November 20, 2017 | Morning Headlines

Main Story

Somali President Leaves For United Arab Emirates

19 November – Source: Shabelle News – 101 Words

A high-level delegation led by Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo travelled  to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday. Reports from Villa Somalia, the state house say President Farmaajo’s trip to UAE came after he received an official invitation from the government of the United Arab Emirates. The Somali President will hold talks with UAE officials in Abu Dhabi over the bilateral relations and Somalia’s stance towards the diplomatic crises in the Gulf States. The visit which started on Sunday  marks the second of its kind since Farmajo was elected as the 9th President of Somalia by Parliament in February 8, 2017.

Key Headlines

  • Somali President Leaves For United Arab Emirates (Shabelle News)
  • Agreement Reached Over Appointment Of HirShabelle’s  New Ministers (Goobjoog News)
  • Kenyan Security Agencies On High Alert As Al-Shabaab Plans To Retaliate (Hiiraan Online)
  • Somalia Seeks Help From US Firm To Further Relations (Daily Nation)
  • Intelligence Report Reveals Kenyan Al-Shabaab Leader Likely To Leave The Terror Group (The Standard)
  • Is The United States Getting Into Another Forever War In Somalia?  (Newsweek)


Agreement Reached Over Appointment Of HirShabelle’s New Ministers

19 November -Source: Goobjoog News – 156 Words

HirShabelle President and the regional assembly MPs have agreed upon the method of selecting new ministers for his Cabinet. The methodology to select the new state ministers was deliberated in a meeting held last night in Jowhar attended by the state president Mohamed Abdi Ware, his Deputy, Assembly  Speaker and MPs. It was agreed President Ware be given the opportunity to appoint ministers outside the state MPs for his new administration.

Meanwhile president Ware informed the regional MPs that  he will subject his selection of ministers to face them before his final nomination takes place in order to create working relationship between him and the  MPs. For the past few days, HirShabelle state has been experiencing political tension on the manner of selecting the new ministers. Mohamed Abdi Ware, an agriculturalist was elected president of Hirshabelle state in the middle of September 2017.

 Kenyan Security Agencies On High Alert As Al-Shabaab Plans To Retaliate

19 November- Source: Hiiraan Online – 269 Words

Security agencies in Kenya have been placed on high alert in areas near Kenya’s border along Somalia following credible intelligences on Al-Shabaab group which is plotting to carry out deadly attacks in the country. According to security agencies, the group is mapping attacks in Mandera and Lamu counties where the group had set up footholds for the past four years. Kenya’s anti-Terrorism Police Unit and National Intelligence Service confirmed the plot ,saying the group sent some of its fighters to areas in Somalia near Kenya’s border to carry out attacks. The Kenyan forces will enhance security patrols along the border with Somalia to prevent incursions of the militants. The Intelligence report said the terror group is on mission to hit several areas with the aim to cause fear among the citizens.

Mohamed Salah, Northeastern regional coordinator confirmed the move saying the government will deploy troops to beef up the security of border areas. “Though there are no imminent attacks right now but the militants always have a plan which they try to implement when pressure is inserted on them inside Somalia,” said Salah. He said the  group weakened after Somali forces launched counter offensive attacks against them. “The group is dispersing to different areas to get safe hide out. Therefore they will try to cross the porous border,” he noted.  Al-Shabaab has carried out retaliation attacks in Northeastern and Coast regions since Kenya sent its troops to Somalia. Early this month, the militants attacked police vehicles escorting passenger bus between Borehole 11 and Dhabacity villages.


Somalia Seeks Help From US Firm To Further Relations

19 November – Source: Daily Nation – 461 Words

The Somali government has retained a former US senator to lobby the Trump administration officials and members of Congress. Under the terms of a recently signed contract, Somalia is agreeing to pay $120,000 (Sh12m) to a lobbying firm headed by Alfonse Marcello D’Amato, a Republican who represented New York state in the US Senate from 1981 to 1999. The one-year deal also requires Somalia to reimburse Mr D’Amato’s firm, Park Strategies, for up to $36,000 in expenses such as travel and lodging.

Documents on file with the US Justice Department include a pledge by the Somali government not to use foreign aid or humanitarian funds to pay for Mr D’Amato’s services. “Park Strategies will provide strategic advice, counsel and advocacy to and on behalf of the Somali Republic in a collaborative effort to improve relations between the Somali Republic and the United States government,” the lobbying contract stipulates.Somalia’s government has a life-or-death interest in ensuring that its relations with the US remain on a positive basis. The US has provided Somalia with close to $2 billion in development aid and humanitarian relief during the past decade. In addition, Washington has allocated $900 million in support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), which includes forces from Kenya and four other East African nations. Another $720 million in US funds have helped finance the United Nations operations in Somalia. About 500 US troops are now on the ground inside Somalia, providing training and logistical assistance to Somalia’s army in its war against Al-Shabaab. But this bounty is not entirely secure.

Intelligence Report Reveals Kenyan Al-Shabaab Leader Likely To Leave The Terror Group

18 November- Source: The Standard, Kenya – 508 Words

An intelligence report has revealed that Kenyan-born Al-Shabaab leader, Ahmed Iman, is contemplating to quit the terror group after major fall-out with its leadership. The report says the Imam wants to quit the group and its activities after he became disgruntled with the persistent killing of Kenyan fighters within the group’s ranks. The dossier further notes that the spate of elimination and execution of Kenyans and other foreign fighters has brought a sharp division within Al Shabaab leading to hatred towards native Somalis “The Al Shabaab video and online propagandist, Ahmed Iman Ali fell-out with its leadership. It is reported he is negotiating his way back from Somalia.

It is not, however, clear if he stands a chance of making it from Somalia considering that Al Shabaab kills whoever attempts to leave. Iman has been very vocal against the execution of foreign fighters and is now weighing out his options,” the report. It further adds:  “Some Al Shabaab leaders are, however, wary of losing Iman within the ranks as he has proven to be a good propaganda tool through his videos which he does with charisma taunting AMISOM forces in fluent Swahili.” Iman is the leader of ‘Jaysh Ayman’.

He has been instrumental in recruiting youth into terrorism and orchestrating attacks in Kenya. The split is further accelerated by the battle on whom to pledge their allegiance to with one group led by former UK-based Abdul Qadir Mumin, who swore allegiance to ISIS in December 2015 immediately becoming target of exclusion. Al-Shabaab has always pledged its allegiance to Al Qaeda. Online war Al Shabaab’s intelligence wing (amniyaat) has on several occasions targeted the pro-ISIS splinter group whose top commanders have been executed alongside their fighters.


“The next few months could prove determinative to the U.S. military’s long-term strategy in Somalia. The country’s president, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, who was elected in February, has increased operations against Al-Shabab since the Mogadishu truck bombing,”

Is The United States Getting Into Another Forever War In Somalia?

19 November – Source: Newsweek – 1275 Words

Somalia was the site of one of the U.S. military’s biggest disasters in living memory. Two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down and 18 U.S. soldiers killed in a failed operation to capture a warlord in the capital Mogadishu. The incident prompted President Bill Clinton to order an American withdrawal from the country and shaped U.S. military policy in Africa for years to come.

But not only have American troops returned to Somalia, but early this year, the United States suffered its first military casualty in the country since Black Hawk Down. A U.S. Navy SEAL—Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken—was killed during a joint U.S.-Somali raid targeting Al-Shabab, the Al-Qaeda affiliate waging war against Somalia’s Western-backed government.
The death, combined with an aggressive stance adopted by President Donald Trumpand a sharp rise in airstrikes targeting both Al-Shabab and a small, local branch of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), has left some experts questioning whether the United States is embarking on another long war in Somalia, just as its military activity elsewhere—in Iraq and Syria, for instance—appears to be winding down.

Robyn Mack, a spokeswoman for the U.S. military command in Africa (AFRICOM), told Newsweek that 27 strikes had been carried out in Somalia in 2017 as of November 13. AFRICOM later released a statement detailing a strike against Al-Shabab militants on November 14, taking the year’s total to 28.
That figure eclipses the number carried out in 2016, according to most sources: theLong War Journal and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism—both of which record U.S. military actions in Somalia—counted 15 and 14 strikes in Somalia in 2016, respectively. The Pentagon also confirmed on Thursday that the number of troops in Somalia stands close to 400, a significant increase from the estimated 50 on the ground earlier in the year.  Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie Jr., director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, denied that there has been a “ramp-up” in activity in Somalia and said that recent strikes were the result of long-term vetting of targets. “There’s no particular rhythm to it, except that as they become available and as we’re able to process them and vet them, we strike them,” McKenzie said in a press briefing.

Covert U.S. operations have been ongoing in Somalia since at least the early 2000s, but Washington has always sought to keep troops at arm’s length from the chaos on the ground. U.S. military actions have been largely limited to drone and airstrikes, with Washington insisting its presence was in an advise-and-assist role and that Somali security forces were taking the lead. Milliken’s death in May cast doubt on that claim. A top U.S. general said that Milliken was on an “advise, assist and accompany mission” with Somali forces, and that U.S. forces and their Somali counterparts were traveling in a single group when they came under fire. Thomas Shannon, a senior State Department official who was acting as Rex Tillerson’s deputy at the time of Milliken’s death, told Newsweek in May that U.S. troops were not on the frontline in Somalia, but that “advise and assist is sometimes from a distance and sometimes not.”


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