Late last month, the House voted down a resolution to force President Biden to withdraw US troops from Somalia, The Hill reported.
The resolution sponsored by Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, which would have forced a military withdrawal from the African nation within a year, was rejected in a vote of 102 to 321.
US forces have been deployed on counterterrorism operations in Somalia since 2014, primarily fighting the terrorist group al-Shabab.
Congressman Gaetz argued that the several hundred US troops deployed in Somalia are not vital to protecting Americans. In defending the resolution, Gaetz said he fears China and Russia “far more” than Somalian warlords.
Gaetz initially forced the House to vote on the resolution in March but it failed to pass.
Opponents of the resolution argued that maintaining US troops in countries like Somalia is about protecting global security. They also argued that removing US troops from the region could create a power vacuum that will quickly be filled by China, which is already increasing its influence in Africa, or even Russia.
Since the rise of al-Shabab in 2006, the US military has been training local forces and conducting special forces operations to maintain security in the region. The first ongoing deployment of US troops in the country began in 2014.
Last year, President Biden revoked former President Trump’s order to withdraw US troops from Somalia, citing the risk from al-Shabab. The president has since maintained a small military presence in the country.
This year, US military presence abroad has been a subject of heated debate in Congress, with 103 bipartisan lawmakers voting for a resolution in March to withdraw US troops from Syria.
In late March, the Senate passed legislation repealing the two AUMFs (Authorization for the Use of Military Force) for Iraq, arguing that Congress must reassert its constitutional war powers to protect against a future president abusing military action in the region.