Al-Shabaab Goes on the Offensive
By William Tucker
On August 22, the Somali militant group al-Shabaab announced it was going to launch a “massive war” against the foreign forces protecting the Transitional Federal Government. Making good on their announcement, al-Shabaab attacked the Muna Hotel near the presidential palace in Mogadishu last night killing 28 including 15 lawmakers. Although the Muna attack is what made the headlines there was much more fighting going on in the city prior to the assault on the hotel. The first reported attack was carried out against a base belonging to the Ethiopian backed Ahlu Sunnah Waljamaah (ASWJ) which was successfully repelled resulting in the deaths of 15 al-Shabaab militants. Looking at the attacks and their locations it appears as if al-Shabaab was using these as cover for the eventual assault on the hotel. By striking multiple targets the defenders were pulled away allowing al-Shabaab members dressed in TFG uniforms to attack the hotel. While this recent attack took place in Somalia it is unlikely the group has given up on its desire to launch international attacks against the nations that are supplying the AU troops in Somalia.