Pentagon presence in Horn of Africa exposes U.S. lies
In a March 12 interview, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson attempted to place the current Obama administration policy toward Somalia and the Horn of Africa in a non-military context. Carson did admit that support from both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations was approximately $185 million over the last 19 months.
“We have provided limited military support to the Transitional Federal Government through the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM),” Carson noted. He continued, “We have supported the acquisition of nonlethal equipment to the governments of Burundi and to Uganda in particular as well as Djibouti, ranging from communications equipment and uniforms to transportation and support for Ugandan military training of TFG forces.” (U.S. Department of State)
Carson answered a March 5 New York Times report that quoted Pentagon sources saying the U.S. planned to launch aerial bombardments of Somalia in an effort to retake large sections of the capital of Mogadishu and the country as a whole from the control of the Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam resistance groups.
Carson said: “The United States does not plan, does not direct, and it does not coordinate the military operations of the TFG, and we have not and will not be providing direct support for any potential military offensives. Further, we are not providing nor paying for military advisers for the TFG. There is no desire to Americanize the conflict in Somalia.”
Nonetheless, Gen. William Ward, who heads the U.S. Africa Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that any effort by the TFG to retake Mogadishu would be “something that we would look to do in support, to the degree the transitional federal government can in fact re-exert control over Mogadishu, with the help of AMISOM and others.” (Xinhua News Agency, March 9)
Ward said that the current offensive by the “transition government to reclaim parts of Mogadishu, I think it’s something that we would look to do and support.” Along with Ward, Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, identified other countries on the continent where so-called “counter-terrorism” operations are taking place.
According to journalist Rick Rozoff, “The U.S. military has already been involved in counterinsurgency operations in Mali and Niger against ethnic Tuareg rebels, who have no conceivable ties to al-Qaeda, not that one would know that from Levin’s comments.” Former U.S. diplomat Daniel Simpson was quoted recently in regard to the Pentagon’s involvement in Somalia as saying that the operation was designed to “test out AFRICOM ground and air forces in Djibouti for direct military action on the continent.” (Rozoff, scoop.co.nz, March 12)
Ward also told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Africa Partnership Station, which is a U.S.-led effort designed to supposedly respond to requests by African states for assistance with security issues, was now conducting its fifth deployment on the continent. He continued by stating that the Africa Partnership Station “has expanded from its initial focus on the Gulf of Guinea to other African coastal nations.” (John Kruzel, Office of the Secretary of Defense Public Affairs)
The articles written in the New York Times and other sources provide proof that the U.S. is escalating its military involvement in Africa. An attempt to dominate the global oil industry could be one of the strong motivating factors in the current U.S. policy.
Moreover, the U.S. imperialists do not want to see a government come to power in Somalia with the capacity to stabilize the political and military situation inside the country and also be independent of the foreign policy imperatives of the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon.
U.S. military intervention in Somalia during 1992-94 resulted in a tremendous defeat at the hands of the Somali resistance forces, who forced a withdrawal of the Marines and a political humiliation for the Bill Clinton administration.
The Bush administration’s engineered invasion by Ethiopia in December 2006 — as well as several aerial bombings — was also defeated by the Somali people, resulting in the withdrawal of the U.S.-backed forces in January 2009. The TFG and AMISOM hold out the only present hope for the imperialists to dominate this area of the Horn of Africa.