Jan 12 2014
For the first time since the 1993 Blackhawk Down disaster in Mogadishu, Obama deploys ‘military advisers’ to Somalia. It has just been exposed that in October 2013, President Obama secretly sent his first batch of ‘military advisers’ into the war-torn dysfunctional nation of Somalia.
Washington Post A cell of U.S. military personnel has been in the Somali capital of Mogadishu to advise and coordinate operations with African troops fighting to wrest control of the country from the al-Shabab militia, an Islamist group whose leaders have professed loyalty to al-Qaeda, according to three U.S. military officials.
The previously undisclosed deployment — of fewer than two dozen troops — reverses two decades of U.S. policy that effectively prohibited military “boots on the ground” in Somalia. Even as Somali pirates and terrorists emerged as the top security threat in the region, successive presidential administrations and the Pentagon shied away from sending troops there for fear of a repeat of the Black Hawk Down debacle. (But Obama doesn’t fear seeing vastly outnumbered US troops decimated by al-Qaeda linked groups)
U.S. intentions to become more involved militarily became apparent last summer, when Gen. David Rodriguez, the commander of U.S. forces in Africa, visited Mogadishu. In October, Amanda Dory, the Pentagon’s top policy official for Africa, told Congress that the military would “increase our presence in Mogadishu in tandem with the State Department.”
In a statement late Friday, Army Col. Thomas Davis, a spokesman for the Africa Command, confirmed the deployment. He said a military coordination cell was established in Somalia in October “and is now fully operational.” October marked the 20th anniversary of the Black Hawk Down battle between a task force of U.S. Army Rangers and Delta Force commandos and fighters loyal to Somali warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed.
U.S. military forces were in Somalia at the time to support a United Nations humanitarian operation. But the heavy losses — and haunting images of dead Americans being dragged through the streets — prompted a quick U.S. withdrawal and for years discouraged Washington from intervening in other conflicts.