Monday, March 27, 2017

US General Seeks Flexible Rules of Engagement for Somalia |

US General Seeks Flexible Rules of Engagement for Somalia | The head of U.S. Africa Command said Friday that the White House is considering his request for more "flexibility" on the rules of engagement to attack Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia, but "we are not going to turn Somalia into a free-fire zone."

Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser confirmed that a small contingent of U.S. troops is still in Libya to call in airstrikes, adding that a Russian ground presence in North Africa is contributing to instability and political turmoil.

At a Pentagon news conference, Waldhauser said he is seeking "a little bit more flexibility" to "allow us to process targets in a more rapid fashion" by giving combatant commanders the authority to order strikes by drones and manned aircraft rather than going to the top of the chain of command.

He said the White House is considering but has not yet approved the request for more relaxed rules of engagement against the al-Qaida-linked Al-Shabaab group, which has been trying to bring down the new government of Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, a dual Somali and U.S. citizen who holds a masters degree in political science from the University of Buffalo.

Waldhauser said he had "no problem" with the rules of engagement under the Obama administration but felt the time has come to "power-down the decision making" to meet the Al- Shabaab threat.