By MONA OSMER
United States military forces have started to conduct naval and tactical missions in Somalia in an attempt to aid the Somalian government in destabilizing and destroying the Al Shabab terrorist network.
Similar to groups such as the Islamic State in Syria, Al Shabab’s major goal is to convert Somalia into a fundamental Islamic state.
Several drone strikes were conducted by U.S. forces, which have successfully taken out members of the Al Shabab group. This aid is immensely helpful to the Somalian government, as this is a fight that they have been battling for more than five years. It was only in 2008 that Al Shabab was deemed a terrorist group.
As of last week, the former leader of the Al Qaeda Somalian affiliate to the Al Shabab group was killed by a U.S. airstrike, a clear intimidation tactic. Consequently, there was not any activity from the Al Shabab group until Monday, Sept. 8th, when as many as 12 civilians were killed in a suicide bombing targeting African Union troops.
What these accounts reveal is that extremist groups like these will never stop fighting for their goals. Their beliefs are their way of life, and, in some cases, their way of death.
It is important to know that we will never understand this culture of dying and killing for a belief system that wants to overthrow multiple governments. We as Americans live in a society where our government is not being overthrown, nor have we ever witnessed such an event first hand.
However, we do understand human beings and their right to live safely, protected by their government instead of persecuted by it.
In instances such as these, I believe the United States will do what it has always done, fight for democracy.
It is not intrusive, for in the past, no matter the cost, we have sought to protect groups of individuals who have fallen victim to extremist regimes. The U.S. has repeatedly gone against the grain when other countries did not step up to the plate and responded to attacks against humanity.
Where the United Nations has been unable to rise to the occasion on this and similar instances, such as the Syrian Civil War, the U.S. extended its hand anyway.
Many critics, such as Paul Bledsoe, a writer for the National Interest Magazine, claim that the U.S. is intrusive in this way, by seeking to be “a global policeman.”
Bledsoe also writes that “the digital age has made incitement of cultural hatred and resentment alarmingly easy and efficient, creating avenues for the mobilization of extremism. Add the ease of modern travel and gaining physical recruits from around the world to carry out incursions becomes similarly enabled.”
In summary, Bledsoe argues that the U.S. mobilizes its forces against extremist regimes to be perceived as a moral and just figure head in international politics.
But what is wrong with that picture? A country as powerful as the U.S. should set standards for the international community and strengthen social norms that protect civilians in oppressive regimes.