I remember reading or hearing that everything that guns can do for a country, they have done for Somalia. Of course the guns don’t get there by accident. And the US is throwing its weight behind expanding violence on the Somalis. The satirist Jesus’ General calls the Bush/Cheney foreign policy the “Glorious Eternal War to Resubjugate Brown People“, and the more one watches, the more this description appears to be literal truth and not a joke.
Somalia has been a failed state for well over a decade. That is why northern, mostly European countries can dump nuclear and toxic waste off Somali shores, waste that was washed up and strewn about by the tsunami, left to be cleaned up by people with no protective gear.
I remember a couple of years ago I was talking about doing business back home with a Somali cab driver. He said he would really like to go back home and set up a business. But with the endless cycle of war, anytime you establish a business, some group comes along and seizes or destroys what you have built. To try and do business in these circumstances is pointless.
And now the US is compounding the problem, allegedly in the name of fighting Al Qaeda, but Al Qaeda has not found a welcome or a haven in Somalia. Somalia is hostile to Al Qaeda. And the US is sponsoring its Ethiopian proxies, an army of Ethiopian Christians fighting Somali Muslims (does the word crusade ring a bell?) trying to reinstall a hated and non-functioning warlord government.
Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda has failed for more than a decade to establish an operational base in Somalia due to the country’s austere environment and inhospitable clans, a new U.S. military report says.
. . .
“Al Qaeda found more adversity than success in Somalia,” states the report by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. “In order to project power, al Qaeda needed to be able to promote its ideology, gain an operational safe haven, manipulate underlying conditions to secure popular support and have adequate financing for continued operations. It achieved none of these objectives.”
. . .
“Al Qaeda is predominately an Arab organization, and Arabs tend to stick out in Somalia, so it’s difficult for them to establish large covert bases. The only thing they (Somalis) hate more than their own homegrown radical Islamists casting themselves as holier-than-thou are foreign terrorists coming in and telling them they are not good Muslims and acting holier-than-thou.”
But this does not stop Bush/Cheney from killing wounding and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. At present the number of refugees that have fled Mogadishu in the last few weeks is around 400,000. The US bombed civilians allegedly to kill or capture the bombers of the embassy in Kenya. As Chris Floyd writes:
Bush killed dozens of Somali civilians in bombing raids on fleeing civilians in an attempt to knock off a couple of the alleged dastards. He failed, of course; but at least the men, women and children who had their guts ripped out and their heads blown off and their limbs torn from their bodies died in a good cause. . .
The Somali “regime change” op intensified last month when Bush’s Ethiopian proteges launched a ferocious attack on resistance forces in the capital of Mogadishu. Tanks and artillery rained shells on residential areas, killing hundreds of people and driving hundreds of thousands more from the city. Many fled toward Kenya, where most were turned away, and others were captured by Kenyan security forces and American agents, then “rendered” to torture chambers in Ethiopia. The victims included a pregnant Swedish woman and a New Jersey man.
But don’t worry, neither of them were white, so it’s OK. If they had been of paler hue, of course, perhaps the Bush-backed bloodbath would have attracted more than a modicum of carefully massaged notice in the American media.
The US bombed civilians, and has monitored the conflict from its base in Djibouti. The Guardian tells us:
The Islamic Courts government was popular in Mogadishu after bringing relative order and driving out clan warlords responsible for 16 years of death and mayhem.
. . .
Washington encouraged the Ethiopian military – at the “invitation” of Somalia’s interim national government which was so unpopular it was unable to remain in Mogadishu – to invade and oust the Islamic Courts administration. The new Somali government includes some of the warlords who previously caused so much destruction.
Bush/Cheney will only allow a Somali government if it is composed of these warlords. The Islamic Courts are not a government I would want to live with, but some rule of law, and some order, is far better than none. The Guardian continues:
A report by the Royal Institute of International Affairs said that US and Ethiopian strategic interests in supporting a weak and factionalised government that is far less popular than the Islamic Courts administration are an obstacle, not a contribution, to rebuilding Somalia.
“In an uncomfortably familiar pattern, genuine multilateral concern to support the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Somalia has been hijacked by unilateral actors – especially Ethiopia and the United States.” (emphasis mine)
(added May 17) Its about the oil, the same reason as the destruction and occupation of Iraq. Remember the Iraqi Hydrocarbon Law? As Carl Bloice says in US Sponsored Bombing of Somalia: The Hidden War for Oil:
Actually, there is no more reason to believe the Bush administration promoted this war, in clear violation of international law and the UN Charter, ‘to catch a handful of al-Qaeda men’, than that the invasion of Iraq was to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. What has unfolded over the past three months flows from much larger strategic calculations in Washington.
The invasion and occupation of Somalia coincided with the Pentagon’s now operational plan to build a new ‘Africa Command’ to deal with what the Christian Science Monitor dubbed ‘strife, oil, and Al Qaeda’. . . .
Last week came the news that the US now imports more oil from Africa than from the Middle East; with Nigeria, Angola and Algeria providing nearly one-fifth of it – more than from Saudi Arabia. . . .
On file are plans – put on hold amid continuing conflicts – for nearly two-thirds of Somalia’s oil fields to be allocated to the US oil companies Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips.
It was recently reported that the US-backed prime minister of Somalia has proposed enactment of a new oil law to encourage the return of foreign oil companies to the country.