Al-Shabab, the notorious militant group in Somalia, has managed to undo all the progress made by the Somali National Army in the past two years. Shockingly, they have now formed an alliance with the Houthi group, a militant organization from Yemen, to strengthen their forces and capabilities, as revealed by senior U.S. defense officials.

The collaboration between Al-Shabab and the Houthis has raised significant concerns among defense officials. The Houthi militants see this partnership as a way to enhance their credibility and pose a threat to American and British ships in the Red Sea. In recent times, there have been over 190 attacks or threats against U.S. Navy and commercial vessels by the Houthis in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, causing harm to innocent crew members.

Guled Ahmed, an expert on the Horn of Africa, pointed out that the Iranian-backed Houthis are looking to create a new stronghold in the Indian Ocean where they can provide advanced weaponry, such as missiles and drones, to Al-Shabab in Somalia. This dangerous alliance has already resulted in the transfer of engineers from the Houthis to Al-Shabab for the development of sophisticated weapons and explosives.

The United States has been striving to stop the flow of weapons into Somalia for years. Sanctions were imposed on individuals and entities involved in smuggling arms between Yemen and Somalia to support terrorist groups like Al-Shabab. Despite efforts to disrupt these illicit activities, Al-Shabab has managed to regain strength and numbers due to robust financing and recruitment drives.

The Somali National Army, which had previously made progress against Al-Shabab, has suffered setbacks in recent months. Poor military tactics, corruption within the leadership, and theft of military resources have weakened the army’s effectiveness. The resurgence of Al-Shabab poses a significant threat to security in the region, especially as the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) is set to conclude soon.

It is evident that ongoing support and assistance will be crucial for the Somali National Army to combat the escalating security challenges posed by Al-Shabab and their new alliance with the Houthis. The international community must remain vigilant and proactive in addressing the evolving threats in the region to prevent further destabilization and violence.