Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict
Somalia in 2015
Major joint offensives launched through the past year by the Somali National Army (SNA) athe African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)—with a significant infusion of Ethiopian troops—have made a fair amount of progress in pushing al-Shabaab insurgents out of key urban strongholds in south and central Somalia. However, the push by AMISOM that began in August/September against al-Shabaab in coastal towns--where ports are key to their fundraising efforts--is possibly the most significant. This by no means is indicative of the end of al-Shabaab, however, as it enjoys a highly sophisticated intelligence network that allows it to operate unconventionally as well. While its prowess as a fighting force has been stayed since last year, the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2014 still saw the group launch major attacks in Mogadishu—using its intelligence unit—in Djibouti, and in Kenya.
What is of most concern here from an oil and gas perspective is the threat to Kenya’s highly promising oil ambitions and the eternal question of whether Somalia is ripe for its own exploration and development of oil resources. Defining this threat to Kenya and Somalia’s readiness to host foreign oil and gas companies securely depends on how al-Shabaab evaluates its current position.
With regard to Kenya, the offensives against al-Shabaab have certainly chipped away at the group’s ability to organize…