Somali President and US Defense Secretary meet in Washington

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has met with Lloyd James Austin, US Secretary of Defense, on September 17 (2022) on the sidelines of his participation in the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly hosted in New York City. It is the first visit of the Somali president to Washington since he took office in May 2022.

The content and context of the meeting

The visit handled many topics regarding American engagement in Somalia., as the two sides discussed ways to enhance cooperation between the two countries in the areas of regional security and stability, and to increase US support in Somalia and combating terrorism. The two sides also discussed the efforts made by the Somali government forces to confront Al-Shabaab and the security challenges in the country.

Lloyd James also affirmed his country's commitment to strengthening relations with Somalia and supporting the Somali government in training the Somali army and combating terrorism.

This visit comes in the context of a turbulent security context in the Somali arena, as follows:

  • President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud, during his meeting with the Somali community in Washington, renewed his country's determination to start the decisive battle against the Mujahideen Youth Movement. He pointed out that the fighting against the the movement is taking place in the states of Hirshbelle, Galmudug and southwestern Somalia. He also promised to open a new front against the terrorists in the Middle Juba region to end the presence of the movement in the country.
  • Coordination between Somali government forces and some local militias in the center and south of the country has increased with the aim of launching military operations against the movement's fighters.
  • A popular uprising in the states of Hirshabelle, Galmudug and southwestern Somalia against the fighters of the Mujahideen Youth Movement due to the terrorist operations by Al Shabab movement in the recent period. This was welcomed by both the Somali government and the US administration. On the other hand, Al-Shabaab warned the Somali clans and tribes not to be part of the war on them, and threatened to target any clan that joins the efforts of combating terrorism.
  • The security and military operations carried out by the Somali forces against the movement during the recent period resulted in the killing of more than 200 fighters, in addition to the recovery of about 30 areas controlled by the movement.

 

To read the full article in Arabic please visit: http://www.ncmes.org/ar/publications/middle-east-strategy-bulletin/664

 

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