Clan uprising: the all-out war against al-Shabab in Somalia

It is clear that President Hassan Sheikh Mahmud is determined to press ahead with his electoral promises regarding the defeat of the Al-Shabab movement. The Somali government recently announced that it forced al-Shabab fighters out of 30 villages during September, and many of these villages were traditional strongholds of the armed group in the Hiran region in central Somalia. However, this latest victory over al-Shabab is credited to the efforts of local clans militias. Perhaps the question that arises here relates to the timing and the importance of new approaches in combating terrorism in Somalia and the Horn of Africa? This field shift in favor of the Somali government reflects the importance of cooperating with local communities in the fight against Al-Shabab. However, the biggest dilemma is how to maintain and protect a stable system of governance in liberated territories, and the decentralized and contested security environment in Somalia creates loopholes for conflicts between federal state and local authorities – which Al-Shabaab has proven to be able to exploit to a great extent. Thus, even if the government's alliances with local militias persist and expand with further tactical victories, they may turn out to be unsustainable if they are not complemented by strong cooperation and improved governance in areas formerly under the control of Al-Shabaab.

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