Langevin Statement on the Withdrawal of U.S Forces from Somalia

Dec 4, 2020 Issues: Armed Services

WARWICK, R.I. – Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s announcement to draw down United States forces from Somalia.

“The President’s decision to withdraw forces from Somalia is a surrender to al Qaeda and a gift to China. Al Qaeda’s affiliate al Shabaab is a formidable presence in Somalia, and our special operators have partnered with elite Somali units to tackle this threat. Our security presence also enables intelligence, diplomacy, food assistance, and disaster relief. When U.S. forces leave Somalia in response to today’s order, it becomes harder for diplomats and aid workers to help people resolve conflicts without violence and loss of life. With upcoming elections in Somalia and conflict raging in neighboring Ethiopia, abandoning our partners could not come at a worse time. Al Shabaab will message our withdrawal as a victory, which may propel some of their political affiliates into government. All the while, China will seize the opportunity to build their influence in the region, to the detriment of those who care about representative governance and equality.”