European naval operations and EU-funded African land operations contained the chaos in Somalia but did not solve it.
Somalia remained chaotic in 2011, and severe drought and famine struck in the summer. However, the EU also maintained anti-piracy patrols off Somalia while training elements of the national army in Uganda. It also provides funding for an AU force that helps protect the weak government against the Islamist Al-Shabaab movement. The AU won a series of victories in the capital, Mogadishu, in spite of casualties. Al-Shabaab eventually announced a tactical withdrawal from Mogadishu, although analysts ascribed this in part to the effects of famine.
The EU’s anti-piracy operation – which operates alongside a NATO mission and ships from other countries – appeared to make progress in limiting attacks in the second half of the year. At the start of the year, the spread of piracy appeared to be inexorable, but reported incidents in November were just one-third of those a year before. One significant factor was closer co-operation between the different international flotillas, with the EU in a co-ordinating role. Nonetheless, a senior European military official stated on the record in November that the EU was having difficulty identifying enough vessels to sustain the operation. The mission has, however, been mandated to continue to December 2012.
The EU’s military training mission for Somalia was also extended into 2012, but this was in part because it had succeeded in training only 1,000 of a planned 2,000 personnel by its original end-date in mid-2011. Success at sea and in training programmes can only complement the creation of order inside Somalia. In October, Kenyan forces entered Somalia to fight the Islamists. In December, Kenya agreed to merge these troops with the AU force. Ethiopian forces also entered the country. There are fears that the conflict will intensify in 2012 as the Islamists face increased pressure. An enlarged AU force will inevitably require increased financial support from the EU.