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The Global Consortium of Political Analysts

Mapping the Influence of al-Shabaab in Somalia

Updated: Nov 18, 2023

As in several other places around the world, Somalia has continued to struggle with achieving stability and legitimate governance since the end of the Cold War. Like Afghanistan, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country experienced civil war followed by the rise to power of religious governance and more recently religious extremism.

For over thirty-years, the United States and the international community have made unsuccessful attempts to bring stability to the country and region. Some analysts point to inconsistent local support and political will. These same analysts suggest that failure to negotiate peace among the clans has obstructed focused attention on defeating al-Shabaab militants. Indeed, this same argument partly contributed to the US pulling its troops out of the country in 2020.

Now that local clans are increasingly taking the fight to the al-Shabaab militants, and the recently (2021) elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud vows to step up programming around bringing peace and stability to the country, the US has redeployed troops to the country and the international community seems positioned to increase its support.

Since redeploying troops to the country in May 2022, the United States has killed more than 60 al-Shabaab members and the Somali government has managed to reconcile and reintegrate a handful of fighters, including appointing the co-founder of al-Shabaab as the Minister of Religious Affairs. Still, al-Shabaab fighters killed over 600 civilians and injured another 1,000 during this same period.

This research aims to track the evolution of al-Shabaab influence in Somalia and the potential for a negotiated settlement in the country.


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