While ISIS has lost ground in Iraq and Syria, the terrorist organization is still capable of not only carrying out terror attacks in the West, but on the ground in Africa, Central Asia, and Yemen.
According to the Associated Press, the US carried out its first airstrikes on ISIS targets in Somalia yesterday.
The primary ISIS affiliate in Somalia is the terror group Al-Shabaab.
A US official told CNN that the historic strike had been carried out by a drone.
Since the 1990s, US special forces and US pilots have conducted raids inside of Somalia, the East African nation that has not had a functioning government since the overthrow of military dictator Siad Barre.
The most infamous operation in the history of US-Somalia relations was 1993’s Operation Gothic Serpent, a combined Ranger-Delta Force mission done in order to capture Somali warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid.
The botched mission led to the Battle of Mogadishu that was popularized by the book and movie Black Hawk Down.
Little known at the time, but many of the Somali militiamen during that battle had been trained by Al-Qaeda fighters — then based in Sudan. Since then, Islamist militias have grown in size and influence in Somalia.
Al-Shabaab, which was founded in 2006 as an Al-Qaeda affiliate, is best known for the Westgate Mall attack in Kenya in 2013. The group was likely behind a recent truck bomb in Mogadishu that killed over three hundred people, and wounded five hundred.
In geopolitical terms, Somalia is important to America because of shipping and immigration. On the one hand, the nation is a hotbed of piracy, with many pirates themselves working closely with Islamist militants.
As for immigration, following Operation Restore Hope in the 1990s, a massive wave of Somali immigrants relocated to the United States and Canada. This population has produced many terrorists, some of whom have returned to Somalia in order to fight for Al-Shabaab and other militias.
Minneapolis has become well known for its radical jihadists, almost all of whom have been Somalis or Somali Americans.
The airstrike in Somalia comes after President Trump promised the press that his administration would ramp up its operations against ISIS.
On Twitter, the president wrote, “…Based on that, the Military has hit ISIS ‘much harder’ over the last two days. They will pay a big price for every attack on us!”
Currently, Al-Shabaab controls several towns and cities in Somalia’s interior and along the coast. Outside of Syria and Iraq, Somalia represents some of the largest ISIS holdings in the world.
President Trump should be applauded for acting swiftly against ISIS power in Somalia. However, airstrikes can only do so much. The answer to Somalia’s problems is a functioning government manned by Somalis themselves.
Do you support our attack on ISIS in Somalia?
Also, for America, security from ISIS means drastically changing our immigration policies and infiltrating the terror networks that are already active here. President Trump needs to do much more in order stop ISIS from striking Americans.
More should be done to keep the Halloween attack of Sayfullo Saipov from happening again.