NYT Magazine 15.03.2019

Where is the United States at war? It’s a hard question to answer. Inevitably though, at least in the last four years, this sentence has changed little: American troops are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. But with a steady stream of airstrikes, militant deaths, alleged civilian casualties and two American troops killed in Eastern Africa since 2017, another country has since crept onto the list: Somalia. […]

The last time the United States had an enduring military presence in Somalia was in 1993, but that ended after 18 Americans troops were killed in the capital, Mogadishu, in a violent gun battle, known as the Black Hawk Down incident. Two helicopters were shot down, and their pilots’ bodies were dragged through the streets.

Since then, the Shabab has grown and spread across the country, pledging allegiance to Al Qaeda in 2012 and threatening Somalia’s fragile government. In response, the Pentagon ramped up American drone strikes and Special Operations raids. Now as President Trump seeks to withdraw some of the roughly 7,000 American troops on the African continent to ready for great power conflict with Russia and China, the war in Somalia has turned into a small version of Afghanistan.

Special Operations troops patrol in mine-resistant vehicles, heavily armed gunships patrol the night sky and, despite a torrent of attacks and militant body counts often championed in Pentagon news releases, the Shabab remains firmly entrenched in the countryside, with no indication that they’re leaving. […]

„America’s Escalating Air War in Somalia“

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