On Nov. 1, the American Enterprise Institute published an analysis of the possibility that al-Shabaab might take over Mogadishu.
Titled "Looking Ahead in Mogadishu: Tough Decisions," the report rightly notes that the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) survives in Mogadishu only because the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) protects it there.
While al-Shabaab poses a real threat to the TFG and regularly attacks AMISOM forces, the AEI report overstates the threat to AMISOM forces. AEI concluded that al-Shabaab’s Ramadan offensive challenged the “meager force protecting the TFG in Mogadishu,” adding that even if the worst-case scenarios do not materialize, the situation in Somalia today is unacceptable.
While I agree that the situation in Somalia is unacceptable and a continuing U.S. policy review is in order, it is important not to overstate the military threat posed by al-Shabaab.