On Jan. 17, The Associated Press reported that the U.S. military, as part of a Trump administration directive, had completed its withdrawal from the African nation of Somalia. The entire process had taken about a year.
Whether this troop withdrawal was a good idea is a matter of debate, but if the United States is going to make a decision to pull out, it should stick to it. Even across different administrations, we need a reliable foreign policy.
However, Ahmed Madobe, president of Jubaland, a federal member state within Somalia, posted a photo on Twitter early this month that showed him with uniformed American soldiers.
Met with US forces operating in Jubaland under @USAfricaCommand.
to discuss ways to inhance the fight against Al-shabaab.
The fight Against Al-shabaab is a priority for Somalia and its partners. pic.twitter.com/FJH6uJahJz
— Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed Islam (@PresidentMadobe) May 4, 2021
“Met with US forces operating in Jubaland under @USAfricaCommand to discuss ways to inhance the fight against Al-shabaab,” Madobe said. “The fight Against Al-shabaab is a priority for Somalia and its partners.”
In April, the Biden administration hinted that it had concerns regarding the Trump withdrawal from Somalia.
“From my perspective, there is probably significant downsides to the pullout from the perspective of cost and effectiveness,” Christopher Maier, acting assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, told the Senate Armed Services Committee, according to The Hill.
“But that’s my initial look, and this will have to be an interagency look.”
Defense Department spokeswoman Cindi King told The Washington Free Beacon that “While U.S. force posture changed, U.S. policy did not, and our counterterrorism operation against threats have continued.”
“We will continue helping our partners strengthen defensive capabilities to counter shared threats in order to create opportunities for political and economic development,” King furthered.
Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, isn’t buying it. He told The Free Beacon that in his mind, either the withdrawal from Somalia was never actually completed, or the Biden administration changed policy without telling anybody.
“Either that (the withdrawal of fighting forces from Somalia) wasn’t true, or Biden has very quietly brought them back in,” Rubin said.
The Biden administration’s actions also drew criticism from J. Peter Pham, an ambassador to Africa during the Trump administration, who told The Free Beacon that “What’s been going on for 30 years … has been the stubborn refusal to see reality.
“To carry on as if nothing happened, in the expectation of getting back to the way things were, is delusional at best,” Pham said.
Me quoted on ??#Somalia by @jackbeyrer in @FreeBeacon: “What’s been going on for 30 years…has been the stubborn refusal to see reality. To carry on as if nothing happened, in the expectation of getting back to the way things were, is delusional at best.”https://t.co/0UP5EUUnsk
— Dr. J. Peter Pham ?? (@DrJPPham) May 13, 2021
No matter what, the Biden administration owes the American people some answers, because it seems as if the administration has something to hide.
Have we withdrawn from Somalia or not? Are we going back in? If so, how?
I hope we get those answers soon, but I doubt that will be the case.
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