On Tuesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) introduced a War Powers Resolution that would direct President Biden to remove armed forces from Somalia that is cosponsored by Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL).
The resolution would mandate the removal of all US armed forces from Somalia, with the exception of embassy security, within 365 days of the bill being adopted. The resolution is privileged, meaning the House will have to vote on the measure within 18 legislative days.
The introduction comes after Gaetz grilled Gen. Michael Langley, the head of US Africa Command (AFRICOM), about the pattern of the US military training African coup leaders.
“The American people have extremely low confidence in our military leaders and their ability to assess their own efficacy. How do they expect Americans to believe their justification for occupying Somalia when they can’t even determine who in their own training programs will lead a violent coup afterwards?” Gaetz said in a statement.
Earlier this month, the House voted down a Syria War Powers Resolution that was introduced by Gaetz. “When the House debated my resolution to withdraw troops from Syria, both Republicans and Democrats argued the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Afghanistan serves as a global permission slip for every neocon fantasy. They will argue the same for Somalia,” Gaetz said.
The 2001 AUMF, which was passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks for the invasion of Afghanistan, is used today to justify the US war against al-Shabaab, a group that didn’t exist when the authorization first became law. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced an amendment in the Senate to repeal the 2001 AUMF last week, but it failed in a vote of 9-86.
The US war against al-Shabaab in Somalia has escalated since President Biden ordered the deployment of up to 500 troops to the country in May 2022. The Biden administration recently vowed that it would increase support for the Mogadishu-based government.
The US-backed government launched a major offensive against al-Shabaab last year, leading to more US airstrikes, although AFRICOM has not reported any strikes in the month of March. The last airstrike in Somalia that AFRICOM reported took place on February 21.
The US military portrays al-Shabaab as a major threat due to its size and affiliation with al-Qaeda, but it’s widely believed the group doesn’t have ambitions outside of Somalia. Al-Shabaab was born out of a US-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia that was launched in 2006, and the group didn’t declare loyalty to al-Qaeda until 2012, after years of fighting the US and its proxies.