Reports suggest that the US African Command (AFRICOM) has been secretly meeting with former Somali DM and current Somali warlord Barre Aden Shire, and has been providing him with weapons and military equipment to launch a new offensive against al-Shabaab.
Barre had declared Jubba Valley as an “autonomous” region back in 1998, and controlled the territory as its ruler until 2006, when he was expelled by the Islamic Courts Union (ICU). The US has been keen to see al-Shabaab, the eventual successor of the ICU, take back Jubbaland.
Current nominal leader of Jubbaland Ahmed Madobe had been backed by the US for some time, but has failed to defeat al-Shabaab in any serious way, despite repeated predictions of imminent victory, asd the reported arming of Barre suggests they envision him replacing Madobe as their proxy.
Barre’s forces haven’t had significant territory in several years, but he has been making the rounds to regional powers trying to build up some foreign support to prop him up, with a hope of making a comeback as an influential warlord. He appears to have found one in the US.
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