-Shabab, and additional US support will help them increase pressure on al-Shabab and reduce the risk to our partner forces when they conduct operations".

What the easing of restrictions will do is "improve [The African Union Mission in Somalia] AMISOM and the Somali National Army's chances of defeating" al-Shabaab, the officer said. One U.S. strike on March 17 may have killed scores of civilians, and human rights groups have questioned whether the rules of engagement were to blame.

President Trump is giving the Pentagon more authority to carry out airstrikes in Somalia.

Two American women were sentenced Friday for providing material support to the al-Shabaab terror group, which has always been targeting and killing Christians in parts of Africa, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

And in the city of Mosul, Iraq - which ISIS controls part of - US strikes that Iraqi special forces requested might have killed as many as 200 civilians.

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The Maryland plaintiffs also argued the ban illegally reduces the number of refugees authorized to enter the USA this year. He said Hawaii would suffer financially if the executive order constricted the flow of students and tourists to the state.

New recruits belonging to Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebel group march during a passing out parade at a military training base in Afgoye, west of the capital Mogadishu February 17, 2011.

Open Doors USA ranks North Korea and Somalia No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on its World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most severe persecution.

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to stop embroiling the USA in costly foreign wars.

Trump's move would allow USA special forces to work directly with the Somali military, which has struggled for over a decade against the influence of Al-Shabab, an ultraconservative Sunni Muslim militant group linked to Al-Qaeda, the Associated Press reported.

The Times report does note that the usa military's involvement in Somalia initially grew under Obama's command. Since then, the USA military has carried out 45 airstrikes in Yemen, more strikes than have ever been conducted in any calendar year in that country. The "Group of Fifteen" met regularly in a private chatroom that Jama established to organize and track monthly payment of money to the "Hargeisa side", which was used to finance al-Shabaab military operations in the Golis Mountains in northern Somalia, and the "Nairobi side", which was used to fund two al-Shabaab safehouses.

According to data compiled by the New America think tank, there were 9 drone strikes and four ground operations conducted in Somalia in 2016, killing an estimated 25 civilians and 200 people said to be fighting with terrorist organizations.