After the violent and protracted assault on the Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu (August 19-20) ¬- at the end of a meeting of the National Security Committee – President Mohamud promised (August 23) a relentless and ‘decisive’ fight against terrorism. He reiterated his exhortation to unity in a speech to the nation, (https://shabellemedia.com/somali-president-announces-decisive-war-against-al-shabaab/), which was also recorded, and which caused some dissatisfaction because it lacked condolences to the families of the victims of the attack.
It is now possible that there will be reforms or new appointments in the area of security, although Al Shabaab is likely to remain a constant security threat in the short to medium term even in the relatively safer capital. There is, however, a renewed confrontation between institutions and insurgent networks, interested in preventing or slowing a return to stability in order to thrive in their territories of entrenchment. This may interfere with the improvements observed in other areas, e.g. the fight against piracy – such as the reduction of the alert level for the Somali coast (https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/why-piracy-is-no-longer-a-threat-in-somalia-s-coastline). Such a decision could benefit the international shipping sector (https://www.ft.com/content/3c67767c-301c-41b9-bbdc-189546dc04ef).
Al Shabaab also raises accusations against Somalia’s regional partners, who support the federal authorities in countering terrorism. New threats are being made against Kenya if the newly elected President Ruto does not withdraw the contingent that has been deployed for eleven years in southern Somalia (https://somaliguardian.com/news/somalia-news/al-shabaab-threatens-attacks-inside-the-heart-of-kenya-if-kdf-remains-in-somalia/).
As far as domestic policy is concerned, Mohamud and Puntland President Deni met on August 25, the first internal trip since re-election in May (https://www.radiodalsan.com/en/76760/2022/08/president-hassan-sheikh-mohamud-arrives-in-garowe/). Relations are strained over the appointment of a Prime Minister from the President’s entourage, thus not respecting the alternation between clans hitherto in vogue. More generally, the Mohamud Presidency is expected to have a less conflictual relationship with the regional administrations.
It is possible that there will be a move towards decentralisation that could touch on both the economy and security management, aspects that have yet to be defined. The atmosphere of the talks is described as friendly – but not all sources agree on this point – and the relationship will have to be evaluated in the future. On the other hand, relations with Jubaland President Madobe are confirmed to be good.