Understanding US Policy in Somalia
The author notes that most US resources in Somalia have gone into its military efforts, but these have delivered only operational and tactical successes without altering the strategic terrain. The war against al-Shabaab has become a war of attrition. Effectively at a stalemate since at least 2016, neither side is likely to achieve a decisive military victory. Instead of intensifying airstrikes or simply disengaging, the US will need to put its diplomatic weight into securing two linked negotiated settlements in Somalia: a deal between the central government and Somalia’s regional administrations followed by peace talks between the reconciled Somali authorities and al-Shabaab.