31 May, 2013

War in Somalia: Map of Al Shabaab Control (June 2013)

Since the beginning of the year, Somalia's federal government and its allies have made some major breakthroughs in the war to take back the country from Al Shabaab, Somalia's local branch of Al Qaeda. This is the third installment in our series of Al Shabaab control maps, marking territorial changes since our last Somalia map update in December 2012.

Map of Al Shabaab control in southern Somalia just before June 2013, highlighting recent advances by government and African Union troops since December. Includes the newly recaptured Mogadishu-Baidoa highway corridor, plus Bulo Marer, site of crashed U.S. drone aircraft. Also marks claimed territory of Jubaland state.
Southern Somalia: recent government-allied advances in the war against Al Shabaab. Original map by Evan Centanni. Incorporates elements from this blank map by Eric Gaba and this locator map by TheEmirr. (license: CC BY-SA).

Connecting Mogadishu and Baidoa
After news came in of the Somali Federal Government and its allies completing their control of southern Somalia's major cities last fall, further progress against the Al Qaeda affiliate group Al Shabaab at first made only slow progress. But since the beginning of this year, at least one major breakthrough has been made.

Background & Actor Profiles: War in Somalia - The Retreat of Al Shabaab 

After several years of being cut off by Al Shabaab, Mogadishu and the key inland city of Baidoa were finally reconnected in February after African Union and Somali forces captured Burhakaba, the last major town lying on the highway between the two cities. As a result, the Al Shabaab's territory in Somalia has been split into two pieces, though security is probably not so tight that the militants can't slip back and forth across the narrow band held by the Somali government.

Flag of Somalia Country Name:  
Somalia (English)
Soomaaliya (Somali)
• aṣ-Ṣūmāl (Arabic)
Official Name:  
Federal Republic of Somalia (English)
Jamhuuriyadda Federaalka Soomaaliya (Somali)
Jumhūriyyat aṣ-Ṣūmāl al-Fideraaliya (Arabic) 
Capital: Mogadishu
Ethiopian and Somali troops had previously taken the town of Dinsoor, another major town in the region of Baidoa, in mid-December (just after our previous Somalia map update). And fighting in the area continued after the captured of Burhakaba as well, with the Baidoa suburb of Aw Diinle falling to Al Shabaab in March. Although it was reported recaptured soon afterwards, Al Shabaab forces were apparently still present until just a couple weeks ago.

Ethiopian Withdrawal
The town of Hudur north of Baidoa was recaptured by Al Shabaab in March after Ethiopian forces withdrew from the town. Ethiopia soon reported that it would be withdrawing completely from the war in Somalia in the near future.

This is important news, since the Ethiopians have been the major force in the war against Al Shabaab near the Ethiopia-Somalia border for the past year and a half. The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has slowly rolled into position to fill the gap, but Ethiopia has still not yet completely withdrawn.

Meanwhile, Somalia's own army reportedly scored a victory with the capture of Tiyeglow town east of Hudur in May. Hudur itself, however, is apparently still Al Shabaab territory, despite early reports suggesting it was recaptured by Somali forces.

Somalia's Airspace
The federal government of Somalia announced recently that the country's airspace will be returning to its control after nearly two decades of U.N. stewardship. However, the northern Somali breakaway state of Somaliland (not shown on this map) has reacted with anger, announcing the seizure of its own airspace from the U.N. in order to preempt the takeover by Mogadishu.

And in other news related to air power, the Somali government and AMISOM last February seized a strategic airfield north of the town of Jowhar, which will help the allies project their power as they push the war ever deeper into Al Shabaab's remaining territory. The U.S. also has a covert presence in Somalia's skies and one of its drone aircraft is believed to have crashed this week over the Al Shabaab base of Bulo Marer, not far from the port city of Marka.

Political Struggle for Jubaland
After the capture of Kismayo port by Kenyan forces last September, a political power struggle has emerged in the city. Local groups, backed by Kenya and other neighboring countries, have declared an autonomous area called Jubaland, which claims three of the surrounding administrative regions as a federal state of Somalia.

The central government in Mogadishu, which did not approve the plan, has vigorously opposed Jubaland's formation, but political conflict and confusion continues in Kismayo, where the leader of the Ras Kamboni militia is now claiming to be the state's elected president.

Stay Up-to-Date: See past and future updates to this map by filtering for posts about Al Shabaab, or view all Somalia articles.

Related Articles:

Graphic of Somali flag is in the public domain (source).

9 comments:

  1. Speaking of Somaliland, it's genuinely shocking to me that this breakaway republic has not, in over 20 years as a de facto independent nation with informal ties to a good number of countries and organizations within and outside of the region, not received any formal recognition.

    Why?

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    1. Yeah, Somaliland is a very interesting case, which I hope to do a feature about sometime in the not-too-distant future.

      I suppose the issue is that diplomatic recognition isn't in reality tied to de facto independence, but rather to political convenience. My impression is that other governments have just never thought of Somaliland independence as important enough to trump their official policy of calling for the full restoration of a stable Somalia.

      It's also worth noting that Somalia has been consistently represented in organizations like the UN and the AU by "governments" which seek to represent all of Somalia and, like most governments around the world, vehemently oppose secession from their own country.

      But this is not too far from your own area of expertise either, is it? Do you have anything to say about it?

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    2. Considering that the two parts (British and Italian) of Somalia gained independence apart from each other before unification, it still surprises me that the international community would allow a period of 30 years to trump the obvious wishes of Somaliland and it's relative stability as a de facto independent state.

      Personally (not officially), I'm for the split. I don't believe Somaliland will accept de facto reunification -- even as part of a federal state with considerable autonomy -- and I fear that war will result if forced to do so.

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    3. You obviously know nothing about somalia or somali people if you think recognizing somaliland would be a good idea. Not only are the leaders there nothing but opportunistic tribalist that want to lay claim to a past british COLONY-NOT A COUNTRY, which was always apart of somalia before being carved apart by colonialists. The somaliland puppet government was setup by ethiopia in order to further destabilize and divide somalia. Not only is the referendum a farce but when somalia eventually becomes peaceful somaliland will have no valid reason for secession. Somaliland has no valid reason at all for secession, they majority in favor of it are from the issaq clan of the somali ethnic group which live in the village/capital hargeisa and have no authority over the entire territory they claim

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    4. I thank you Mr. Beidler and thank you again for the interest you show to learn about my country. I hope I can welcome you Mogadishu or Hargeisa a beautiful day and the tourism industry takes off. Your post about Somaliland was interesting and it was an obvious question that you raised and juggled with EVEN. Your analysis was deep and they also contained the respect of the legal elements of the question. It's about distinguishing between DE FACTO and DE JURE.

      But when my friend Mr. Anonymous came into the topic he botched the whole conversation since he took away my friends by claiming that they did not know anything about Somalia, HELLO, MAYBE that's what they're trying to do now is to learn about your country, you idiot. Then of course they have to come up with questions of their thougths, your are expected to answer deeple instead of closing the topic,
      Mr. Anonymous, please nexttime when someone asks you about your country, please do not talk shit some parts of the country . weak people do so, you can try to explain factual but not as you would talk shit about Hargeisa and waqooyi.
      I go to Hargeisa an Djibouti evry year, i see a lot of people in Hargeisa who do not want reunite with the south but i try to explain why i do believe a united Somalia and ofcourse i listen to their arguments as well. I'm one of North Somalis who would love a united Somalia .Men I know the majority of people of the nordsomala is for independence. I try to discuss objectively why a large Somalia would be good for exampel. I'm trying to convince those instead, and then I had to listen to their arguments, I can not pretend I do not hear of millions of people.

      But there is a problem we have in Somalia we do not learn from each other for exampel many southsomalier does not recognize that Somaliland has progressed a lot. They could learn from the brothers and sisters in the north alot and even northerners could learn a lot from the brothers and sisters in the south.
      anonymous trying to dismiss the fact that half of Somalia have another flag is DE FACTO not part of Somalia. I wish more people could dare to discuss the issue objectively as Mr. Beidler raised. for common Sence sake.

      I love whole somalia anyway. I Love Mogadishu the natural capital of Somalia, I love Hargeisa, Somalia's second capital and Somaliland's capital (Somali culture capital) HOYGA IYO HOOYADA Fanka SOMALIYED. I love Djibouti Somalia's spiritual capital although Djiobuti is in another country, i feel that the people are somalis and that makes to my country.

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    5. I have no idea what your talking about, you should probably learn english before replying to people...and if the "progress" that the north wants people to acknowledge is that its not at war thats not good enough because puntland is just as peaceful. I think they're too arrogant to see how poor and under developed somaliland is because they keep comparing themselves to mogadishu. When reality somaliland is an opportunistic state run by tribalist that feed of peoples fears and anger of the south somalis for a civil war that started 20+ ago and is still affecting people in the south

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  2. Very good article, its always a pleasure to read the stories here. Keep up the great work!

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  3. The dude with the broken English22 November, 2013 20:35

    You do not understand what I'm talking about? I summarize it with less than 10 words.
    IF YOU LOVE SOMALIA THEN YOU SHOULD INCLUDE Hargeisa. Hargeisa IS PART OF SOMALIA.

    I AM NOT SO GOOD IN ENGLISH?
    BUT IT HAS ITS EXPLANATION. FIRSTLY I AM STILL STUDYING ENGLISH.

    YOU CAN TRY TO UNDERSTAND that English IS NOT EVEN MY FOURTH LANGUAGE.
    YOU SHOULD DISCUSS THE SUBSTANCE INSTEAD OF FINDING FAULT ON MY WAY TO WRITE.

    UNLIKE YOU I LOVE ALL SOMALIA AND ALL SOMALIS. I LOVE MOGADISHU, Garoowe, Kismayo, BAYDHABO, AFMADOW, Beledweyne, GALYACYO, Bosaso, QARDHO, LASCANOD, Balcad, Jowhar, Baardheere, Luuq, Burco, Hargeisa, BORAME, JIGJIGA, DJIBOUTI, Dikhil, ALI Sabih, CARTA DIRE DAWA AND RAS CASEYR.

    I RESPECT ALL PEOPLE AND THEIR WAY OF LIFE AND I WISH THAT WE Somalis, COULD LIVE WITH EACH OTHER AND SHOW RESPECT TO OTHER nationalities.

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