Published On: Thu, Dec 22nd, 2011

Britain’s RAF to hit insurgents in Somalia

LONDON — The British Government is considering providing direct military assistance to international troops fighting Islamist insurgents in Somalia.

Senior Foreign Office sources said discussions had taken place about providing help – including air reconnaissance or support – to African Union troops helping Somalia’s weak, American-backed, transitional government.

While the use of ground troops has been explicitly ruled out it is believed there could be some role for Britain following the successful Nato air operation in Libya. As well as air power, SAS and SBS units are stationed with the US-led Horn of Africa Task Force based in Djibouti.

The Somali government, which has been fighting insurgents known as al-Shabaab, has little influence outside the capital Mogadishu.

The number of peacekeeping troops in the country has increased significantly in recent months and British officials are examining how to extend their own influence further. “Certainly in the wake of Libya there are ongoing discussions about what assistance we might be able to provide in Somalia,” said one source. “At this stage, the areas we are looking at are equipment and money.”

Both the US and French have been actively involved in Somali military operations – the Americans carrying out drone strikes from the southern Ethiopian port of Arba Mich, while the French are ferrying in equipment. A French helicopter-gunship crashed at the southern port of Kismayo, while, it is claimed, providing supporting fire for Kenyans flushing out al-Shabaab positions.

A senior British officer said: “There is no appetite for boots on the ground but there are other options. Any military cost needs to be weighed against the costs of propping up a failed state which is being kept a failed state by this insurgency. Also, the African Union forces can’t be there forever, and there may be a role for the UK to train the forces of the TFG [Transitional Federal Government].”

Yesterday the International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell appeared to hint at a greater British involvement. Describing Somalia as a direct threat to the UK’s security because it is one of the “most dysfunctional countries in the world” he said: “It is a place from which emanates piracy, drug running, this weight of people trying to come to a more attractive economic shore.

“There are probably more British passport holders engaged in terrorist training in Somalia than in any other country in the world.”

The Independent

Displaying 22 Comments
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  1. Mohamoud says:

    Here we go again Britain is using its air force to subdue the Somalis. You did the same thing when attacked the Mohamed Abdula by aeroplanes the first done in Africa and the year was 1921. The rest of Africa was asleep. They woke up in the sixties and Somaliland got its independence in June 26 1960 before Kenya,Uganda,Tanzania,Burundi,Djibouti and look who is running the show. Where is Jomo Kenyata, Julies Nyare and Idi Amin. These are the people what Somalis are. The dictators are not a match to long history of Somali nationalism and self-respect. Do not treat us this way we were free long before you even figured out freedom is.

  2. Getreal says:

    I hope they do train police and help the TFG to run the country themselves without corruption. Especially Piracy which has become a real obstacle to ordinary Somalis lives.

  3. Xarago says:

    Strong Somalia will come back inshaallah lets build our country walalayal.

  4. Kayse says:

    The British are better than the French, Italians and the Yankees. The British a bit more sincere and respect other cultures, religions and values even though they are losing these values lately because they following the Americans blindly. The British can solve Somalia's issues if all the others stopped interfering.

    I still prefer the Chinese.

    • Devin Leonard says:

      Kayse…I hate to break this to you but the Brits are not better then the US. at anything. We are the most dominant military on earth. The Brits have a great military but they are still not up to our level in terms of training or weaponry. If they were left on their own in Somalia they would be out of there in a week.

      As for the Chinese, they couldn't solve any world crisis. They don't have the military for it, nor do they have the experience. The Chinese would surrender in LESS the a week, remember that!

  5. HMObsiye says:

    If what is written here is true, the British government do not know where their priorities lays.
    If they truly want to help Somali people, they have to recognize the sovereign of Somaliland first.
    No other knows better the history of Somaliland than the Britain. Somaliland was once under their protectorate and they know very well Somaliland voluntarily joined the union with Italian Somali.So, they have to stop dragging their foot and accept Somaliland as an independent state, then with the help of Somaliland, the solution to Somalia crisis can be found.

    • Egaal Jama says:


      Mukalatahay in aad xuroobi kartid Illaa iyo Aaqiro dabada ayaan iska wada heysanaa waa adiga rajo ku nool ahi oo aad ka shaqeeneesid afar iyo labaatan saac in eey dawlad Soomaali aan la helin ka dibna aad ku qalweeysaa waa la i aqoonsanayaa hadeeyno nahay Soomali lane iska Iloow walaal afka ayee inugu wadaqaadatay ee sidaa isku dhaam eeynu khacmaha iska qabsano meeye Ingirees Carre maanta ayaa loo baahanyahay.

    • Xarago says:

      why you joules this is helping Somalia at whole not Somaliland region, by the why no one can recognize Somaliland because is region with in Somalia so stop dreaming something that is not possible. Don't cry for the british to recognize you because they was former protectorate noo way that is not going to happen.
      Somalia is one nation.

  6. Omer Hussein Dualehi says:

    I agree with you Mr.Obsiye. UK and its people are keeping us in dark for no reason. Bombarding Somalia and its innocent people of that area will not bring peace in Somalia and elsewhere. They have to come to their sense and recognize Somaliland.

    British Somalianders should boycott the next election and punish those MPs whom they elect. This is the only way they feel heat, and realize that we Somalilanders have power in their politics. Let those few Wanlaweyns vote for them. Somaliland cannot be ignored much more, and its about time that UK think of their interest and bring us out of the cool. Out country will not be like this and only you will loose the interest you may get from this part of the world.

  7. mohamed cheers says:

    The war against the Mad Mullah in 1921 was a different World of nomadic traditional cultures.
    The World has since changed dramatically into atomic age global village interconnected in
    many ways and aspects where the strong and the weak need each other without warring dictates.
    The Italians ruled Libya and Somalia, although the French markings are feasibly everywhere,
    in our modern times, it would appear or seem that the British politics are no longer upto the
    standards of their past glorious history. It would seem that many other EU are doing all the
    politics all around, putting World peace in the third World countries in real jeopardized dangers.
    Certainly Somalia is different than Libya in many ways and simply using the same tactics on
    Somalia to do away Alshabab may backfire, cuz Col.Gadaafi and Alshabab are entirely two
    different aspects in nature.

  8. Mohd says:

    Somalis living in the area occupied by the terrorists shabaab welcome RAF and even Shaydan who may help them to remove SHABAB-SHAYDAN.

  9. Jabuuti_Hanolaato says:

    I hope peace prevails in Somalia since there is no such thing as Somaliland. The Brits only can and will do what the Americans tell them to do. Essentially they ride the coattails of American foreign policy. Bad-Teeth British have no independent foreign policy to speak of. The tune that comes out of Washington, DC is what the Brits dance to. In other words no independent foreign policy of their own.. Even stinky cheese eating French do not ask Americans how high they should jump when Washington orders them to jump.

    • mohamed cheers says:

      What goes between the Americans and the EU is their business, but what makes you think that
      Somaliland does not exist?. I would not be against peace prevails in Somalia but by the same token
      would not deny the…A dejure Independence of Somaliland who gained full Independence from Britain
      in the 1960s.

      • Xarago says:

        Walaal don't dream british want to divide somali people and they did, when north joint south the delegation they came from mainly hargeysa burco and barbara no delegation came from sanaag, sool and awdal. The delegation they didn't sign any condition that they will withdraw the union the currently Somaliland officials know is impossible the get recognize noo way, so walaal don't declare self independent. Somalia is one nation.

        • mohamed cheers says:

          Listen Xarago..If the partnered Union of the Somali Republic of 1960s failed and collapsed to exist in 991, and Somalia is as we speak now 2011 is at war from inside/outside, how then could it be
          possible for the Somaliland to come into workable terms with a broken system which reached
          levels beyond repairs. Simply holding hi-jacked Somaliland hostage for the Somalia peaceful
          co-existence which never was is illogical and naively absurd. Why can't you see!.

  10. Devin Leonard says:

    Having been a former US Marine, and memebr of the Marine Corps Special Operations Teams (MSOT) I worked with the Brtish SBS and they are top field soldiers. Having them and the SAS on the ground with units like Delta Force, will be a big nightmare for Al Shabaab and other Al Qaida groups. Along with the CIA drones, there will be no place for those boys to hide:)

    • mohamed cheers says:

      The problem of Alshabab and other AL Qaida groups seem to emanate from their divine beliefs
      that somehow the Lord is on their side and that certain natural help will come to them to do away
      with the CIA Drones in the form of natural diasters etc. Do you believe in such things.

  11. Mowlid says:

    Don't mind the soomaalileen issue, it's nonsence, you might come accross a teenager from waqooyi that will say to you i'm a somalilander without ever seeing a proper government is somalia. Further more other somalis from south and central cannot settlle in peace without them been asked oOH your accent is not normal are you from mogadishu.

    Every inteligent somali must pray for greater somalia including <Ogadenia~NP Wagalla massacre and Djibouti. Otherwise it will expand the current haabiil and khaabiil the decendants of Adam MPBOH

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