Somalia has entered the new year with a renewed offensive against Al-Shabaab in southern Somalia. This occurs amid a major drought that has left millions of people without access to food. Al-Shabaab falters against the assault from the forces of Somalia, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and the United States in key strongholds. However, the group continues to mount counterattacks against key Somalian staging positions. In the coming months, conflict is likely to intensify.
Key Judgement 1. Al-Shabaab is unlikely to continue its strategy to overrun forward bases to deny government forces advance posts to continue their offensive in the next 6 months.
Key Judgement 2. The Somalian offensive is likely to succeed in capturing further strongholds in southern Somalia from Al-Shabaab with the influx of US commando and airstrike aid within the next 6 months.
Key Judgement 3. In the next six months, the United States is likely to put greater pressure on militant forces in northern Somalia, targeting terrorist finances and reach within Africa.