Somali Forces End al-Shabaab Hotel Siege

Photo: AFP/Getty Images [via Financial Times]

The Facts

  • Security forces on Sat. night violently ended a siege of a hotel in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, that had been undertaken by fighters from the al-Shabaab militant group for around 30 hours.

  • The assault on the popular Hayat Hotel, frequented by government officials, began on Fri. evening and left at least 21 people dead and 117 injured, according to Somalia's Ministry of Health.

The Spin

Narrative A

It's time for al-Shabaab to feel the full military force of the new Somali government, as that's the only language they understand. This, paired with international cooperation to cut them off from their flow of funds, is the only way to effectively combat the terrorist group.

Narrative B

After more than 15 years, al-Shabaab still has extensive logistical and operational capabilities. While something must be done, military confrontation alone isn't the answer. There also needs to be a focus on political rapprochement and dialogue with the militants to reduce violence.

Establishment-critical narrative

The US has deployed up to 500 soldiers to Somalia under the pretext of "fight[ing] against terrorism." Its real objective, however, is to contain China and Russia in Africa. It's also not a coincidence that Somalia is considered one of the world's last untapped oil Eldorados, while the former Somali government withdrew an oil contract with a US company in February.

Pro-establishment narrative

Though detractors of the US's commitment to stability and democracy say that Washington is only interested in Somalia because of great power competition, the US truly seeks to help stabilize a region that is particularly vulnerable to security threats and highly geostrategically important due to its proximity to shipping lanes. Al-Shabaab has become a growing threat and is still a massive obstacle to stability in the Horn of Africa that must be confronted.

Establishment split



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