Friday, April 27, 2007

America and Somalia - Why ?

The US has claimed that Somalia's Islamic Courts, which controlled much of the country until December, was run by an al-Qa'ida cell. Ethiopian troops, a proxy army fully backed by US intelligence and logistical support , overpowered the Islamic Courts within a few days of fighting at the end of last year . And of course the current conflict is now simply one of "opportunists — from squatter landlords to teenage gunmen for hire to vendors of out-of-date baby formula — have been feeding off the anarchy in Somalia for so long that they refuse to let go." as the New York Times put it. Smoke and mirrors for the American public's acquiescence to the direct and quite open American military involvement in the invasion: the U.S. training, arming and funding of the Ethiopian military, the deployment of U.S. Special Forces in the invasion, the airstrikes launched by U.S. planes on fleeing refugees, and the role of U.S. intelligence agents in arresting and "rendering" (kidnapping and abduction) Somali refugees to the torture chambers of the Ethiopian dictatorship .

A much more mercenary and much more commercial motive lies behind the American intervention in Somalia and its support for one side .

"Somalia has a lot of oil, and our ministers have just approved a key exploration law to regulate how concessions are given out.... But what we need now is international support to restore security and build our nation, and we will be noting who helps us and who doesn't when these decisions are taken." stated the Transitional Federal Government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari

But where is the oil in Somalia ?

A 1993 article by Mark Fineman in the Los Angeles Times lays bare the rich pickings and rewards that may be available if peace and stability is restored to a Somalia sympathetic to the USA .

US oil companies, including Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips were positioned to exploit Somalia’s rich oil reserves during the reign of pro-US President Mohammed Siad Barre. These companies had secured billion-dollar concessions to explore and drill in large portions of the Somali countryside prior to the coup led by warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid that toppled Barre. Conoco’s Mogadishu office housed the US embassy and military headquarters. Diplomats and oilmen hand-in-hand once again .

"It's there. There's no doubt there's oil there," said Thomas E. O'Connor, the principal petroleum engineer for the World Bank, who headed an in-depth, three-year study of oil prospects in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia's northern coast."You don't know until you study a lot further just how much is there," O'Connor said. "But it has commercial potential. It's got high potential . . . once the Somalis get their act together."

Although the above was written in 1993 , this more recent article confirms the continued interest of American oil companies in the Horn of Africa .

“A new US cleansing of Somalian ‘tyranny’ would open the door for these US oil companies to map and develop the possibly huge oil potential in Somalia..." F. William Engdahl , author of ‘A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order,’

And whats the price being paid now ??

The fighting continues . More people have been displaced in Somalia in the past two months than anywhere else in the world, the United Nations has said. Stephanie Bunker, spokeswoman for UN relief said at least 350,000 people had fled fighting in Mogadishu since February.
Some 300 people have been killed in the recent clashes, after 1,000 deaths last month .


Vigilante said...

I woke this morning to a BBC account of the devastation in Somalia. The reporter concluded that the short six-months (before December '06) Somalis enjoyed under the decentralized, eclectic, and UNAGGRESSIVE Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) will be looked back upon as a "kind of Golden Age." That was before the unnecessary and unprovoked invasion by Ethiopia, with backing from the usual suspects.

If we are to be saddled with the misnomer of "Islamofascism" which I would contest, then we should also contemplate an equally dubious notion of Christofascism. But whatever nomenclature we designate to describe these two versions of intolerance, both need to be fought and defeated.

ajohnstone said...

Thanks for you comment and opinion , vigilante .
Not sure if you are intending to say that what is taking place in Somalia is a religious civil war . I would question if it is such . But it is certainly a confused battlefield with a variety of vested interests in a myriad of alliances all vying for ultimate control . The UIC had indeed acquired a reputation of stabilising Mogadishu but whether you could describe the UIC as UNAGGRESSIVE when it was busily engaged in an offensive against TFG and it was imminent defeat of the TFG that necessitated the invasion by Ethiopia .

i agree the word Islamofascism is over-used in certain quarters to justify foreign and political policies and there in a tendency in the West to blinker itself against the existance of a Christian fundamentalism that too is a reflection of a political agenda.