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Somalia: The Pentagon’s new ‘endless war’?

Somalia: The Pentagon’s new ‘endless war’?

by Agence France-Presse

The Pentagon has been issuing near daily announcements of new strikes against Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia, seemingly without affecting the Al-Qaeda affiliate’s ability to destabilize the country, in what is looking like a new “endless war” for the United States.

The Trump administration’s plans to reduce its military presence in Africa while re-centering its efforts toward two key strategic competitors — China and Russia — are coming at the expense of French-led operations against jihadists in the Sahel region.

So far, however, the war of attrition against the Al-Shabaab has continued unabated.

“Al-Shabaab is one of the biggest threats on the continent; they have aspirations to attack the (US) homeland,” General Roger Cloutier, commander of US land forces in Africa, recently declared.

“The danger that they pose has to be taken very, very seriously,” he said during a recent Pentagon conference call. “So we are focused hard on Al-Shabaab.”

20TH STRIKE
The US Africa Command (Africom) on Friday announced an air strike on a Shabaab target near the town of Qunyo Barrow, in southern Somalia. One Shabaab fighter was killed, the statement said.

It was the 20th strike against the Islamist insurgents by US forces in Somalia since the start of the year, after 64 strikes in 2019 and 43 in 2018, according to data from the New America policy center in Washington.

“The phrase that people use is ‘continue to mow the lawn,’ right? Pull the weeds,” US Defense Secretary Mark Esper explained late last year, in reference to air strikes against jihadists in Libya and Somalia.

“And that means, every now and then you have to do these things to stay on top of it so that a threat doesn’t grow, doesn’t resurge,” he said.

But Shabaab militants are estimated to number between 5,000 and 9,000, so even if US forces continued to eliminate one or two of their fighters every day, it could take years to kill them all — assuming that no replacements are recruited.

That makes it sound a lot like the sort of “endless war” that US President Donald Trump detests.

GROWING THREAT
In a first public report on the US military operation in Somalia published in February, the Pentagon’s acting inspector general, Glenn Fine, recalled that part of Africom’s stated mission is to ensure that by 2021, Shabaab, the Islamic State in Somalia and other terrorist groups have been sufficiently “degraded such that they cannot cause significant harm to US interests.”

But, Fine wrote, “despite continued US airstrikes in Somalia and US assistance to African partner forces, Al-Shabaab appears to be a growing threat that aspires to strike the US homeland.”

The inspector general’s office operates independently within the Pentagon.

In fact, on January 5, Shabaab militants attacked a US-Kenyan military base in Lamu in southeastern Kenya near the border with Somalia, killing three Americans.

Earlier, on December 28, Shabaab fighters led one of the deadliest attacks of the decade in Somalia when a booby-trapped vehicle exploded at a busy checkpoint in the capital Mogadishu, killing 81 people.

Some US officials have expressed concern over the lack of tangible results in a war that many Americans know nothing of, a war waged largely by aerial drones and a small force of elite ground troops.

STRATEGY
General Stephen Townsend, Africom’s commander, defended the US strategy when questioned in January by members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“I don’t believe that it’s whack-a-mole,” or a futile and unwinnable game, he told lawmakers. “We’re looking for ways to reduce their capacity wherever we can.”

Catherine Besteman of the Watson Institute, a research center at Brown University that each year calculates the cost of US wars, concluded in a report last year that foreign military intervention “has not ameliorated the impact of Al-Shabaab activities and, if anything, has augmented its ability to control the local population.”

She said that Shabaab benefit from a war economy by extorting locals and siphoning off international aid sent to the impoverished country.

Amnesty International has reported that US air strikes have claimed many civilian lives, something the US military has denied.

Amnesty said in a 2019 report that US air strikes — which it said sometimes indiscriminately targets both Shabaab and civilians — had resulted in the deaths of farmers, workers and even children.

The group accused the US military of showing “appalling disregard for civilians.”

Following an internal inquiry, the US forces did admit to responsibility for civilian casualties in one attack: the deaths of a woman and a child in a strike near the central town of El Buur in April 2018.

Posted in SomaliaComments Off on Somalia: The Pentagon’s new ‘endless war’?

How Many Civilians Have Died as Strikes Escalate in Somalia?

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

BYAmy Goodman & Juan González

Democracy Now!

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The Trump administration is rapidly escalating a secretive air war in Somalia. According to the think tank New America, at least 252 people have been killed in around two dozen U.S. airstrikes in Somalia so far this year. The U.S. has already carried out more strikes in Somalia in 2019 than in any single year under President Obama. In addition to the air war, the Pentagon reportedly has about 500 U.S. troops on the ground in Somalia, including many special operations forces. For years, the U.S. has attempted to aid the Somali government by targeting members of al-Shabab, but the effort has increased dramatically under Trump, and it has come with little congressional oversight or media attention. We speak with Amanda Sperber, a freelance journalist who reports from Nairobi, Kenya, and Mogadishu, Somalia. Her new article for The Nation is titled “Inside the Secretive US Air Campaign in Somalia.”

TRANSCRIPT

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We begin today’s show looking at Somalia, where the Trump administration is rapidly escalating a secretive air war. According to the think tank New America, at least 252 people have been killed in around two dozen U.S. airstrikes in Somalia so far this year. The U.S. has already carried out more strikes in Somalia in 2019 than in any single year under President Obama. The most recent reported strike occurred Thursday. According to the U.S. military, 26 fighters with the militant group al-Shabab were killed. Just days earlier, another strike killed 35. It is not known if any civilians were killed in those operations.

AMY GOODMAN: In addition to the air war, the Pentagon reportedly has about 500 U.S. troops on the ground in Somalia, including many special operations forces. For years, the U.S. has attempted to aid the Somali government by targeting members of al-Shabab, but the effort has increased dramatically under President Trump and has come with little congressional oversight or media.

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We’re joined now by a reporter who has closely followed the story. Amanda Sperber is a freelance journalist who reports from Nairobi, Kenya, and Mogadishu, Somalia. Her new article for The Nation is headlined “Inside the Secretive US Air Campaign in Somalia.” The piece was reported in partnership with the Type Investigation.

Amanda Sperber, welcome back to Democracy Now!, this time in our New York studio.

AMANDA SPERBER: Very glad to be here.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s great to have you with us. So, can you explain what’s happening in Somalia right now?

AMANDA SPERBER: I mean, it’s difficult to completely know what’s happening in Somalia, because so much of the country is inaccessible because it’s controlled by the militant group Al-Shabab, that’s declared allegiance to al-Qaeda. But from my understanding, speaking to more than two dozen people displaced in the area where the U.S. is certainly on the record conducting airstrikes, civilians are being killed in the campaign that the U.S. is carrying out there. And that campaign has tripled under the Trump administration.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now, there’s no acknowledgment by the United States of any civilians being killed. How were you able to access these particular people who had fled from the region that was under attack?

AMANDA SPERBER: Basically, I targeted two areas: Lower and Middle Shabelle, where the U.S., again, releases regular press releases of successful attacks. And a lot of those people, whose family members, friends have been killed, houses have been destroyed, are currently displaced right on the outskirts of Mogadishu. So I was able to speak to them pretty accessibly, just leveraging networks, not profit organizations and stuff, to sort of — I mean, it’s pretty easy to find people who have been impacted by American airstrikes. It’s kind of shocking.

AMY GOODMAN: You write that AFRICOM’s policy under both the Obama and Trump administrations has been to only publicly acknowledge U.S. airstrikes either through a press release or a policy called “responses to questions.” Under the policy, AFRICOM will only verify a mission if they’re asked about a specific date. One of the people that you spoke with was John Manley, the Africa Command’s media relations chief, who said, quote, “We acknowledge whatever we’ve done. If we say, ‘No, it did not happen,’ then no, it did not happen from US AFRICOM.” Amanda, what does that mean?

AMANDA SPERBER: It means that AFRICOM’s claim — and this is something by which I have no reason to dispute — is that they, under no circumstances, would not lie — i.e., if I say, “Did you conduct a strike on XYZ date?” they would not, under any circumstances, say they did not. However, under the RTQ policy, if I say, “Did you conduct a strike on April 13th?” and it was conducted on April 14th, they would be able to say, with good conscience, “No, we did not.” And then, the other thing is, that also doesn’t take into account either — I mean, that doesn’t even take into account like time zones. So, you know, you could be talking about a 5-hour difference. So there’s so many technicalities that could come into play with that. That also doesn’t take into account covert or classified operations, nor does it take into account the fact that, under Trump, the CIA is allowed to conduct airstrikes independently of AFRICOM. This was reported by The Wall Street Journal in March 2017.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: So, in other words, in addition to whatever strikes maybe have been conducted and acknowledged by the U.S. military, there could be many other strikes that have occurred that have not been reported at all.

AMANDA SPERBER: Exactly. And I came across strikes that were unaccounted for, both from leaked internal security reports from NGOs, that noted, you know, a strike happening in a certain place; I also came upon strikes that I would RTQ — responses to queries — a date. They would acknowledge they conducted a strike on that date, and yet it would not match with an internal report, meaning that they were — I was finding a strike that happened in one location on, again, say, April 13th; they would say, “Yes, we did conduct a strike on April 13th; and then, when pushed on the locations, an NGO is saying one place, and AFRICOM is saying, “Oh, yeah, we did do that strike, but it happened somewhere else.”

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But now, let me ask you — this ramping up of the strikes has occurred during the Trump administration, but there’s also been a new president, as well, in Somalia, as well.

AMANDA SPERBER: Yes.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Could you talk about the internal dynamics there, in terms of how these — the impact these strikes are having, in general, in the country?

AMANDA SPERBER: Sure. So, the Somali president, the current president of Somalia, who took office one month after Trump took office, in February 2017, is also Somali-American. I believe he worked for the U.S. government in Albany or Buffalo, upstate New York, before coming back to Somalia. And he spent decades in America. This is something that, I think, concerns a lot of Somalis, including, indeed, his former close advisers, that he sort of is especially willing to basically cede ground to the Americans — i.e. if they’re in a meeting and the military or the CIA says, “We want to do this,” he is very likely to just sort of say, “OK, yeah, if that’s what you want.” I mean, on top of that, the Somali government is still quite fragile. And, you know, it’s just lacking, unfortunately, kind of necessarily — the Ministry of Defense and stuff — the same kind of expertise that the U.S. might be coming in with, such that, in meetings, the dynamic is going to necessarily kind of be uncomfortably skewed so that people on the Somali side are more likely to just say, “OK, if that works for you, and you say you can get al-Shabab, sure. Thank you.”

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you about a statement issued on June 1st by the United States Africa Command, or AFRICOM. The statement came after a U.S. airstrike in Bariire, a village outside Mogadishu. In it, you interviewed a woman who had been injured in the strike, who said she saw three young boys die in the explosion. AFRICOM’s statement on the strike reads, “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Forces conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab militants approximately 30 miles southwest of Mogadishu, Somalia, on May 31, killing twelve (12) terrorists. We currently assess no civilians were killed in this airstrike.” So, this seems to be a perfect example of what you’re finding on the ground on a regular basis. And if news organizations report at all on what’s happening in Somalia, they say — they repeat that language, “killing the terrorists” or “killing al-Shabab.” Tell us about this woman.

AMANDA SPERBER: So, for example, this is the kind of situation where — I mean, this woman is a Somali nomad, so she doesn’t necessarily have an exact Western calendar. But the way she described the strike was, the dates that she approximated and the location that she approximated made it extremely, extremely likely that what she was talking about, I mean, matched almost entirely with what AFRICOM was describing. And then, in terms of those three kids, to me, what could have happened — and I guess I should also note, I spoke to her one month, and then I spoke to her twice more, weeks apart. And every single time her story was the same. I think that’s something that also comes up a lot, is people will say the allegations aren’t credible. But down to the names and ages, everything she said matched. And I don’t think this woman is sitting in a displacement camp like trying to remember. So, basically, what I think could have happened in a situation like that is either AFRICOM doesn’t have a correct count of who they killed, or they’re just counting everybody as, quote-unquote, “terrorists,” or they just don’t know, so it’s hard to say.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask you — there are approximately 500 American troops on the ground in Somalia. What kind of authorization do they have to be there?

AMANDA SPERBER: I mean, that, I can’t really speak to. I would say that the Somali Ministry of Defense and the Pentagon would have, presumably, worked out — worked that out.

AMY GOODMAN: And the overall — as we begin to wrap up, the significance of the CIA being involved in these airstrikes, outside of AFRICOM, why this remains so secretive, this amped-up air war?

AMANDA SPERBER: Sorry. Can you repeat the question?

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the significance of the CIA bombing Somalia?

AMANDA SPERBER: I mean, just to be clear, we don’t know that the CIA is conducting airstrikes in Somalia. All I can say is that it’s — the CIA could be operating anywhere, and it seems, given that there are these holes both from international NGOs and from people displaced by U.S. airstrikes, that there’s a possibility that there’s more than one American actor operating in the area.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you so much for being with us. And welcome back to the United States, as you cover Somalia from Somalia and also Kenya. Amanda Sperber, freelance journalist, splitting her time between Nairobi and Mogadishu. Her piece, we’ll link to, in The Nation is headlined “Inside the Secretive US Air Campaign in Somalia.”

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States. Stay with us.

Posted in SomaliaComments Off on How Many Civilians Have Died as Strikes Escalate in Somalia?

US Killing Civilians With ‘Impunity’ in Hidden War on Somalia

NOVANEWS

“The attacks appear to have violated international humanitarian law.”

An MQ-9 Reaper drone flies a combat mission over southern Afghanistan.

An MQ-9 Reaper drone flies a combat mission over southern Afghanistan. (Photo: Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt, U.S. Air Force)

A human rights group is accusing the United States of waging a shadow air war in Somalia that is killing civilians with abandon.

Amnesty International issued its findings on the African war Tuesday evening in a report titled The Hidden US War in Somalia (pdf).

The U.S. has been covertly engaging in conflicts in Somalia for decades, but in April 2017, the Donald Trump administration upped airstrikes and attacks targeted at the rebel group Al-Shabaab.

The human rights advocacy group studied five of more than 100 strikes on Somalia over the past two years and found that 14 civilians were killed in the attacks. Eight others were injured, the report says.

“These five incidents were carried out with Reaper drones and manned aircraft in Lower Shabelle,” Amnesty said in a press release, “a region largely under Al-Shabaab control outside the Somali capital Mogadishu.”

The U.S. military denied to Amnesty that any civilians have been killed as a result of American operations in Somalia.

However, Amnesty’s report claims its methodology is sound and that the evidence is overwhelming.

“The attacks appear to have violated international humanitarian law,” the organization said, “and some may amount to war crimes.”

In comments provided to the media, Brian Castner, the group’s senior crisis advisor on arms and military operations, claimed that the continued airstrikes are also a sign of the Trump administration’s aggressive use of military action across the world.

“The civilian death toll we’ve uncovered in just a handful of strikes suggests the shroud of secrecy surrounding the US role in Somalia’s war is actually a smokescreen for impunity,” Castner said.

Amnesty is calling for an official government investigation into the killings and airstrikes and urging people to add their name to a petition to Congress to force action. Ella Knight, an Amnesty researcher concentrating on military, security and police, said that pushing for oversight is key.

“The U.S. government must ensure investigations into all credible allegations of civilian casualties are carried out with accountability for those responsible for violations and reparation made to the victims and survivors,” said Knight.

The mission doesn’t end with U.S. and Somali accountability, Knight added. She argued it’s the responsibility of both governments to make it easier and safer for communities affected by the war to publicly acknowledge civilian casualties.

“Both the US and Somali governments need to put an end the lack of transparency and must do more to enable affected communities to self-report civilian casualties,” Knight said. “Without this, justice is likely to remain elusive.”



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Why Cash and Connections Remain Somalia’s Most Popular Currencies

NOVANEWS

In the moral version of human history – expressed in the Quran, Bible, and Torah – corruption is considered the worst reckless impulse that caused men to fall from grace. It was the betrayal of trust and loyalty for purely selfish gains.

From that perspective, the root cause of corruption is individual moral shutdown, derailment or deficiency. On the other hand, modern-day scrutiny of corruption zooms in on institutions and good governance – professional and technocratic excellence and adherence to policies and procedures.

Much of this article will be dealing with the latter perspective, though no lasting solution to corruption can be found without considering the individual aspect. This could be the reason why corruption is scandalously ever-present in every aspect of the Somali government.

Harmonized Contradictions

Ironically, if a “Corruption Hall of Shame” were inaugurated, the majority of the top 10 list would be Muslim rulers representing nations ranking high in natural resources. Somalia would be leading the list as it has the past decade. This is the direct result of a culture of impunity and a lack of anti-corruption teachings.

However, you would not have heard this from the former UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Somalia Michael Keating. In his briefing to the Security Council last month, he said that Somalia has “a government with a compelling reform agenda anchored in strong partnership between President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre.” He continued by telling the Council members that “its centerpiece is to make the country creditworthy and accountable as a step to gain full sovereignty, reduce dependency and attract both public and private investments. IMF benchmarks are being met … and debt relief is closer.”

Well, of course. Somalia’s politicians are ready for more loans and dodgy deals such as Soma Oil and Gas, whose former Executive Director for Africa is the country’s current prime minister. Never mind the glaring conflict of interests.

Being instituted a few months after Somalia emerged out of its “transitional period” in 2012, the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) was established as a central bank of the donor funds and to facilitate the reconciliation process. However, UNSOM gradually morphed into the carrot-dangler that lures all across the political spectrum, the gatekeeper of the political process, and the legitimizer of any selected new government through corruption as long as it does not challenge certain dubious deals such as Soma Oil and Gas and the massive IMF and World Bank debts.

Incidentally, the United Kingdom is Somalia’s penholder at the Security Council. In other words, the U.K. has the most powerful role in all Somalia related issues. It has the exclusive authority to draft resolutions and frame any debate on the country. All three UNSOM leaders were British (guerilla) diplomats, though the latest has South African citizenship.

If I was not blunt enough in the past, let me try again. The international apparatus that was set up to “fix Somalia” is the main hoax for keeping it perpetually broken. As long as there are corrupt or pitifully credulous Somali politicians who are eager to legitimize the current system for their personal gains the nation will remain at the mercy of international and local predators.

As long as there are corrupt or pitifully credulous Somali politicians who are eager to legitimize the current system for their personal gains, the schizophrenia – journey toward sovereignty – will continue and the nation will remain at the mercy of international and local predators.

On Scale

In a 2013 article titled The Corruption Tango I wrote: “While robust functioning of all governmental institutions and policies of checks and balances are crucial to fighting corruption, the most crucial is the branch that enforces such policies.” Five years later, there is not an iota of improvement towards that end. The courts remain scandalously corrupt. Cash, clan, and connections are still the three most popular currencies in Somalia. Yet the current government audaciously claims it is committed to ending corruption.

Can a government that came to power through a manifestly corrupt process of purchasing votes through dark money “eradicate that sick mentality,” as Prime Minster Khayre said in 2017? Of course not, but it can manage perceptions and put on a good show for public relations.

Selective Enforcement and Co-option

Unlike its predecessor, the current government has a clever plan for distraction. They routinely carry out public prosecutions of petty corruption cases with media fanfare and public trumpet blasts while turning a blind eye to various shady deals that involve top officials within the government.

A few mega “corporations” practically own the entire country. Over the past two decades, these companies, especially those in the telecommunication business who are granted exclusive right to use the official gateway and country code without paying licensing fees or taxes, have been investing in keeping business as usual. It is an open secret how these mega companies co-opt key political actors by bringing them on board as stakeholders or through kickbacks to ensure their silence. Meanwhile, the old lady selling tomatoes under the scorching sun is routinely harassed by the municipality to pay her “public service” dues.

This widely accepted, flagrantly unjust clan-based system, known as the 4.5 system, remains the most potent force that maintains the culture of corruption and impunity in Somalia. Certain clans are guaranteed high ministerial positions. Once inside, these ministers are expected to suck as much as they can for their respective clans, themselves or both. Nepotism continues to be the most common practice in all branches of the government.

Abukar Arman

@Abukar_Arman

4.5 system isn’t z real problem. It’s z Orwellian mindset that “All (clans) are equal, but some (clans) are more equal than others”

See Abukar Arman’s other Tweets

Defusing Scrutiny

Like the previous governments, the current administration facilitates key Members of Parliament and their family members with foreign medical services, scholarships for their children, and armored vehicles for protection.

Certain elements within the international community not only tolerate this corruption but also cultivate the right environment for it. Selected Somalian ministers may be granted easy access to funds for this or that project, or may be invited to some of those never-ending conferences in foreign cities. In return, these key individuals give those in the international community priceless cover, a patronage system, and a code of silence that sustains a two-way system of corruption.

Most of the Somalian ministers are members of the parliament, and the government is aggressively using whatever is in its disposal to co-opt the parliament. Only days after President Farmajo returned from his Qatar state visit in May, his office or the executive branch offered the Somali parliamentarians a deal none of them could refuse: an early vacation or recess and $5,000 cash per MP – so much for checks and balances.

These actions are to neutralize a restless parliament bent on advancing a “no confidence” motion to oust the current prime minister, whose long affiliation with the predatory Soma Oil and Gas and his draconian policies to silence opposition groups reached a breaking point.

You probably got the hunch now as to why a provisional constitution that fails to address key issues such as the national border has been the law of the land since 2012, why “constitutional reform” conferences are being held almost bi-monthly, and why the Constitutional Court and an Independent Reconciliation Commission are not established.

Corruption does not only erode public trust or causes division and malice. It squanders scarce resources and thus creates an existential threat. Impunity opens the gate for a culture of self-destruction (politically, economically, socially, and spiritually). Therefore, institutional tolerance of a culture of corruption is corruption.

Corruption is dangerous as it directly undermines security by making infiltration and intelligence compromise an easy endeavor. Terrorists have been going through checkpoints and security barricades very easily to reach their soft targets.

When it comes to corruption, there is no such thing as “bottom top” reform. There is only “top bottom.” Both the parliament and the executive branch are well aware of where to start if and when they become serious about fighting corruption. But knowing what kind of funky business it is in, the government remains too thin-skinned when it comes to scrutiny or criticism.



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Al Shabaab and ISIS-Daesh: Why Did an American Sacrifice His Life for AFRICOM in Somalia?

NOVANEWS

Al Shabaab’s killing of an American soldier in southern Somalia brings AFRICOM back into the limelight and restarts the conversation about why US troops are even still there in the first place.

The news came in on Friday that Al Shabaab terrorists had killed an American soldier in southern Somalia and injured four others during an attack against US troops and some of their African allies near the port city of Kismayo. This isn’t the first time that something like this has happened, and its sporadic occurrence over the years has restarted the conversation about why US troops are still in the Horn of Africa country to begin with despite the highly publicized Mogadishu debacle in 1993 that permanently scarred the American psyche. The official reason is that they’re there at the request of the host government in order to assist in its anti-terrorist operations, but the real explanation has more to do with strengthening the US’ continental-wide network of informal bases and special forces rapid deployment troops that operate under the shadowy aegis of AFRICOM.

Al Shabaab And Daesh: A Specious Comparison

Short for Africa Command, AFRICOM is “Pentagon-speak” for the US military’s operations all across that landmass, and thousands of American troops are already active in dozens of countries and several combat missions at any given time despite there only officially being one US base on the continent in Djibouti. Along with the Sahel region and especially the portion near the MalianNigerien border, the Horn of Africa and specifically Somalia occupy the center of the Pentagon’s focus because of the prevalence of terrorist groups there, though the situation in the latter shouldn’t be completely compared to the former. Daesh openly operates in West Africa, whereas it has yet to officially enter into the Somalian battlespace even though its reported Al Shabaab partner is equally as extreme as they are.

The crucial difference, however, is that Al Shabaab has no desire for plotting extra-regional attacks in Europe, for example, but it does endeavor to carve out what could be described as a regional caliphate comprised of the ethnic Somalis living in the borderland regions of Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya, capitalizing as it has on the ethno-nationalism that has an historical tendency of galvanizing the masses. That being said, the group’s mixture of militantly imposed fundamentalist Islam has lost it the appeal that its purely secular nationalist forerunners enjoyed, though that doesn’t make Al Shabaab any less of a regional threat than Daesh. Although they don’t have any global ambitions, Al Shabaab could in theory catalyze an extra-regional crisis if it were to be successful enough in its Horn of Africa campaign that it sparked a large-scale migrant exodus to Europe.

Lead From The Front

That scenario, however, isn’t too likely to ever happen because it would probably be nipped in the bud well before it ever got to that point, as was seen most clearly in 2006 when the US encouraged Ethiopia to invade Somalia in order to dislodge the Islamic Courts Union from which Al Shabaab later emerged in the aftermath. The US’ “Lead From  Behind” proxy management of the region and elsewhere in the world would initially make one wonder why it feels compelled to do the “heavy lifting” directly by putting its own soldiers’ lives on the line if it could just “contract” this task out to others, but that impression overlooks the geostrategic changes that have taken place in the time since, specifically Ethiopia’s de-facto alliance with China in becoming its most important African partner.

Although Addis Ababa will undoubtedly behave proactively to protect its security interests in the future, it’s no longer the regional proxy for the US as it once was, which has changed the entire strategic equation for America. Instead of depending on the Horn of Africa giant, the US has realized that it’s better to engage in “surgical” drone and special forces interventions from time to time as well as cooperate with the rising Arab hegemon of the UAE, which has rapidly established several bases in the region and most notably in the de-facto independent northwestern region of Somaliland. Although Abu Dhabi and Mogadishu don’t’ get along right now precisely because of the aforementioned development, that actually works to America’s advantage because it keeps Somalia weak and therefore dependent on AFRICOM support, which has become all the more important in the context of the African Union’s phased military downscaling in the country.

The Central African Republic Model

Keeping Somalia reliant on US military support is actually advantageous for America because it allows the Pentagon to indefinitely remain in the country and keep an eye on its Turkish partners who have just recently opened up a base outside the capital. Furthermore, the regional ideology of Somali Nationalism is still alive, albeit publicly dormant at the moment and somewhat discredited because of Al Shabaab’s exploitation of it, though it could always be repackaged and rearticulated at a later date by new US proxies if it ever desires to weaponize this for geostrategic purposes in destabilizing the increasingly Chinese-friendly governments of neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya. The “lazy” approach would be to guide Al Shabaab in those two directions just like it did with Daesh against Syria and Iraq, but a more credible and potentially effective approach can’t be discounted in the future.

It should be reminded that this isn’t just groundless speculation about American strategy either but the application of the Central African Republic (CAR) model onto the region. To explain, the “NGO”-drivenviral video campaign of “Kony 2012” six years ago created the pretext for AFICOM to hunt down the warlord in the quadri-national space between his native UgandaSouth Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the CAR, and interestingly enough, by the end of that year Muslim “rebels” were on the warpath rampaging across the last-mentioned country on the way to topple President Bozizie who had just recently signed mining agreements with China. In all likelihood, AFRICOM forces used the cover of “catching Kony” to train these same “rebel” in the eastern CAR just like they could possibly do one day with Somalian ones in Ethiopia and Kenya from bases in their eponymous country.

Concluding Thoughts

AFRICOM’s flexible use of anti-Silk Road Hybrid War instruments all throughout the continent is why the US has surreptitiously deployed its forces in Somalia and many other countries on the landmass, with these soldiers never actually being used so much for strengthening their host governments as they are for keeping them in a weak and dependent relationship on their American overlords. “Anti-terrorist cooperation” is the cover for this vassal-lord relationship, the narrative of which is exploited through decontextualized “victories” from time to time and an over-exaggeration of any given threat’s relevance to the US’ direct national security interests, as is the case in both instances with Somalia. The American who just sacrificed his life for AFRICOM in Somalia didn’t do it save his homeland from an “imminent terrorist plot” or even to prevent a terrorist victory sometime far off in the future that could set off another Migrant Crisis in Europe, but to give his country better Unconventional Warfare leverage against China in the New Cold War.



Posted in USA, SomaliaComments Off on Al Shabaab and ISIS-Daesh: Why Did an American Sacrifice His Life for AFRICOM in Somalia?

Imperialism, Intervention, “War On Terror” Detonate In Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA — In the Somali capital of Mogadishu, nearly 400 were killed, hundreds more were injured, and dozens are still missing after a car bomb was detonated at a busy intersection. According to a Somali official, the original target was a newly erected Turkish military base, the largest of its kind, and the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency believes that the perpetrators were members of the terrorist group al-Shabab.

Somalia is now struggling to deal with the aftermath of an attack that is not the first of its kind, on top of living with the impact of an ongoing famine. But the start of this nightmare in Somalia begins and continues with imperialism.

In 1992, with Operation Restore Hope, the U.S. intervened militarily in Somalia under the guise of “humanitarian relief” — and this came after gaining access to the country’s oil fields, thanks to the Carter administration. In 1993 The New York Times reported that there were some 10,000 Somali casualties in the span of four months, two-thirds of them women and children.


More by Roqayah Chamseddine


As interventionism in Somalia surged, stories of torture and other forms of abuse began to appear involving foreign soldiers in the country. In 1994 Canadian troops were involved in graphic violence against Somali civilians, and pictures were released showing the abuse of a teenager who was tortured until he died. In 1997 Italy confirmed that its soldiers brutally tortured Somali men, women and children, but senior officials were absolved.

In recent years the U.S. has expanded its war on Somalia, thanks to a drone program that was revitalized under Obama. All of this has resulted in the deaths of hundreds. These attacks, which the U.S. argues are a necessary part of the wider “War on Terror,” have further destabilized Somalia, and have resulted in nothing beyond utter devastation. There has been a great expenditure on weaponry and troop deployments, all devoted to the containment of a group that’s estimated to have fewer than 10,000 members.

The Trump administration has sent more U.S. troops to Somalia to “advise and assist,” though they are very much armed and able to engage in combat. The violence that is forced upon the people of Somalia will continue, not only because of the actions of al-Shabab but owing also to the role of the U.S. and allies in weakening the country, and bringing about even more bloodshed.



Posted in SomaliaComments Off on Imperialism, Intervention, “War On Terror” Detonate In Mogadishu

Somalia Accepts Assistance From Foreign Destabilizers

NOVANEWS

Image result for AMIN ART

Delegates from nearly 50 countries, as well as representatives from major international organizations met in London yesterday to attend the Somalia Conference and discuss signs of progress in a country that has been devastated by 21 years of war. The British Foreign Office described the goals of the conference in anticipation of the event:

The Somalia conference in London aims to capitalize on the significant progress made over the past year and to agree coordinated international support for the government of Somalia’s plans to build political stability by improving security, police, justice and public financial management systems.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud seized the opportunity to call upon assembled heads of governments, foreign investors and international financiers to secure the funding needed to spearhead Somalia’s security and development challenges. “We need support; we need assistance and investment; and we need protection from those who try to knock us over.”

With the United States pledging to provide $40 million in additional funds to develop Somalia’s security sector, stabilize the country and provide humanitarian assistance on top of the UK’s commitment of $54 million to assist Somalia in it’s fight against international terrorism, and piracy, it looks like Somalia left the conference with it’s gift basket full.

Somalia has a recent history of accepting assistance from countries that have helped create the problems Somalia must confront.

As early as 2001 former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld speculated, “Somalia has been a place that has harbored al Qaeda and, to my knowledge, still is.” Early plans to conduct military strikes in Somalia as part of America’s “war on terror” were initially abandoned “because of insufficient intelligence”. In 2006 the United States provided training, drones and military equipment to Ethiopian troops to oust the Islamic Courts Union, a group American intelligence officials theorized had connections to an East African Al-Qaeda cell. Headed at the time by Sheik Sharif Ahmed, the United States sought to destroy the Islamic Courts Union and the Sheik himself. Once the nascent order established by the Islamic Courts Union was toppled, Al-Shabaab, the feared islamist group conference attendees vowed to help dismantle, sought to fill the power vacuum. In a policy u-turn Washington decided to support newly elected President Sheik Sharif Ahmed, the leader they overthrew three years earlier and then train and arm his security forces to confront the mushrooming enemy. In 2009 Secretary of State Hilary Clinton flew to the US Embassy in Nairobi to confirm the United State’s support for Somalia’s new leader and pledge assistance in developing the country’s security forces. Within months Somalia was receiving US training and military equipment to assist the transitional government in it’s fight against the islamist organization, Al-Shabaab.

The origins of Al-Shabaab are rooted in the 2006 intervention. After the Islamic Courts Union was defeated by US backed Ethiopian forces hardline members splintered from the movement, merged with disparate groups of radical islamists and formed Al-Shabaab. In a policy u-turn Washington decided to support the leader they previously overthrew and then train and arm his security forces to confront the mushrooming enemy.

In addition to setting the stage for Al-Shabaab the United States implementation of “preventative counter insurgency operations” in the Horn of Africa have by some estimates resulted in the killing of 42 civilians. Detailed analysis by The Nation’s Jeremy Schahill reveal the extent to which the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and the CIA have been carrying out a covert war in the country with lethal consequences for enemies and non-enemies alike. On January 7, 2007 the United States carried out it’s first military strike on Somalia after tracking a suspected Al-Qaeda convoy with a predator drone which was reported to have killed militants responsible for the 1998 embassy bombings. A third air-strike three days later was reported to have had different results.

4-31 total reported killed
4-31 civilians reported killed, including 1 child
Heavy civilian casualties were reported in airstrikes on Hayi near Afmadow, on Hayi, 250km northwest of Ras Kamboni, and other parts of southern Somalia, in confusing reports which may conflate activity by US and other forces. An elder told Reuters 22-27 people had been killed, while a Somali politician told CBS News that 31 civilians ‘including a newlywed couple’ had been killed by two helicopters near Afmadow, while Mohamed Mahmud Burale told AP that at least four civilians were killed on Monday evening in Hayi, including his four-year-old son.

The young Yemeni Farea Al-Muslimi’s testimony before a Senate hearing on drones last month illustrates the counter productivity of American drone and air strikes in countries associated with the war on terror. Muslimi, whose village had been bombed by drones a week before the hearing described how these operations increased the numbers of people who sympathized with extreme islamists rather than preventing the growth of anti-American sentiments.

What radicals had previously failed to achieve in my village one drone strike accomplished in an instant: there is now an intense anger and growing hatred of America.

AQAP’s power and influence has never been based on the number of members in its ranks. AQAP recruits and retains power through its ideology, which relies in large part on the Yemeni people believing that America is at war with them . . .

I have to say that the drone strikes and the targeted killing program have made my passion and mission in support of America almost impossible in Yemen. In some areas of Yemen, the anger against America that results from the strikes makes it dangerous for me to even acknowledge having visited America, much less testify how much my life changed thanks to the State Department scholarships. It’s sometimes too dangerous to even admit that I have American friends.

With President Mohamoud lined up to receive an additional $95 million from the United States and the UK to help Somalia combat terrorism, one wonders if terrorism in Somalia is not a self-fulfilling prophecy. The United States main target in Somalia continues to be Al-Shabaab as African Command General Carter Ham reported before the American Forces Press Service. Yet Al-Shabaab was non-existent before America began it’s “classic proxy war” by assisting Ethiopia in its invasion of Somalia in 2006. Furthermore it was not until 2007 that leaders of the islamist group affiliated themselves with Al-Qaeda, six years after the United States identified Somalia as part of the war on terror.

President Mohamoud will receive the support, assistance, investment and protection he sought at yesterday’s Somalia Conference. Unfortunately he will be receiving it from those largely responsible for creating the conditions that threaten “to knock [Somalia] over”.



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The Drone War: Understanding Who Must Die From Above

NOVANEWS

Photo by Debra Sweet | CC BY 2.0

In late October of 2016, I took a break from reading for my various social science courses to work for a couple of hours at my work-study job at the Vassar College Athletics Communications Office. On this particular day, I had to provide commentary and audio for a video stream of the game which is played live online, largely for parents and family members of the players. At halftime, the parents of someone on the team approached my boss to talk, and in this conversation, one parent casually commented that the other loved to watch their child play while in their office at General Atomics. General Atomics, the defense contracting company which, among other things, manufactures the MQ-1 Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper, the two most-used military drones.

This chance meeting with a General Atomics employee speaks to the larger context of drone warfare as well as the logics behind it. This person could, through a video image and the sound of my voice, be transported from an office in California to a sports field 3,000 miles away. At the same time, General Atomics was producing and selling military drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the U.S. military to be used in locations across the world, thousands of miles away, while being controlled remotely in places such as Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.

In the context of the game stream, one is completely aware of the rules of the contest and the bounds of play, the participants are numbered and their names are listed, they are in uniform, and their actions are occurring within a clear set of guidelines and norms. No one is trying to speculate on the loves, hates, future plans, or deep-seeded beliefs of players based on the footage. Further, the contest is projected with my description and the assistance of statistics and information provided by a team of people there, who know the athletes, and the coaches, and can hear and see close up what is occurring. In the other context, the U.S. military takes control over decisions of life and death in places they do not and cannot understand, making decisions based on their understandings of patterns of life and metadata from thousands of feet in the air. There are not rules to what they are seeing, there are no uniforms, and there is rarely information in any fashion from people who are physically present. Instead, it is just the video, being watched from thousands of miles away, as people are targeted for death.

How do we begin to understand an outlook where an un-narrated stream of a sporting event would be self-explanatorily difficult to understand, but similar video footage gathered by unmanned aerial vehicles is sufficient to understand who below must die? The perceptions and lenses that enable this outlook must be picked apart in order to comprehend (and begin to resist) the pull of drone warfare.

Drone-use has become the United States’ preferred way of waging war. Unmanned aerial vehicles are piloted remotely from thousands of miles away providing both surveillance in near-constant streams, and the ability to drop bombs. Through this new means of violence, Americans are not vulnerable, and are instead separated physically from the violence and death. The U.S. drone campaign is waged almost entirely in secret and without the hindrance of laws, international or domestic. The U.S. Executive and the various military and intelligence agencies involved are able to forward the drone war with unilateral power, with U.S. sovereignty extending globally.

In a short time in early 2016, the United States “deployed remotely piloted aircraft to carry out deadly attacks in six countries across Central and South Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East, and it announced that it had expanded its capacity to carry out attacks in a seventh,” the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer explains. Drone bombs kill people not only in “hot war zones” like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, but also in Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and Pakistan.

A myriad of ethical and moral problems arise in the face of this new way of killing engaged in the United States. The dominant institutional justification for drone-use, as outlined by former President Barack Obama and others involved, asserts that the strikes of drones are safer, smarter, more efficient, more accurate, and cost less lives (American and otherwise) than the methods used in traditional warfare.  They are the civilized way of waging war. Over the course of his eight years in office, Obama repeatedly asserted that he was not “opposed to all war” but instead “opposed to dumb wars,” one of which being the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. He contrasted drone-use with “conventional airpower or missiles” and “invasions of these territories” saying that drones are more precise, cause less civilian casualties, and do not “unleash a torrent of unintended consequences” such as causing people to see the U.S. as an invading and occupying force.

However, an engagement with the realities of drone warfare proves these notions to be false. Instead of being ethical, drone-use has unleashed an often indiscriminate volley of bombs on thousands of people in many countries, and drone violence has become a go-to answer to the problem of American existential fear of terrorism.

This is displayed in the continuous and repeated failure of unmanned aerial vehicles and their operators to differentiate friend from foe, supposed-target from civilian. The lack of capacity (or care) to discriminate between people is repeatedly seen, whether it be in the 2011 murder of a Yemeni governor, the first Obama approved Yemeni strike which killed 14 women and 21 children, the first drone attack in Pakistan which left two children dead, the 2013 bombing of 12 Yemeni people in a wedding party, or the murder of American teenager Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi while failing to kill the bomb’s target.

We are left in a present where the call for this somehow ‘ethical’ way of war becomes more and more enticing and normalized as the drone war rages on in the early days of the administration of Donald Trump with no end in sight.

The faith in powerful institutions and U.S. technological ability that enables the view of drones as ethical, as demonstrated by the General Atomics employee, is clearly astronomical. This discourse doesn’t just enable an acceptance of the usage of drones, but an acceptance based on the claim that drones do not kill people but save lives. The new biopolitical and theopolitical sovereignty seen in U.S. drone-use is vulnerable because drones are constantly making mistakes. This is evidence of the incredible strength of the perception of U.S. sovereignty as all-moral and all-knowing, the belief in drone technology as mythically powerful, and the Orientalist view of people in the Middle East and Africa.

However, the indefensible imperial reality of drone violence also reveals that if these produced narratives are weakened, a different understanding of the drone war may emerge. This view could be one that elicits horror, shame, and revulsion, as well as profound fear of the state. But it could also be purposed to weaken the state apparatus that wage drone warfare.



Posted in Middle East, USA, Afghanistan, Pakistan & Kashmir, Somalia, YemenComments Off on The Drone War: Understanding Who Must Die From Above

In the Army of the Lord

NOVANEWS
TUKO
Kenya’s military has been inside Somalia ostensibly pursuing al-Shabaab militants since 2011 as part of the US-led ‘war on terror’. No one knows when the mission will end or its cost. There is little discussion about the war among Kenyans. Government updates are impossible to verify. The public is generally assumed to be in support of the invasion – even when in reality they are so ignorant of what is going on to really care.
Some parents in Kenya would pay a hefty bribe or use their secret networks of influence to have their son enlisted with Kenya Defence Forces. And then the family turns up at their church to offer special prayers of thanksgiving to God for the “miracle breakthrough” of their son’s employment. Jobs are scarce in Kenya. More prayers are offered when the son passes out as a KDF soldier.
Thereafter the son is dispatched to Somalia to fight in the misguided war against Al-Shabaab under the African Union Mission, AMISOM. The family stays awake most nights praying for his safety – and for quick victory of KDF over Al-Shabaab, in the Mighty Name of Jesus!
Meanwhile they enjoy the monies their son is paid by the “international community”. Europe and America are clever enough not to deploy their troops to such an extremely dangerous place as Somalia; but they can pay any government that is stupid and greedy enough to send its sons to die in a war they will never win.
You see, it is called the Military-Industrial-Complex. Military supplies are a top export of Europe and America. And the companies engaged in military contracting are owned by the who’s-who in the top echelons of power. In other words for Europe and America, war is good business.
So our Kenyan son is with AMISOM somewhere in the deserts of Somalia. We are there with him in prayers, day and night. One day, he goes out with a crazed company of soldiers who storm a village, murder all the men, rape every woman and girl they find before butchering them. They shoot at everything that moves, including terrified crawling little children, and burn everything down to ashes. Then the soldiers stagger back to camp with looted gunny bags of charcoal and sugar, singing circumcision songs.
In Nairobi, the KDF Spokesman tweets gleefully that our soldiers killed 127 Al-Shabaab militants in an overnight attack at a key camp. Of course no details are furnished. This is a security issue. We accept what we are told. And so the “good news” quickly spreads out to the ends of the Earth. The parents of our son sing, “Hallelujiah! No one is like unto Our God! Ebenezer!”
Days later, Al-Shabaab overrun an AMISOM camp in retaliation. They massacre hundreds of soldiers, whose number is never revealed. This is a security issue, we are reminded. The soldiers were caught utterly flatfooted while boozing and reciting Swahili lyrics to some local girls who somehow wandered into the camp.
Our son is among the dead.
At the funeral service KDF top dogs speak highly of the young man’s courage and love for Kenya and of his special dedication to the Somali people, especially the poor women and children who are victims of Al-Shabaab. He gave his life for a stable and prosperous Somalia. The parents eulogise their son:
“We loved you, but God loved you more. All is well. Your reward awaits you in Heaven. Till we meet again in glory.”
And all the people say: “Aaameeen!”



Posted in Africa, SomaliaComments Off on In the Army of the Lord

Trump lifts “restrictions” on bombing operations and targeted assassinations

NOVANEWS
Pan-African News Wire

Even with 22,000 western-trained and funded AMISOM troops stationed in Somalia, the country still has not been stabilized. Trump’s directive will only create more death and destruction.

United States President Donald Trump has pledged to intensify the war against the people of Somalia which has gone on for decades.

This latest manifestation of Washington’s intervention in the oil-rich Horn of Africa state came in the form of an executive order granting the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) greater latitude in carrying out military operations inside the country against the al-Shabaab guerrilla movement. However, the Pentagon is attempting to maintain a semblance of caution in their public remarks about military engagement in Somalia.

AFRICOM Commander Marine Corps General Thomas D. Waldhauser said of the situation in Somalia on March 24: “It’s very, very important that we have a very, very high degree of certainty in limiting or entirely avoiding civilian casualties. And obviously the cardinal rule in these types of engagements is to not make more enemies than you already have.”

Trump claims that the policy of the previous administration of President Barack Obama hampered the capacity of the Pentagon to defeat al-Shabaab. In reality the Obama White House continued the same routine bombing operations, funding and training of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), the maintenance of a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) field station in Mogadishu and a flotilla of naval warships off the coast of the strategically located country in the Gulf of Aden.

Despite the militarized posture of successive administrations in Washington extending back to President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s, the nation remains a source of instability throughout the region with a worsening situation for its citizens who are facing growing food insecurity and economic crisis. Even though multi-national oil firms have been drilling for petroleum in the country the people have yet to benefit substantially from their presence.

An article published in the neighboring Kenya’s Daily Nation on April 10 reported: “His March 29 directive removes a requirement that proposed U.S. strikes on Shabaab be vetted at high levels in Washington. The new policy also ends the Obama condition that U.S. attacks can be launched only when the targeted entity is believed to pose a specific threat to Americans. And U.S. raids will no longer be predicated on high probability that civilians will not die as a result.”

There is really no evidence that these were the parameters that guided Pentagon and CIA military and covert action attacks in Somalia. AFRICOM has often denied that its strikes and commando raids deliberately endanger civilians; nevertheless this happens more often than not.

Drone strikes and aerial bombardments have resulted in the deaths and injuries of thousands of Somalis since 2007 when the former administration of President George W. Bush, Jr. sought to undermine the ability of the people to determine their own destiny. Every Somali administration since that period has been under the political dominance of Washington and Wall Street. As a result corruption and inefficiency is widespread while hundreds of thousands of people face joblessness and starvation.

The same Daily Nation report goes on to say that: “the Trump order permits attacks when civilian casualties ‘are deemed necessary and proportionate.’ U.S. officials have acknowledged the heightened danger of civilian deaths — and enhanced recruitment opportunities for Shabaab — as a result of this new authorization.”

A newly-elected administration headed by President Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed, who holds a U.S. passport, declared a renewed war on al-Shabaab after giving its members 60 days to surrender. Nonetheless, the capacity of the Federal Government to maintain security even in the capital of Mogadishu has proven to be extremely limited.

Wave of attacks

On April 9 it was reported that at least fifteen people were killed in a car bomb attack aimed at assassinating the newly-appointed military leader of the Somali Federal Government. This operation took place right in the heart of the capital of Mogadishu in the aftermath of the inauguration of General Ahmed Mohamed Jimale. A driver attempted to ram a vehicle into the convoy carrying General Jimale. The military official survived the attack yet a minibus carrying commuters was struck causing the bulk of casualties.

In a statement made by the spokesman for the Ministry of Internal Security Abdikamil Moalim Shukri, he noted: “A Shabab suicide bomber targeted a military convoy left from the ministry of defense compound which was carrying the newly appointed Somali military chief. No officials were hurt in the blast. All the victims were civilians.”

Within 24 hours yet another attack took place when a soldier wearing military gear walked into the training academy and detonated a bomb. The academy is located in the western section of Mogadishu.

A survivor of the bombing which killed two colonels said of the attacker: “He entered the camp unstopped. We were sitting under a tree when he came and blew himself up among us.”

Also on April 10 a civil servant died when a bomb in his vehicle was detonated apparently through a remote control device in the Hamarweyne district of the capital.

Insecurity in the Gulf of Aden

Just the day before the attempt to assassinate General Jimale, there was a major effort to seize a commercial cargo ship off the coast of the country by so-called pirates. The ship had 19 Filipino sailors aboard during the attack and was only repelled due to the intervention of a joint Chinese and Indian anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden.

This incident was only one of five which have been reported over the last several weeks. Pirates recently took control of a Pakistani-owned ship which was transporting food off the coast of central Somalia. Later an Indian-owned vessel was commandeered and redirected to an area for the purpose of seizing its goods.

Somali Minister of Information Abdirahman Omar Osman told the international press in response to the rash of attacks in the Gulf of Aden: “Somali federal government is ready to do its part. But due to our limitation in terms of resources and capacity, we urgently require the support.”

U.S. policy has undermined Somalia

Even with 22,000 western-trained and funded AMISOM troops stationed in Somalia, the country still has not been stabilized. Trump’s directive will only create more death and destruction.

The humanitarian crisis in the country is worsening with people fleeing to neighboring war-torn Yemen which is also under siege by U.S.-backed forces led by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). A boat filled with Somalian refugees was bombed by the GCC U.S.-manufactured warplanes killing many people on March 17 as they attempted to travel along the Red Sea from Yemen to the Republic of Sudan.

An East African regional bloc of nations known as the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has failed to secure a ceasefire in Somalia. IGAD’s response to the recent bombings has been to threaten further military activity directed against al-Shabaab.

A statement issued by the regional group on April 10 said: “IGAD condemns in the strongest terms possible the Al-Shabab terror attack of Sunday (April 9) that killed innocent citizens and injured others in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. This atrocious terror attack which was targeting Somalia’s new military chief is a failure that once again showed Al-Shabaab terror group’s disrespect for human life and civilians’ protection.”

Yet the regional states in East Africa should condemn U.S. policy in Somalia which has resulted in further militarization of the area, destabilizing the society and enhancing the impoverishment of the people.



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