April 17, 2009
There has been a lot of talk lately about Somali pirates, so it’s probably a good time for a little summary.
In 2006 "the CIA propagated that Al-Qaeda had made its base in Somalia where three senior leaders were residing. CIA then encouraged Ethiopia to invade Somalia in support of weak TFG forces (Transitional Federal Government) against UIC fighters (Union of Islamic Courts) and promised to provide intelligence and air cover. Ethiopian troops backed by USA invaded Somalia on 28 December 2006. The UIC was quickly defeated in a sweeping offensive and the six-month peace period was shattered. It was believed that the UIC leadership fled into Kenya or to Yemen and the hard-line fighters cached their arms and melded back into their clans leaving the mostly untrained, new recruits to face the Ethiopian troops. Soon after the UIC rout, two US air strikes targeted alleged Al-Qaeda bases in southern Somalia on 13 January 2007 but only innocent civilians got killed."
"'My four-year-old boy was killed in the strike,’ Mohamed Mahmud Burale said. 'The plane was firing at other areas in Ras Kamboni. We could see smoke from the area. We also heard 14 massive explosions.’"
"The air strikes came 16 days after Ethiopian forces entered Somalia to back pro-government troops driving out an Islamist movement that had taken control of much of the country from the weak transitional administration."
click to enlarge - source
The Islamist movement that US and Ethiopian forces were attacking were the same people that had been trying to prevent Somali pirates from seizing ships:
In 2008 "the Islamist fighters attacked the pirates in Hobyo, 450 kilometres (270 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu … just after they had released a Jordanian-flagged cargo ship seized nearly a week earlier. 'Two Islamists and several pirates died in the fighting which lasted more than an hour,’ one of the elders, Abdinasir Diriye, told AFP by telephone. An Islamist leader said four pirates and two Islamists had been killed in the shoot-out, adding that they had also arrested several of the pirates… Local elders had said Islamist fighters had threatened to attack the pirates if they did not release the ship."
click to enlarge - source
"Due to the tribal organization of Somalia and the lack of a central government, combined with Somalia's location at the Horn of Africa, conditions were ripe for the growth of piracy in the early 1990s. Since the collapse of the state, boats illegally fishing in Somali waters were a common sight. Pirates at first were interested in securing the waters before businessmen and militias became involved. Acts of piracy temporarily subsided following the rise of the Islamic Courts Union in 2006. However, pirate activity began to increase after Ethiopia invaded Somalia in December 2006."
It’s important to point out that "the radical Islamists in Somalia never had much following until the Somali people became aware that an outside power was supporting the corrupt and thuggish military chieftains. The popularity of the Islamist movement then surged, allowing the Islamists to take over much of the country. In sum, where no problem with radical Islamists previously existed, the U.S. government helped create one."
"For the Somali people, the Ethiopian invasion of December 2006 could not have started at a worse time. Defeating the Union of Islamic Courts and propping up the Transitional Federal Government was Ethiopia's immediate rationale for invading Somalia. The larger goal was to forge a partnership between Washington and Addis Ababa in order to execute the 'war on terror.’":
"To keep the invasion and Africa's worst humanitarian catastrophe going, heavy and modern weapons, including airplanes were used. One was a United States Air Force AC-130 gunship that attacked and killed Somali villagers and countless livestock in the hunt for three foreign men suspected for the 1998 bombing of American embassies in Africa, who yet remain at large."
The shear madness of firing artillery from navy destroyers and gunships to try and kill two or three people in a town occupied by thousands of civilians, is only surpassed by the indifference displayed by the US military, the US media, and the US citizenry as to the number of innocent civilians being killed and displaced. How many civilians did the United States kill in these bombardments?
In January 2007 more than 100 people were killed in US bombings in just one week, and in April, just three short months later, four days of fierce fighting between Ethiopian-backed government forces and Islamic insurgents killed 381 people.
It is beyond my understanding how killing nomads and displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians was going to make Somalia, Ethiopia or the United States any safer. Of course according to many analysts, this US led war in Somalia was really just about oil and resources, not about Islamic extremists.
"Although Africa has long been known to be rich in oil, extracting it hadn't seemed worth the effort and risk until recently. But with the price of Middle Eastern crude skyrocketing, and advancing technology making reserves easier to tap, the region has become the scene of a competition between major powers that recalls the 19th-century scramble for colonization. Already, the United States imports more of its oil from Africa than from Saudi Arabia, and China, too, looks to the continent for its energy security."
Since it was formed two years ago, the US African Command (AFRICOM) has been very busy creating death and destruction in Africa in an attempt to obtain control of precious resources, which is why the war in Somalia is expanding to the rest of Africa.
Even though "Africa is united in rejecting US requests for a military headquarters" inside Africa, there are reports that "from oil rich northern Angola up to Nigeria, from the Gulf of Guinea to Morocco and Algeria, from the Horn of Africa down to Kenya and Uganda, and over the pipeline routes from Chad to Cameroon in the west, and from Sudan to the Red Sea in the east, US admirals and generals have been landing and taking off, meeting with local officials. They've conducted feasibility studies, concluded secret agreements, and spent billions from their secret budgets." This is the future that awaits Africa with AFRICOM and the agenda to control the "oil, and the diamonds, and the uranium, and the coltan."
If you find the idea that Africa can become bloodier than it is inaccessible, then consider this: Contrary to popular belief, the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa is not Darfur, it’s Somalia, and it all started in 2006, when the United States and Ethiopia started a war with Somalia, ending six months of the only peaceful period Somalis had known for years. The end result has been the same as all other wars that the United States has started this century. Not only is Somalia devastated but the war is spreading.
So while our Western Mainstream Media continues to feed us government sanctioned news, we should remember why and how Somalia became a failed State, some of the reasons as to why Somali pirates have become so active in the region, and we should never forget that it was the Union of Islamic Court fighters, the same organization that the United States bombed the shit out of in 2006 all the way up to 2008, that initially tried to prevent Somali pirates from seizing ships off the coast of Africa.
Note: A lot more discussion on AFRICOM will follow in the future.