Reports continue to come in since the weekend that US surveillance drones have been flying overhead in the Somali capital city of Mogadishu, providing intelligence to the self-proclaimed government that soon hopes to launch a major attack across the city.
The “Transitional Federal Government,” which got its start as the “Transitional National Government” has been in Somalia since late 2005, trying unsuccessfully to consolidate its power on the back of massive US aid and a failed US-backed Ethiopian invasion on its behalf. At this point it survives in only a few scant city blocks around Mogadishu’s presidential palace, and there only to the extent that the African Union troops are willing to prop them up.
Before coming to Somalia the group declared itself a government-in-exile and set up shop in a fancy hotel in Kenya. After being booted from the hotel in 2005, the government attempted to take over southern Somalia, and insists it will eventually take over the entire nation.
The US has been there at every turn, providing training, money and literally “tons” of small arms and other weaponry, but the government’s lack of legitimacy is still palpable. Still, it hopes that a US-backed offensive to conquer Mogadishu outright could grant it at least a shred of, if not legitimacy, relevance.
The US hasn’t had an official presence in Somalia since withdrawing from the nation in 1993. They have, however, launch several deadly air strikes against the nation and briefly invaded a southern village in September, killing a Kenyan that was “wanted for questioning.”
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