Why did Donald Trump just send dozens of troops to Somalia?

Dozens of troops are headed to help fight al-Shabab.
Dozens of troops are headed to help fight al-Shabab.
Image: Somali women military soldiers march during celebrations marking the 57th anniversary since the force was founded in Mogadishu, Somalia, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
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The end of his first 100 days as US president near, Donald Trump has changed gears when it comes his position on military intervention. As he was enjoying the “most beautiful” chocolate cake with Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago on April 6, he told the Chinese president that the US had fired missiles at a Syrian airfield, following Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons attack on his own people.

On April 13, the US dropped the “Mother Of All Bombs” (MOAB) on Afghanistan: The largest bomb it has used since World War II hit an ISIL tunnel complex. On the same day, as the tension between the US and North Korea escalated, NBC reported that Trump may be ready to launch strikes, prompting requests of caution from China and Russia.

Meanwhile, the US is sending a “small number” of F-35A aircraft to Europe, as part of a “long-planned” training deployment.

And that’s not all: the US has announced April 14 that, for the first time since 1994, it’s deploying “dozens” of regular troops in Somalia to help the ongoing fight against al-Shabab, al-Qaeda’s jihadist ally. They are to provide training and support to the Somali National Army and the African Union mission on the ground, Voice of America reported. The US troops will enhance what has been America’s small presence (three to 50 people) in the country to facilitate the military relationship between Somalia.

The mission is scheduled to continue until the end of September.

This is the first time the US has sent regular forces to Somalia since March 1994, after special forces that were part a peacekeeping mission aimed at enforcing a ceasefire during the Somalian civil war were ensnared in  a 15-hour-long battle in Mogadishu. Eighteen Americans were killed in the incident, memorialized in Black Hawk Down, prompting then president Bill Clinton to order a US withdrawal.