Al-Shabaab's recent attacks prove that the resilient extremist group remains Africa's most capable terrorist organization. Even international support, a clan rebellion, and both a popular backlash and recent US military re-engagement have failed to change the fact that al-Shabaab maintains influence over vast swaths of central and southern Somalia. Unless there are serious negotiation efforts made and Somalis and non-Somalis stand to mutually benefit from the peace effort, there will be no end to the forever war against al-Shabaab.
The latest attacks are a setback, but they cannot disguise the fact that the Mohamud government has achieved considerable success in the fight against al-Shabaab in recent months. Added to this are international support and growing resistance from clans and the enraged population. Therefore, it is surely no coincidence that al-Shabaab now suddenly seems open to negotiating with the government.