[Congressional Record Volume 169, Number 71 (Thursday, April 27, 2023)]
[Pages H2056-H2069]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. JAMES. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the order of the House of April 
26, 2023, I call up the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 30) 
directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers 
Resolution, to remove all United States Armed Forces, other than United 
States Armed Forces assigned to protect the United States Embassy, from 
Somalia, and ask for its immediate consideration in the House.
  The Clerk read the title of the concurrent resolution.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of 
Wednesday, April 26, 2023, the concurrent resolution is considered 
  The text of the concurrent resolution is as follows:

                            H. Con. Res. 30

       Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate 
     concurring), That, pursuant to section

[[Page H2057]]

     5(c) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(c)), 
     Congress directs the President to remove all United States 
     Armed Forces, other than United States Armed Forces assigned 
     to protect the United States Embassy, from Somalia by not 
     later than the date that is 365 days after the date of the 
     adoption of this resolution.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The concurrent resolution shall be debatable 
for 80 minutes, with 20 minutes controlled by the gentleman from Texas 
(Mr. McCaul), 20 minutes controlled by the gentleman from New York (Mr. 
Meeks), and 40 minutes controlled by the gentleman from Florida (Mr. 
Gaetz), or their respective designees.
  The gentleman from Michigan (Mr. James) will control 20 minutes, the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Meeks) will control 20 minutes, and the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Gaetz) will control 40 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Michigan.

                             General Leave

  Mr. JAMES. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous material on the resolution under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Michigan?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. JAMES. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I will start by commending both gentlemen from Florida 
for their concern about our Nation's ongoing military engagements. It 
is one I share as a veteran of the global war on terrorism.
  Unfortunately, there are no silver bullets in policymaking, and when 
we try to make one, we usually end up shooting ourselves in the foot. 
It is for this reason and this reason alone that I stand in opposition.
  I served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as an attack helicopter pilot. As 
a combat veteran, Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that no one hates war 
more than those who have come face-to-face with it. I do not look back 
on the days of American military overreach and intervention in the 
Middle East with nostalgia.
  That said, as a West Point graduate, I understand history and the 
lessons it teaches. The siren song of isolationism is tempting, but 
allowing vacuums of American influence around the world to be filled by 
terrorists and exploited by communists is a direct threat to Americans 
at home.
  While each Presidential administration has made errors in the conduct 
of its foreign policy since the tragedies of 9/11 22 years ago, the 
most egregious of these errors is continuing to concede America's 
diplomatic leverage and allowing our agricultural, manufacturing, and 
energy independence to erode.
  It is Congress, this body, that has lazily conceded its 
constitutional duty to guard its war powers jealously from the 
executive branch. Congress' failure to hold each administration this 
century accountable for their vague, broad, and failing foreign 
policies may force Congress to exercise our war powers again in my 
  That is why I agree with Mr. Gaetz, in large part, that war should 
never be on autopilot nor open-ended. Americans have the right and 
Congress has the responsibility to understand and approve of the 
sacrifice that we will be asking our country to make.
  Our servicemembers are real people with families. They are sons and 
daughters. Many weren't even born when 9/11 occurred.
  Congress needs to do its job, but it needs to do its job the right 
way. That is why, rather than continuing an open-ended, 22-year-old 
law, I believe we must work together to first replace it with an 
Authorization for Use of Military Force that focuses on today's 
critical terrorist threats and requires Congress to stay engaged.
  We must prioritize first building an America that is strong at home, 
or we will never have hope of being strong abroad.
  Regrettably, my friends, today's resolution does little toward those 
ends. It will merely direct the removal of U.S. forces from Somalia. 
That will not work.
  Less than 2 years ago, we saw what happens when we pull troops with 
no plan. Joe Biden's botched Afghanistan withdrawal forced our troops 
to abandon billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded military equipment. 
It resulted in 13 young American servicemembers dead. It left hundreds 
of thousands of American veterans who served in Afghanistan wondering 
if their efforts were in vain. It embarrassed America on the world 
stage and left a gaping hole that China and the Taliban rushed to fill 
  What have we learned? The Biden administration responded with the 
Commander in Chief checking his watch during a dignified transfer of 
servicemembers killed, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin claiming he 
had no regrets about the withdrawal.
  What have we learned?
  Lest my argument be debased or derided as petty partisanship, let me 
flip the script.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask you, what happened the last time Republicans tried 
to repeal something without a plan to replace it?
  I tell you the truth: What happened then will pale in comparison to 
the consequences of ceding the global strategic high ground of the 
future to those who mean to harm us.
  I will be the first to argue that we have become overdependent on the 
military rather than investing in ourselves, in our industrial base at 
home, wielding diplomacy, and harnessing economic statecraft as our 
tools of first resort.
  There is no global stability when America is economically weak and 
militarily impulsive and has a reputation of retreat. The most 
devastating effect of abandoning our allies--even now, thousands of our 
fellow Americans are on the battlefield--is that our friends don't 
trust us and our enemies no longer fear us. If we want nations around 
the world to choose America instead of dictators and despots, we must 
give them a reason to do so.
  This premature withdrawal from Somalia will be a great victory for a 
dangerous al-Qaida affiliate that seeks the death of America.
  There is another group of adversaries to keep in mind, as well. 
Russia and the Communist Party of China would like nothing more than to 
see the U.S. take a foreign policy of isolationism. There is already a 
Chinese military base on the east coast of Djibouti. There are reports 
of more coming to the west coast of Africa, which will pose a direct 
threat to America.

  If we cavalierly withdraw from Africa, the CCP will rush to fill in 
the void like they did in Afghanistan. By emboldening terrorists, 
Russia, and Communist China, this resolution would harm the national 
security of the United States.
  Again, Mr. Speaker, I applaud the gentleman from Florida's initiative 
for forcing this long-overdue debate. I also applaud leadership for 
allowing it to come to the floor.
  I invite the gentleman to work with me to end this executive 
overreach of over two decades, to pull back our war powers and Article 
I authority under the Constitution in a way that truly puts America 
first. As it stands today, regretfully, this resolution will not 
strengthen America at home or keep her safe abroad.
  It is for that reason, and again, that reason alone, that I urge my 
colleagues to join me in opposition.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. MEEKS. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H. Con. Res. 30.
  This resolution was drafted in such a way that it is simultaneously 
overbroad and underinclusive. The resolution fails to end our 
involvement in hostilities in the region while preventing crucial 
security cooperation with local partners in Somalia.
  The resolution states that the United States forces must withdraw 
from Somalia, unless they are there for the purposes of protecting the 
  Historically, war powers resolutions such as this are thought of as 
attempting to force the President to withdraw American troops from a 
foreign country that are actively engaged in combat, but our forces on 
the ground in Somalia are there to provide security training and 
intelligence support.
  Our footprint in Somalia is not large. We have several hundred troops 
stationed in the country primarily to train host-nation troops in 
countering terrorism.
  The sponsor of this legislation sometimes references the lost blood 

[[Page H2058]]

treasure from our overseas engagements. These are obviously essential 
considerations. It is why I supported President Biden's decision to end 
the war in Afghanistan. But no American has been killed in Somalia in 
over 4 years, and our security cooperation and assistance to the 
country amounts to a rounding error in the Federal budget.
  It is a fact that Al-Shabaab and other terrorist organizations like 
ISIS control large swaths of territory in Somalia, but local forces 
from the Somali Government and the African Union Transition Mission in 
Somalia have made steady gains the past several years. United States 
forces have been instrumental in some of these changes because of the 
very training and intelligence support we provide to local forces on 
the ground.
  By mandating that our forces cease security cooperation in Somalia, 
this resolution would roll back some of the gains that have been made 
to take back territory from terrorist organizations in the past several 
  This measure doesn't end American hostilities in the region. It 
includes nothing about removing American forces from other nations in 
the region where groups like Al-Shabaab operate, and it does nothing to 
address over-the-horizon strikes.
  While I disagree with this measure, let me say that what I do agree 
with is that we are having this debate. It is one that is long overdue. 
American forces have been in Somalia and other parts of the world 
without proper engagement from the United States Congress.
  While I understand the logic that both Republican and Democratic 
administrations have used to include groups like Al-Shabaab under the 
2001 AUMF, I can tell you that Members of Congress did not believe that 
they were authorizing force against Al-Shabaab when we passed the 
legislation decades ago. I can tell you this not just because I was 
here when Congress voted on that AUMF but because Al-Shabaab didn't 
even exist in September 2001.
  I believe, though, that the proper way to address the issues of 
matters of war and peace in Somalia is not through a legally dubious 
resolution such as this. I agree with Representative James in this, and 
we should work together, all three of us, I believe, because the right 
way to address this issue is through a repeal of the 2001 AUMF and its 
replacement with a narrow force authorization that provides the 
President authority to combat selected terrorists in selected countries 
where the United States' national security is at stake.
  Mr. Speaker, I have introduced just such a resolution, and I look 
forward to working with my colleagues on that. H.J. Res. 52, which 
narrows the list of terrorist organizations the executive branch can 
strike, limits the number of countries in which we could engage in 
hostilities, places curbs on executive branch additions of associated 
forces and successor groups, and includes a sunset requiring Congress 
to reauthorize the legislation.

                              {time}  1245

  Reasserting Congress' proper role over matters of war and peace while 
ensuring that the President has the necessary authorities to strike 
those who mean to do us harm can be and is a tough balance to strike. I 
believe wholeheartedly it is our responsibility to make some of those 
hard decisions. We cannot punt it or give it off just to the executive. 
I am willing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to 
strike a balance.
  Let's take a look at H.J. Res. 52. From the debate we are having 
today, I think that we have some of the basics of what we agree with, 
that it is this body that the Constitution empowered to make sure there 
are checks and balances on the executive.
  Unfortunately, I cannot say that about H. Con. Res. 30 before us 
today. Therefore, I must oppose this legislation, urge my colleagues to 
do the same. Let's come together as Members of the United States House 
of Representatives and take our responsibility. Let's repeal and 
replace the 2001 AUMF and move forward.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  It is a great honor to participate in this debate with my esteemed 
colleague, Mr. Meeks, of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and with a 
great patriot such as Mr. James of Michigan.
  I welcome the American people to the second part in a legislative 
series we are conducting about all of the places on the planet Earth 
where Congress still believes that 9/11 justifies current U.S. troop 
presence in 2023.
  The first in that series was Syria. I came to this floor, only got 
about 103 votes, but I made the argument that our troops were 
essentially sitting ducks, guarding oil extraction operations where 
their presence was known and where their location was easily 
identifiable. I called for a withdrawal. That withdrawal was defeated. 
Then what happened is precisely what I predicted, more U.S. casualties 
from Iranian drones, exactly what I said would occur. It is with no joy 
I say that.
  I know all of us would take any policy decision we could to reduce 
U.S. casualties, and I think this debate will present an excellent 
opportunity to reflect on Somalia in that light.
  There are currently 900 U.S. troops in Somalia, give or take, and 
this resolution would bring them home.
  Somalia is a country of 17 million who have been tortured at times by 
Al-Shabaab, a group of roughly 7,000 hardened fighters and even more 
sympathizers. But to logically believe any of the arguments that my 
colleagues are making, you have to believe that 900 U.S. troops is what 
is going to save a country of 17 million from a hardened group of 
7,000. I think that strains not only logic but understanding of the 
history of Somalia, a country that has oscillated between failed state 
and just absolute coup revolution over and over again, civil war, and 
sectarian violence.
  The future of Somalia must be determined by Somalia. To the extent 
that foreign influences could be helpful, I would argue that the 
African Union is far better positioned to build a stronger sense of 
national identity and national unity among clans that have been warring 
in Somalia for generations than U.S. troops. I have yet to see the 
evidence that U.S. troops are the essential element to fusing 
relationships among warring African warlords, clans, and tribes.
  Now, the British controlled Somalia, and in nearly half a century 
since, we have seen a constant state of despair.
  So what is the end state for our military presence in Somalia?
  Are we going to be the block captain of Mogadishu, presumably 
forever, until we beat the last sympathy for Al-Shabaab out of the last 
heart of the last Somali?
  That was the argument with Syria and ISIS; we have to stay in Syria 
because there are still people who believe the ISIS ideology.
  Mr. Speaker, I would argue that the U.S. military is not an effective 
capability to deploy to defeat an ideology. We are not able to 
permanently stabilize countries by having a presence that can at times 
be the very basis for the terrorism recruitment that we seem to work 
  There is also an opportunity cost to being in Somalia that I would 
like to share with the body. I represent constituents who are part of 
these missions, these train, equip, and advise missions throughout 
Africa. Increasingly, they are having to enter the INDOPACOM to get 
analysis and research on the best communication skills, tactical skills 
and strategic skills that would be necessary if conflict were to erupt 
in the INDOPACOM theater.
  What I have observed firsthand is that at times, some of our best and 
brightest are having to go split squad, where some are wandering about 
Africa on train-and-equip missions. Then there is less of a focused 
capability in places where I think America must hold the high ground to 
ensure the enduring success of our Nation.
  My colleague from the other side of the aisle made mention of the 
training that America does in Africa and how critical it is. The 
problem is, far too often, we are training the next generation of coup 
leaders. We haven't figured that out yet. I got to ask the question of 
the leader of AFRICOM: Why so many people who are leading coups in 
Africa were trained by Americans? He was unable to identity even 
current leaders of African countries, that they were trained by 
Americans or that they participated in coups.

[[Page H2059]]

  Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record a piece from The Intercept: 
``AFRICOM Chief to Congress: We share `core values' with coup 

                  [From The Intercept, April 10, 2023]

 Africom Chief to Congress: We Share ``Core Values'' With Coup Leaders

                            (By Nick Turse)

       In Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire last month, 1,300 U.S., NATO, 
     and African troops met for tactical and mock raids as part of 
     Flintlock 2023, an annual exercise sponsored by U.S. Special 
     Operations Command Africa, or SOCAFRICA. Among the countries 
     participating was Burkina Faso, which has been restricted 
     from receiving substantial U.S. security aid since an officer 
     trained by Americans at previous Flintlock exercises 
     overthrew his democratically elected government in a coup 
     last year.
       U.S. military officials have spent the last month trying to 
     explain this curious state of affairs to Congress and the 
     press. Flintlock provides a ``critical training opportunity'' 
     for special operations forces from the U.S. and Africa and a 
     chance to ``exchange best practices,'' Rear Adm. Milton 
     ``Jamie'' Sands, the chief of SOCAFRICA, told The Intercept 
     and other reporters on a conference call last month. He 
     didn't mention that, by the Pentagon's own assessments, 
     militant Islamist attacks in the Sahel have spiked and 
     security has plummeted across West Africa since SOCAFRICA 
     began Flintlock trainings in 2005. ``The Sahel now accounts 
     for 40 percent of all violent activity by militant Islamist 
     groups in Africa, more than any other region in Africa,'' 
     reads a recent report: by the Defense Department's Africa 
     Center for Strategic Studies.
       The four-star general in charge of U.S. Africa Command, or 
     AFRICOM, meanwhile, told the House Armed Services Committee 
     that only a small percentage of U.S.-trained officers 
     overthrow their governments--while admitting he didn't know 
     the exact number. This prompted farright Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-
     Fla., to ask, ``Why should U.S. taxpayers be paying to train 
     people who then lead coups in Africa?''
       Flintlock attendees have conducted at least five coups in 
     the last eight years. Since 2008, in fact, U.S.-trained 
     officers have attempted at least nine coups (and succeeded in 
     at least eight) across five West African countries, including 
     Burkina Faso (three times), Guinea, Mali (three times), 
     Mauritania, and the Gambia.
       Before he toppled Burkina Faso's democratically elected 
     president in 2022, for example, Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo 
     Damiba attended Flintlock exercises in 2010 and 2020, 
     according to AFRICOM. A fellow Flintlock 2010 attendee, Gen. 
     Gilbert Diendere, overthrew the government of Burkina Faso in 
       Just a year after he attended Flintlock 2019, Col. Assimi 
     Goita headed the junta that overthrew Mali's government. 
     After staging that coup, Goita stepped down and took the job 
     of vice president in a transitional government tasked with 
     returning Mali to civilian rule. But nine months later, he 
     seized power for a second time.
       Another alum of Flintlock 2019, Col. Mamady Doumbouya, 
     served as a Guinean unit commander during the exercise, 
     according to AFRICOM. In 2021, members of Doumbouya's unit 
     took time out from being trained in small unit tactics and 
     the law of armed conflict by Green Berets to storm the 
     presidential palace and depose their country's 83-year-old 
     president, Alpha Conde. Doumbouya soon declared himself 
     Guinea's new leader. The U.S. ended the training and 
     distanced itself from the coup.
       ``Core values is what we start off with,'' Gen. Michael 
     Langley, the AFRICOM chief, told the House Armed Services 
     Committee last month.
       ``Do we share those values with Col. Doumbouya?'' asked 

  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, in this piece, it highlights five countries--
Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, and Gambia--where the very 
people who led the coups were the very people who received this 
training from the United States.
  I would note that any comparison here to Afghanistan is sorely 
misplaced. This legislation provides one year to remove 900 people. 
That is far different than unwinding the double helix that was our 
multidecade engagement with Afghanistan.
  I agree with the sentiment that my colleague Mr. James stated, that 
our friends must trust us and our enemies must fear us. But what I have 
observed, after 20 years of American war in the Middle East and in 
North Africa, is that our enemies often mock us when we try to be the 
world's policeman and the world's piggy bank. That should not be the 
goal of our country. We should not be engaged in nation-building in 
Somalia, the Middle East, or elsewhere.
  These 900 U.S. troops have no end state. They are engaging in largely 
police force operations. I suggest they should come home, and a vote 
for this resolution would do that.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. JAMES. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague, Mr. Gaetz. He makes a series 
of great points. The greatest, I believe, is our military cannot be 
used to fight an ideology. Unlimited war without checking by Congress 
is unconstitutional, and we must come up with a better solution, which 
is why the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and me, as the chairman 
of the Subcommittee on Africa, recognizes that the DOD doesn't exist in 
a vacuum. We recognize that the State Department and USAID are present 
in building civilian leaders and institutions. We understand these 
institutions must work together with different mandates, and we are not 
shooting our way out of Somalia. We must provide additional ways to fix 
the problem.
  I agree we cannot fight ideology with military. I look forward to 
working with all sides to figure out exactly how we can strengthen our 
ties to make sure that we have partners and move from aid to trade with 
a long-term partner.
  We had a rousing speech from the President of South Korea just an 
hour ago where he mentioned the great aid that the United States 
taxpayers and the great investment that we have made over decades and 
years in South Korea. Now as a shining example, they are the 10th most 
wealthy country in the world because of America, our great generosity, 
and because we are exceptional.
  I think we have a remarkable opportunity to do that and show that 
America truly should be the first choice and first option for folks 
around the world.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Montana (Mr. 
  Mr. ZINKE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition, but I agree with my 
distinguished colleague from Florida that Congress has an obligation to 
review it. Congress should not abdicate our responsibility. We should 
ask the tough questions. Ultimately, we should provide the funding 
necessary and the resources to win. That is our job, and I agree with 
you 100 percent.
  But as a commander, they are doing more than just guarding an 
embassy. A force structure of 900 may seem like a large footprint, but 
those of us who remember Black Hawk Down would suggest otherwise.
  A force requires medevac. Those medevacs require people that service 
those aircraft. In case we get in trouble, we need a quick reaction 
force, a force large enough to defend our troops. I, like my 
colleagues, know that if you were to put any American servicemen in 
harm's way, you want to ensure we have the adequate force to make sure 
they are recovered safely. They also have to be fed and have 
communications. In order to have an effective force, you need a 
footprint that can do its mission.
  I also agree that we should have a plan. Before we unplug our 
obligations, we should know what unplugging it does and when, and also 
we should have a plan on what our obligations are.
  So much of this discussion is a discussion among similar views. We do 
have an obligation for freedom. We have a commitment to democracy that 
when we provide a force to defend that democracy, and it is American 
force and our allies, that we provide them with a force package that 
can win.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to oppose this well-intended 
resolution. I do ask that we work as a body to uphold our duty as 
Congress to make sure that the authorizations we give the executive are 
both appropriate, timely, and do so to win.
  Mr. MEEKS. Mr. Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, let me just say, this debate is long overdue. We happen 
to be talking about the AUMF. I would hope that we end up having more 
debates on this floor talking about the continent of Africa, who has 
long been left off the debate in the United States Congress, which is a 
continent that we have got to focus on. I look forward to working with 
Mr. James as the chair of that subcommittee.
  We need to focus on the stability of Africa, the stability of its 
governments and its institutions, because if we don't, it is at our own 
danger. We should be doing it because it is the right thing. We should 
be listening to those allies that we have on the continent and to those 
Presidents, because

[[Page H2060]]

they are the ones who are at threat and in danger of being destroyed by 
terrorist groups who have now moved over the continent.
  We have got to have this debate more and more and make sure that 
Africa is on our front burner, not our back burner. Because if Africa 
continues to be on our back burner, we will see Russia and China, as 
Mr. James has indicated, and others jumping in. We will see Wagner 
coming in to secure these countries. Let's have this debate.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Minnesota (Ms. 
Omar), who came to the United States from the continent of Africa.

                              {time}  1300

  Ms. OMAR. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H. Con. Res. 30, 
the Somalia war powers resolution.
  Mr. Speaker, I agree with the chairman, a real debate about U.S. 
policy in Somalia and in Africa is long overdue. It is debate that 
should include a serious discussion of our long-term strategy for 
supporting stability and self-governance. It should include clear-eyed 
analysis of U.S. counterterrorism policies, including air strikes and 
drones, and the consistent problem of civilian casualties of U.S. 
  Congress is also overdue for a debate about the expansive use of the 
2001 AUMF, which the executive branch claims includes operations in 
  Mr. Speaker, the resolution before the House today does not address 
these significant issues. It is a narrow question of the withdrawal of 
a few hundred troops.
  Given President Hassan's renewed efforts to eradicate Al-Shabaab, the 
resolution does include a long enough timeline to ensure that 
operations that we are partnering with can be ended responsibly.
  While we should not mistake this poorly crafted resolution for an 
honest assessment of U.S. policy in Somalia, it is important that we 
support the question before us.
  Mr. Speaker, I and many Somali Americans support this resolution, and 
I urge my colleagues to do the same.
  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, I can assure the gentleman from New York that 
we will have a more fulsome discussion regarding the continent of 
Africa because the next in our legislative series may very well be 
Niger. We will have that opportunity, as well.
  To my colleague from Minnesota, I think she really hits the nail on 
the head that the partnerships between the existing government in 
Somalia and the clans that exist throughout the country is the 
essential glue to resist the violence and destabilization that we see 
from Al-Shabaab.
  It is my belief that the government's entrees to those groups to get 
them to not side with Al-Shabaab are not facilitated by extensive U.S. 
presence. I just don't believe that to get one group of Somalis to stop 
killing another group of Somalis that the essential ingredient is us.
  It may be other African influencers to a positive extent, but there 
is great wisdom in what the gentlewoman shared regarding the utility of 
those partnerships and relationships.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 6 minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. 
  Mr. MILLS. Mr. Speaker, I thank my distinguished colleague from 
Florida (Mr. Gaetz) for yielding. I also thank my colleagues, Mr. James 
and Mr. Zinke for their service. They, like myself, are combat veterans 
who understand the total cost of warfare.
  Mr. Speaker, before I get into my statement, I will address a couple 
of things that were mentioned by my colleagues here today. We talked 
about the idea that we are here to preserve freedoms and we are here to 
preserve democracy. Let's talk about our role in democracy.
  We went into Iraq in 2003 under the auspice that we were there for 
weapons of mass destruction and to liberate the people of Iraq. Only 2 
years later did we supplement this with the 2005 Iraq Constitution, 
whereby article 76, in its own design, created sectarian democracy that 
gave rise to the Iranian control which ultimately gave rise to China's 
  We are not a nation-building element. We are warfighters. We are 
there to conduct counterterrorism operations when needed, but only at 
the expense that it is to the benefit of the American national security 
and U.S. interests.
  He talked about timely. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, we started our 
operations in Mogadishu in the early 1990s. We started the operations 
in Afghanistan in 2001, and we started the operations in Iraq in 2003. 
So by what definition do we determine is timely?
  The idea that my colleague--and rightfully so, and I agree with him--
Mr. James said about the repeal and replace piece of the AUMF, which I 
do view as an abdication of our roles and responsibilities as 
legislators under the Constitution in Article I, Clause 8, it does have 
a replacement, and I just stated it. It is called the United States 
Constitution war authorities.
  At no point in time can you find in the Constitution whereby it says 
we can repeal our rights as legislators under the Constitution to put 
in something which abdicates our roles and responsibilities for 20-plus 
years on an AUMF that was designed, and now being abused, by Presidents 
on the left and the right, who have been using it for its unintended 
  While I agree with my colleague, Mr. Gaetz, that Afghanistan is 
completely not relevant to the discussion that was made, we are talking 
about an area whereby President Biden utilized political optics over 
military strategy, endangering the lives of our military, when we know 
that it was a conditions-based withdrawal.
  One thing was actually stated that is correct, which is the threat in 
which China possesses when it comes to the African Continent and that a 
vacuum could be created. Let's go ahead and focus on what China's 
ultimate goal is because it is not kinetics. It is not about the bomb-
to-bomb, gun-to-gun, or bullet-to-bullet mechanism.
  It is about the economic and resource warfare impact. It is about the 
Belt and Road Initiative, which expands out the Eurasian border, takes 
over Africa, Oceania, cuts off the Western Hemisphere's supply chain in 
an effort to utilize the WHO, WEF, and OPEC to eliminate the U.S. 
dollar from the global currency.
  Let us address that issue. It is not one that is done by kinetics and 
warfighters, but by a whole-of-nation approach that deals with 
Treasury, that deals with the economic build-out, that deals with 
strengthening the industrial base at home, which stops the reliance on 
the very adversaries that we pay to slap us around every day.
  The idea that we are going to play this terrorist whack-a-mole where 
every time one pops, we send a new force, it does nothing to actually 
try and help with stabilization. Let's talk about our interactions.

  We had a terrorist organization known as al-Qaida in the Arabian 
Peninsula, which was based in a small portion in the Gulf of Aden out 
in Yemen. It wasn't until our drone strikes that caused numerous 
civilian casualties did we not play right into the ideology that 
Americans are here to destroy us and kill us due to our religious 
  We were actually the reason that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula 
continued to grow. My colleague on the left--who I have a great deal of 
respect for and we sit on the Foreign Affairs Committee--Mr. Meeks, he 
talks about the fact that we have had no Americans killed in Somalia. 
That is absolutely false.
  In fact, we just had another soldier killed in 2018 as a result of an 
explosion that resulted in three more. Also in 2017, we had three more 
killed that were there. As someone who has had to go visit Arlington 
Cemetery on many occasions to see my brothers that are no longer here 
with me today, I don't think that we need to spare one more life of 
American bloodshed in an effort that we don't have a clear, strategic 
military objective to begin with.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask that we look at not being isolationists, as we are 
always called and considered, but also not interventionists. Our goal 
is to be protectionists; protection of our constitutional rights, our 
sovereignty, and the American people. That is our role.
  We keep talking about this 2001 AUMF that we are to repeal. Let's go 
through this. In 2019, the amendment to the 2020 NDAA to repeal the 
2002 AUMF was stripped out in its final version. On November 14, 2018, 
the resolution introduced to assert Congress' war power authorities in 
Yemen, the Rules Committee stripped the resolution and its procedural 

[[Page H2061]]

  Soon after, the Rules Committee stripped privilege from all war power 
resolutions for the remainder of the 115th Congress.
  We keep talking about what we are going to do, but I have seen very 
little action. This is one of the reasons I ran for Congress because 
there are too many politicians who like to talk and not enough 
statesmen who are willing to act.
  I know a little thing about action, considering that between my 
military and government experience I spent over 7 years of my life in 
Iraq, almost 3 years of my life in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Pakistan, and 
guess what, northern Somalia and the Puntland areas of Hargeisa and 
  I can tell you very clearly that what we are doing right now in our 
procedures is not making us safer. We must start to look at a real 
change in order to protect America, stop abdicating our roles and 
responsibilities, and start leading from the front.
  Mr. JAMES. Mr. Speaker, I think this is what we call a violent 
agreement. We need to fix the ills of the past with a solution for the 
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. 
  Mr. McCORMICK. Mr. Speaker, this is one of my favorite debates. In my 
short time in Congress, and even in observing Congress, here you have 
people from both sides of the aisle actually taking opposition to each 
other so we can have a real conversation. There are people that I 
respect on my side of the aisle and people that I respect and disagree 
with on the other side of the aisle having a real debate that has 
little to do with partisanship but really about principle. It is 
  Much like H.R. 21, which was probably the most fascinating vote we 
have taken to date since I have been in Congress, we actually had a 
Republican, somebody whose credentials as a conservative are not 
questioned at all, who had more people from the Democratic Party vote 
for his bill than from the Republican Party. He had the squad vote for 
him and his bill. That is bipartisanship in a certain way.
  Yet, we have this debate right now in a similar fashion on Somalia. 
This is not a place that is unknown to me. I was there during part of 
the U.N. withdrawal in 1994 off the coast on the 15th Marine 
Expeditionary Unit. I spent time in Entebbe, Uganda, as part of 
Operation Restore Hope when we had our problem with Rwanda. Africa is a 
place of many troubled nations. There is no doubt about it.
  The question we have today is: What is good for America?
  This isn't about nation-building. This is about protecting our 
Nation. This is a debate over whether we are going to save lives or 
lose lives that are American by what our actions are in the near 
future; and into the future of how we plan our force structure and what 
we deploy with around the world.
  I am very much concerned that if we are not in these regions, 
especially in Somalia, which is one of the most war-torn areas we know 
of, that we will have an increase in terrorist activities. When you see 
a country like Afghanistan and the way it is deteriorating right now--
you have 27 terrorist cells training there--because of the lack of 
presence of good guys trying to make sure that bad guys don't propagate 
and proliferate and making sure they are not recruiting people and 
sending people over here to do harm to us, it is a minor miracle that 
we haven't had another 9/11 in so long.
  If you think about it, the incredible work that we have had done by 
our intel community and our Special Forces and other Americans around 
the world to circumvent that from happening is nothing short of 
  I would make the case that because we have forces all around the 
world, we have been a safer place. We have saved American lives. This 
isn't about building a nation of 17 million people. This is about 
protecting the Nation of 330 million people.
  I want to make sure that we are clear in this argument that this is 
not about seeking war. No one who spent time in the military wants war. 
I spent over 20 years in the military myself. I spent years away from 
my family, as well. I served with three different forces: Marine Corps, 
Army, and Navy. Nobody wants war less than I do.

  Nobody wants to see Americans killed more than any military 
commander. As a matter of fact, when we send these people, it is not 
because a politician wants to go over there. Usually it is because a 
general or an area commander has requested these troops in 
collaboration with each other. We are talking about decades of 
experience in the region, and they understand what is at stake. They 
don't want war. They don't want American troops to lose their lives.
  As a matter of fact, they are judged historically on how many 
American lives they save, on how many American troops that they don't 
put in harm's way. This isn't about seeking war. This is about avoiding 
war. This isn't about protecting their nation. It is protecting our 
  We have an obligation to watch over this great Nation of ours. I 
think it is not by pulling back, but engaging in other countries in a 
way we can work together to protect American lives, both civilian and 
  Mr. MEEKS. Mr. Speaker, I want to clarify for Mr. Mills that when I 
mentioned we had not had any deaths in Somalia, I said in the last 4 
years. I was acknowledging what happened before. In the last 4 years we 
have not lost any American troops in Somalia.
  Let me also say, as I said earlier, I am happy that we are having 
this debate and talking about the continent of Africa. If we do that, 
we have to listen to the African--I can just recall, and sometimes many 
of my colleagues, especially on the other side of the aisle, argue that 
we don't get the votes we need at times in the U.N. from African 
  I recall when we were trying to get votes in regard to Russia's 
illegal invasion into Ukraine, and I had to call on African 
ambassadors. They said: Now you are calling? We haven't heard from the 
United States for a while. Now you want something from me?

                              {time}  1315

  We have been asking for assistance in regard to security, and then I 
watched to see what was taking place when we looked at our diplomacy. 
It took over two decades before, in the 117th Congress, we passed a 
State Department authorization bill, and we had to do that through the 
NDAA as opposed to saying we were going to stand strongly on diplomacy.
  Guess what China did during that period of time? They doubled their 
diplomacy budget.
  Guess what else is happening? For the first time, China has more 
consulates than the United States of America.
  General Kelly said that either we do and get engaged in more 
diplomacy, or we are going to have to spend more money on bullets.
  We have an opportunity to engage and listen to allies and work with 
our allies. Many allies have more, and should have more, responsibility 
on the continent because they colonized it and are working with us 
collectively to try to make sure that the Chinas and the Russias of the 
world are not invested and that we are invested, and we are not.
  It is our challenge, and I hope that when we get past this debate, we 
will be able to have another one. I look forward to doing it, 
particularly in our committee, so that we can figure out collectively, 
as Ms. Ilhan Omar said, how we can work together and listen to make 
sure that we have an overall strategy.
  I say this in regard to both parties. I say this to the 
administration that should be doing more on the continent of Africa.
  So, yes, this is not a partisan debate. This is an American debate. 
This is an opportunity to be attentive to a continent that is the 
fastest growing and the youngest on this planet but that we have 
ignored for far too long.
  We have to wake up and do more for the continent of Africa and figure 
out diplomacy, figure out how we can help protect them from being 
victimized by terrorism, and figure out how we can strengthen 
  We have a lot of work to do. We have to figure out how we reauthorize 
AGOA, figure out how we work with the African Union, and figure out how 
we work with the African organizations. That is our challenge because, 
if not, we imperil ourselves.
  I could agree that this is not just an investment in the continent; 
it is an

[[Page H2062]]

investment for America and America's leadership.
  Let's lead.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentlewoman from Texas 
(Ms. Jackson Lee).
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, let me thank the gentleman for his 
distinguished leadership as the manager on this floor and, certainly, 
the proponent of this resolution. I know it came with good intentions.
  Let me indicate the wisdom of a young college student some many years 
ago when I offered to my college for my winning traveling fellowship 
that I would go to the continent of Africa. Everyone else would go to 
places well defined and well recognized. I told them that I wanted to 
take the fellowship that I had received to travel to West Africa, and I 
did, from then-Togo-and-Dahomey--obviously, changed names to Cote 
d'Ivoire--to Ghana and Nigeria, and I studied, seeing the potential 
even then.
  I am gratified to be in this Congress to be able to have the 
leadership of our chairman and our ranking member on the Foreign 
Affairs Committee to recognize the cruciality of our purpose on the 
  It was members of the Congressional Black Caucus who organized to say 
how important it was under the George W. Bush administration that the 
Africa Command be set up. It was crucial in the bloody fight in Liberia 
for that command to be set up, and only without shooting one gun were 
they able to begin to bring peace.
  So, I rise with great concern and opposition to H. Con. Res. 30 
because I have realized the importance of the Africa Command because it 
has elements of diplomacy.
  I am glad that President Biden reversed Trump's get-out-of-town and 
get-out-of-Dodge-quick resolution to, in fact, leave a footprint of 
500, who are helping us bring down Al-Shabaab, bring down al-Qaida, and 
boost up the Somalian partners of which our soldiers are working 
through and working to degrade Al-Shabaab's ability to plot external 
operations while building the capacities of our partner.
  The rest of Africa is watching. If they try to be peaceful and to 
stand up a democratic entity, do they have a powerful force like the 
United States?
  I, too, want a full debate on the Authorization for Use of Military 
Force. I have been here for 9/11 and afterward, and I, too, believe 
that it is our duty.
  What I will say at this time is that we should not remove those 
troops from Somalia.
  I ask my colleague to join with his committee and engage in debate on 
the AUMF, but I want to protect the Somalian people, Africa, and I want 
to protect the interests of democracy and the United States of America.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.Con. Res. 30--Directing 
the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, 
to remove all United States Armed Forces, other than United States 
Armed Forces assigned to protect the United States Embassy, from 
  This concurrent resolution directs the President to remove all U.S. 
Armed Forces from Somalia, other than those assigned to protect the 
U.S. embassy in Somalia, within 365 days of the adoption of this 
concurrent resolution.
  Premature withdrawal would risk reversal of critical counterterrorism 
and governance gain.
  Al-Shabaab is al-Qaida's largest and best--financed affiliate in the 
world and has repeatedly demonstrated its intent and capability to 
launch lethal and complex attacks against U.S. citizens in east Africa 
and beyond.
  Al-Shabaab has killed more than a dozen U.S. citizens since 2014--
more than all of al-Qaida's other affiliates combined during the same 
  U.S. forces, 500-900 working through Somali partners, seek to degrade 
Al-Shabaab's ability to plot external operations while building the 
capacities of our partners.
  The small but effective U.S. military presence supports a critical 
counterterrorism mission by working with partners forces.
  There is no legal basis for this legislation.
  The resolution is based on section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution. 
But section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution applies only when our 
forces are engaged in hostilities without statutory basis.
  In this case, there a statutory basis for U.S. actions in Somalia, as 
U.S. forces are supporting hostilities against Al-Shabaab and al-Qaida 
in Somalia--both of which are covered by the 2001 Authorization to Use 
Military Force.
  Since July 2022, the Federal Government of Somalia has retaken more 
territory than the previous five years combined.
  U.S. military presence is a vital component of efforts to improve 
local partners capacity and local conditions to the point that our 
presence is no longer needed.
  The persistent presence of a modest number of U.S. forces increases 
the effectiveness of the DoD's training efforts and bolsters its 
credibility as a consistent and durable partner for Somali forces.
  The DoD's presence in Somalia forms the backbone of a whole--of--
government approach that layer's diplomacy, security assistance, 
stabilization programing, and intelligence operations to counter Al-
Shabaab and address the conditions that have allowed it to thrive.
  I urge all my colleagues to oppose H.Con. Res. 30.
  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, if what it takes to protect the 17 million people in 
Somalia is 900 U.S. troops forever, then I don't have high hopes for 
them. I have far more confidence in the strategy that Congresswoman 
Omar laid out, which was the Somali Government working to create some 
sense of national identity among Somali clans, and no one has made a 
compelling argument that we are essential to that process.
  I take some exception to my colleague from Texas calling this a get-
out-quick resolution. It gives us a year. Can't we move 900 people in a 
  My colleague from Georgia argued that Somali troop presence was 
essential to keep America safe. Let me be clear: I fear China and some 
crazy Russian general with nuclear codes far more than I fear Somali 
warlords fighting over who controls aid streams.
  It is not just my opinion. It is the opinion of our military leaders 
at AFRICOM. It was Brigadier General Bailey who said recently:

       What we have seen is not necessarily holding land or 
     territory. It is more extortion, closer to an organized crime 

  That was on February 27, 2023, on ``Nightly News with Lester Holt.''
  Even General Bailey doesn't view this as a way to get land, seize 
land, and keep it away from Al-Shabaab. He is saying that they are not 
really holding land. They are just engaged in low-level thuggery, and 
it seems unworthy of a sustained U.S. troop presence.
  Let's make clear that while the debate was elegant and compelling 
about the need to engage Africa, the vote on this resolution is whether 
900 U.S. troops should stay in Somalia or come home.
  Those who vote against my resolution are functionally taking the 
position that the 2001 AUMF, which was voted on when 89 percent of us 
who are currently in the House were not even here to vote on it and 
which was voted on before Al-Shabaab even existed, has become a global 
permission slip for U.S. interventionism everywhere.
  Al-Shabaab had nothing to do with 9/11. The fact that they have co-
branded with al-Qaida is not indicative of any interoperability.
  Mr. Speaker, as we are evaluating whether or not we have to keep 900 
troops in Somalia for the safety and security of Americans, the 
principal goal of Al-Shabaab is to rule greater Somalia under sharia 
law and overthrow the government.
  That is not my opinion. That is a February 2023 Congressional 
Research Service conclusion. That very same CRS report indicates that 
Al-Shabaab does not have the capability to attack the United States.
  I guess it is easy to stand up and say that we should be the police 
force everywhere because anywhere some bad person could harbor the 
desire to kill us, but the best research we have says that that is not 
in line with their existing capabilities.
  Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record the February 2023 Congressional 
Research Service report.

      [From Congressional Research Service, updated Feb. 14, 2023]

                               Al Shabaab

       Al Shabaab (Harakat Al Shabaab Al Mujahidin, Mujahidin 
     Youth Movement) is a Somalia-based insurgent and terrorist 
     group that U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) in 2022 labeled 
     ``the largest, wealthiest, and most lethal Al Qaeda affiliate 
     in the world today.'' AFRICOM reports that the group poses 
     the greatest danger to U.S. citizens and interests in East 
     Africa, and is a threat to the United States.


       Al Shabaab emerged in the mid-2000s amidst a vacuum of 
     state authority in Somalia. It evolved out of a militant wing 
     of the

[[Page H2063]]

     federation of Islamic Courts that took control of Mogadishu 
     and much of southern Somalia in 2006. When Ethiopia, which 
     backed Somalia's nascent transitional government, intervened 
     militarily--with U.S. support--to oust the Courts, Al Shabaab 
     used historical anti-Ethiopian sentiment among Somalis to 
     draw recruits and support, including among the diaspora in 
     the United States.
       Al Shabaab held much of south-central Somalia, including 
     the capital, from the late 2000s until African Union (AU) 
     forces gained momentum against the insurgency in 2011-2012 
     and reclaimed some territory from the group. Shabaab has 
     nevertheless retained control over parts of the country, 
     despite international recognition of Somalia's federal 
     government in 2012 and a range of multilateral efforts to 
     degrade its capacity. The group also maintains influence and 
     the ability to conduct attacks in government-held areas.

                       relationship with al qaeda

       Some of Al Shabaab's founding members trained with Al Qaeda 
     (AQ) in Afghanistan, and senior AQ operatives in East Africa, 
     including Fazul Mohammed--the late mastermind of the U.S. 
     embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania--have been associated 
     with the group. After expressions of allegiance to Al Qaeda 
     in Al Shabaab's early years, the groups announced a formal 
     affiliation in 2012.
       While Al Shabaab's leaders appear to broadly share Al 
     Qaeda's transnational agenda, the group operates 
     independently. Among other AQ affiliates, the group maintains 
     ties with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), with 
     which it runs a smuggling network.
       In 2015, some Al Shabaab members pressed for a shift in 
     allegiance to the Islamic State (IS). Al Shabaab leadership 
     rejected the proposal and launched a deadly crackdown against 
     IS supporters. A small IS faction in northern Somalia 
     survived the purge. Al Shabaab remains the dominant group and 
     appears to view the IS cell as a rival.

                               the threat

       Al Shabaab has waged an asymmetric campaign against the 
     Somali government, AU forces, and foreign targets in Somalia. 
     Per UN data, 2022 was its deadliest year since 2017, when a 
     truck bomb in Mogadishu killed over 500 people (Al Shabaab's 
     deadliest single attack to date).
       While the group has focused primarily on Somalia, it is 
     also threatens the countries participating in the African 
     Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS, previously known as 
     AMISOM) and has conducted attacks in neighboring countries 
     and Uganda. Al Shabaab has been most active in Kenya, which 
     launched a military operation in Somalia against the group in 
     2011 (Kenya joined AMISOM in 2012). The group has killed 
     hundreds of Kenyans, many through hit-and-run attacks near 
     the Somali border. Its 2015 assault on a university in 
     northeast Kenya, which killed at least 147 people, was the 
     deadliest terrorist attack in Kenya since Al Qaeda's 1998 
     bombing of the U.S. embassy.
       Al Shabaab's July 2022 incursion into Ethiopia is its 
     largest operation outside Somalia to date, reportedly 
     involving some 2,000 Al Shabaab fighters. UN experts estimate 
     that as many as 1,000 fighters remain in Ethiopia, giving it 
     a foothold, despite Ethiopian claims of routing the group.
       Al Shabaab has threatened U.S. and Western targets in the 
     region and called for attacks against the United States. 
     Attacks on international targets in Kenya's capital--the 2013 
     Westgate Mall siege and the 2019 DusitD2 hotel assault--
     raised the group's international profile. Over 50 U.S. 
     citizens were reportedly in the Westgate mall when the attack 
     started--all escaped but six were injured. In 2020, Al 
     Shabaab killed a U.S. soldier and two U.S. contractors during 
     a raid on Manda Bay Airfield, a Kenyan military facility used 
     by the U.S. military near the Somali border.
       The group has not claimed any attacks in the United States. 
     It has, however, encouraged lone-wolf attacks in its 
     propaganda, and in 2015, it produced a video identifying 
     shopping malls in Europe and the United States as potential 
     targets. In 2019, a Kenyan national was arrested in the 
     Philippines and later extradited to the United States on 
     charges of conspiring to hijack an aircraft on behalf of Al 
     Shabaab to conduct a 9/11-style attack in the United States.


       Al Shabaab rejects democracy, broadly ascribing to a vision 
     of uniting ethnic Somali-inhabited areas of Djibouti, Kenya, 
     Ethiopia, and Somalia in an Islamic state under its version 
     of Sharia law. It characterizes the Somali government as an 
     illegitimate apostate authority that is beholden to foreign 
     powers. Al Shabaab leaders have repeatedly expressed their 
     commitment to global jihad. They justify attacks outside 
     Somalia as retaliation against countries conducting military 
     operations in Somalia and as retribution for alleged abuses 
     against Muslims. Al Shabaab described the Manda Bay and 
     DusitD2 attacks in Kenya as consistent with Al Qaeda 
     directives to target U.S. and Israeli interests, and referred 
     to the airfield as one of the ``launch pads for the American 
     crusade against Islam in the region.'' Al Shabaab activities 
     in Kenya more broadly appear focused on sowing internal 
     dissent and fomenting an insurgency. Its fighters have 
     specifically targeted non-Muslims in some attacks there.


       Ahmed Diriye (aka Abu Ubaidah), a Somali national, has led 
     Al Shabaab since 2014. He succeeded Ahmed Abdi Godane, who 
     was killed in a U.S. airstrike that the Obama Administration 
     described as responding to an ``imminent threat,'' citing 
     Godane's oversight of ``plots targeting Westerners, including 
     U.S. persons in East Africa.'' Godane's predecessor was 
     killed in a U.S. strike in 2008.
       Al Shabaab faced infighting under Godane, who consolidated 
     power by assassinating rivals, reportedly including American 
     jihadist Omar Hammami in 2013. Some prominent commanders left 
     the group or surrendered to Somali authorities in exchange 
     for amnesty during that time. Former deputy leader Mukhtar 
     Robow defected, and later ran for state office, drawing on 
     support from his clan. He was detained during his 2018 
     campaign and held without charge until 2022. He was released 
     by Somalia's new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and 
     appointed Minister of Religious Affairs. In his new role, 
     Robow is tasked with countering Al Shabaab's extremist 

                  area of operations and capabilities

       AMISOM and neighboring militaries pushed Al Shabaab from 
     Mogadishu and other urban centers and ports between 2011 and 
     2014. Al Shabaab 's control oflarge areas of south and 
     central Somalia, however, remained largely unchanged from 
     2015, when AMISOM's major offensive operations ceased, until 
     2022, when the Somali government launched a new offensive in 
     coordination with local militias and a grassroots uprising. 
     Al Shabaab has since lost significant territory in central 
     Somalia, but it continues to conduct reprisal attacks there.
       While Al Shabaab's loss of Mogadishu and other port cities 
     initially restricted its revenue, the group has developed an 
     extensive taxation system covering all aspects of the Somali 
     economy, per UN and other reporting. Al Shabaab extorts 
     businesses even in government areas. It generates between $50 
     and $100 million annually, according to UN monitors, and uses 
     at least 25 percent on military purchases; Al Shabaab also 
     supports Al Qaeda directly with its tax proceeds.
       UN monitors report that Al Shabaab is estimated to have 
     7,000-12,000 fighters. The group capitalizes on grievances 
     and distrust of the government in parts of Somalia and fills 
     local governance roles, providing basic services and 
     resolving disputes. It also forcibly recruits fighters, 
     including children. Al Shabaab uses various propaganda tools 
     to spread its message in multiple languages. In Kenya, 
     reportedly its largest source of foreign fighters, Al Shabaab 
     plays on narratives of collective punishment by the Kenyan 
     government against Muslims, among other themes. Kenyan 
     nationals of non-Somali descent led the DusitD2 attack.
       Despite territorial losses, Al Shabaab maintains the 
     ability to conduct frequent attacks in Mogadishu and other 
     areas beyond its control, including through complex vehicle-
     borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). In 2016, an Al 
     Shabaab suicide bomber on a Somali airliner detonated a bomb 
     concealed in a laptop computer. (It did not destroy the 
     plane.) Advances in Al Shabaab's explosives-making capacity 
     led the UN Security Council to ban the transfer of explosive 
     precursors to Somalia in 2019.

                             u.s. responses

       The United States named Al Shabaab a Foreign Terrorist 
     Organization (FTO) in 2008 and has designated over two dozen 
     related persons for sanctions, either under Executive Order 
     (E.O.) 13536 (on Somalia) or as under E.O. 13224 (on 
     terrorism). Among those designated are several Kenyan clerics 
     implicated in fundraising and recruiting for the group and 
     members of its smuggling and weapons trafficking network in 
     Yemen. The United States has prosecuted several U.S. citizens 
     for fundraising on Al Shabaab's behalf.
       The United States provides security assistance to AU and 
     Somali forces, and has supported counter-radicalization 
     programs in the region. In addition to airstrikes, U.S. 
     forces have engaged in ``advise, assist, and accompany'' 
     missions with Somali and AU forces since 2016.
       In late 2016, the Obama Administration publicly named Al 
     Shabaab an ``associated force'' of Al Qaeda in the context of 
     the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF, P.L. 
     107-40). U.S. airstrikes in Somalia were limited until 2015, 
     when President Obama broadened the justification for U.S. 
     military action in the country--previously ``to counter Al 
     Qaeda and associated elements of Al Shabaab''--to cover 
     support for AU, Somali, and U.S. forces operating there. The 
     tempo of airstrikes rose. President Trump changed the rules 
     of engagement for U.S. operations in Somalia in 2017, 
     authorizing offensive airstrikes and designating parts of the 
     country as an ``area of active hostilities.'' Airstrikes have 
     continued, after a brief pause, under President Biden: 
     AFRICOM conducted over a dozen airstrikes in Somalia in 2022, 
     citing most as ``collective self-defense,'' in support of the 
     Somali army.
       In late 2019, three months before the Manda Bay attack, Al 
     Shabaab launched an unsuccessful assault on an airfield used 
     by the U.S. military in central Somalia--it was the largest 
     attack on U.S. forces in the country in nearly thirty years. 
     No U.S. or Somali forces were killed. Trump ordered the 
     withdrawal of U.S. forces--then estimated at 700--from 
     Somalia at the end of his term; Biden authorized the 
     redeployment of U.S. troops to Somalia in May 2022.

[[Page H2064]]



       After over 15 years of counterinsurgency operations against 
     it, Al Shabaab still poses a serious threat in Somalia and 
     East Africa, despite the ongoing deployment of 18,000 AU 
     troops. Airstrikes have eliminated some ``high-value'' 
     targets and supported partner operations, but Al Shabaab 
     maintains the capacity to conduct complex, asymmetric attacks 
     in Somalia and assaults in neighboring countries.
       Over the past decade, political infighting and corruption 
     have hampered the Somali government's ability to extend state 
     authority. Donor fatigue and frustration has reduced support 
     for the AU mission, which is due to withdraw by the end of 
     2024. The ``total war'' Somalia's new government launched 
     against Al Shabaab in 2022 could be a turning point, but 
     Somalia has struggled to ``clear and hold'' when AU forces 
     have managed to gain ground in the past. For more, see CRS In 
     Focus IF10155, Somalia.

  Mr. GAETZ. Moreover, Mr. Speaker, we are seeing the government in 
Somalia achieve gains in large part because of local discontent with 
  Because of climate change, we are not seeing the same amount of 
agricultural and livestock opportunities for people in Somalia, so many 
of the groups that were paying extortion money to Al-Shabaab are not 
able to pay it anymore because a lot of the land is dried up. That 
resulted in Al-Shabaab being incredibly brutal to those local clans and 
tribes. They poisoned the water, killed family members, and publicly 
executed people. Then what happened was a lot of those local tribes 
pushed back and said they would rather align with the government.
  That is not a victory delivered at the end of a U.S. missile or 
weapon. That is a victory that is occurring as a consequence of the 
conditions in Somalia and the choices that Somalis are making.
  Finally, Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record the ACLED piece that 
details how the government is making gains in ground and Al-Shabaab is 
losing them. It is titled: ``Somalia: Counterinsurgency Operation Gains 
Regional Support in Phase Two as Al-Shabaab Attacks and Political 
Differences Persist.''

                      [From ACLED, Apr. 21, 2023]

 Somalia: Counter-Insurgency Operation Gains Regional Support in Phase 
      Two as Al-Shabaab Attacks and Political Differences Persist

              somalia at a glance: 18 march-14 april 2023

     Vital Trends
       ACLED records more than 180 political violence events and 
     over 420 reported fatalities from 18 March to 14 April 2023. 
     Most political violence centered in Banadir region, where al-
     Shabaab launched attacks targeting Somali security forces and 
       Middle Shabelle region had the highest number of reported 
     fatalities, with over 120 recorded during the reporting 
     period. Sool region followed, with more than 80 reported 
     fatalities. Violence involving al-Shabaab was linked to over 
     74 percent of total fatalities. Clashes between Sool, Sanaag, 
     and Cayn (SSC) militia and Somaliland security forces around 
     Laascaanood town resulted in most of the remaining 
       The most common event type was battles, with over 100 
     events, followed by explosions/remote violence, with nearly 
     60 events. Over 46 percent of explosion/remote violence 
     events occurred in Banadir region, a nearly 70 percent 
     increase compared to the previous four weeks.

Counter-Insurgency Operation Gains Regional Support in Phase Two as al-
           Shabaab Attacks and Political Differences Persist

       President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced the second phase 
     of the military offensive against al-Shabaab at the end of 
     March. The new phase reportedly aims to flush out al-Shabaab 
     from the remaining parts of the country under its control, 
     following the first phase that began in August 2022. While 
     the operation initially focused on central Somalia, starting 
     in Hirshabelle and then expanding to Galmudug state, the 
     second phase aims to expand to southern regions--Southwest 
     and Jubaland states.
       In the first phase, the government sought support from clan 
     militias from the Hawiye clan, and regained substantial 
     territory from al-Shabaab. Subsequently, clan militias have 
     played a vital role in the government-led operation. Since 
     August 2022, these groups have been involved in more than 155 
     political violence events against al-Shabaab. Additionally, 
     they have supported security forces in nearly 60 percent of 
     events where government forces have regained territory from 
     al-Shabaab. During the first phase of the offensive against 
     al-Shabaab, Somali security forces regained control of over 
     215 locations previously under al-Shabaab's control, mostly 
     in Hirshabelle and Galmudug states. However, Somali security 
     forces, who failed to fully drive out al-Shabaab militants 
     from both states, still lack the military capacity to hold 
     newly liberated areas. Al-Shabaab, in turn, took advantage of 
     this weakness to maintain bases and launch complex attacks 
     against government troops. In particular, they regained lost 
     territories in Hirshabelle as the government expanded the 
     offensive to Galmudug state.
       As the federal government anticipates a lack of support 
     from clans in the south for the second phase of operations, 
     it is seeking more support from neighboring states who are 
     already present in Somalia under the African Union Transition 
     Mission in Somalia (ATMIS)--possibly indicating a plan to 
     scale down the role of clan militias in the operation. 
     Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya have reportedly promised over 
     30,000 soldiers to support the offensive in the coming 
     months. This situation update analyzes the activities of al-
     Shabaab and the security forces during the second phase of 
     the offensive and assesses the risk that political 
     differences between the federal government and some of member 
     states, like Jubaland and Puntland, may undermine the 
     Al-Shabaab Aims for Hirshabelle While Continuing Attacks in 
       After the counter-insurgency operation against al-Shabaab 
     expanded to Galmudug state in early 2023, Hirshabelle state 
     became a vulnerable target for al-Shabaab attacks. These 
     vulnerabilities have forced Somali security forces to stay 
     focused on Middle Shabelle and Hiiraan regions in the second 
     phase of the offensive rather than expanding to Jubaland and 
     Southwest states. From 18 March to 14 April, ACLED records 19 
     political violence events involving al-Shabaab in Hirshabelle 
     state, resulting in at least 145 reported fatalities (see map 
     below). Over 68 percent of these incidents were remote 
     violence events, which record an increase of 30 percent 
     compared to the previous four weeks.
       In Middle Shabelle region, al-Shabaab launched several 
     attacks in Adan Yabaal district--in most instances using 
     explosives. On 25 March, al-Shabaab detonated three under-
     vehicle IEDs (UVIED), targeting security forces and Abgal 
     clan militias at a base in Run-nirgod village. The explosion 
     and heavy gunfire exchange that followed resulted in over 50 
     reported fatalities. A few days earlier, on 20 March, another 
     al-Shabaab attack at a base in Daarul-
       Naciim village reportedly killed at least 55 people from 
     both sides. The attacks came before the visit of the Somali 
     President on 26 March to Adan Yabaal town, where he announced 
     the launch of the second phase of the offensive against al-
     Shabaab. The same day, a high-level Ethiopian delegation that 
     included the head of the Ethiopian National Defense Force and 
     senior government officials arrived in the capital of Hiiraan 
     region, Belet Weyne town, to help Somali forces plan the next 
     phase. Ethiopian troops have been fighting Islamist militants 
     in Somalia since 2006 independently, and as part of the AU 
     Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) since January 2014. AMISOM was 
     eventually replaced by ATMIS in 2022.
       Meanwhile, security forces continued offensive operations 
     in Hiiraan to avert al-Shabaab attacks. The government 
     deployed troops from Mogadishu to the region, traveling along 
     the main supply route that connects Mogadishu to Hiiraan. On 
     25 March, security forces captured Jibiley village in 
     Jalalaqsi district and Quracley village in Bulo Burto 
     district from al-Shabaab. While militants peacefully vacated 
     those villages, they continued to launch attacks on security 
     forces and clan militias' new bases near Belet Weyne town. On 
     29 March, an al-Shabaab suicide vehicle-borne IED attack 
     targeted security forces and Hawadle clan militias at a base-
     in Baardheere village, followed by clashes.
       Further, al-Shabaab continued measures to end the alliance 
     between government forces and the Hawadle sub-clan in the 
     second phase of the offensive. The Hawadle sub-clan of the 
     Hawiye clan is the largest and most prominent sub-clan in 
     Hiiraan. There are four main clans in Somalia: Hawiye, Darod, 
     Dir, and Rahanweyn, with each having several sub-clans and 
     those sub-divisions, some supporting al-Shabaab, and others 
     supporting the government operation against al-Shabaab. Since 
     al-Shabaab controls several remote villages in Hiiraan and 
     other regions, sub-clans consider it necessary to reach an 
     agreement with al-Shabaab for their safety, and in return for 
     their support or neutrality, al-Sahabab offers them peace 
     deals. On 5 April, al-Shabaab claimed to have signed an 
     agreement with Hawadle Galible Hassan Agoon sub-clan in Buqda 
     Caqable village, Bula Burto district. The agreement 
     stipulates that the sub-clan would not be part of the ongoing 
     offensive in Hiiraan region. Similar agreements were 
     reportedly signed between al-Shabaab and at least seven other 
     sub-divisions of the Hawadle sub-clan in Buqda Caqable 
     village this year. Al-Shabaab also reached an agreement with 
     clan elders from Habar Gedir Salebaan sub-clan in Xarardheere 
     town, Mudug region, in December 2022.
       Meanwhile, al-Shabaab continues its efforts to destabilize 
     the government operation by launching attacks in urban towns. 
     The capital Mogadishu records the highest number of al-
     Shabaab attacks compared to other urban areas in Somalia, 
     with 49 political violence events and at least 21 reported 
     fatalities. Al-Shabaab's use of explosions and remote 
     violence increased in the capital by over 87 percent during 
     the reporting period compared to the same time period prior; 
     the group's use of grenades, in particular, increased more 
     than four-fold.
       On 5 April, al-Shabaab carried out coordinated hand grenade 
     attacks in all 17 districts

[[Page H2065]]

     of Mogadishu. The grenade attacks targeted security force 
     checkpoints, the house of the mayor of Mogadishu and governor 
     of Banadir, the house of former Prime Minister Hassan Ali 
     Khaire, and the house of a federal senator. Further, the 
     militants launched mortar shells targeting the presidential 
     palace, with some striking the house of the petroleum 
     minister, reportedly killing a security officer.
     Political Differences Undermine the Offensive
       As part of the second phase of the offensive, the federal 
     government plans to expand the offensive to Jubaland and 
     Southwest states in southern Somalia. Political differences 
     due to power-sharing disputes in Jubaland and Puntland, 
     however, undermine the operation.
       Amid an ongoing dispute with the Jubaland administration 
     based in Kismayo, Gedo region politicians and government 
     officials unilaterally announced the recruitment and 
     mobilization of local clan militias to participate in the 
     military operation against al-Shabaab in the region. On the 
     other hand, Jubaland State Minister of Security Yusuf Hussein 
     Dhuumal reportedly rejected such plans to involve local clan 
     militias. The most prominent sub-clan in Gedo region is the 
     Marehan sub-clan of the Darod clan, which opposes Jubaland 
     President Ahmed Mohamed Islam--also known as `Madobe'--from 
     the Ogaden sub-clan of the Darod clan. Marehan and Ogaden 
     sub-clans have been fighting over the control of Kismayo 
     since the 1990s. The current dispute between Gedo 
     politicians, who are mostly from the Marehan sub-clan, and 
     the Madobe administration escalated in 2020 when a leadership 
     dispute led to the federal government's decision to deploy 
     troops in the region. Jubaland administration fears that 
     arming Marehan clan militias in Gedo would trip the balance 
     of power in favor of the Marehan sub-clan. Nevertheless, 
     Jubaland security forces continued conducting military 
     operations against al-Shabaab despite the lack of support 
     from local communities. Further, on 3 April, Ethiopian 
     security forces deployed troops in Doolow town, Gedo region, 
     as part of Ethiopia's commitment to increase its military 
     presence in Somalia during the second phase of the counter-
     insurgency operation.
       Political differences between the Puntland administration 
     and the federal government have also complicated plans for 
     the counter-insurgency operation. In mid-March, the federal 
     government and member states held a national consultative 
     council meeting in Baidoa town to discuss the fight against 
     al-Shabaab and to foster cooperation between the federal and 
     member state governments. Puntland state president did not 
     attend the meeting citing political differences with the 
     federal government, including the appointment of the new 
     special envoy for Somaliland affairs. On 9 January, Puntland 
     state suspended cooperation with the federal government after 
     skipping the signing of two outcomes of a national 
     consultative council meeting held in Mogadishu in late 
     December. Although al-Shabaab activity decreased in Puntland 
     during the reporting period compared to the previous four 
     weeks, fighting between al-Shabaab and IS militants led to 
     the reported deaths of at least 40 al-Shabaab militants, 
     including senior members. The fighting erupted after several 
     al-Shabaab militants moved to the mountainous Bari region, 
     likely fleeing from the government's offensive.
       Different administrations in Somalia have adopted distinct 
     approaches to the fight against al-Shabaab, often deeply tied 
     to the clan affiliations of Somali leaders. The previous 
     government--in power from 2017 to 2022--focused on foreign 
     policy, rebuilding security forces, and leading 
     reconciliation between clans. Meanwhile, the current 
     administration has enlisted support, first from clan militias 
     and now from neighboring countries, in an intensive offensive 
     to flush out al-Shabaab militants. President Hassan Sheikh 
     Mohamud is from the Hawiye clan that has sub-clans supporting 
     the government operation against al-Shabaab, including 
     Hawadle and Abgal in Hirshabelle and Habar Gedir in Galmudug. 
     Former President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as 
     `Farmajo,' who is from the Marehan sub-clan of the Darod 
     clan, failed to get support from the Majerteen sub-clan in 
     Puntland, and Ogaden sub-clan in Jubaland, with the latter 
     intensifying the dispute between Gedo and Kismayo 
       The progress made through the government operation has put 
     Somalia in a more positive position compared to the last six 
     years. These efforts could help the country recover the 
     decades-long political and security instability, but only if 
     effectively managed through power sharing, reconciliation, 
     and integration of clan militias into security forces. 
     Nonetheless, the greater role of forces from neighboring 
     countries in the offensive might lead to a divide between 
     clan militias and government forces, and claims of a `foreign 
     invasion' may be used by al-Shabaab in its propaganda in 
     order to recruit fighters. Consequently, military support 
     from Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya might not be a solution 
     but rather a setback in the fight against al-Shabaab. The 
     regional countries are already present in Somalia under 
     ATMIS, although they have not participated in the ongoing 
     offensive due to funding issues and have only offered 
     logistical support and medical evacuation. The Abgal, Habar 
     Gedir, and Hawadle clan militias have played an important 
     role in the security forces' success since August 2022, and 
     scaling down their involvement will likely undermine the 
     government's efforts to defeat al-Shabaab. For the government 
     to claim ownership of the offensive, integrating clan 
     militias into security forces should be considered a 
  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Florida (Mr. Mills).
  Mr. MILLS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding those 2 
  Mr. Speaker, I want to approach a couple of things here. We keep 
talking about the idea that our presence and these 900 people in 
Somalia are somehow leading to a stabilization effort. However, the 
reality is this: When was our actual presence required for 
stabilization as opposed to counterinsurgency and counterterrorism 
operational tactics?
  We talk about the threats, but the real threat is China, which is 
existential to all of us. We allow them to go into Ghana, into the 
Ashanti belt, and completely pillage resources with no U.S. response.
  Where were our 900 troops that were there to help with this 
stabilization when our greatest adversary was there robbing and 
  By the way, where are we with regard to: If we are there to fight and 
combat Al-Shabaab, then why are we not taking a greater presence when 
it comes to the oil resource protection in Lake Turkana out in Kenya? 
It is a place I know very well because I spent time in Nairobi and also 
in Karen.
  We continue to try to act as if we are stabilizers, but do we not 
remember what took place in Libya, where we actually helped with 
supporting the destabilization that now has led to the Misrata militia, 
the Sirte militia, and further economic turmoil?
  Mr. Speaker, you can't point to a single agenda, whether it was 
Afghanistan, Iraq, or Somalia, or whether it was Libyan support--you 
can't point to a single one where our presence has actually led to 
greater stability.
  What it has led to is more U.S. lives being lost, more economic 
deficiency for America, and more of us trying to be the world's police 
and creating more adversaries and enemies throughout the world stage.
  Again, I continue to ask the same question to every one of my 
colleagues on the left and the right: How does our presence actually 
strengthen us from stabilization, provide us stronger allies, and give 
us the actual economic strength that we need to outpace China, which is 
our greatest existential threat? How does this 2001 AUMF that is being 
misused and abused for an open, carte blanche of warfare support 
America's goals?
  Mr. JAMES. Again, Mr. Speaker, I believe we are in violent agreement.
  The gentleman from Georgia mentioned, I believe, and it is extremely 
appropriate, that this isn't about protecting another nation. It is 
about protecting ours.
  Today, I think that we are just standing here, and I think if we were 
to take the vote on the floor, I am pretty sure that most of our 
colleagues would agree that the executive branch is abusing its power 
and that we as Congress have ceded our constitutional authority to hold 
them to account.
  We should absolutely hold the executive branch to account for their 
two decades of missteps, but a number of my colleagues and I in the 
freshman class have been here but a mere 110 days. I am sure I can 
speak for most of us that we refuse to be held bound to the mistakes of 
the past.

                              {time}  1330

  We are inspired and excited to make sure that we correct those 
mistakes of the past with strong policy to benefit the American people 
and our allies in the future.
  That requires not repealing something without a replacement.
  That requires the executive branch to come to us for permission, as 
they are constitutionally obligated to do.
  It is our duty to retain these authorities, but not proceeding 
without an event-based strategy rather than a time-based strategy.
  Regrettably, I restate that this resolution does nothing toward those 
ends. It merely directs the removal of U.S. forces from Somalia within 
a time frame without regard for what may be going on on the ground.

[[Page H2066]]

  Again, I applaud and appreciate forcing this debate. It is long 
overdue. I respect and thank the gentlemen, Representative Mills for 
his service and Representative Gaetz for forcing this very important 
  I am looking forward to taking this up with the help of the gentleman 
from New York (Mr. Meeks), my friend, in the House Foreign Affairs 
Committee to make sure that we can satisfy our obligations, first to 
the American people and also to our allies who count on us to take up 
the mantle and use global leadership not to be isolationist and also 
not to be imperialist but to make sure that we are staying strong at 
home first.
  Mr. Speaker, I have no additional speakers. I have the right to 
close, and I will continue to reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. MEEKS. Mr. Speaker, I have no further speakers, and I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, may I inquire as to my remaining time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Florida has 19\1/2\ 
minutes remaining.
  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time to 
  In response to the argument of the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. 
James), who says that our withdrawals must be event based rather than 
time based, I would ask: What events are we waiting for in Somalia 
  Are we waiting for a Jeffersonian democracy to emerge there?
  Are we waiting for the sectarian violence that has dominated to 
automatically just dissolve into the sands?
  Are we waiting for some other foreign power?
  I would suggest that in many of these places what we are actually 
waiting for is for these countries to take care of themselves and to 
demonstrate their own capabilities because the only way you form a 
nation is if your own fellow countrymen fight for and win that peace. 
That is how you develop national heroes, like those we see throughout 
this great Capitol. That is what a nation makes.
  A nation is not a bunch of Europeans drawing lines in Africa and then 
saying this is what is what. We did that after World War II, and it is 
why Africa has been in some degree of turmoil since. I continue to 
present to the body that the government in Somalia is actually on the 
upswing. They are gaining territory. They are unifying people, and it 
is not as a consequence of U.S. presence.
  Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record a piece from the International 
Crisis Group, ``Sustaining Gains in Somalia's Offensive against Al-
Shabaab,'' and it is from 21 March 2023.

            [From International Crisis Group, Mar. 21, 2023]

            Gains in Somalia's Offensive Against Al-Shabaab

       What's new? The Somali government has gained ground in its 
     war with the Islamist insurgency Al-Shabaab, mainly in 
     central Somalia. Most of the progress is due to Mogadishu's 
     leveraging of local discontent with Al-Shabaab to form 
     alliances with clan militias.
       Why does it matter? The joint campaign has dislodged 
     militants from a swathe of territory in the centre of the 
     country, reestablishing the government's presence in regions 
     that Al-Shabaab had controlled for a decade or more. Troops 
     are now planning to move into the insurgency's southern 
       What should be done? Mogadishu must consolidate its gains 
     in central Somalia as it goes on the offensive elsewhere. It 
     should establish holding forces, work for communal 
     reconciliation and, to the greatest degree possible, meet 
     local expectations around service delivery.


       Starting in August 2022, the Somali government launched a 
     fresh offensive against Al-Shabaab, capitalising on mounting 
     discontent with the Islamist insurgency, particularly among 
     the politically dominant Hawiye clan. The operation has 
     yielded the most comprehensive territorial gains since the 
     mid-2010s, as soldiers fighting alongside clan militias 
     dislodge Al-Shabaab militants from significant parts of 
     central Somalia. Emboldened by clan backing and foreign 
     support, Mogadishu now aims to send soldiers into Al-
     Shabaab's southern strongholds. As it proceeds, it should 
     bear in mind the need to consolidate its hold on places it 
     has recaptured from the insurgency. The government should 
     assign holding forces to provide security in recovered areas, 
     support local reconciliation efforts and step up service 
     delivery, while carefully managing residents' expectations. 
     If it does not take these measures, it may give Al-Shabaab, 
     which has proven resilient, a chance to rebound.
       The government's push marks a breakthrough in a war that 
     has raged for more than fifteen years. Historically, 
     overstretched Somali and partner forces have hunkered down in 
     urban locales, while Al-Shabaab secured a firm foothold in 
     rural areas. International forces, in particular the African 
     Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)--which was rebranded as the 
     African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) in 2022--
     , have led the fight with Al-Shabaab. In contrast, the new 
     offensive is spearheaded by the Somali military, in 
     conjunction with local clans.
       A unique set of circumstances aided the government advance. 
     Al-Shabaab overplayed its hand, antagonising clans in central 
     Somalia. Demands that young male children join their ranks 
     spurred local clans to take up arms alongside the Somali 
     military. The insurgents' taxation of communities under their 
     control hardly helped, as the country suffers impoverishment 
     and food insecurity amid a record drought. Furthermore, 
     terrorist attacks in the capital and along Somalia's borders 
     appear to have prodded Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud 
     to take a tougher line against the group.
       The government now plans to continue the offensive in 
     southern Somalia, even though it has not fully consolidated 
     its hold in the centre. Southern Somalia presents a different 
     set of challenges--for one thing, clans in the south have not 
     shown the same discontent with the Islamist movement that 
     prevails in the centre. But even as its plans advance to meet 
     a new set of challenges, the government should not lose sight 
     of needs in the centre, as otherwise these areas could slip 
     back into Al-Shabaab's hands. Before it launches major new 
     attacks, it should make sure it has adequate holding forces 
     in recovered areas. It should also conduct reconciliation 
     efforts and improve basic services of which residents have 
     long been deprived. For cash-strapped Mogadishu, that could 
     prove difficult, and international donors will need to step 
     in to provide support.
       Even if the government is successful in holding down 
     central Somalia and reclaiming territory in the south, Al-
     Shabaab will probably survive. The group is playing the long 
     game, exploiting government weaknesses wherever it can. The 
     government should thus keep open the possibility of 
     negotiations as a means of winding down the war for good, as 
     Crisis Group has argued in the past. The government's recent 
     wins on the battlefield will, if sustained, strengthen its 
     position if it indeed decides to engage in talks.

                  From Local Anger to ``All-out War''

     The Birth of an Offensive
       The Somali government's move to wrest back control from Al-
     Shabaab in parts of central Somalia is unusual in that the 
     military has joined forces with clan militias. The offensive 
     derives its strength from mounting local frustration with Al-
     Shabaab's persistent, onerous demands for money and recruits, 
     as well as the group's violent measures of collective 
     punishment for non-compliance. Several sub-clans in central 
     Somalia have resisted the militants previously, but later cut 
     deals with them to forge a form of coexistence, finding the 
     cost of fighting Al-Shabaab too high. Still, overall, the 
     government has made headway.
       The insurgents themselves contributed to these dynamics. In 
     recent years, Al-Shabaab has extended its influence by taking 
     advantage of political infighting in Mogadishu, which 
     diverted the attention of Somali elites from the task of 
     counter-insurgency. As politicians in the capital squabbled, 
     sub-clans in central Somalia grew increasingly weary of Al-
     Shabaab's tactics. The Haber Gedir/Salebaan sub-clan is a 
     case in point. People from this sub-clan, part of the wider 
     Hawiye clan family, of which Somali President Hassan Sheikh 
     Mohamud is a member, live in and around the town of Baxdo, 
     situated in the central region of Galgaduud (Galmudug state). 
     They tolerated Al-Shabaab's presence in their area, for the 
     most part, until 2019, when its commanders ordered families 
     to provide young men to be enrolled as fighters. An 
     influential community member told Crisis Group that this 
     directive proved too much to stomach. Baxdo is a town with 
     strong Sufi roots; the community perceived Al-Shabaab's 
     demand as a ploy to inculcate the Salafi-jihadist doctrine in 
     the younger generation.
       The Salebaan's refusal to comply with this de facto draft 
     triggered a spiral of retaliation, starting with insurgents 
     confiscating livestock and abducting elders. It culminated in 
     Al-Shabaab assaulting Baxdo on 17 June 2022, which proved to 
     be a tactical misstep: a militia from the sub-clan inflicted 
     heavy casualties among the invading militants, killing an 
     estimated 70 of them. Still, even after its defeat, Al-
     Shabaab carried out raids on smaller and less protected 
     villages nearby in revenge.
       Around the same time, in the eastern part of Hiraan region 
     (Hirshabelle state) west of Galgaduud, the Hawiye/Hawadle 
     sub-clan's historically uneasy relationship with Al-Shabaab 
     became outright hostile. The roots of the Hawadle's 
     aggravation can be traced to 2021, when the militants took 
     control of the road connecting Hiraan's capital Beledweyne to 
     the Galgaduud region. Al-Shabaab had already blocked a 
     southern route linking Beledweyne to Mogadishu, impeding the 
     flow of vital supplies to a part of Somalia that has suffered 
     severe drought for years. Now its checkpoint on the road 
     headed east choked off the area, in effect. Local

[[Page H2067]]

     anger rose, becoming even more pronounced in May 2022, when 
     the militants killed a Hawadle elder in Beledweyne, 
     reportedly for having participated in government elections.
       The community in Hiraan mobilised to push back against the 
     group, emboldened at a crucial moment by Ethiopian military 
     support. Al-Shabaab has long viewed Ethiopia, which invaded 
     Somalia in 2006 to overthrow its precursor group, the Islamic 
     Courts Union, as a major adversary; the insurgents have 
     attempted to infiltrate the country in the past, mostly to no 
     avail. In July 2022, however, the group launched an 
     unprecedented incursion into Ethiopia's Somali region. 
     Alarmed, Addis Ababa beefed up the deployment in the buffer 
     zone it maintains between its border with Somalia and areas 
     where Al-Shabaab is active. Ethiopia struck Al-Shabaab 
     positions in Somalia from the air in late July and early 
     August, while the head of the Ethiopian Army's Somali Command 
     Post, General Tesfaye Ayalew, visited Beledweyne. 
     Interlocutors on both sides of the Ethiopia-Somalia border 
     confirmed to Crisis Group that Addis Ababa gave military 
     supplies to local Hawadle at this time, coordinating with 
     regional officials.
       Al-Shabaab responded to the mobilisation by unleashing a 
     wave of repression upon the sub-clan, which generated still 
     more resentment. In early August, Al-Shabaab torched Hawadle 
     villages in Hiraan's Mahas district, destroying wells. Weeks 
     later, on 2 September, militants ambushed a convoy bringing 
     food to the area, killing numerous civilians, including women 
     and children. More clan members joined the militias as a 
       Another Al-Shabaab attack, this time in Mogadishu, provoked 
     a strong reaction from the national government. On 20 August 
     2022, Al-Shabaab stormed the well-known Hayat Hotel in the 
     Somali capital--a common meeting place for government 
     officials--putting the premises under siege for 30 hours 
     before security forces could dislodge them. The operation--
     which led to the death of more than twenty people--may have 
     been an attempt to intimidate President Mohamud, who had been 
     elected to a second nonconsecutive term that May, out of 
     taking an aggressive posture toward the group.
       If so, Al-Shabaab's leadership miscalculated. While Mohamud 
     had struck a somewhat conciliatory tone when he first 
     returned to office--repeatedly talking about the need for 
     ``different security strategies and tough negotiations'' with 
     Al-Shabaab--his stance changed dramatically after critics 
     accused him of mounting a confused, ineffective response to 
     the siege. He proceeded to declare an ``all-out war'' on Al-
     Shabaab that combines military pressure with efforts to rein 
     in the group's extortion rackets in and around Mogadishu. He 
     also committed to undercutting the group's Salafi-jihadist 
     ideology. Previous attempts to combat Al-Shabaab had failed, 
     he claimed, because they tried to contain rather than 
     eradicate the group.
       The government deployed armed forces to Hiraan that worked 
     in concert with Hawadle forces to flush militants out of 
     villages and towns in August. The initial focus was on 
     securing the main road from Mogadishu to Beledweyne and a 
     triangular patch of territory between Beledweyne, Mahas and 
     Bulo Burte. By October, the army and militias had freed much 
     of Hiraan east of the Shabelle River from Al-Shabaab's 
     physical control.
     Expansion in Central Somalia
       The government was eager to replicate the success in 
     eastern Hiraan, based on the template the Somali army and 
     clan militias had used there. It encouraged other clans in 
     central Somalia to mobilise volunteer fighters, or macawisley 
     (``those who wear the macawis'', a Somali sarong), relying on 
     prominent personalities to rally their clansmen. Somali 
     soldiers, particularly special forces units, still lead the 
     fight with Al-Shabaab, but Mogadishu has provided the clan 
     militias with logistical support such as ammunition, food and 
     medical evacuations. The macawisley participate in joint 
     operations, giving government forces backup from fighters who 
     know the terrain better. They also provide a crucial link to 
     the local population, sparing the government from going it 
     alone or trying to mobilise community support after the fact. 
     The clan participation also reinforces the narrative that 
     sections of Somali society are turning against Al-Shabaab,
       Foreign partners have also bolstered the campaign against 
     Al-Shabaab. U.S. airstrikes are helping the Danab, a special 
     unit of the Somali National Army trained by the U.S. as a 
     quick strike force, recapture territory from the insurgents 
     in the regions of Hiraan, Middle Shabelle, Galgaduud and 
     Mudug. The U.S. has also donated military assistance, with 
     its ambassador for Somalia praising the war effort as 
     ``historic''. Turkiye has carried out drone strikes in Lower 
     and Middle Shabelle, further boosting the government's 
     firepower. Meanwhile, ATMIS has stayed out of direct combat 
     thus far,
       The combined efforts of the Somali army, clan militias and 
     international partners have led Al-Shabaab's footprint in 
     central Somalia to contract. The government seized the 
     insurgency's regional centre of operations at Adan Yabaal in 
     Middle Shabelle in December 2022. The next month, it captured 
     the strategic towns of Ceel Dheere and Xarardheere in 
     Galgaduud--although militants remain on the outskirts. The 
     military is likely planning to uproot Al-Shabaab from its 
     remaining strongholds in the southern Galgaduud districts of 
     Ceel Buur and Galhareeri. If successful, its campaign would 
     essentially dislodge the militants from a swathe of territory 
     east of the Shabelle River.
       The playbook from eastern Hiraan has not worked smoothly 
     everywhere, however. While clans in that region rose up 
     spontaneously against Al-Shabaab, in other areas the 
     government had to coax clans to join forces. Military efforts 
     in Middle Shabelle struggled to get off the ground and were 
     side-tracked by clashes between two sub-clans in the Adale 
     district in November. In western Galgaduud, overly 
     enthusiastic pro-government forces marched on the town of 
     Wabxo in early November, only to pull out days later in the 
     face of stiff resistance from Al-Shabaab. They could not hold 
     the area without support from Somali special forces.
       Other advances have also stalled. The army had to stop 
     south of Qaayib, in Galgaduud, amid Al-Shabaab outreach to 
     sub-clans to counter government mobilisation. Government 
     efforts to rally clans in Xarardheere, in the Mudug region, 
     floundered because of sub-clan frictions and perceptions that 
     the government had previously failed to support them in 
     fighting the insurgents. The military ultimately moved to 
     capture Xarardheere with limited clan militia participation.
       Moreover, a string of recent incidents shows that Al-
     Shabaab can still inflict severe damage in areas it has lost, 
     even if it is not reoccupying them. In January alone, the 
     insurgents deployed at least twelve suicide car bombs in 
     central Somalia towns, in some cases causing heavy 
     casualties. A 20 January attack in Galcad (Galmudug state) 
     was particularly damaging, with Danab forces taking 
     significant losses, including of a deputy commander. That 
     incident spurred an internal reconsideration of strategy, 
     with the offensive in central Somalia slowing in the ensuing 
     weeks. Additionally, Al-Shabaab militants continue to cross 
     from west of the Shabelle River to attack macawisley 
     positions in smaller settlements in Hiraan. The infiltration 
     raises concerns about the government's ability to hold the 
     territory it recaptures, especially as it takes over more 
     areas. It also demonstrates the peril of measuring success in 
     fighting Al-Shabaab solely with the yardstick of territorial 
       Still, the government has advantages in its current 
     offensive, when compared to previous campaigns. For one 
     thing, the military's collaboration with clan militias is 
     strengthening ties with local communities, while allowing for 
     greater government penetration of rural areas. Previous 
     offensives typically focused on securing cities, 
     inadvertently deepening the rural-urban divide that has 
     played to Al-Shabaab's strengths as a mobile organisation 
     reliant on local communities for recruitment and financing. 
     Secondly, today's campaign is Somali-led, unlike those from 
     2011 to 2015, when the government's forces played a secondary 
     role to what is now ATMIS. This time around, ATMIS has stayed 
     in the background, essentially serving as the holding force 
     for urban locales while Somali soldiers venture into less 
     densely populated areas.
       There is also evidence that both the federal government and 
     the clans are committed to sustaining their momentum. The 
     current government in Mogadishu has arguably staked its 
     reputation on defeating Al-Shabaab. Moreover, several of the 
     operations to date have involved cross-clan collaboration, 
     demonstrating an unusually high degree of consensus among 
     those fighting the insurgents in central Somalia.
       Progress, however, should not be chalked up exclusively to 
     Mogadishu or local mobilisation, but rather to the 
     combination of the two. The campaign has been most successful 
     where community resistance to Al-Shabaab is strongest, and 
     the government can be a force multiplier, as in eastern 
     Hiraan. In cases where local engagement is less apparent, the 
     government has struggled to advance. In this sense, the 
     offensive might be characterised as a series of wars between 
     clans and Al-Shabaab, with the government backing the former.
     Al-Shabaab Adjusts to the Pressure
       Al-Shabaab has suffered important losses in central 
     Somalia, but it continues to put up significant resistance, 
     showing the value it places on the region. An intelligence 
     source told Crisis Group that the insurgency is likely to 
     reinforce its fighters in central Somalia with personnel now 
     stationed in the south, likely sending the wounded south to 
     recuperate. Somali government officials say militants have 
     defected, but not in significant numbers. Meanwhile, Al-
     Shabaab has sought to increase pressure on the government 
     with large-scale attacks in Mogadishu and other cities, in 
     addition to making regular incursions into areas the 
     government has seized.
       Al-Shabaab's flexibility suggests that the organisation is 
     more likely to adapt to the government campaign than be 
     defeated by it. For example, the group already appears to be 
     changing its approach to the population in central Somalia, 
     realising its coercive model for securing obedience has 
     backfired. It has started offering more carrots than sticks, 
     emphasising the need to promulgate the public good (maslaha) 
     in its rhetoric, rather than exhorting communities to seek 
     forgiveness (tauba) for having antagonised the group. This 
     approach has borne fruit: in late December, in a setback for 
     Mogadishu, a group of Salebaan elders in Galmudug reached a 
     fresh agreement with Al-Shabaab

[[Page H2068]]

     to avoid confrontation, withdrawing support for the 
     government in return for the release of hostages and seized 
       The federal government's collaboration with the macawisley 
     likely prompted Al-Shabaab's shift in tone. In the past, the 
     group has been more willing to offer concessions to clans 
     when it feels weak, only to roll them back later when it is 
     in a stronger position. It remains to be seen if it will 
     renege on its commitments this time, but Al-Shabaab likely 
     realised it needed to change tack in order to maintain 
     community relations.
       Al-Shabaab has a track record of turning to guerrilla 
     warfare when it is on the back foot and it has resorted to 
     these tactics of late. Thus far, Somali forces have fought 
     few major battles with the insurgents. The group prefers to 
     preserve its strength, withdrawing from towns before the 
     army's advance in favour of conducting hit-and-run attacks on 
     recovered areas afterward. Sustained military pressure could 
     certainly erode the group's capacity to act as a de facto 
     authority in central Somalia. But Al-Shabaab's ability to 
     exploit government weaknesses leads some observers to believe 
     that the military cannot expect to quash the insurgency, even 
     if it maintains a united front with the clan militias.

  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, we must continue to bring to this floor areas 
in the world where U.S. troops are present where there is no clear end 
game, where there is not an end state that is clearly achievable.
  What our generation has learned as a consequence of observing the 
great patriotism expressed by many of my colleagues who participated in 
this debate today is that we don't have the ability to beat an ideology 
out of anyone. We don't have the ability to go into these places that 
oftentimes have been riddled with bloodshed and violence and somehow 
convince them that a democracy or a parliamentary system is more 
beneficial than the greed that has been driving them for far too long.
  That is the story of the Middle East. That is the story of North 
Africa. If my constituents have to go to Somalia and Syria, then I 
think everyone here should have to vote one way or the other, and I 
don't expect to win that vote, but I was expecting probably during this 
discussion to maybe hear a little bit more about what it is that we 
expect these people to do in Somalia to ultimately get them out.
  What we have heard is some version of the argument that we have got 
to fight them over there so we don't fight them over here, even though 
all the evidence in the Record suggests that they don't have the 
capability to even strike us here, and that the harboring of terrorism 
that seems to justify the 2001 AUMF permission slip for American 
intervention in no way relates to the activities, capabilities, goals, 
ambitions of this particular group.
  What this group wants to do is they want to be able to overthrow the 
government in Somalia and orient greater Somalia under their sharia 
law, and they are losing in that fight.
  What we see online and what many of us have received in briefings in 
Congress is that when U.S. troops are present, that serves as a 
propaganda vehicle for a lot of these groups to be able to go out and 
recruit and add folks to their ranks, and that is certainly not what we 
want to see.
  If the African Union had a greater role, if the African Union stepped 
up and worked to fill that vacuum with greater credibility with 
particular partners and particular localized clans, then that might 
achieve this objective in the absence of the death, the danger, and the 
deployment that has had our military spread far too thin for far too 
  Mr. Speaker, I heard in my colleague's opening that we have to reject 
the siren song of isolationism. I would observe that globalism is no 
lullaby. It is often soaked in blood and mired in civil war and 
violence, resulting in worse conditions than we found ourselves in.
  There are 17 million Somalis. I am rooting for them. I hope that when 
my life ends, Somalia isn't synonymous with famine and failed states 
and civil wars and coups. I really hope that. However, we must also 
exercise sufficient humility in this body to understand the 
capabilities of persuasion for a relatively small batch of American 
troops given the problem set.
  I return to the argument that I made earlier in this discussion. 
There is an opportunity cost to this in people. There are specific 
units that call my district home that are having to split between 
AFRICOM and INDOPACOM when the reality is whether or not our children 
are speaking Mandarin, our grandchildren are being dominated by the 
Chinese Communist Party is not going to be the result of who wins the 
battle of Mogadishu. It is going to be the result of who holds the high 
ground against our true pacing adversaries. Becoming the neighborhood 
block captain of Somalia is certainly not the behavior of a serious 
country engaged in various serious challenges against serious 
  Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for their indulgence. I certainly 
thank the leadership for permitting me such time, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. MEEKS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time for the 
purpose of closing.
  I, again, oppose this resolution because it is not an effective or 
constitutionally sound approach to resolving the war powers questions 
in Somalia that many of us here are, in fact, looking to address.
  This resolution will harm U.S. interests in the Horn of Africa and 
make the American people less safe.
  Mr. Speaker, I say to my colleagues who are serious about asserting 
Congress' constitutional role on issues of war and peace: I have some 
encouragement from this debate that we will have further debates 
talking about Congress' responsibility.
  I look forward to joining with the gentleman from Florida where I 
heard him talk about how climate change is affecting many of the areas 
on the continent. I look forward to working with him in that regard.
  I look forward to working with him and hope that we can get the 
Speaker to bring over the repeal of the AUMF of 2002 that the Senate 
recently has voted on that we passed 2 years ago in the 117th Congress. 
I will come out of here looking at some areas on which we can work 
  I urge the gentleman to join me to talk and work so that we can 
repeal and replace the 2001 AUMF with a narrower and time-bound scope.
  The issues we are discussing here today are pressing and relevant, 
but there is a better approach. I look forward to undertaking that 
approach with both of my colleagues on the floor and all of my 
colleagues on a bipartisan basis and hope that we will have this 
conversation and work closely together.
  Let me also make a correction. I gave credit to General Kelly on the 
statement of if we don't put more money into diplomacy, we have got to 
spend more on bullets. That was General James Mattis. I want to make 
sure I give proper credit to the proper person in our military.
  Let's work together. I think we have a real window of opportunity. 
The President of South Korea, who just gave a wonderful speech here, 
talked about how we won World War II and the Korean war together with 
our allies, saving democracies, putting our values first. Let's do it.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this 
resolution, and let's work together in a bipartisan manner, 
particularly to help the continent of Africa, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. JAMES. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time to 
  Mr. Speaker, again, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Gaetz) and the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mills) are both very well-intentioned on 
this resolution today, and I firmly agree that Congress must reassert 
its Article I constitutional responsibility to declare war.
  This body must replace the 22-year-old counterterrorism AUMF with an 
authorization that focuses specifically on the threats that we face 
today. Yes, it must be both time and event based because, frankly, when 
I heard Representative Gaetz, my colleague and a great patriot as well, 
mention this may not be a threat, I got shivers down my spine, and I 
remembered something when I heard former President Obama talk about 
ISIS as the JV team.
  Under this administration, we have wide open borders, and frankly, it 
is a direct security threat. I am not comfortable taking our eye off 
the ball with an Al-Shabaab that is well funded that has designs on 
killing Americans.
  This resolution, as a blanket statement, I do not believe 
accomplishes very specific, targeted time- and event-

[[Page H2069]]

based goals to keep Americans at home safe.
  Our troop presence in Somalia is small, serving primarily in a 
training role. It has made critical national security gains. As I will 
mention again, I am a big Lions fan, and I learned growing up as a 
Lions fan that the reason we all knew the names of the offensive 
linemen is because our quarterbacks kept getting sacked. I learned very 
early that sometimes the best offensive linemen, the best small units 
are the ones you never know their name.
  I believe that those nameless, faceless heroes all over the world in 
corners that the administration has not justified in 22 years deserve 
updated AUMFs with congressional authority and approval in order to 
justify their presence putting their lives on the line, being at risk, 
and being away from their families.
  We all agree that the way we are doing things is wrong and must be 
fixed. Let's work together to fix it. We would not even be having this 
conversation if not for the courage of my colleagues to stand up and 
force the issue, so I personally thank them for forcing this debate. It 
is long overdue, and I am excited to do well by our servicemen and -
women all over the country.
  I again call on my colleagues to please join me in opposition to this 
resolution and commit to working with all of our colleagues to make 
sure that if the administration wants to send our men and women into 
harm's way, they better doggone well come to Congress first.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1345

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate has expired.
  Pursuant to the order of the House of Wednesday, April 26, 2023, the 
previous question is ordered on the concurrent resolution.
  The question is on the adoption of the concurrent resolution.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the noes appeared to have it.
  Mr. GAETZ. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question are postponed.