Somalia: Clan Revolt Threatens the Future of al-Shabaab

The Somali government is using all means of war to defeat terrorists from all regions of the country. Clan support for the Somali army has confused and weakened the jihadists.

Mogadishu-analysts agree that the Somali government is trying to invest the so-called popular revolution against the jihadist al-Shabaab movement in some federal states to be able to defeat the terrorist organization and contain its activity in the south and center at least.

According to analysts, several factors contributed to the outbreak of an armed tribal revolt against al-Shabaab in some federal states.

Among these factors is the humanitarian crisis experienced by the citizens, along with strict orders and illegal royalties imposed on them in this difficult humanitarian situation, not to mention the demolition of the few wells, which are the only source of water for the villagers, in light of the severe drought that is hitting the country.

President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud, at a press conference held on  September 12, praised the armed tribal revolution, which resulted from the accumulation of attacks by terrorists against citizens and their property.

Any victory over Al-Shabaab depends on the strategy that the government will adopt to exploit the gift of the clans

President Sheikh Mahmoud pointed out that the government will use all means of war to defeat terrorists in all regions of the country.

The US embassy in Mogadishu commented on the security operations witnessed by some federal states, saying that “the rise of the population in the face of youth, with the support of government and federal forces, will liberate Somalia from the destruction caused by extremist violence”.

The local federal states of Hirshabelle, south-western Somalia and Galmudug are witnessing security operations between government forces and armed tribal militias on the one hand, and al-Shabaab militants on the other.

حرب مفتوحة على الإرهاب

These clashes led to the loss of more than 20 towns under the control of al-Shabaab, according to a local information ministry.

The outbreak of the armed tribal revolution coincided at a time when the government is preparing to launch a war against the youth militants, which puts the movement in a vulnerable position to face two different war fronts at the same time.

“The security situation in which al-Shabaab is living at this time is a valuable security opportunity for the government, if these opportunities are invested in a strategic and effective way,” says Abdulqader Hajer, an analyst at the Sahn Research Center.

“The armed tribal revolution against al-Shabaab fighters in some federal States has shown the weaknesses of their security capabilities,”Hajar added.

Al-Shabaab militants have shown their inability to confront “this revolution, which broke out as a result of their militant practice and the large taxes imposed on the villagers,”he said.

The political analyst pointed out that”the current government security strategy to support tribal militias changes the course of the usual war between government forces and al-Shabaab fighters”.

“The armed clans have access to areas that government forces cannot reach, and they target youth elements in their own backyard,”he said.

“The tribal revolution is a rare opportunity for the government that may not be repeated again, because it stems from the accumulation of terrorist attacks over the past 15 years,”Hajar said.

This revolution “reflects the readiness of the people to curb the practice of terrorists, and the government should support these militias militarily,” he said.

Armed tribal alliances continue in the states of Hirshabelle, Galmudug and southwestern Somalia to confront al-Shabaab militants and liberate them from their areas of residence. The movement is desperate to put down this revolution by force through mass murder, intimidation and the destruction of water sources in these regions.

“This revolution is the result of the accumulation of pressure on citizens, and a reaction from the actions of al-Shabaab fighters,”says University Professor Ahmed Youssef.

He pointed out that al-Shabaab militants imposed royalties on citizens, especially in this humanitarian circumstance, when half of the population is suffering from a severe humanitarian crisis as a result of the drought that hit the country.

As for whether this tribal revolution will push the movement to withdraw from those territories, Youssef considered that it “will be a fatal blow to the youth”.

“Not only to withdraw, but also to remove its influence within the tribes, where it used to carry out its activities comfortably through its elements, but after the revolution it will not be easy for it,” he explained.

“The al-Shabaab fighters used to practice a policy of intimidation to undermine the ability of any clan to respond, but because of the opening of the fronts of the various clans, they are currently unable to put down the revolution,”he said.

The political analyst pointed out that this “led to them receiving successive losses on the battlefields, which will negatively affect their qualitative operations against government forces and military centers of the African forces (ATMIS)”.

According to tribal sources, al-Shabaab fighters arrested dozens of villagers belonging to the armed clans in Wadamago, and took them to unknown places, to use them as a pressure factor against those tribes. But this step did not change the course of the revolution, but rather it became more heated, as those clans declared their readiness to liberate their areas from al-Shabaab fighters.

For the youth elements, the tribe constitutes a suitable environment for passing their agendas and living without any security pursuits with the knowledge of the tribe’s residents. This continues as long as the tribe is safe, and is not targeted by terrorist operations carried out by al-Shabaab, which often target employees of government bodies.

“The tribal revolt that is taking place in some federal states indicates that al-Shabaab is beginning to emerge from the cloak of tribes,”says political analyst Abtedon Abdi.

Abdi added that this would “cause many repercussions for al-Shabaab in the coming stage, especially in front of the war declared by the government against it”.

“The tribal factor was one of the most prominent reasons that contributed to the survival of al-Shabaab fighters throughout the past period and their steadfastness against government and African forces,”he added.

Analysts agree that any victory over al-Shabaab in the current battle depends on the strategy that the government will adopt to exploit this gift and adapt it for the benefit of the government.

Al Arab