Trump grants Pentagon more authority for Somalia fighting

President Donald Trump's approval of greater USA military authority to pursue al-Qaida-linked extremists in Somalia will put civilians further at risk, experts say, especially as drought displaces thousands of people in areas that now will be considered a war zone.

In a statement provided by the Pentagon, spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis on U.S. Counterterrorism Operations in Somalia said that Trump "has approved a Department of Defense proposal to provide additional precision fires in support of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali security forces operations to defeat al-Shabaab in Somalia".

Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, the head of US Africa Command, supported President Trump's decision to step up the fight against al-Shabaab in Somalia.

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This is a very complicated storm even by typical New England standards, and the snow amounts will ultimately reflect this. In Westport, Connecticut, police warned of possible road flooding during high tide, expected at about 3:30 p.m.

Al-Shabaab controlled most of southern Somalia at its peak in late 2006. One of its worst attacks happened in 2010 when it bombed two World Cup viewing parties in Uganda, killing 74 people.

There have been no changes to ease rules of engagement or allow for the possibility of greater civilian casualties, military officials said. That sets the stage for an intensified pace of combat there, while increasing the risk that USA forces could kill civilians.

"The additional support provided by this authority will help deny al-Shabaab safe havens from which it could attack United States citizens or USA interests in the region", Davis said.

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The military had accused the previous Democratic administration of president Barack Obama of micromanaging combat operations.

Security in Mandera region which borders Somalia remains volatile with the militia who crossed over from their neighboring country responsible for the numerous attacks that have rocked the area. The designation, approved by President Trump on Wednesday, applies to active combat zones like Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, parts of Libya, parts of Yemen and now Somalia.

A big part of the government's case centered around recorded phone calls and communications among a group of 15 women from Africa, Europe, North America, and the Middle East. Members met regularly in a private chatroom established to organize payments. That shored up the executive branch's authority to wage war in Somalia by bringing al-Shabab under Congress's authorization to use military force against the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The Pentagon announced 13 ground raids and airstrikes in 2016, up from five in 2015, according to data compiled by New America, a Washington think tank.

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The official grade of certainty that civilians won't be killed has been lowered from "near certainty" to "reasonable certainty".

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