The town of Oddo fell on Friday and the key port of Kismayo looks like it may be next, as the Kenyan forces that invaded southern Somalia last week are now receiving help not only from the African Union, but from US combat drones as well. French warships are also shelling the region.
Kenya has confirmed some of its warplanes have bombed targets within Kismayo and the US, which never saw a foreign invasion of Somalia they didn’t like, seems to be joining in the action as well, with Kenya hoping to conquer the entire region south of Mogadishu in an effort to prove it can control the areas around its border.
Though the air strikes are undoubtedly damaging they appear to be giving the al-Shabaab militant faction a great opportunity to recruit yet more followers, as they attempt to rally people around the south to help in fighting off Kenya.
This would be the second time al-Shabaab received a shot in the arm from a foreign invasion, as resisting the US-backed Ethiopian invasion of 2006 was in large part how the organization got started. Ethiopia declared “victory” in their war to prop up the self-proclaimed government in late 2008, after two years of bloody fighting.
It remains to be seen if Kenya’s invasion will be anywhere near the scope of the Ethiopian one, but with President Obama taking an extremely aggressive stance in Africa it seems a safe bet that the US will insinuate itself into the conflict more and more as time goes on.
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