New report: Civilian harm from US airstrikes in Somalia. An appropriate military strategy?
The PAX Protection of Civilians team has published a report that examines civilian perceptions on Al Shabaab, US airstrikes and reports of civilian harm in Jubbaland, Somalia. The US has for years been engaged in a military campaign in Somalia that relies heavily on air operations. Yet, this campaign has long been accompanied by allegations of US-caused civilian casualties and limited transparency.
The PAX report specifically examines the impact of US airstrikes in Jubbaland, a state in southern Somalia that is largely under Al Shabaab control, with the intent to bring forward the reality of the civilians living through this conflict. In doing so, the report examines both the (reported) direct and reverberating impact of the US airstrikes on Jubbaland's civilian population, as well as people's perceptions on the threat posed by Al Shabaab and the extent to which the US military strategy is an effective and appropriate means of dealing with this threat.
The report raises several critical questions around the proportionality of the US intervention in light of considerable civilian harm allegations, the extent to which Al Shabaab can be argued to pose a threat to US national and operational interests, and the extent to which the US military - in a territory de facto governed by Al Shabaab - to at all times properly distinguish between Al Shabaab combatants, Al Shabaab members with a non-combat function and ordinary civilians merely living in Al Shabaab-controlled territory.
Read the full report here.
Note: the research for this report was carried out by an independent consultant. The recommendations that are made based on this research are PAX's.