FOREIGN AFFAIRS/MILITARY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Trump has relaxed some of the rules for preventing civilian casualties when the American military carries out counterterrorism strikes in Somalia, laying the groundwork for an escalating campaign against Islamist militants in the Horn of Africa.
The decision, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations, gives commanders at the United States Africa Command greater latitude to carry out offensive airstrikes and raids by ground troops against militants with the Qaeda-linked Islamist group Shabab. That sets the stage for an intensified pace of combat there, while increasing the risk that American forces could kill civilians.
Mr. Trump signed a directive on Wednesday [3-92-17] declaring parts of Somalia an ‘area of active hostilities,’ where war-zone targeting rules will apply for at least 180 days, the officials said.
The New York Times had reported the Pentagon’s request for the expanded targeting authority on March 12. The Trump administration had no immediate comment about the rules change, but Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, the top officer at Africa Command, had publicly acknowledged he was seeking it at a news conference on March 24.”
-Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt, “Trump Said to Ease Combat Rules in Somalia Intended to Protect Civilians,” The New York Times online, March 30, 2017