U.S. intensifies its proxy fight against al-Shabab in Somalia
President Obama continues to take the fight directly to the the terror groups where ever they might be found.
The Obama administration is intensifying its campaign against an al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia by boosting the number of proxy forces in the war-torn country, expanding drone operations and strengthening military partnerships throughout the region.
In many ways, the American role in the long-running conflict in Somalia is shaping up as the opposite of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: relatively inexpensive, with limited or hidden U.S. footprints.
While the White House has embraced the strategy as a model for dealing with failed states or places inherently hostile to an American presence, the indirect approach carries risks. Chief among them is a lack of control over the proxy forces from Uganda, Burundi and Somalia, as well as other regional partners that Washington has courted and financed in recent years.
All told, the United States has spent more than $500 million since 2007 to train and equip East African forces in an attempt to fight terrorism and bring a measure of stability to Somalia.
Kenya, for example, sent thousands of troops into Somalia last month to fight al-Shabab, a militia affiliated with al-Qaeda, despite U.S. concerns that the invasion could backfire and further destabilize a country ravaged by two decades of civil war.