Runoff election results here
Today is election day in Ghana. This is the final runoff election for president. I spoke briefly to people back home. I heard a lot of anger about electoral cheating, stuffing ballot boxes, ballot boxes stolen, voter intimidation, and other dirty tricks. I can’t really tell how bad it is, as tempers are running high. It sounds very like what has been going on in US elections, particularly the presidential elections in the last 9 years. I am praying that the person who actually gets the most votes is declared the winner, and that all the votes are counted. I heard the security forces voted early so they will be available to work on election day, and that they were subjected to voter intimidation. Many government workers are unhappy because they have not been paid, in some cases for several months.
The current Ghana government has treated Ghana very much like the current US government has treated the US. It has been asset stripping the country, selling out Ghana and shipping jobs and resources overseas. It has undermined Ghanaian agricuture, encouraging agricultural dumping by the EU, and some from the US as well.
The latest incident that angered me was this blow to the textile workers:
Floodgates opened to foreign textiles
The speed with which the government has temporarily lifted the ban on imported textile has drawn the expected reaction from the category of Ghanaian workers who would be hardest hit.
… the decision was taken in total disregard to the survival of the local textile industry.
Even before the lifting of the ban, smugglers had outwitted the security agencies at the entry points and got their cheap imports into the country. The sight of Nigeriens and other non-Ghanaians selling foreign textiles on the streets of Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi etc is common. In their place are the numerous Ghanaian textiles workers who have lost their jobs due to the closure of textile factories or the reduction in production capacity by the few factories struggling to stay in business.
A report in 2003 by the Revenue Agencies Governing Board titled “Practical Measures to Combat the Menace of Under Invoicing and Smuggling into Ghana” pointed out that the “local production of textile which peaked at 130 million metres per annum in the 1970s has dropped to under 39 million metres per annum currently; and the labour force in the industry consequently reduced from 25, 000 in the 1970s to under 3,000 as of now.”
The report identified under invoicing in import duties, laxity in the performance of valuation and monitoring functions of the destination inspection agencies etc as some of the acts hampering the growth of the local textile industries. The report further pointed out that as a result of under invoicing there are rampant contraband goods dumped on the market. “This kills competition and also does not give any protection to the infant manufacturing sector because the smuggled goods sell cheaper than the locally produced goods.”
TGLEU wonders if anything has changed regarding local production to warrant the lifting of the ban on cheap foreign imports. ‘Since the reasons for Government’s action was not stated, the NEC considers the timing of the lifting of the ban as politically motivated aimed at influencing the votes of the electorate.”
These jobs are going to China. Ghana needs these jobs.
I was most discouraged in 2007 when I heard that the textiles for the Ghana@50 celebrations were ordered from China. If there was ever a time to show national pride by displaying national talents and products, that was it. That was the time to showcase the country and the people and the work they produce.
As I’ve watched the governments of both the US and Ghana over the past 8 years, I have been struck by the similarities, particularly by the rapacious exploitation and contempt with which the governing elites treat the vast majority of the citizens they govern.
The US has given itself a new chance. I hope Ghana gets the same opportunity.
US Rwanda military training Nov. 2008
GABIRO, Rwanda – Soldiers from the Rwanda Defence Force practice target shooting with their U.S. counterparts during a military-to-military training event at the Rwanda School of Infantry in Kigali, Rwanda on November 21, 2008. (Photo by Sergeant First Class Jonathan Platt, U.S. Defence Attache Office)
Daniel Volman has written an updated overview of AFRICOM published at Pambazuka News, AFRICOM from Bush to Obama.
He discusses the following questions:
- What is AFRICOM?
- What is AFRICOM’s mission?
- Why is AFRICOM being created now?
- What will AFRICOM do?
- Where will AFRICOM’s headquarters be based?
- What is to be done with AFRICOM?
As part of what will AFRICOM do?, Volman lists the various programs that are part of AFRICOM, or are being folded into AFRICOM. There are a number of bilateral and multilateral joint training programs and military exercises (excerpted from his article):
FLINTLOCK 2005 AND 2007 – Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) exercises … Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
TRANS-SAHARAN COUNTER-TERRORISM PARTNERSHIP (TSCTP) – links the United States with eight African countries: Mali, Chad, Niger, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria.
EAST AFRICA COUNTER-TERRORISM INITIATIVE (EACTI) – the EACTI has provided training to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.
AFRICA CONTINGENCY OPERATIONS TRAINING AND ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (ACOTA) – training to African military forces. … By FY 2007, nineteen African countries were participating in the ACOTA program (Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia).
INTERNATIONAL MILITARY EDUCATION AND TRAINING PROGRAM (IMET) – brings African military officers to military academies and other military educational institutions in the United States for professional training. Nearly all African countries participate in the program.
U.S. PRIVATE MILITARY CONTRACTORS IN AFRICA – [mostly] as part of the GPOI and ACOTA programs.
FOREIGN MILITARY SALES PROGRAM (FMS) – This program sells U.S. military equipment to African countries … The U.S. government provides loans to finance the purchase of virtually all of this equipment through the Foreign Military Financing Program (FMF), but repayment of these loans by African governments is almost always waived, so that they amount to free grants.
DIRECT COMMERCIAL SALES PROGRAM (DCS) – the Office of Defense Trade Controls of the Department of State licenses the sale of police equipment (including pistols, revolvers, shotguns, rifles, and crowd control chemicals) by private U.S. companies to foreign military forces, paramilitary units, police, and other government agencies.
AFRICAN COASTAL AND BORDER SECURITY PROGRAM (ACBS) – provides specialized equipment (such as patrol vessels and vehicles, communications equipment, night vision devices, and electronic monitors and sensors) to African countries to improve their ability to patrol and defend their own coastal waters and borders from terrorist operations, smuggling, and other illicit activities … No dedicated funding was requested for FY 2008
EXCESS DEFENSE ARTICLES PROGRAM (EDA) – ad hoc transfers of surplus U.S. military equipment to foreign governments. Transfers to African recipients have included the transfer of C-130 transport planes to South Africa and Botswana, trucks to Uganda, M-16 rifles to Senegal, and coastal patrol vessels to Nigeria.
ANTI-TERRORISM ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (ATA) – provide training, equipment, and technology to countries all around the world to support their participation in America’s Global War on Terrorism. … [includes] Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, Niger, Chad, Senegal, Mali, Liberia, Ethiopia, Botswana, Djibouti, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, Angola, Mozambique.
SECTION 1206, 1207, AND 902 PROGRAMS – Section 1206 program—known as the Global Equip and Train program—was initiated in FY 2007 and permits the Pentagon—on its own initiative and with little congressional oversight—to provide training and equipment to foreign military, police, and other security forces to “combat terrorism and enhance stability.” …
The Section 1207 program—known as the Security and Stabilization Assistance program—was also started in FY 2007. It allows the Defense Department to transfer equipment, training, and other assistance to the State Department to enhance its operations. …
The Section 902 program—known as the Combatant Commanders’ Initiative Fund— can be used by the commanders of Africom and other combatant commands to fund their own relief and reconstruction projects, rather than relying on the State Department or the Agency for International Development to undertake these efforts.
COMBINED JOINT TASK FORCE-HORN OF AFRICA (CJTF-HOA) – designed to conduct naval and aerial patrols in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the eastern Indian Ocean as part of the effort to detect and counter the activities of terrorist groups in the region.
… provided intelligence to Ethiopia in support of its invasion of Somalia in January 2007 and used military facilities in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya to launch air raids and missile strikes in January and June of 2007 and May of 2008 against alleged al-Qaeda members involved in the Council of Islamic Courts in Somalia.
JOINT TASK FORCE AZTEC SILENCE (JTFAS) – carry out counter-terrorism operations in North and West Africa and to coordinate U.S. operations with those of countries in those regions.
… constitutes a major extension of the U.S. role in counter-insurgency warfare and highlights the dangers of America’s deepening involvement in the internal conflicts that persist in so many African countries
NAVAL OPERATIONS IN THE GULF OF GUINEA – Africom will also help coordinate naval operations along the African coastline.
… The U.S. Navy has been steadily increasing the level and pace of its operations in African waters in recent years …
… the United States—conducted what were described as “presence operations” in the Gulf of Guinea …
BASE ACCESS AGREEMENTS FOR COOPERATIVE SECURITY LOCATIONS AND FORWARD OPERATING SITES – Over the past few years, the Bush administration has negotiated base access agreements with the governments of Botswana, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierre Leone, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia. Under these agreements, the United States gains access to local military bases and other facilities so that they can be used by American forces as transit bases or as forward operating bases for combat, surveillance, and other military operations. They remain the property of the host African government and are not American bases in a legal sense, so that U.S. government officials are telling the truth—at least technically—when they deny that the United States has bases in these countries.
Go and read the article, AFRICOM from Bush to Obama. There is a great deal more information there than I have included here, including the amounts of money involved in many of these programs.
As regards Obama’s thinking regarding AFRICOM, Vollman quotes Obama, and his spokesman Whitney Schneidman. Based on these public statements Volman writes:
… this suggests that the Obama administration will continue to expand the entire spectrum of U.S. military operations in Africa, including increasing U.S. military involvement in the internal affairs of African countries (including both counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations) and the direct use of U.S. combat troops to intervene in African conflicts.
Therefore, according to Whitney Schneidman, the Obama administration “will create a Shared Partnership Program to build the infrastructure to deliver effective counter-terrorism training, and to create a strong foundation for coordinated action against al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Africa and elsewhere.” He explained that the proposed program “will provide assistance with information sharing, operations, border security, anti-corruption programs, technology, and the targeting of terrorist financing.” In particular, Schneidman argued “in the Niger Delta, we should become more engaged not only in maritime security, but in working with the Nigerian government, the European Union, the African Union, and other stakeholders to stabilize the region.”
This is not reassuring. But Volman includes some notes of hope and good advice:
… It is likely, therefore, that the Obama administration will continue the militarization of U.S. policy toward Africa unless it comes under pressure to change direction. However, members of the U.S. Congress are now beginning to give Africom the critical scrutiny it deserves and to express serious skepticism about its mission and operations. Moreover, a number of concerned organizations and individuals in the United States and in Africa—the Resist Africom Campaign—came together in August 2006 to educate the American people about Africom and to mobilize public and congressional opposition to the creation of the new command. And the Resist Africom Campaign will continue to press the Obama administration to abandon the Bush plan for Africom and pursue a policy toward Africa based on a genuine partnership with the people of Africa, multi-lateralism, democracy, human rights, and grass-roots development.
If you are eligible to vote in the US, let your Congressional representatives know what you think about AFRICOM, and about militarizing the continent. There is still a lot of opportunity for change. But it needs a lot of push and pressure from the roots up. It may be that one can effectively change the policy without significantly changing the language. After all, a policy of “genuine partnership with the people of Africa, multi-lateralism, democracy, human rights, and grass-roots development” would do a lot more to fight terrorism and secure US access to resources than military expansion and recolonization can begin to touch. The Bush administration has had a rather one dimensional view of the word fight. Let us hope the Obama vision really is larger and more inclusive.
Read Volman’s article: AFRICOM from Bush to Obama
Military training near Bamako, US. Mali, & Senegal
The US drive to create proxy wars in Africa continues. The New York times published the article: U.S. Training in Africa Aims to Deter Extremists describing US military activities in Mali. Once again the NYT assists the Bush administration to catapult the propaganda for the Africa Command. The US is preparing African militaries, this time in Mali, for proxy war. During the Cold War proxy war between the US and Russia militarized and devastated the continent. Many of the effects continue to the present.
KATI, Mali — Thousands of miles from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, another side of America’s fight against terrorism isunfolding in this remote corner of West Africa. American Green Berets are training African armies to guard their borders and patrol vast desolate expanses against infiltration by Al Qaeda’s militants, so the United States does not have to.
The biggest potential threat comes from as many as 200 fighters from an offshoot of Al Qaeda called Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which uses the northern Malian desert as a staging area and support base, American and Malian officials say.
To address this “threat” from what may be a 200 strong force, there is a:
… a five-year, $500 million partnership between the State and Defense Departments includes Algeria, Chad, Mauritania, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia, and Libya is on the verge of joining.
That seems like a lot.
Of course the reason for training African military proxies is to guard oil sources, oil routes, and to protect those governments that are amenable to US corporate control of the oil trade, regardless of how they treat their citizens or their neighbors.
As b real points out in Understanding AFRICOM – Part II:
Of course, there is also a capital-intensive oil infrastructure, including pipelines, in this 3,000-mile stretch of land – called the Sahel – that runs through Mauritania, Mali, Niger, and Chad, on into Sudan.
Some Africa specialists complain that since 9-11 the United States has wrongfully collapsed the Sahel’s manifold problems into an all-too-simple issue: hunting bad guys. “We are exaggerating the whole terrorism thing,” said Robert Pringle, a former ambassador to Mali
Actual proof of transnational terrorist networks and international financing in Africa, however, has not been delivered, and specialists have debunked many of the perceptions advanced in the GWOT. In addition to the observation that “[t]here is little evidence of a significant terrorist threat in the West African countries visited,”
If an organized, non-state international terrorist structure actually even exists, it has little chance, and no luck so far, penetrating and organizing clan and tribal societies in Africa. Much of the “terrorist” rhetoric amply demonstrates the biases and ignorance of the strategists and promoters.
As Daniel Volman wrote, DoD’s focus in these countries is on “efforts to strengthen the security the security forces of oil-producing countries and enhance their ability to ensure that their oil continues to flow to the United States.”
Map of US global arms transfers
The New America Foundation has issued a report describing US arms transfers around the world: US Weapons at War 2008. They include a section on arms transfers to Africa, U.S. Arms Recipients, 2006/07: Africa.
U.S. arms transfers to Africa are being carried out against the backdrop of a major strategic shift in U.S. attention toward the continent, as embodied in the creation of the Africa Command. … with the growing U.S. interest in curbing terror and expanding access to oil in Africa, the Pentagon moved to create a dedicated military command for Africa.
… AFRICOM has ambitions to be the point of contact for all U.S. assistance to the continent, both civilian and military. In addition to the danger of underutilizing civilian expertise and mismanaging major projects–as happened when the Pentagon was running U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq–this approach could contribute to the militarization of overall U.S. policy toward Africa, undermining diplomatic and cooperative approaches to the region’s conflicts.
In the narrative they select three countries where US arms transfers are particularly counterproductive and destructive.
Ethiopia, which is engaged in military actions in the Ogaden, in Eritrea, and has invaded and occupied Somalia at US behest, is a major recipient of arms transfers:
So far, the Bush administration has not responded to Ethiopia’s crimes against humanity in the Ogaden with any restrictions on U.S. assistance, presumably because of Addis Ababa’s role in helping to fight alleged terrorist groups in the Horn of Africa. This may be a false tradeoff, however. As Sam Zarifi of Human Rights Watch noted in his testimony before the subcommittee on Africa of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in October 2007, “U.S. support for Ethiopia in its conflicts in the Somali region and inside Somalia is ineffective and counterproductive.… The current U.S.-backed Ethiopian approach will lead to a mountain of civilian deaths and a litany of abuses.… This approach will only strengthen the hand of the extremist minority in Somalia [and] could lead to the escalation and spread of conflicts in the region and may well help to radicalize the region’s large and young Muslim population.”
This ineffective and counterproductive policy that destroys so many lives is what I wrote about in my previous post. It is effective only in killing and hurting people, and in poisoning US relations with countries in the Horn of Africa
Major U.S. Security Assistance Programs to Ethiopia FY 2002 through FY 2009 (dollars in thousands) $54,360
Kenya has also been a major recipient of arms transfers. Since the disputed/stolen elections there has been ongoing internal violence, and the police and military have strongly overreacted.
Georgette Gagnon of Human Rights Watch has urged the United States and the United Kingdom to “suspend military assistance until there is an independent investigation of the war crimes. They shouldn’t be supporting the military until Kenyan authorities commit to prosecuting those responsible for torture and war crimes.”
Major U.S. Security Assistance Programs to Kenya FY 2002 through FY 2009 (dollars in thousands) $84,032
And in Nigeria:
“Widespread government corruption, political and intercommunal violence, police torture and other abuses continue to deny ordinary Nigerians their human rights. During 2007, Nigerian actors including the police, military and elected officials committed serious and persistent abuses against Nigerian citizens with near-complete impunity.”
… Militancy has become a cloak for all forms of criminality in the Niger Delta …
… Rather than attempting to curb this multi-sided violence, more often than not the Nigerian government and Nigerian politicians are complicit in it.
Nigeria has plenty of money, although the vast amount is stolen and misspent:
To give some sense of how much money is available to Nigeria’s various corrupt entities, the country’s top anticorruption official has determined that over $380 billion was stolen or wasted between 1960 and 1999, almost equaling the country’s $400 billion in oil revenues over the same time period.
Nigeria could use some assistance in developing an accountable and responsive government. Arms transfers seem likely only to strengthen the military, to assist it to become a default government, and to continue and expand its abuses.
Major U.S. Security Assistance Programs to Nigeria FY 2002 through FY 2009 (dollars in thousands) $49,564
These three countries stand out for the amount of arms transfers to them from the US, and for the misuse of those transfers. But they are hardly alone. What is needed is support for government and civilian institutions across the continent. The overwhelming emphasis on arms transfers and military assistance is an incitement to create military governments wherever it occurs.
All of this comes at a time when the citizens of African countries are trying to move beyond military coups and military governments.
Development cannot occur or thrive without local business and local agriculture. Both of these perish in a war zone.
Somali map with Sheikh Shari Ahmed of the Islamic Courts Union from the Somali Diaspora Network
Even Bloomberg has caught on to the big mistake that is US policy in the Horn of Africa: Somali Pirates Thrive After U.S. Helped Oust Their Islamic Foes. There was no piracy during the rule of the Islamic Courts Union. The ICU was overthrown by Ethiopian proxies of the US.
In 2006, militant supporters of the Islamic Courts Union, an alliance of Sharia tribunals, won control of Somalia and imposed religious law.
“Under the Courts, there was literally no piracy,” says Hans Tino Hansen, chief executive of Risk Intelligence, a maritime security consultant in Denmark.
Then the U.S. helped drive out the Muslim rulers to prevent the East African country from becoming a terrorist haven, leaving behind a lawless chaos in which piracy has flourished.
“It’s a bad mistake to look at Somali events through the prism of international politics,” says Richard Cornwell, an Institute for Security Studies researcher in Pretoria. “The U.S. turned an internal Somali conflict into part of the global war on terror.”
The 6 months during which the Islamic Courts ruled were by far the most peaceful in recent Somali history, before they were displaced by US proxy war. And Al Qaeda was not successful in Somalia:
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.”
Back in April 2008 the Somali Diaspora Network described the policy disaster in: U.S. Policy on Somalia: A Recipe for Self-fulfilling Prophecies.
The [US] policies of targeted killings and unwavering support for Ethiopia’s brutal occupation are proving to be detrimental to Somalis and undermining U.S. policy in the Horn of Africa. In addition to hampering reconciliation efforts, these policies clearly undermine the TFG itself, the very government the U.S. purports to support. The Somali people justifiably see an imposed government of warlords and their cronies, a brutal and callous occupation and the world’s only superpower stubbornly and recklessly pushing the country over the edge.
Chris Floyd writes in The 13th Circle: Somalia’s Hell and the Triumph of Militarism:
… today’s Islamists are a harder, more brutal group than the ones who were ousted by an Ethiopian invasion, backed by the United States in late 2006. …
On top of that, the unpopular and bloody Ethiopian military operations over the past two years have radicalized many Somalis and sent hundreds of unemployed young men — most of whom have never gone to school, never been part of a functioning society and never had much of a chance to do anything but shoulder a gun — into the arms of militant Islamic groups.
the extent of Washington’s direct involvement in the ongoing destruction of Somalia, which as we have often noted here, involved not only arming, training and funding the Ethiopian invaders, but also dropping US bombs on fleeing refugees, lobbing US missiles into Somali villages, renditioning refugees — including American citizens — into captivity in Ethiopia’s notorious dungeons, and running U.S. death squads in Somalia to “clean up” after covert operations. (The latter is no deep dark secret, by the way; officials openly boasted of it to Esquire Magazine.)
Now, as anyone not completely blinded by imperial hubris could have predicted, the entire misbegotten exercise has collapsed into the worst-case scenario. A relatively stable, relatively moderate government which held out a promise of better future for the long-ravaged land was overthrown– ostensibly to prevent it from becoming a hotbed of radical extremism. The resulting violence, chaos and brutal occupation by foreign forces led directly and inevitably to — what else? — a rise in radical extremism. Thousands of innocent people have been killed, hundreds of thousands have been driven from their homes, millions have been plunged into the direst poverty and the imminent threat of starvation and disease, unspeakable atrocities and unbearable suffering are arising, as they always do in any situation, anywhere, when a human community is destroyed.
Yet none of this penetrates the glossy shell of imperial hubris …
And as he also says:
Here we see the logic of militarism on full display: the only way to prevent the rise of terrorism in a country is by invading that country and occupying it with a foreign military force — which, of course, only gives rise to more terrorism in that country. This circular reasoning seems absurd on its face, but it is in fact the highly efficient dynamic that drives and sustains the ideology of militarism in practical power.
This is fighting terrorism/creating terrorism using Marx Brothers logic:
[from Animal Crackers, 1930] Groucho says to Chico, “It is my belief that the missing picture is hidden in the house next door.”
Chico: “There isn’t any house next door.”
Groucho: “Then we’ll build one!”
So too with the US policy and terrorism in Somalia, if it isn’t there, we’ll build it.
The US seems bent on an overall policy of militarism. That is why Bush tried to swallow the State Department into the Pentagon with the Africa Command.
And Chris Floyd discusses this as well:
Militarism — either in its overt, unashamed form as espoused by the neo-cons and their outriders, or in the more subtly packaged, sugar-coated (and often self-deluding) version of the “humanitarian interventionists” — is the ruling ideology of the American state. Like all ideologies, it comes in different shadings, different emphases, different factions, and so on, but the national power structure is firmly committed across the board to the use of violence — and the ever-present threat of violence — to advance a bipartisan agenda of American hegemony on the world scene. Some factions take great pains to present this hegemony as benevolent and altruistic; other factions don’t care how it comes across … But all factions are willing to kill people — either directly or by proxy — to maintain that hegemony.
Mahmood Mamdani tells us:
… peace cannot be built on humanitarian intervention, which is the language of big powers. The history of colonialism should teach us that every major intervention has been justified as humanitarian, a ‘civilising mission’
What worries me is that I don’t see Obama changing this. And he has so much on his domestic plate that he may not be able to devote a great deal of attention or political capitol to this. His cabinet picks and statements to date do not indicate any change in the current militarism of US foreign policy. But I’m not making any assumptions until I see what happens once he becomes President.
Added July 21, 2009
More on the US and Kenya and their role in the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in December 2006 – January 2007, courtesy of b real’s africa comments where you can follow the ongoing involvement in Somalia:
biyokulule online republishes two january 2007 dispatches from the (expensive) private intel newsletter the indian ocean newsletter, citing closed sources, that sure would have come in handy at that time to have had access to. both provide more information on the active roles of the u.s. and kenya during the late-2006 invasion
According to information obtained in Nairobi by The Indian Ocean Newsletter from a Kenyan military intelligence officer, the Ethiopian army had indeed been accompanied by American military advisors when it went into Somalia. One or two advisors were affected to each Ethiopian platoon command and enabled to improve the coordination of the forces combating the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC). These advisors were from the American Special Forces (the Delta Force commandos) under the orders of the Pentagon Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). They have sophisticated communications equipment enabling them to receive orders from American military vessels sailing off the coast of Somalia. Before the conflict, the military intelligence services of Kenya, Ethiopia and the United States had drawn up a list of the forces, equipment and positions of the UIC militia, which they had tended to overestimate.
Kenya was subsequently the only IGAD country to have advance information of the air raids against the Islamists in south Somalia. American and Kenyan aid, and not only in military intelligence, has been indispensable in ousting the Somalian Islamists from the Ras Kamboni zone where they had taken refuge. After the air raid by an American AC-130, an American Special Forces commando was sent on the ground to support the Ethiopian army. At the same time, the Kenyan air force intervened using unmarked helicopters to oust Islamist militia hidden in the forest around Ras Kamboni. It was then only after a bloody battle that the Ethiopian army managed to defeat the Somalian islamists, by that time completely surrounded.
In addition to sealing their border to close the exit door for Unionof Islamic Courts (UIC) militia and Somalian civilians fleeing the combat zone, the Kenyan authorities have provided logistic support to the Ethiopian army and its Somalian and American allies. Kenyan air force planes have regularly flown over the Ras Kamboni region to carry out reconnaissance and surveillance operations of this zone where Islamist militia had taken refuge. Other similar air-borne missions have monitored retreating Islamist militia convoys. The Kenyan military intelligence services passed on these data to their American and Ethiopian counterparts, enabling them to carry out their military operations and air strikes. According to information obtained by The Indian Ocean Newsletter from a military intelligence source based in Nanyuki, a Kenyan helicopter flying over the Ras Kamboni region last week near the border town of Hulugho was fired on by Somalian Islamist militia using light arms.
Two other Kenyan helicopters in the same zone were also fired on and the windshield of one of them was hit. On 9 January Kenyan helicopters participated in an air raid against Somalian Islamists in Hayi. A ground fight also took place around Amuna between Kenyan soldiers and Somalian Islamists who were trying to cross the border. The Kenyan ministry of defence sent reinforcements to the border crossing points at Amuna, Liboi and Hulugho. Newsflash alert sent to subscribers on 16.1.2007.The Kenyan government has given strict instructions that no information on Kenya`s direct involvement in this conflict should be leaked to the press. The Kenyan military intelligence services have also asked Kenyan diplomats to deny reports that a rocket from an Ethiopian aircraft aimed at a column of Islamists in the South of Somalia had crashed into Kenyan territory.